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Historical Background• Reconstruction Period•Ellis Island becomes the receptioncenter for new immigrants• The first African-Americannewspaper, called “Afro- American”was published from Baltimore•Pledge of Allegiance was first recitedin public schools•Grover Cleveland is elected asPresident•1876-1965, Jim Crow Lawscharacterize America.
Circumstances of the Case• On June 7, 1892, 30-year-old Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the "White" car of the East Louisiana Railroad.• He was considered black, even thought he was white in color, and therefore required to sit in the "Colored" car.• Louisiana passed the Separate Car Act, legally segregating train carriers in 1892.• A black civil rights organization decided to challenge the law in the courts.• Plessy purposely sat in the white section and made it clear the he was African-American.• He was arrested and the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court.
Constitutional• 13th Amendment Issues -Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment forcrime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist withinthe United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction -Segregation was forcing them into involuntary servitude. -Amendment was to protect former slaves from laws that would hinder them from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.• 14th Amendment -No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge theprivileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any Statedeprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of thelaws. -Segregation was hindering the Africa-Americans and not giving themthe same privileges as the whites.
Arguments Plessy Ferguson• Segregation was • Segregation had nounconstitutional because it intentions of destroy thehindered the African- legal equality of the two racesAmerican from living a life • 14th Amendment was tosimilar to the whites. enforce the ABSOLUTE• Segregation stigmatized equality of the two racesblacks and made them worthy before the law.of disgrace • It was not Intended to• “Stamped them with a badge abolish distinctions basedof Inferiority upon color, but to create•Segregation violated the equality between the two.Equal Protection Clause • Our constitution is color- blind.
Court Ruling• Ferguson won the case with a majority of 7votes• Separate facilities for blacks and whites wereconstitutional as long as they were "equal.”•The Separate but Equal doctrine quickly spreadto cover many areas of public life such asrestaurants, theaters, restrooms, and publicschools
Impact•Imaginary wall between blacks and whites.•Many whites who felt threatened by emancipation, could maintain their delusion of superiority.•Encouraged racism to continue unchecked•Even though they were supposed to be “equal”, facilities for blacks were always inferior to those for whites
ReferencesWormser, Richard. “Plessy vs. Ferguson” The Rise and Fall ofJim Crow. 2002. Accessed October 24, 2012http://www.pbs.org/wnet/jimcrow/stories_events_plessy.htmlNo Author. “Plessy v. Ferguson- A Brief Case Summary” Lawnix.2008-2012. Accessed October 24, 2012http://www.lawnix.com/cases/plessy-ferguson.htmlCozzens, Lisa. “Plessy v. Ferguson” Watson. 1999. AccessedOctober 25, 2012http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/post-civilwar/plessy.html