Segregation Laws and Interpretation
Unit 3 Social Studies Summative
Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896)
In the case of Plessy vs. Ferguson, Homer Plessy was a 30 year old shoemaker who was ⅛ black and ⅞ white. He went to the white rail in Louisiana and sat on a seat that was reserved fro white people. When the driver found out that he was partly black, the driver asked Plessy to leave since he believed Plessy should go to the colored rail. Plessy refused to go to the colored rail and was therefore immediately jailed and put on trial.
The question before the court was asking whether or not laws requiring segregation violated the equal protection clause that was provided with the 14th Amendment. The only constitutional clause or amendment that was involved in this case was the 14th Amendment equal protection clause.
In a 7-1 vote, where one judge did not vote, the court went against Plessy, believing that he could be ordered to go on the color rail even if he was only ⅛ black. The one person who did not go against Plessy believed that the 14th Amendment said the government should act colorblind and that different races should be treated equally.
The impact of the Plessy vs. Ferguson case was that southern states were encouraged to make more segregation laws which further discouraged equality between the different races in America.
Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)
The case was about how black children were not being allowed to attend schools with white people if the schools were in areas that either required or allowed segregation. Both white and black schools had the same equipment, payment, and skill level in terms of education, yet they were still being segregated by race. The case was brought to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not you could segregate in this particular case.
The question before the court asked whether or not segregating children to different schools by race was violating the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of laws that everyone was given. The only constitutional clause or amendment involved was the 14th Amendment right to equal protection of laws.
In a 9-0 ruling by the court, the court decided to take the side of Brown, saying there could be no segregation in schools by race, because it could make one race feel inferior to another race which would violate the 14th Amendment.
The impact of the case was that schools could no longer segregate based on race. This idea changed the whole meaning behind the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment wasn't just about giving everyone the same things to make them equal, but about giving them what they needed so they could truly feel equal.
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