Plessy Vs Ferguson is the famous United States Supreme Court case that dealt with the the Supreme Court deciding to uphold the constitutionality of the state laws that required racial segregation in private businesses, under the doctrine "separate but equal." The Supreme Court decision was decided by a seven to one vote, in favor of keeping the law upheld.
On June 7, 1892 Homer Plessy boarded on the Easy Louisiana Railroad in New Orleans and he was headed to Covington, Louisiana. When he boarded the car on the train he boarded the car that was designated for white people only, which was a state law. Home Plessy was a born free man who was one-eight black and seven-eights white, however, under the Louisiana law of 1890, he was still considered black and therefore would be required to sit in the "colored" car. When Plessy was told to leave the white car and go to the colored car, he refused and they arrested and jailed him.
When this case, Homer Adolph Plessy vs. The State of Louisiana, first went to trial Plessy argued that the state laws that segregated trains had denied him his rights under both the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments. Unfortunately for Plessy the judge, John Howard Ferguson, did not agree with him and he ruled in favor of the railroad companies.
Plessy along with the Committee of Citizens, who were helping him, decided to take this case and appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. When Plessy got there the also was met with an unsympathetic judge and ruling. From that point on Plessy along with his committee took it to the Supreme court where they too turned the case down.
When the Supreme Court ruled against the case with a seven to one vote, they said they rejected ruling in favor of Plessy based upon his arguments using the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment stated that all citizens in the United States be provided equal protection. Of course the Supreme Court rejected this argument, stating that Louisiana did not violate that law. The Supreme Court also went further and stated that Louisiana did nothing to imply or suggest the inferiority of blacks.
When it came time to summarize all that was said, Supreme Court Justice Brown declared that the plaintiff, Plessy, was arguing that the forced separation of the two races makes the colored race look inferior. However, Justice Brown declared that there was no reason to think of that and if that is what is seen it is because the colored race chooses to put that on themselves. The Plessy Vs Ferguson case really helped to bring to light the separate but equal doctrine and it should people that whites and colored people were separate, but they were not equal. After five years of going in and out of court, in the end Plessy plead guilty to the violation and paid the fine.
Effects Of The Trial
Find out what the effects were from the famous trial.
Jim Crow Laws
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Changes To The Laws
Find out what happened to help the changes to the law to occur.