Unit 3 Summative: Segregation Cases

Why did the decision change? By Gary Lyman

Plessy V. Ferguson

Historical Context

The Plessy v. Ferguson case came up just after the civil war. The following is information from Infoplease.com, Oyez.com, and uscourts.gov. Racism was still present in the South. Before Plessy v. Ferguson there where several cases regarding the rights of African Americans. First there was the Dred Scott cases in 1857 where the court made the decision that African Americans are not citizens and could not sue in federal courts. Then in 1868, the court rules that all Americans born or naturalized in the United States were U.S. citizens. Next, in 1883 the court voted against banning "private" discrimination meaning public buildings and organizations can still discriminate people because of their race. Lastly, in 1890, Louisiana passed a law allowing train cars to be separated by race.

Facts of the Case

According to information from Oyez.com, Louisiana passed a law that required separate train cars for blacks and whites. Homer Adolph Plessy who was 7/8 Caucasian, tried to sit in the whites car on a Louisiana train. He refused to go to the blacks car when asked and was arrested. When a dark skinned male or female refuses to leave the whites car or the other way around; 25 dollars or up to 20 years of jail.

What was the question before the court?

According to Oyez.com the question was, "Is Louisiana's law mandating racial segregation on its trains an unconstitutional infringement on both the privileges and immunities and the equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment?" The question is asking if segregating cars on a train violates the Fourtheenth Amendment.

What was the court's decision?

According to uscourts.gov and Oyez.com; the votes were 7 for Ferguson and 1 for Plessy. The court decided that the law was constitutional and said that as long as the cars were equal they could be separate. From Oyez.com, "In short, segregation does not in itself constitute unlawful discrimination." This means that the court declared segregation to be legal and constitutional.

Which constitutional clauses or amendments were violated?

The equal protection and privileges and immunities of the Fourteenth Amendment.

What was the impact of this case?

After the court made this decision, racism still lived on in the south. As a result of the court's decisions, Jim Crow laws were still legal to have in states and considered constitutional. Also, any laws that discriminate against people based on their race were still legal and accepted by states.

Brown V. Board of Education

Historical Context

Cases involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case were (from uscourts.gov) Briggs v. Elliot (1948), Davis v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County (VA.) (1951), Boiling v. Sharpe (1952), and Gebhart v. Ethel (1952.) Earlier cases regarding the same issue as Brown v. Board of Education were Murray v. Maryland (1936), Sweat v. Painter (1950), McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950), and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938.) Also the desegregation of troops by President Truman in 1948 may have started the first few steps for racial integration.

Facts of the Case

African American children were denied to attend public schools that had white children attending it. White and Black schools were allowed to be separate as long as they had, a quote from Oyez.com, "equality in terms of buildings, curricula, qualifications, and teacher salaries."

What was the question before the court?

From Oyez.com the question was, "Does the segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race deprive the minority children of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment?" The question was basically asking if having seperate schools violate the 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

Which constitutional clauses or amendments were involved?

The 14th Amendment's right to equal protection.

What was the court's decision?

The Supreme Court voted 9 for Brown and 0 against. The court decided that having segregated schools even if they are "equal" is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment's right to equal protection because it is, from Oyez.com, "Racial segregation in public education has a detrimental effect on minority children because it is interpreted as a sign of inferiority" What this mean is the Supreme Court justices knew that the schools were not equal and they knew that the students attending the lower quality school (the school for African Americans) were aware of the signs that their school is lesser than the other. They also knew that this effected those students.

What was the impact of this case?

After the Supreme Court made their decision, schools will not be segregated and a start of several modern civil right movements. All public schools will be open to all races and any child will be able to attend public schools. As a result of this case, many future movements to abolish segregation and racism will follow.

Analyze and Explain

Why did the Supreme Court make their decision on Plessy V. Ferguson how they did?

The Supreme Court made their decision on the Plessy v. Ferguson case how they did because of the rule that it is ok if it is seperate but it has to be equal. The court believed that as long as the two train cars were equal, it was ok to have them segregated. The court's decision was likely influenced by the current events in that time. These events included the end of the civil war, the Dred Scott case (1857), and a previous decision where the court ruled against banning public discrimination. This may have led them to make their decision because racism was still in the South and not allowing segregation may have caused more issues as a result.

Why did the Supreme Court make their decision on Brown V. Board of Education how they did?

The Supreme Court made their decision on the Brown v. Board of Education for the sake of the children. The Supreme Court knew that the schools for black children was not nearly close to being equal to the schools for the white children. They also were aware that this effects the black children and their education. Since segregated schools effected the students greatly, the Supreme Court made their decision to require schools to be intergrated for the sake of the childrens' education. The Supreme Court might have been influenced by earlier cases regarding issues similar to Brown v. Board of Education. Cases Sweat v. Painter (1950) and Missouri ex rel Gaines v. Canada (1938) made the University of Texas and University of Missouri to be integrated. There were also several other cases regarding the same issue as well. Some of these include, Murray v. Maryland (1936) and McLaurin v. Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education (1950.)

Bibliography

Works Cited

Works Cited

"BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION (I)." Brown v. Board of Education (I). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1952/1952_1/>.

"BROWN v. BOARD OF EDUCATION (I)." Brown v. Board of Education (I). N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1950-1959/1952/1952_1/>.

"History - Brown v. Board of Education Re-enactment." USCOURTSGOV RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/history-brown-v-board-education-re-enactment>.

"PLESSY v. FERGUSON." Plessy v. Ferguson. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1851-1900/1895/1895_210>.

"PLESSY v. FERGUSON." Plessy v. Ferguson. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1851-1900/1895/1895_210>.