The Laws Visualized

thumbnail of the dashboard; click to view full dashboard

Data Visualization Dashboard

The North Carolina Jim Crow Laws dashboard displays the number of laws on a county map, line chart and bar chart. Users can filter the laws by year, topic and county and click on individual laws to read the full text.

How to Use the Dashboard

To filter laws by year, make a selection from the dropdown menu at the top of the dashboard or click a point on the line chart.

To filter laws by topic, make a selection from the dropdown menu at the top of the dashboard, or click on a bar in the bar chart.

To filter laws by county, make a selection from the dropdown menu at the top of the dashboard or click on a county in the map.

A preview of each law is shown in a grey box on the right side of the dashboard. Click on the magnifying glass icon to read the full text of the law.

Rolling over any of the charts displays a pop-up box with more information.

How Laws Were Categorized by Topic

Topics were identified through a Python script that uses regular expressions to search each law for specific keywords. The keywords were chosen by examining the results of multiple topic models and picking terms that were given the highest weights or scores by the models. It should be noted that a single law could be categorized under multiple topics depending on the keywords it contained.

This process allowed for closer control of topic classification and prevented a high number of false positives. However, any law that did not contain one of the selected keywords was not assigned a topic, and therefore, many laws remain unclassified.

How Laws Were Located on the Map

A Python script using regular expressions found laws that mentioned names of towns and/or counties. Laws that could not be assigned to a particular location as well as laws that involved multiple locations are not displayed on the map, but they are included in the line and bar charts. Selecting “Unknown/Multiple” from the “County” dropdown menu will filter the dashboard to display only those laws.

Dashboard Tables for Accessibility

Number of North Carolina Jim Crow Laws by Topic

Please note that a law can be categorized under more than one topic.

Topic Number of Laws
Adoption & Orphanages26
Children55
Death & Deathcare39
Education1159
Elections52
Health, Disabilities & Mental Care111
Incarceration21
Indigenous Populations109
Religion27
Taxes132
Uncategorized518

Number of North Carolina Jim Crow Laws by Year

Year Number of Laws
1866/6710
18682
1868/694
1869/703
1870/711
1871/727
1872/7313
1873/745
1874/755
1876/7719
18797
18803
188130
1883104
188549
188729
188955
189168
189340
189569
1897117
1899119
19005
1901127
1903131
190589
190798
19083
190972
191170
191367
191545
191744
191929
192128
1921 extra session5
192333
19249
192521
192726
192928
193117
193313
193514
1936/3719
1938/3916
1938/19397
194114
194319
194522
194718
194918
19516
195311
19558
1956/5712
19595
19615
196318
1963/657
1965/66/671

Number of North Carolina Jim Crow Laws by County

County NameNumber of Laws
Unknown/Multiple909
Alamance15
Alexander1
Anson11
Ashe5
Beaufort20
Bertie9
Bladen1
Brunswick2
Buncombe20
Burke7
Cabarrus10
Caldwell26
Camden2
Carteret15
Caswell17
Catawba8
Chatham6
Cherokee6
Chowan17
Clay6
Cleveland6
Columbus1
Craven12
Cumberland18
Currituck1
Davidson6
Davie3
Duplin8
Durham County9
Edgecombe10
Forsyth35
Franklin9
Gaston8
Gates2
Granville20
Guilford25
Halifax20
Hanover2
Harnett5
Haywood22
Henderson10
Hertford1
Hoke1
Hyde7
Iredell11
Johnston33
Jones1
Lee8
Lenoir6
Lincoln1
Macon5
Martin10
McDowell2
Mecklenburg24
Montgomery3
Moore16
Nash8
New Hanover2
Northampton18
Onslow2
Orange7
Pamlico9
Pasquotank2
Pender3
Perquimans6
Person13
Pitt12
Polk23
Randolph36
Richmond22
Robeson55
Rockingham7
Rowan17
Rutherford7
Sampson22
Scotland3
Stanly6
Stokes2
Surry22
Swain4
Transylvania3
Tyrrell4
Union26
Vance20
Wake32
Warren10
Washington3
Watanga1
Wayne22
Wilkes17
Wilson13
Yadkin5
Yancey1

Accessibility Statement

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill believes everyone in our community deserves equal access to information. We are committed to creating an inclusive digital experience. If you are unable to access this information, please contact us for more options. 

The On the Books website is a product of a digital scholarship project and will not be maintained in perpetuity. The site will be reviewed December 31, 2024. Depending on use, funding, and maintenance required, the site may be decommissioned and archived at that time. The text corpora created for this project will be preserved in the Carolina Digital Repository.
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