The U.S. supreme court upheld separate but equal public facilities for Blacks in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson.
1896 (May 18)
The U.S. supreme Court upheld separate but equal public facilities for Blacks in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. A case that stemmed from a dispute over transportation facilities in Louisiana. The plaintiff, Homer Adolph Plessy, contended that the 1890 Louisiana statute that required separate accommodations be used by Blacks and whites violated the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments. Plessy, who was seven-eighths Caucasian and one-eighth African, also argued that, because the "colored blood" in him was not detectable, he should have the same rights and privileges as white citizens. The Comit des Citoyens, an organization of Blacks in New Orleans, aided Plessy and his lawyers. The Court majority, however, ruled that the Louisiana statute did not, in fact, violate either amendment. The segregation of the races thus won the sanction of the highest national tribunal. Justice John Harlan, in a prophetic dissent, asserted that segregation laws fostered ideas of racial inferiority and would increase attacks against the rights of Blacks.