It is recommended that you download the document in Word, type your responses directly into the document, and print it out. If you choose to handwrite your responses, PLEASE WRITE LEGIBLY, in black or blue ink.
This handout will be graded on a scale of 1-25, with 5 possible points for each question. You will be graded on the thoughtfulness of your response and your effort to support your argument.
1) How did the majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision legally shape race relations in the U.S. over the next half-century? On what grounds did Justice Harlan’s minority decision disagree?
The result of the Plessy v. Ferguson case shaped race relations in the U.S. by allowing segregation to be legal. It validated the “separate but equal” doctrine that kept whites and blacks separated, but still kept under the rules of Jim Crow laws. This furthered the racial tension between blacks and whites in the nation. Although Justice Harlan reflected a lot of white supremacist views, he believed that the majority view was more likely to promote racial discord rather than racial harmony. He thought that the “separate but equal” clause was an unreasonable exercise of state power, and thus provided critical legal support for blacks.
2) Why did Attorney David Marcus decide not to pursue a strategy that would have based his argument in Mendez v. Westminster on the issue of racial segregation? Do you think he made the right decision?
Since the Mendez v. Westminster case was about the refusal of Mexican-American children into certain schools, Marcus argued on the issue of the children and how having to attend different schools wold hurt their education and knowledge of the English language. He argued that