Lesson 35: The Economics of Racial Discrimination

The students examine Jim Crow segregation laws and discuss the costs of racial segregation. They examine an economic mystery about segregation, using the Guide to Economic Reasoning. Finally, they read and discuss an essay about Homer Plessy and Rosa Parks. During the late 1800s and throughout the first half of the twentieth century, racial segregation was enforced throughout the South by legislation and by informal codes of culture. African Americans in the South resisted the legal and social codes that kept them poor and powerless, but they had relatively little success until the 1950s.


Segregation, Boycott, Jim Crow laws, Average income
National Content Standards in Economics:
  • Standard #4: Incentives
  • Standard #10: Institutions
  • Standard #13: Income