Plessy v. Ferguson

Start Free Trial

What was the final decision in the Plessy v. Ferguson case?


Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the Supreme Court ruled that the doctrine of "separate but equal" was constitutional. That meant that racial segregation was legal in public places, including trains and other modes of transportation, schools, drinking fountains, and other public spaces. This doctrine meant that the United States, particularly in the south, maintained separate public accommodations and schools for African-American and white people. Though the schools that African-American children attended were supposed to be equal, they were in fact not equal. Instead, African-American children in the south attended schools with far fewer resources than white schools. The doctrine of separate but equal was not overturned until the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, in which the court ruled that separate but equal schools were inherently unequal (meaning that even if these schools had the same resources, the fact that there were some schools for white people and some for African-Americans created inequality). 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial