Plessy vs. Ferguson

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Sarah Yerkey

Brothers

English 9 – Period 15

1 February 2013

Plessy vs. Ferguson Court Case

In 1892, a man named Homer Plessy was arrested for sitting in the “whites only” section on a train. The man arrested was an octoroon, which means he was seven-eighths white and one-eighth African American. Ferguson, who was the trial court judge, declared him guilty. The Plessy vs. Ferguson is an important court case because of the background of the case, the impact it had on society, and the outcome of it.

The background of this case is interesting in the fact that it was a big case having to do with the Jim Crow laws. In 1875, there was a law passed saying that there couldn’t be any racial segregation . In Florida, there was yet another law passed saying that there could be segregation on trains. On the website socialstudieshelp.com, it states, “The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each passenger to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated for the race to which such passenger belongs. ” (Legal Segregation) This is a Jim Crow law. The law is saying that the conductor of the train has to have a train car division for the blacks and the whites. Plessy who was as stated above, only one-eighth African American. He had light enough skin that he could pass as white. The conductor of the train asked him what race he was and when Plessy told him, he asked him to move. Plessy refused and got arrested. On About.com it states, “Plessy vs. Ferguson is an extremely important case in the fact that it gave legal standing to the idea of ‘separate but equal’” (Plessy v. Ferguson - Court Case of Plessy v. Ferguson). So, basically this case made people realize that, legally, segregation was, to most people, wrong, and unconstitutional.

This case had an extremely huge impact on society. It allowed segregation to continue legally until 50 years later. In 1956,...
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