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Monday, May 19, 2008

Racial Rights

Homer Plessy was arrested in New Orleans on June 7th, 1892, for disobeying a law stating that blacks and whites could not ride on the same railroad car. This led to a constitutional challenge of the law which ended in 1896, when the Supreme Court ruled that the law did not violate the 13th and 14th Amendments. However, the (incorrectly numbered) 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, had been ratified in 1864 and 1865, so this ruling was wrong.

On May 17th, 1954 - one day shy of the 58th anniversary of Plessy's ruling - the Supreme Court overturned that incorrect verdict. Legalized segregation was stricken-down with Brown v. Board of Education.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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