Separate But Equal is Equal: Plessy V Ferguson

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About this sample


Words: 763 |

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4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 763|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

The legal doctrine of “separate but equal is equal” was established in the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson. Before this case, the Civil War ended in 1865 the 13th amendment was passed which ended the institution of Slavery but also did not guarantee rights to the previous slaves. In which numerous states passed racial discriminatory laws as a result of the passing of the 13th Amendment, these laws were known as the Black Codes.

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Homer Plessy was a racially mixed shoemaker, who participated in civil disobedience, Plessy violated the Separate but Equal. In this situation, Plessy attempted to board a segregated East Louisiana Railroad passenger train car at Press and Royal Streets in New Orleans. As noted, numerous states, especially in the south, passed racial discriminatory laws, In Louisiana, there was a Separate Car Act that was passed in 1890 separating Black and White passengers. Plessy objected to this act as a result of unequal facilities within these train cars as well as degrading the nature of “Separate but Equal.”

With Degrading and Challenging “Separate but Equal”, Plessy was solicited by the Comite des Citoyens which was a civil rights group. He agreed to board the white area of the train car heading to Covington. By doing so, Plessy refused to give up his seat and move to the colored area of the car which resulted in him being arrested by a private detective hired by Comite des Citoyens. This was a full out plan to challenge the railroad in which the railroad itself agrees to challenge it. As a result, Plessy was charged as well as fined 25 cents in which his lawyers bring up the claim that the law violates the Federal Constitution. Louisiana state court ruled against Plessy which set the situation up for it to be appealed and headed towards the Supreme Court.

In which the Supreme Court Ruled “Sperate but equal” facilities do not violate the 14th amendment in 1896, which therefore upheld state-imposed Jim Crow Laws. Over 50 years later, in Chicago in august 1955, Curtis Jones and Emmett Till a train to visit their family in Mississippi. Emmet Till who was fourteen years old was not aware of the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South, was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant, who was a white cashier at a grocery store.

Sunday, four days later the husband of Carolyn and his half brother came to kidnapped Emmett Till. Four days later, Emmett Till was found in a river, he was beaten and shot in the head. Roy Bryant and J.W Milam were arrested for the murder of Till. As a result, both men were acquitted in which later they would tell their story months later for a fee of four thousand dollars.

Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan the U.S. Constitution, who cast the lone vote against the Supreme Court during Plessy v. Ferguson shared his opinion that our constitution ins color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. Which meant race is not what it seems and how it is easy for those who are opposed to equality to appear as If they favor it.

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In Marshalls eye’s he believes it is true that the system is colorblind, but for everyone else, they see color. Meaning he may be the only justice that is nonbiased. When applying this thinking to Emmett Till’s case, it is false. Colorblind racism is the new principle that maintains systematic privilege towards whites which shows modern-day racial inequality. In the case of Emmett Till, the white men who murdered the teenager, who was acquitted later confessing the murder show the component of Color-Blind Racism, mainly to maintain white power regardless If the person is guilty or not. Jim Crow laws were an immediate response to the Reconstruction Era that included Civil Rights. These unwritten laws of the South led to the death of Emmett Till. Any attempt to remediate historical wrongs are rejected to protect White Americans. As seen in the challenge executed by Plessy v Ferguson. Unwritten laws stating that an African American cannot whistle at a white woman, an African American that is not known to the South. Jim Crow laws gave White Americans the pass the win every case when it is against an African American even If it is clear that the situation is not justified truthfully to the constitution.


  1. Wegmann, M. (n.d.). Plessy v. Ferguson - Stop 7 of 11 in the 200 Years of Louisiana Supreme Court History tour. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from
  2. Television Networks, A. (2020, June 24). Emmett Till. Retrieved November 02, 2020, from
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Separate But Equal Is Equal: Plessy V Ferguson. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Separate But Equal Is Equal: Plessy V Ferguson.” GradesFixer, 16 Dec. 2021,
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Separate But Equal Is Equal: Plessy V Ferguson [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from:
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