Jim Crow-Like Segregation Signs Placed On Water Fountains

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The racists labels taped on top of the water fountains are not just a prank. Actions like this were a norm during the Jim Crow era.

In yet another instance of racism in schools, paper signs proclaiming “Colored” and “Whites Only” were found placed above two water fountains at First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Florida.

Florida High School

A picture of the handwritten racial messages was posted on the school’s Facebook page by Maurice Ellis, whose children go to another school. The image featured the words “colored” and “whites only” written with a black pen on white paper and taped to the wall above the two fountains.

Ellis, 39, who is an African American, said he almost laughed when he saw the photo because historically, photos of segregated water fountains show the “White only” fountain to be higher, bigger and better than the “Colored” fountain. The culprit however has it backwards and Ellis suspects they did not think too deeply about the symbolism of their action.

However, this is no laughing matter as images like these were the norm during the Jim Crow era and were a result of deeply ingrained hate.

From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, people of color, especially African Americans, were placed under legally or socially enforced segregation in the South. Under the law, everyone was supposed to receive separate but equal facilities, but services reserved for African Americans were almost always of lower quality. The implication was that blacks or even people who were anything other than whites were “unclean” and were not good enough to drink from the same fountain.

Not till the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did this discrimination end and the arduous process of giving people of color their full rights began — an effort that has yet to reach fulfillment even today, given the type of rampant racism that still exists in every nook and cranny of the nation.

 

 

 

Tommy Johnston, a 1991 graduate, said that since the school opened it has been facing racial difficulties because people feared that it would “bring black students” to the neighborhood.

Johnston also added that kids “acting out” probably had something to do with the recent election of Donald Trump.

“Unfortunately, all it does is put fuel on the fire,” he said.

Nikolai Vitti, the district’s superintendent, denounced the signs.

"The signs placed on top of the fountains are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by our school district,” Vitti said. “We are investigating the matter to determine who is behind the action to provide the appropriate discipline and counseling.”

 

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