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"Separate but equal" was the law according to the Supreme Court when it handed down its verdict in 1896 in the court case entitled "Plessy vs. Ferguson". The court decreed that requiring blacks and whites to use separate facilities was not discrimination as long as the facilities were "equal". However, it didn't take long for the "equal" facilities to become another venue for angry white Southerners to express their disdain for African-Americans, as these facilities, whether a drinking fountain, a restroom, or a restaurant, were typically of lesser quality and cleanliness than their white counterparts. In terms of the law, blacks were legally segregated from whites, and outside the law, African-Americans, men in particular, continued to be an easy target for angry white racists, who were seldom if ever punished for crimes committed against their black neighbors. One need only read the story of Emmett Till to see how freely racists were allowed to terrorize and victimize any African-American who dared to step out of "his place".
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