Homer Plessy: Pardon for ‘separate but equal’ civil rights figure

Homer Plessy: Pardon for ‘separate but equal’ civil rights figure

BBC News

Governor Bel Edwards signed the pardon near the site of Plessy’s arrest

The governor of Louisiana has pardoned Homer Plessy, a 19th century black activist whose arrest 130 years ago led to one of the most criticised Supreme Court decisions in US history.

Plessy was arrested in 1892 after he purchased a ticket and refused to leave a whites-only train car in New Orleans.

In 1896, the top US court ruled against Plessy, clearing the way for Jim Crow segregation laws in the American South.

The pardon was spearheaded by the very office that sought charges against him.

After Plessy was removed from the train, his case – Plessy v Ferguson – wound up in front of the Supreme Court. The court ruled that accommodations can exist for different races – a doctrine dubbed “separate but equal“.

Their decision stood for decades, until the landmark 1954 Brown v Board of Education case helped begin to dismantle racial segregation laws..

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