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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

During segregation did we have four washrooms?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (20724points) February 23rd, 2021

One for black men. One for black women. One for white men. One for white women? Would it be kinda expensive to maintain?

Please show pictures if you can?

I asked this question before but I can’t find it.

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11 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Expensive? Of the 4 designations listed, which might you suppose would be tasked with cleaning all 4 of those bathrooms? And do you imagine the individuals assigned to be well paid?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@stanleybmanly I’m thinking that they would have four different groups of cleaning staff. I don’t know. It would be easier to ask someone who was alive when that part of our history. Maybe someone has written a book on the subject? Can anyone recommend a good segregation book to read for BHM (black history month)? I grew up in the 70’s and don’t know much about the topic.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was very much alive in those times. They didn’t end until 1969. But I want you to think about this. The logic behind segregation was indefensible. It was in truth an attempt to perpetuate (as close as possible) slavery in the South. Black people were not permitted to use the toilets in white restrooms, but you can bet your ass that they were “allowed” to clean them. Segregation was enforced to assure that such “traditions” endure.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I found this link
There was white women , white men and colored.

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LostInParadise's avatar

And don’t forget that there were two drinking fountains, one for blacks and one for whites.

chyna's avatar

In the movie Hidden Figures, based on the true story of the high intelligence of some black women getting the U.S. to the moon and back, the “colored” bathroom was about a half a mile from their office. I can’t remember if the bathrooms were further segregated between men and women in the movie, though.
A really good movie if you get a chance to see it. It shows the segregation issues from that time period.

zenvelo's avatar

From The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson:

“There were white waiting rooms and colored waiting rooms in any conceivable place where a person might have to wait for something, from the bus depot to the doctor’s office. A total of four restrooms had to be constructed and maintained at significant expense in any public establishment that bothered to provided any for colored people: one for white men, one for white women, one for colored men, and one for colored women. In 1958, a new bus station went up in Jacksonville, Florida, with two of everything, including two segregated cocktail lounges, ‘lest the races brush elbows over a martini,’ The Wall Street Journal reported. The president of Southeastern Greyhound told the Journal, ‘It frequently costs fifty percent more to build a terminal with segregated facilities.’ But most southern businessmen didn’t date complain about the extra cost. ‘The question is dynamite,’ the president of a southern theater told the Journal. ‘Don’t even say what state I’m in.’

“The was a colored window at the post office in Pensacola, Florida, and there were white and colored telephone booths in Oklahoma. White and colored went to separate windows to get their license plates in Indianola, Mississippi, and to separate tellers to make their deposits at the First National Bank of Atlanta. There were taxicabs for colored people and taxicabs for white people in Jacksonville, Birmingham, Atlanta, and the entire state of Mississippi. Colored people had to be off the streets and out of the city by 8 P.M. in Palm Beach and Miami Beach.

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JLeslie's avatar

Often, minorities were not allowed in the same places so they didn’t need 4 bathrooms, because only white people were present. Some places still had outhouses for Black people in more remote areas. Large buildings had separate bathrooms for whites and Blacks. Asians and Latin Americans would usually be expected to use the “colored” designated bathrooms too.

Very few places outside of the Southern states had this set up. My parents and grandparents never saw any such thing growing up in NYC. My friends who grew up in the South grew up with separate water fountains and bathrooms and remember their schools getting desegregated.

Slightly of topic: You might be interested in the movie The Green Book. Also, @chyna mentioned Hidden Figures, which is a fantastic movie if you have never seen it. It shows the bathroom situation and I think it also was a commentary on how not only Black people were treated and women also.

Hidden Figures shows some brilliant minds from other parts of the country and even an engineer who was an immigrant working on the space program for NASA in Virginia. Most of the senior people, including John Glenn the astronaut, were from northern and midwest states, but they were working in Virginia so the custom to have separate bathrooms was portrayed. The truth is the Black women who worked directly with the engineers and mathematicians used the white bathrooms even though Black bathrooms existed. You can read about the historical accuracy here I found it interesting.

The Green Book I think has even more emphasis on the racism and separation of races, because the racism is in the South by Southerners who live in the system and worry about being judged by their peers. The dynamic is slightly different.

Both are based on true stories.

bob_'s avatar

In an America still highly segregated by race, the Pentagon’s planners found it necessary to design the building with separate facilities for black and white employees, including “white” and “colored” cafeterias for the construction crews and 284 bathrooms, twice the number needed for the anticipated staff levels.


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