Plessy vs. Ferguson
7th, 1892 Homer Plessy, a man of seven-eighth Caucasian and one-eighth African
blood, paid and engaged for a first class passage on East Louisiana Railway from
the New Orleans to Covington.
Under the penalty of ejection from the train he was told to move to a vacant
seat. He refused to do so and with aid of an officer was forcibly removed
from the coach and taken to the Parish Jail of New Orleans, Louisiana where he
was found guilty of criminally violating an act of the general assembly of the
He was brought before the recorder of the city for preliminary examination and committed
for trial to the criminal district court for the Parish of Orleans where
information was filed against him.
petitioner interposed a plea on information based on unconstitutionality of the
act of general assembly. His plea was overruled. The court did
proceed to fine and sentence the petitioner to imprisonment. Not
withstanding, the unconstitutionality of the act he was being persecuted under.
filing of the petition made an order which was issued upon the respondent.
Plessy declined and refused to admit that he was an any proportion a colored
Supreme Court denied the relief prayed for by Plessy that a writ of error comes
from the court allowed by the chief justice of the supreme court.
Men of the
and S.F. Phillips, for plaintiff error
Morse, for the defendant in error
Brown, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion
of the court
It was mentioned that no person or persons shall be permitted to
occupy seats in their coach, other than the ones assigned to them, on account of
the race they belong to. Officers aboard such passenger trains are
required to make sure each person or persons are seated in the correct
section. If passenger insisted and stayed they may be fined twenty-five
dollars, or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of no more than twenty
days in the parish prison.
being a passenger between two stations within the state of
Louisiana, was assigned by officers of the company to the
coach used for the race which he belonged, but he insisted
on going into by the race he belonged to.
Neither in the information nor the plea was his particular
race or color mentioned.
He was entitled to every right and privilege secured to
the United States of the white race and took
possession of a vacant seat where passenger of the white
race were supposed to be seated.
" It would be running the slavery question into the
ground,' said Mr. Justice Bradley,' to make it apply to
every act of discrimination which a person may see fit to
make as to the guests he will entertain, or as to the
people he will take into his coach or cab or car, or admit
to his concert or theater, or deal with in other matters
of intercourse or business.'
fourteenth amendment states:
"All persons born or
naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are made citizens of the United
States and of the state wherein they reside; and the
states are forbidden from making or enforcing any law
which shall bridge the privileges or immunities of
citizens of the United States, or shall deprive any person
of life, liberty, or property without due process of law,
or deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal
protection of the laws."