Jim Crow ruled the South from about 1890 to well into the 1960s. Four generations of African Americas endured this system of segregation. Present day race relations in the United States continue to be affected by this history. The Jim Crow system emerged towards the end of the historical period called Reconstruction, during which Congress had enacted laws designed to order relations between Southern whites and newly freed blacks, and to bring the secessionist states back into the Union. Southern whites felt profoundly threatened by increasing claims by African Americans for social equality and economic opportunity. In reaction, white-controlled state legislatures passed laws designed to rob blacks of their civil rights and prevent blacks from mingling with their "betters" in public places.