Plessy v. Ferguson

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal."

The decision was handed down by a vote of 7 to 1 with the majority opinion written by Justice Henry Billings Brown and the dissent written by Justice John Marshall Harlan. Louisiana Justice Edward Douglass White was one of the majority: he was a member of the New Orleans Pickwick Club and the Crescent City White League, the latter a paramilitary organization that had supported white supremacy with violence through the 1870s to suppress black voting and regain political power by white Democrats.

"Separate but equal" remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until its repudiation in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

After the Supreme Court ruling, the New Orleans Comité des Citoyens (Committee of Citizens), which had brought the suit and had arranged for Homer Plessy's arrest in an act of civil disobedience in order to challenge Louisiana's segregation law, stated, "We, as freemen, still believe that we were right and our cause is sacred."

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