Jim Crow is the systematic practice of discriminating against and suppressing black people. The term originally referred to a black character in a popular song composed in the early 1800's. In 1881, Tennessee passed the first "Jim Crow" law; segregating train cars. Other Southern states soon followed. Jim Crow laws required that white and blacks use separate phone booths and bathrooms, and in some cases, deprived blacks of the right to vote. The term also describes an atmosphere of prejudice and discrimination. In 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled that "Jim Crow" laws were illegal.