The Jim Crow Laws

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From the end of Reconstruction in 1877 to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in 1954, laws were in place that enforced racial segregation (referred to as Jim Crow laws). Beginning in the late 1870s , Southern state legislatures, which were no longer under the control of freedmen and carpetbaggers, passed legislation that required whites to be separated from “persons of colour” in schools and public transportation, which was anyone who was strongly suspected of black ancestry. Along with this, the segregation principle extended to theatres, restaurants, cemeteries, and parks in an attempt to prevent contact between whites and blacks as equal members of society. At the state and local level, it was codified and in the infamous U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson. On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy bought a first-class ticket to Covington at the Press Street Depot in New Orleans. After telling the conductor that he was a “colored man”, the former asked him to move to the coloured car, but the latter refused because he exclaimed that he was an American citizen and that he intends to ride to Covington. Soon afterward, Plessy was arrested and dragged off of the train. Four months after his arrest, Plessy’s attorneys entered a plea claiming that Louisiana’s Separate Car Act, which Plessy violated, was unconstitutional. Consequently, this would mean that the court didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear or determine all of the facts. Also, his attorneys claimed that the

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