Case of Plessy Vs Ferguson

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The Plessy v. Ferguson case wrongfully convicted Plessy telling him that the 14th amendment only applied to political rights not “social rights”. Homer Plessy was a 7/8ths white and a 1/8th black man living in a white and black world, with no in between. Whites and Blacks had their own train cars, and although they were separate everyone was considered equal to one another. Passing as a white man, he took the white trolley and was immorally arrested.

Homer Adolph Plessy was born on March 17, 1862 in Louisiana. He was born in New Orleans and was brought up in a family made up of different races, himself being white other than the ⅛ black that he had gained from his great-grandmother. His entire family could pass as white and were considered to be free people of color. Plessy’s great grandmother was born in Africa and she is also where his family gained their mixed racial heritage.

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Plessy grew up in Louisiana and he fell in love when he was just twenty-five with a girl named Lousie Bordnave. When he was young he worked as a shoemaker and not much later got involved with social activism. In 1887 he served as a vice president to reform the public education system.

Back in the day, blacks and whites were “separate but equal”. This means that each race had their own parts of town, their own railroad systems, and their own business and shops. It had probably never crossed Plessy’s mind that one day he would be not accepted onto a trolley for whites only. One day Plessy had purchased a first class ticket onto a train. He proceeded to sit in the white section because the majority of his being was white, and he could easily pass as white. The conductor of the East Louisiana Railroad attempted to remove him from the trolley, but Plessy refused to give up his seat. He was then thrown off of the train and then immorally jailed overnight. The next day he was released on a five hundred dollar bond.

People, as expected, reacted differently to the situation. While some argued that he was mostly white, others argued that there were other trains that Plessy could have taken. From the position of the latter, this is their explanation: Plessy being made up of ⅛ african blood wrongfully chose to take the train that was not made for him. There are trains made specifically for people of mixed races and he deliberately disobeyed the law, and that is why he should be convicted of the crime that he has, with no doubt, committed.

While that opinion was more preferred there were opposers that believed that since Homer Plessy was more caucasian than he was african that the laws of segregation did not apply to him. It was argued that he chose to sit in a vacant seat in a white section of a trolley that was rightfully meant for people of his race, mostly caucasian. People believed that this particular case questioned the constitutionality of both amendments in which his case conflicted with, the thirteenth and fourteenth amendment. It can be fought that it did not conflict with the thirteenth amendment because Plessy was not being held immorally by ownership or bondange; However, the fourteenth amendment’s constitutionality is attacked for several different reasons. The fourteenth amendment is referred to the “separate but equal” amendment. This meant every person born in the United States, regardless of race, was protected equally under the law. It’s purpose was to avoid privilege of one race over another and have every single person living equally but separately. Unfortunately there are many loopholes within this amendment because most of this plan had failed its mission. This amendment failed Homer Plessy. He was wrongfully jailed and convicted for being a white man that took a white trolley. Although the court did not see it that way back then, many feel that way now.

This case is one of the many important cases for equal rights for all people. The Plessy v. Ferguson case not only brings awareness to those of mixed colors, but it also shows the injustice of the courts when a person of color is involved. If men and/or women of color were allowed to be in court systems at the time that this happened, there would be no wrongful conviction on an innocent man. Even if you had a judge who had close relations with a person that shares heritage with Homer Plessy, he would have been able to understand his situation. The reason that this court reading was so unfair is because the people who were judging Homer don’t have any connections of feelings toward his case. If they had tried to put themselves in Homer Plessy’s shoes, they would have understood his situation, but because they found this twisted version of the law they had to convict him. The one question that comes to mind is, “Where else was he supposed to go?” They did not care where he went, they just knew that it was “unlawful” for him to be riding the trolley made for white people only. The people of the court not only failed to relieve Homer’s case, they also failed to provide him a solution so that it would not happen again. If the “equal but separate” law were to be more inclusive toward people who were like Homer Plessy, all of this mess would have been avoided. If they had brought into consideration that not everybody was black or white instead of black and/or white, the court case would not be talked about to this day. For the people who would have argued that there were already enough trolley stations and that there need not be another one, why would we have two instead of one central train station? Understanding that people back then were negative energies and were not accepting of people who were not like them, they should have got rid of their egos and corrupted morals and gotten over themselves. People should look at one another as equals, it does not matter what train you ride, because skin color should not matter when it comes to being a good person to one another.

Life for Homer Plessy before the Plessy v. Ferguson case was already hard as a man of partial color, but it can only be imagined that it was either much harder for him or incredibly empowering. He got to go in front of a court full of people and, although he did not get the ruling that he had hoped for, he stuck up for many other people who were just like him. By him going against the system, he was a role model for those wrongfully convicted and for people who believed that the world around them was in dire need of change. If this case were not important to American History there would be no research papers about him, nobody would care, but but because of the screwed-up system that Homer Plessy grew up in, he helped us remember that bad things in history should never repeat itself. We should always grow from our mistakes, misjudgments, and corrupted morals.  

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