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Plessy v. Ferguson

In 1892 Homer Plessy was arrested for sitting in the “white” car of an East Louisiana Railroad train. Louisiana had just passed the Separate Car Act, which mandated separate cars for “whites” and “coloreds.” In 1896 the case made its way to the Supreme Court, where Plessy’s lawyer argued that the Separate Car Act violated the 13th and 14th Amendments. The court ruled against Plessy, with Justice Henry Brown writing, “A statute which implies merely a legal distinction between the white and colored races—has no tendency to destroy the legal equality of the two races.” The case set the precedent for the separate-but-equal doctrine.

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