The New Jim Crow | Study Guide

Michelle Alexander

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The New Jim Crow | Glossary


ACLU: the American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that works to defend individual rights and liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution

affidavit: a written statement confirmed by oath to be used as evidence in court

Brown v. Board of Education: a 1954 US Supreme Court case that ruled that segregating public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional

caste: the system of dividing society into different groups based on race or class, and determining who inherit or are excluded from privileges based on it

Emancipation Proclamation: an 1863 executive order issued by President Lincoln freeing slaves

Fourteenth Amendment: an 1868 amendment to the US Constitution providing equal protection and citizenship rights under the law

Jim Crow: the former practice of segregating black people in the United States

Mass incarceration: an American phenomenon of historically extreme high rates of imprisonment over a 40-year period

Minstrel show: entertainers with blackened faces that caricatured black people

Peremptory strike: a strategy lawyers use to "strike" potential jurors without offering a reason why

Pluralistic ignorance: a situation in which the majority of people privately reject a norm, but mistakenly assume everyone else accepts it, and therefore don't speak up

Reconstruction Era: period after the Civil War (1865–77) in which the former states of the Confederacy were brought back into the United States

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