Plessy vs. feguson/brown vs. board of education

Essay by nyfoleyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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The court cases Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education are considered to be the two most influential cases dealing with Civil Rights and equality in the United States. These cases challenged the Constitution and ultimately was the beginning of the end of segregation in the United States. Plessy v. Ferguson sparked the black Americans to fight back against discrimination and led to other, more successful outcomes such as Brown v. Board of Education.

In an attempt to restrict the freedom of freed slaves, many southern states passed Black Codes that limited the right to vote, to engage in certain occupations and to participate in the judicial system .Because of this, the Radical Republicans in congress passed a Civil Rights bill and the Reconstruction Acts to limit these black codes and guarantee blacks their rights . Through intimidation by organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and by other means, laws were passed that segregated blacks from whites.

While the Fourteenth Amendment ended slavery, it still left many questions about the relations between blacks and whites. These questions became a significant factor in the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson .

In 1890, Louisiana passed a statute providing that all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this state shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train, or by dividing the passenger coaches by a partition so as to secure separate accommodations. The penalty for sitting in the wrong compartment was either a fine of $25 or 20 days in jail. Homer Plessy, a 30-year old shoemaker, was jailed for sitting in the White's car of the East Louisiana Railroad. Plessy was a mix of seven-eighths white and one-eighth Negro. The Louisiana law...

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