The Plessy Case: A Legal-Historical Interpretation

The Plessy Case: A Legal-Historical Interpretation

by Charles A. Lofgren
     
 

In 1896 the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson upheld "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races" on all passenger railways within the state of Louisiana. In this book, Lofgren traces the roots of this landmark case in the post-Civil War South and pinpoints its moorings in the era's constitutional, legal, and intellectual

Overview

In 1896 the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson upheld "equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races" on all passenger railways within the state of Louisiana. In this book, Lofgren traces the roots of this landmark case in the post-Civil War South and pinpoints its moorings in the era's constitutional, legal, and intellectual doctrines. Set against a backdrop of social flux wherein scientists and social scientists were proclaiming black racial inferiority and lower courts were embracing separate-but-equal in ordinary law suits, the ruling readily became law of the land. Within this context, a group of New Orleans blacks launched a judicial challenge to Louisiana's Separate Car Law, and carried the case to the Supreme Court, where the resulting opinions by Justices Henry Billings Brown and John Marshall Harlan pitted legal doctrines and "expert" opinion about race against the idea of a color-blind Constitution. Lasting over half a century, the Plessy decision was overturned in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Topeka School Board—a case whose reasoning was based on the eloquent dissent by Justices Brown and Harlan. A brilliant look at the intellectual premises that shaped this important episode in the history of law and race in America, The Plessy Case probes into the dynamics of an issue that still poses troubling questions about racial classification and citizenship in the continuum of legal change.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195038521
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/05/1987
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x 0.00(d)

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