The Artdog Image(s) of Interest

All too many Americans can remember a time–not so long ago, and not so far away as to give us any comfort–when signs like these were posted to keep them out

This image is a composite of signs that read, "NO Dogs, Negros, Mexicans," "Colored Served in Rear," "Rest Rooms, White Only," and "Drinking Fountain," with arrows pointing opposite directions toward "White" and "Colored."
This photo shows a sign for the Imperial Laundry Co., emblazoned "We Wash for White People Only."
This is a hand-lettered sign, probably for a restaurant, that proclaims: "We serve whites only. No Spanish or Mexicans."

When public spaces like these were all too common.

This is a photo of two water fountains, along the wall of a public space. The one labeled "White" has a clean top and a refrigeration unit, so it delivers cold water. The one marked "Colored" looks considerably older, and it very conspicuously does not have a refrigeration unit. No ice-cold water would come from that one on a hot summer day! A man with dark skin is drinking from that one in the photo.
This is a photo from Ft. Myers, Florida, taken in a segregated bus. The photographer was positioned near the front of the bus. The nearest 7 rows are occupied by exclusively white people, both men and women. There's a metal wall at the back of this section, with an open door in it. Through the door you can see at least one darker-skinned passenger in the back part of the bus.

When people accepted this as “normal.” Even as “right.” 

This a photo of a brick building in Leland, Mississippi. on its front are painted the words: "Rex Theatre for Colored People." This photo was taken in June, 1937, by Dorothea Lange.
Photo by Dorothea Lange, taken June, 1937 in Leland, Mississippi.

We live today in an era of rising white supremacy groups. They would tear down the all-too-fragile gains we’ve made for equity, civil rights, and justice for all

We must be vigilant. We must call out hate and bigotry wherever we see it. We must not let this kind of intolerance rise again.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Tes Blendspace for the composite of segregationist signs; to Georgetown Law’s article “The Jim Crow South,” for both the Imperial Laundry sign and the photo of “white” and “black” water fountains; and to DayOnePatch for the “No Spanish or Mexicans” sign. I also appreciate WGCU (Ft. Myers, FL PBS & NPR) for the photo of the segregated Ft. Myers bus,  as well as an interesting interview with one of the Americans mentioned above, whose memories of the Jim Crow era are all too fresh; and the Wikimedia Commons for the 1937 Dorothea Lange photo of the Rex Theatre for Colored People in Leland, MS. For more such photos, visit the Library of Congress page on photos of signs enforcing racial discrimination.