The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow Character List

Jarvious Cotton

He is an African American man who cannot vote due to his record as a felon; this makes him similar to his father and grandfather who also could not vote due to racial restrictions and threats of violence.

Barack Obama

He is the first black president whose election led many to claim that the era of true colorblindness had arrived.

W.E.B. Du Bois

He was an influential nineteenth-century black writer known for The Souls of Black Folk and for differing with Booker T. Washington on the pace and methods by which blacks should pursue equality.

President Johnson

He was the president who signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law in the 1960s.

Kevin Phillips

He was the man credited with Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to galvanize white discontent to win votes.

Willie Horton

He was a black man convicted of rape and murder, and used in an ad by George HW Bush to stoke racial fears.

Terence Bostick

He was a black man searched on an interstate bus and subsequently arrested for having drugs on his person. His claim of Fourth Amendment violation became Terence v. Bostick, which sided with law enforcement.

Warren McCleskey

He was a black man sentenced to death in Georgia for killing a white police officer during an armed robbery. His case was McCleskey v. Kemp, which, although a famous study revealed the racial disparities in sentencing, effectively closed the doors to racial bias in sentencing cases in the future.

Edward Clary

He was a young black man with no priors who was caught with a small amount of cocaine and sentenced extremely harshly.

Frederick Douglass

The famous nineteenth-century writer and abolitionist, Douglass was also a former slave who spoke passionately about the injustices of slavery. Alexander uses his phrase "cruel hand" to describe the unfair ways blacks were and are treated.

Claudette Colvin and Mary Louise Smith

These two black women, like Rosa Parks, defied segregation laws, but were rejected by civil rights advocates as symbols because their backgrounds were not as "moral."

James Baldwin

A black writer and intellectual, Baldwin wrote Go Tell it on the Mountain and The Fire Next Time.