Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay

Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay

Length: 1278 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Plessy vs. Ferguson


Plessy v. Ferguson , a very important case of 1896 in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the legality of racial segregation. At the time of the ruling, segregation between blacks and whites already existed in most schools, restaurants, and other public facilities in the American South. In the Plessy decision, the Supreme Court ruled that such segregation did not violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This amendment provides equal protection of the law to all U.S. citizens, regardless of race. The court ruled in Plessy that racial segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities for blacks and whites were “equal.”
This “separate but equal” doctrine, as it came to be known, was only partially implemented after the decision. Railroad cars, schools, and other public facilities in the South were made separate, but they were rarely made equal.

Immediately after the American Civil War ended in April 1865 the Southern states began to segregate blacks from whites in schools and other public facilities. Reconstruction, a period of rebuilding in the American South that lasted from the end of 1865 to 1877, put a temporary stop to these policies in some places. Blacks had won enough political power in the South during Reconstruction to prevent the passage of legislation designed to deny them access to public facilities. Also, after the Civil War the national government remained committed to upholding at least some degree of racial fairness.
However, even during Reconstruction, most Southern schools were segregated and blacks were often forced to use inadequate public facilities.

After 1877 whites gained greater political control and eventually total po...


... middle of paper ...


...olored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization dedicated to fighting racial segregation. Most whites in the North ignored the plight of Southern blacks in the wake of Plessy, while most Southern whites used the decision to justify racial discrimination.

Nearly 60 years passed before the Supreme Court ruled, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka , that the “separate but equal” doctrine had no place in public education. Two years later, in Gayle v. Browder , the Supreme Court struck down segregation in public transportation—the same kind of segregation upheld in Plessy. By then the South had built a social and legal system deeply rooted in racial segregation. It took numerous lawsuits, much federal legislation, and a concerted effort of civil rights protesters in the 1950s and 1960s to finally dismantle the system of segregation upheld by the Plessy ruling.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Plessy vs. Ferguson: A Case for Desegregation Essay

- Plessy vs. Ferguson Homer Plessy vs. the Honorable John H. Ferguson ignited the spark in our nation that ultimately led to the desegregation of our schools, which is shown in the equality of education that is given to all races across the country today. “The Plessy decision set the precedent that ‘separate’ facilities for blacks and whites were constitutional as long as they were ‘equal’” (“The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”). The case of Plessy vs. Ferguson not only illuminated the racial inequality within our education system, but also brought to light how the standard of ‘separate but equal’ affected every aspect of African American lives....   [tags: decisive court cases]

Strong Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

`` Simple Justice ' : Plessy V. Ferguson Essay

- In the film, “Simple Justice” the ‘separate but equal’ of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) to the unanimous 1954 overturn of Plessy in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka without discussing the tortuous legal and political path that resulted in eventual public school desegregation. It caused a huge diversity among the schools, for whites and blacks but it wasn’t enough because people kept questioning about Plessy v. Ferguson, especially of Jim Crown laws regarding the changes they wanted to have. Therefore the film “Simple Justice” indicates the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v....   [tags: Brown v. Board of Education]

Strong Essays
715 words (2 pages)

The Supreme Court Case : Plessy V. Ferguson Essay

- Throughout history, segregation has always been a part of United States history. This is showed through the relationships between the blacks and whites, the whites had a master-slave relationship and the blacks had a slave-master relationship. And this is also true after the civil war, when the blacks attained rights. Even though they had obtained rights the whites were always one step above them and lead superiority over them continuously. This is true in the Supreme court case “Plessy v. Ferguson”....   [tags: Supreme Court of the United States]

Strong Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay

- Plessy vs.Ferguson The case of Plessy vs. Ferguson started when a 30-year-old colored shoemaker named Homer Plessy was put in jail for sitting in the white car of the East Louisiana Railroad on June 7, 1892. Even though Plessy was only one-eighths black and seven-eighths white, he was considered black by Louisiana law. Plessy didn’t like this idea, and so he went to court and argued in the case of Homer Adolph Plessy v. The State of Lousiana that the Separate Car Act, which forced segregation of train cars, violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
343 words (1 pages)

Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay

- Plessy vs. Ferguson Plessy v. Ferguson , a very important case of 1896 in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the legality of racial segregation. At the time of the ruling, segregation between blacks and whites already existed in most schools, restaurants, and other public facilities in the American South. In the Plessy decision, the Supreme Court ruled that such segregation did not violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This amendment provides equal protection of the law to all U.S....   [tags: Racism Racial Segregation Essays History]

Strong Essays
1278 words (3.7 pages)

Plessy v. Ferguson Essay

- Plessy v. Ferguson This was a petition filed in the supreme court of Louisiana in 1896, by Homer Plessy, the plaintiff. He filed this petition against the Honorable John H. Ferguson, judge of The petitioner was a citizen of the United States and a descent meaning he had both white and African American ethnic backgrounds. Keep in mind that at this time Blacks were not considered equal to whites. Mr. Plessy to be exact was seven-eights Caucasian and one-eighth African American blood....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
775 words (2.2 pages)

Plessy vs. Ferguson Essay

- Plessy went to court and argued that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. The judge, a Massachusetts lawyer, was John Howard Ferguson. He had previously declared the Separate Car Act "unconstitutional on trains that traveled through several states." However, in regards to the Plessy trial, he stated that Louisiana could regulate railroad companies that only operated within its state. Ferguson found Plessy guilty of refusing to leave the white car....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1074 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Plessy v. Ferguson

- Plessy v. Ferguson The moment the first slave was brought to America a ball was set in motion that one day somewhere and somehow a distinction between races had to be dealt with. The Civil War helped to make a stand against enslavement. A few years later in Plessy v. Ferguson another step was taken to give blacks equal but separate treatment and access to public facilities. After taking a giant leap into the future, fifty-eight years, we have another landmark case. In Brown v. Board of Education, the separate but equal law was revised to bring the races together in the same public facilities with access to the same public resources....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
895 words (2.6 pages)

John Marshall Harlan’s Dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson Essay

- Throughout American History, many minorities have fallen victim to cruel discrimination and inequality, African Americans were one of such minorities that greatly suffered from the white majority’s upper hand. After the end of the Civil War and the Reconstruction period following it, many people, especially the Southern population, were extremely against African Americans obtaining equal rights in the American society. Due to this, these opponents did everything in their power to limit and even fully strip African Americans of their rights....   [tags: discrimination, inequality, African Americans]

Strong Essays
1695 words (4.8 pages)

Essay Separate But Equal : Plessy V. Ferguson, Brown Vs. Board Of Education

- Separate but Equal: Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education According to Jack M. Fletcher Separate but equal is “pertaining to a racial policy, formerly practiced in some parts of the United States, by which black people could be segregated if granted equal opportunities” (17). Separate but equal was a legalized belief in United States constitutional law that defended and allowed racial isolation as not being in violating of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ensured equivalent protection under the law to all citizens, and other federal civil right laws....   [tags: Brown v. Board of Education]

Strong Essays
2096 words (6 pages)