The doctrine of “separate but equal” was sanctioned by the US Supreme Court in this landmark 1896 decision. It would remain the law until overturned by Brown v Board of Education in 1954.
Homer Adolph Plessy challenged a Louisiana statute requiring railroad passenger lines to provide separate cars for white people and black people. Plessy, who was ⅞ Caucasian, was ordered to sit in the black car. He refused. He was arrested and found guilty of violating the criminal statute.
His deliberate noncompliance was a planned attempt at having the racially motivated and discriminatory law overturned as a violation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. He failed, but he laid the groundwork for future success. By his noncompliance, Plessy was an American hero. We need more noncompliance.
Homer Plessy’s train ride makes history in New Orleans
Plessy v Ferguson