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This Day in History: 1896 ‘Plessy’ Ruling Legalizes Segregation in US

In 1892, Homer Plessy refused to sit in the black section of a passenger train – a violation of Louisiana law.

Four years later, Plessy was a plaintiff in a case — Plessy v. Ferguson — that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which on this day, May 18, in 1896, upheld the constitutionality of segregation under the “separate but equal” doctrine.

Rejecting Plessy’s argument that his constitutional rights were violated, the high court ruled that a state law that “implies merely a legal distinction” between whites and blacks did not conflict with the 13th and 14th Amendments. …read more

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