Plessy V Ferguson Analysis

Powerful Essays
Danielle Trefz
HONR259N
12 April 2011
Plessy v. Ferguson

In 1892, Homer Plessy, a man of 1/8th African descent, bought a first class ticket and boarded a train traveling within Louisiana. Upon discovery of his mixed heritage, the conductor ordered him to move to the designated colored car. He was arrested when he refused to move; a violation of The Separate Car Act which required separate but equal accommodations for African Americans and Whites on railroads. Thus began the fight against the idea of separate but equal. Plessy was the perfect man for this social experiment because he was so light skinned he could have passed as white. This the entire operation was choreographed and each person involved had his role in bringing the case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Citizen’s Committee and Plessy’s attorny, Albion Tourgée knew it would be hard for the judges not to sympathy with Plessy because he looked like them. In Soul by Soul, Walter Johnson discussed that many people would not purchase light skinned slaves because it blurred the distinction between servant and master[1]. This was also a time when there was much abolitionist work about the country. Poems like The Quadroon Girl brought the idea that other people from well off families, who looked very much like a white American, can be forced into, at best, the black caste, and at worse, slavery[2]. The same line of thought can be applied to this case. The idea was that people would look at Plessy and think if it happened to him, he can happen to any of them also. The 13th Amendment states that “Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any other place subjected to their jurisdiction”[3]. This amendment abolishes slavery and all of its rules about persons and property. In Tourgée’s argument, this amendment was violated because by making Plessy move to a separate car,

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Plessy V. Ferguson

    • 194 Words
    • 1 Page

    Before Plessy v. Ferguson, there were separate railway cars for white and colored people. Homer Plessy was convicted of sitting in a whites-only car. He had white parents, but since he had black ancestry he was considered black. He argued that the Louisiana’s Separate Car Act of 1890 violated the Thirteenth Amendment, which required all people to be treated equally under the law. Therefore, the Court upheld this act, however, Justice Henry Brown claims that the abolition of slavery did not prevent…

    • 194 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Plessy v. Ferguson

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Plessy v. Ferguson In 1896 the Louisiana Supreme Court was challenged with a case that had the potential to tear apart racial segregation in our country. The central question that revolved around this court case was whether or not segregation amongst whites and blacks was still equal. The decision made by the court prolonged unnecessary social/racial inequality, oppression, hate, and violence in our country. The court’s ruling had immutable repercussions that greatly scarred our nation’s history…

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    school or continue their studies further. During 1954, in Topeka, Kansas, the Supreme Court came to a critical decision that students would no longer have to be separated in school depending on race. This first dated back to a case entitled, Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which first allowed students to be separated by race. This short story caught my attention when given the assigned reading. I felt an instant connection to it considering that my father was faced with great difficulties while attending…

    • 1009 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    After the Plessy v. Ferguson case in 1896, the statement of “separate but equal” was created, preventing African Americans from achieving equality. In 1951 in Topeka, Kansas, a girl named Linda Brown was forbidden from attending Summer Elementary school, which was the school closest to her home, due to the color of her skin and was instead forced to go to a school for African American children much farther away. With the help of the NAACP, the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People…

    • 856 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Plessy V. Ferguson Case

    • 207 Words
    • 1 Page

    Segregation is and always has been a major issue. The Plessy v. Ferguson case displayed how brutal their race was being treated and how the case affected the community, school systems, and families. The issues lead to the development of Homer Plessy’s attempt in challenging the court stating that the law is violating his rights listed in the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. The court did not see eye to eye with Homer Plessy. Plessy ended up losing in a seven-to-one vote. The consequence…

    • 207 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Plessy V Ferguson Essay

    • 619 Words
    • 3 Pages

    As a result of Plessy v. Ferguson, in1896, where the US Supreme Court upholds the “separate but equal doctrine,” (Day & Schiele, 2013) Dr. King had to attend an all-black college, Morehouse College. This was the same college where his father and grandfather attended making Dr. King the third generation in his family to attend college. Dr. King would graduate from Morehouse College in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. As well as attending college, Dr. King also follows in his father’s…

    • 619 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    on the court cases of Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, we must first understand each court case on its own. Plessy v. Ferguson resulted in the year 1896. The case involved the 1890s Louisiana law that basically stated that there were separated railway carriages that were specifically labeled for blacks only and whites only. Plessy v. Ferguson involved Homer Plessy who was seven-eighths white and one-eighth black and appeared to look like a white man. Plessy took an open seat on…

    • 193 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Homer Adolph Plessy v. Ferguson In 1890, the State of Louisiana passed Act 111 that required separate accommodations for African Americans and Whites on railroads, including separate railway cars, though it specified that the accommodations must be kept "equal". On any other day in 1892, Plessy with his pale skin color could have ridden in the car restricted to white passengers without notice. He was classified "7/8 white" or octoroon according to the language of the time. Although it is often…

    • 589 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    The Plessy v. Ferguson case brought to the light the deep racism that was boiling within the United States. The case stated that races were to be, “equal, but separated.” The separation, however, was not where every race had their own separation, but it was the separation between whites and those of colored races. Within this case, in which the case is named after were the opposing sides of Judge Ferguson and Plessy who was arguing to remove the Jim Crow Laws. The Jim Crow Laws were that of which…

    • 194 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    802 The Evolving Stance of Segregation In Plessy v Ferguson the court ruled that segregation was constitutional so long as the provided separate facilities were equal. For the next fifty eight years, states created laws that supported their own policies of segregation. Known as Jim Crow Laws, these laws continued to discriminate against African Americans across nation. It was not until 1954 when the case Brown v Board of Education when the court reached a decision to overturn segregation and ruled…

    • 882 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays