What was the Plessy v.s Ferguson? Explain the impact of Plessy v.s Ferguson in the south?
I must write a 2 pager paper on this, HELPP
- staisilLv 78 years agoFavorite Answer
Plessy v. Ferguson was a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, approving de jure racial segregation in public facilities, and ruling that states could prohibit of the use of public facilities by African Americans.
In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed a law that required separate accommodations for blacks and whites on railroads, including separate railway cars. Concerned, several black and white citizens in New Orleans formed an association dedicated to the repeal of that law. They eventually persuaded Homer Plessy, an octoroon (someone of seven-eighths Caucasian descent and one-eighth African descent), to test it. On June 7, 1892, Plessy purchased a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railway from New Orleans to Covington. The railroad company had been informed already as to Plessy's racial lineage, and after Plessy had taken a seat in the whites-only railway car, he was asked to vacate it and sit instead in the blacks-only car. Plessy refused and was arrested immediately.
Plessy was remanded for trial in Orleans Parish, despite his objections that the Louisiana law was in violation of the Constitution of the United States. He was convicted and sentenced to pay a $25 fine.
Eventually the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Plessy was represented by Albion Tourgée, a prominent lawyer of the day, and Samuel F. Phillips, while the defendant, Judge John Ferguson of the Louisiana court, was represented by Alexander Porter Morse.
Announced on May 18, 1896, the 7-1 decision, with one abstention, upheld the Louisiana statute. Justice Henry B. Brown delivered the opinion of the court, while Justice David J. Brewer abstained, and Justice John Marshall Harlan delivered his famous dissent.
The court rejected Tourgée's arguments based on the Thirteenth Amendment, seeing no way in which the Louisiana statute violated it. In addition, the majority of the Court rejected the view that the Louisiana law fostered any inferiority of African-Americans, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, but held rather that the law merely separated the races as a matter of social policy. Justice Brown declared, "We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it." In other words, the Court held that state governments could bar blacks from public facilities based on traditional notions of racial inferiority.
Plessy legitimized the move towards segregation practices in the South begun earlier. Along with Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise address, delivered the same year, which accepted black social isolation from white society, Plessy provided an impetus for further segregation laws. In the ensuing decades, segregation statutes proliferated, reaching even to the federal government in Washington, D.C., which resegregated during Woodrow Wilson's administration in the 1910s.
- 8 years ago
Separate, but equal. Segregation was okay. Bad SCOTUS ruling.
- tuffyLv 78 years ago
The South already had local and state laws that segregated the blacks and whites, these were illegally taking blacks civil rights from them. Neither Congress, nor the federal courts took any action to assure the blacks of their civil rights. Then in 1896 of Plessy vs Ferguson the Supreme Court said segregation was legal if there were equal facilities for the blacks. What a joke - black facilities were never equal. Here even the federal government said segregation was legal. It wasn't until 1954 in Brown vs the Board of Education that the Supreme Court said segregation was illegal in all public schools. As far as the South was concerned Plessy vs Ferguson said segregation is legal. After 400 years one would think the U.S. could straighten this mess out, but racism still rules.