How did the Plessy v. Ferguson case uphold Jim Crow law? What effect did this case have on the lives of southern blacks?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Supreme Court case of Plessy v Ferguson was devastating to blacks. The Supreme Court ruled that Jim Crow laws were legal. Homer Plessy sued when he was told he had to ride in a train car reserved for blacks. He felt he should be able to ride in any train car. He was arrested for riding in the railroad car for whites. In Louisiana, they had separate train cars for whites and blacks. The Supreme Court ruled that it is okay to separate by race as long as the facilities are equal. Thus, if the train cars for whites are equal to the train cars for blacks, segregation can occur. This ruling applied to public facilities in the country.

This was a crippling blow to blacks in the South. Rarely were the facilities equal. However, nobody in government, which was dominated by whites, was willing to do anything about this inequality. As a result, blacks had inferior schools, different drinking fountains, and separate entrances to public buildings among other things. This ruling further reduced the opportunity for blacks to experience equality in the South.

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