“We forget in the United States how long it has taken us to make ‘We the People’ mean people like me. And indeed, I do think that America was born with a birth defect; it was slavery,” she said in a CBS interview aired Sunday.
She said the country “wasn’t quite complete” before the civil rights movement that took shape in the 1960s. Rice, who grew up in Alabama, a state harshly affected by Jim Crow laws, called it “the second founding of America.”
Jim Crow laws were state and local laws enforcing racial segregation in the Southern United States. Enacted after the Reconstruction period, these laws continued in force until 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities in the states of the former Confederate States of America, starting in 1890 with a “separate but equal” status for African Americans. Facilities for African Americans were consistently inferior and underfunded compared to those available to European Americans; sometimes they did not exist at all. This body of law institutionalized a number of economic, educational, and social disadvantages. De jure segregation mainly applied to the Southern states, while Northern segregation was generally de facto—patterns of housing segregation enforced by private covenants, bank lending practices, and job discrimination, including discriminatory labor union practices. (Wikipedia).