What is the essential question for Plessy v. Ferguson?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The essential question in the Plessy v Ferguson case was whether the concept of “separate but equal” was legal or did it violate a person’s rights. Throughout the South, Jim Crow Laws were passed that segregated the races. Homer Plessy objected that he had to sit in the railroad car reserved for African-Americans. In Louisiana, the law separated the races on railroad cars. When Homer Plessy sat in the railroad car reserved for whites, he was arrested when he refused to move to the railroad car reserved for African-Americans.

The Supreme Court ruled in this case that the concept of “separate but equal” was legal and didn’t violate a person’s rights. This case provided the legal support for the segregation laws that existed throughout the South until the Brown v Board of Education case overturned this concept in 1954. The Brown v Board of Education ruling led to the gradual ending of segregation in the South and eventually throughout the country.