Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 15, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971966 | Print ISBN: 9781412940504 | Online ISBN: 9781412971966| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Plessy v. Ferguson
Victor M. Goode
In its 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson , the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Homer Plessy's attack on the constitutionality of Louisiana's Separate Car Act, which required separate railroad cars for African Americans and Whites. The decision was used to establish a constitutional rationale for segregation in the United States, where race determined what facilities a person could use, from washrooms and lunch counters to bus seats and even textbooks. The legacy of Plessy was the constitutional sanction of racial caste that went largely unchanged until Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas (1954) when the Court finally accepted the position argued by Plessy's lawyers over 50 years earlier that forced segregation by race violated the core principles of the Fourteenth Amendment. The struggle for racial justice that led to the case of Plessy v. Ferguson actually began a decade earlier, in 1876, in the conflict over the continuation Plessy. ...