Plessy v. Ferguson Essay

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“Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.” Said Justice John Marshall Harlan in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. (“Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay!”) In 1890 Louisiana surprisingly got the ability to pass a law called the Separate Car Act that said that all railroad companies that carried passengers must provide separate but equal services for both white and non-white passengers. (“Landmark Cases”) The penalty for sitting in a white-designated railroad car when you were not of that ethnicity was a fine of twenty-five dollars or twenty days in jail. (“Landmark Cases”) There was a doctrine passed that everything was “separate but equal.” This doctrine was false however because in almost all situations the …show more content…
(“Landmark Cases”)

On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy, a thirty year-old shoemaker bought a first class ticket preparing to travel from New Orleans to Covington, Louisiana. Homer Plessy was something called a “Creole of Color” a phrase used to describe black people in New Orleans that trace their ancestry to the French, the Spanish and the Caribbean settlers. He had a very light colored skin tone and was only one eighth black. Even so, he was required by law to sit in the black section of the train. He boarded the train and sat in the “white” car. (Wormser) The conductor questioned him, and after refusing to move he was arrested and charged with not following state law. He went first to the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, and Tourgee, the hired lawyer, brought his case that the “separate but equal” rules were unconstitutional. Judge John H. Ferguson ruled against him, but that did not stop Homer Plessy. Instead, he applied to the State Supreme Court for the ability to go on to the United States Supreme Court. (Wormser)

By a seven to one vote the United States Supreme Court agreed with the Louisiana law and therefore Homer Plessy was convicted for having violated the law. Justice Henry Brown, the man who wrote the opinion of the Court said that, “A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races – has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races… The
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