“The Impact of Racist Ideologies: Jim Crow and the Nuremberg Laws"

Aug. 5, 2011 through Aug. 19, 2012 (Extended Run)
Central Gallery

Contrary to common belief, Nazi Germany’s legal assault on the Jews between 1933 and 1945 was not unique in its racial character nor its segregationist aims. There are remarkable similarities between America’s own Jim Crow laws and those in Nazi Germany.  As with many Nazi attacks against the Jews, the Nazis took ideas and practices that were common in their own and other cultures and radicalized them to suit their needs. This exhibit will examine the Jim Crow laws — with examples from Houston’s segregationist past — and the Nuremberg laws.

The exhibit opens Aug. 5, 2011 and runs through July 22, 2012 in Holocaust Museum Houston’s Central Gallery in the Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District.

Custom and law are closely linked systems that affect how people act toward each other. In both the post-Civil War United States and in Nazi Germany, the freedoms and rights of some groups of people were limited. Each country developed a system of racially based laws influenced by past customs and beliefs. These systems would dramatically shape history.

Under each system, groups were targeted. They lost important political, economic and social rights. African Americans were the primary target under the U.S. system of Jim Crow laws, named after a song-and-dance caricature of African Americans performed by a white actor. In contrast, Jewish people were the primary target under the Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany.

These laws, based on racial privilege, led to violence in both countries. Jim Crow laws varied widely across regions in the United States. Therefore, violent actions tended to be localized. The Nuremberg Laws were national in scope, laying the groundwork for the murder of more than two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe.

Using images and first-person accounts, this exhibition permits visitors to consider the Jim Crow and Nuremberg laws and to examine their effects on daily life. Incorporating Houston’s history with Jim Crow and the civil rights movement, the exhibition invites visitors to think about the impact of the laws of Jim Crow and Nuremberg – both at the time of their implementation – and today. Ultimately, the exhibit challenges guests to consider what each individual must do to lessen the impact of racist ideologies. 

The exhibit explores the history of racism and eugenics, past separate-but-equal doctrines and how racially based laws were used to define individuals and to restrict marriage rights, school privileges and other opportunities.

The exhibit is generously underwritten by Baker Botts, LLP; Frost; H-E-B; Marathon Oil Corporation and the Morgan Family Foundation, and is presented with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

The public is invited to a free preview reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. Admission is free, but advance registration is required for this reception. Visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online. For more information, call 713-942-8000 or e-mail
 exhibits@hmh.org.


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The success of the Greensboro sit-in emboldened young people at Texas Southern University to take their own action. On
The success of the Greensboro sit-in emboldened young people at Texas Southern University to take their own action. On March 4, 1960, a group of 13 black students sat down at Weingarten's lunch counter and demanded service. The successful sit-in was the catalyst for more protests throughout Houston. By the end of the year, Houston businesses were largely desegregated. (Courtesy, Houston Metropolitan Research Center)
Left: In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that expla
Left: In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that expla Left: In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that explains the Nazi point of view. (Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park) Right: Due to the Jim Crow Laws, two patrons were forced to use a separate entrance to shop at this downtown department store in Birmingham, Alabama. Photographer Gordon Parks captured this image on assignment for Life magazine in 1956. (© The Gordon Parks Foundation)
This Nazi propaganda poster warns of interracial relationships, justifying and explaining the Nuremberg laws. The text
This Nazi propaganda poster warns of interracial relationships, justifying and explaining the Nuremberg laws. The text reads, "Race Pollution. Since 1923, Julius Streicher has enlightened the public about race pollution. In 1933, the Fuehrer declared race pollution a crime, punishable by imprisonment. Nevertheless, thousands of race crimes continue to be committed in Germany by Jews. What is Race Pollution? Why did the Fuehrer proclaim the Nuremberg Laws? Why do Jews, systematically and in massive numbers, commit racial crimes against the German woman? What are the consequences of race pollution for the German maiden? What are the consequences of race pollution for the German Volk? The new Stuermer special issue."  (Credit, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Deutsches Historisches Museum GmbH)
In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that explains th
In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that explains th In April 1933, the Nazis organized a boycott of German Jewish businesses. This woman is reading a sign that explains the Nazi point of view. (Courtesy, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD.)
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Holocaust Museum Houston
Morgan Family Center
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004-6804
Phone: 713-942-8000



Holocaust Museum Houston is a member of the Houston Museum District Association and is located in Houston's Museum District.

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The Laurie and Milton Boniuk Resource Center and Library is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Library is closed Sundays.

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Effective April 15, 2014, admission rates for Holocaust Museum Houston will change. Please note the new rates:

Members FREE
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Holocaust Museum Houston is free each Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Memorial Day (May 25, 2015), D-Day (June 6, 2015), Kristallnacht (Nov. 9, 2014) and International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27, 2015).

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Docent-led tours can be scheduled for schools and groups of 10 or more. Tours are available in Spanish, English and French. To arrange a docent-led tour, please call Visitor Services at 713-942-8000, ext. 302 or submit the form below.

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