The Tragedy of Jim Crow
Top photo: "Colored sharecropper and his children about to leave home through the pine woods after their morning work at the tobacco farm stringing and putting up tobacco. Shoofly, Granville County, North Carolina." 1939, History in Photos. Photo by Dorothea Lange
“The segregation and disenfranchisement laws known as "Jim Crow" represented a formal, codified system of racial apartheid that dominated the American South for three quarters of a century beginning in the 1890s.” - American Experience 
In 1910, 90% of African-Americans lived in the former Confederacy.
Called an era of “second slavery” by the Equal Justice Initiative, and effectively a racial caste system, the state and local laws passed in the southern states affected all aspects of African-Americans’ lives. 
African-American workers were not permitted to use the same entrance or work in the same room as whites, and often were not hired at all, as unions created rules excluding them. 
The Klu Klux Klan terrorized black communities across the South through lynching and intimidation.
Lynching became a tool to enforce economic, political, and cultural exploitation, by keeping African-Americans in a continuous state of fear. 
The threat of lynching was constant for African-Americans, and perpetrators were rarely, if ever, brought to justice.
"In the South, an estimated two or three Blacks were lynched each week in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Mississippi alone, 500 Blacks were lynched from the 1800s to 1955. Nationwide, the figure climbed to nearly 5,000...With lynching as a violent backdrop in the South, Jim Crow as the law of the land, and the poverty of the sharecropper system, Blacks had no recourse. This triage of repression ensured Blacks would remain impoverished, endangered, and without rights or hope." - American Experience 
Of all lynchings committed after 1900, only 1 percent resulted in a criminal conviction. 
In addition, mob violence and race riots occurred across the South.
"Ten Negroes dead - possibly even twenty-five or thirty - and probably half-a-hundred wounded, is the result of a lynching fever which seized upon the white people of Atlanta last night...By midnight it is estimated that the mobs numbered between 10,000 and 15,000 men and boys...operating against Negroes in various sections of the city. Whenever a Negro was seen he was immediately a target for bullets, knives, sticks, stones....Decatur street...thickly studded with negro saloons and restaurants was swept by the great mob. It smashed saloons and eating stands and assaulted every Negro who did not save himself by flight." - New York Times during the Atlanta race riots of 1906 
In one of the most notorious and shocking events in American history, the African-American neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma was destroyed. This was the first and only time that firebombs were dropped on American citizens, by American citizens, destroying over thirty densely-populated city blocks and over one thousand homes and business, and killing scores of people. [5, 6]
"Firefighters who arrived to help put out fires later testified that rioters had threatened them with guns and forced them to leave." - History.com 
Many African-Americans moved north during the Great Migration, fleeing violence and seeking economic opportunity, but thousands depended on farm work to survive. Instead, they had to endure the terror and unrelenting racism of the Jim Crow South.
The concept of “separate but equal,” enshrined by the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision (1896), gave states broad leeway to restrict African-Americans' access to fundamental resources, including education.
"...we cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances is unreasonable, or more obnoxious to the Fourteenth Amendment than the acts of Congress requiring separate schools for colored children in the District of Columbia, the constitutionality of which does not seem to have been questioned, or the corresponding acts of state legislatures." - Justice Henry Billings Brown, writing majority opinion for the Supreme Court 
African-Americans' inability to gain even a basic education made it more difficult to change their lives and escape life in the South.