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Plessy Vs. Ferguson: A Case For Desegregation

1492 words - 6 pages

Plessy vs. Ferguson
Homer Plessy vs. the Honorable John H. Ferguson ignited the spark in our nation that ultimately led to the desegregation of our schools, which is shown in the equality of education that is given to all races across the country today. “The Plessy decision set the precedent that ‘separate’ facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were ‘equal’” (“The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”). The case of Plessy vs. Ferguson not only illuminated the racial inequality within our education system, but also brought to light how the standard of ‘separate but equal’ affected every aspect of African American lives.
The court case of Plessy vs. Ferguson created nationwide controversy in the United States due to the fact that its outcome would ultimately affect every citizen of our country. On Tuesday, June 7th, 1892, Mr. Homer Plessy purchased a first class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad for a trip from New Orleans to Covington. He then entered a passenger car and took a vacant seat in a coach where white passengers were also sitting. There was another coach assigned to people who weren’t of the white race, but this railroad was a common carrier and was not authorized to discriminate passengers based off of their race. (“Plessy vs. Ferguson, syllabus”).Mr. Plessy was a “Creole of Color”, a person who traces their heritage back to some of the Caribbean, French, and Spanish who settled into Louisiana before it was part of the US (“The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”). Even though Plessy was only one eighth African American, and could pass for a full white man, still he was threatened to be penalized and ejected from the train if he did not vacate to the non-white coach (“Plessy vs. Ferguson, syllabus). In 1896, there was a US Supreme Court Case that called into question the constitutionality of the “separate but equal” doctrine, which stemmed from the train incident involving Plessy. “The case came from Louisiana, which in 1890 adopted a law providing for ‘equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races’” (“Plessy vs. Ferguson”).
Despite the Court’s ruling for ‘separate but equal’ opportunities for all races, most every public place, including schools, remained unchanged and very segregated; especially in the Deep South. “…in Brown II, the Court announced a decision outlining its plan for implementing racial desegregation in the schools. The Court took a cautious approach, remanding the cases to district courts with orders to integrate the schools "with all deliberate speed." As it turned out, there was a lot more deliberation than speed…” (“Separate but Equal? The Road to Brown”). Over a decade after the Brown decision, only a small amount of black children in the Deep South attended schools with white children. Opposition to Brown was fierce in some places, such as at Little Rock's Central High, where integration was only achieved after a powerful show of force by federal troops. The effect of...

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