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Separate but Equal: Political Effects of Plessy v. Ferguson

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1 Separate but Equal: Political Effects of Plessy v. Ferguson
by Michelle Onibokun AFRI--1620: Black NOLA Research Seminar

2 Homère Plessy’s Train Ticket
Setting the Scene June 7, 1892 Homère Plessy’s Train Ticket

3 Race Relations prior to 1890
Relatively amiable Entwined social lives Integrated transportation Prevalence of black voters

4 Changing Tides - 1890 Legislative Code 111 Separate Car Act
American Citizens’ Equal Rights Association “Citizenship is National, and has no color.” Governor Francis Nicholls

5 Activism The Daily Crusader (1890)
Comité des Citoyens (September 1, 1891) Rodolphe Desdunes Arthur Estèves

6 Activism The Daily Crusader (1890)
Comité des Citoyens (September 1, 1891) Daniel Desdunes

7 Plessy Meets Ferguson November 18, 1892 “Equal but separate”
“Judges have nothing to do with policy of particular acts passed by the legislature”

8 Supreme Ruling (May 18, 1896) “[The Amendment] could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either.” Justice Brown, majority opinion Plessy decision Albion Tourgée Justice Brown

9 Justice Harlan, dissenting opinion
The Lone Dissenter “…inconsistent not only with that equality of rights which pertains to citizenship, National and State, but with the personal liberty enjoyed by everyone within the United States.” Justice Harlan, dissenting opinion

10 The formalization of a racial caste system
Political Effects The formalization of a racial caste system

11 Democratic Convention and the Assault on Voting Rights (February 1898)
“[We are dedicated to purging] the mass of corrupt and illiterate voters who have during the last quarter of a century degraded our politics.” (Ernest Kruttschnitt, leading figure at Constitutional Convention) “[This Constitution is] utterly and irrevocably antagonistic to the immutable laws of justice and equity.” (Populist B.W. Bailey, one of only two men at the convention to vote against the changes to the Constitution)

12 The Schools Re-segregation of Schools in 1877
Conditions progressively worsen for Black schools from Teaching staff doubled, teachers’ salaries were doubled, and curriculum reorganized at white schools Any publicly-funded schools past the fifth grade for Blacks were closed Ernest Kruttschnitt Warren Easton

13 Reverend Henderson Dunn
Community Activism Concerned with: Overcrowding Poor facilities The lack of high schools and night schools Reverend Henderson Dunn Dr. Joseph Hardin

14 Race Riots (1900) At least six African Americans lynched
Many more assaulted by white mobs The Lafon School torched The Lafon School

15 Transportation and the Wilson Bill
Re-segregation of streetcars (1902) that were previously integrated (1867) Minimally Successful Boycott Pearson v. State (1903)

16 The Expansion of Jim Crow
Interracial marriage (Gauthreaux Law – 1896) Water fountains (1908) City Ordinance Number 4118 (Moral Law )

17 Disbanded but not Defeated
“We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred.” Citizen’s Committee (1896)


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