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Plessy Vs Ferguson Essay

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Throughout the history of the United States, the Supreme Court has made major decisions relating to the civil liberties and rights of African Americans and each major decision has had a major impact on the American Society. Three Supreme Court decisions in response to cases filed by African Americans have impacted America more than any other decisions and also highlight the gradual development of equal rights in the United States. In 1857 when tensions over slavery ran high, the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision divided the nation into two camps – slavery and antislavery and this ultimately contributed to the Civil War in 1861. Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896 was a major setback in race decisions allowing African Americans to be discriminated …show more content…
Ferguson was one of the first major cases about civil rights for African Americans. Following the war, the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were passed and during this time, African Americans believed they had equal rights and began exercising them but it was soon short-lived as southern states started enacting Jim Crow laws and separating people based on their race. In 1892, Homer Plessy a Louisiana resident who was one-eight African American was forced to leave a railroad car that was reserved for only white passengers and asked to seat in one for nonwhites. Plessy decided to go to court since he believed that this act violated the fourteenth amendment equal protection clause but in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled that as long as blacks were provided with separate but equal facilities, the fourteenth amendment was not being violated. This was known as the separate-but-equal doctrine and it gave rise to racial discrimination (Bardes, Shelly and Schmidt, 2016). The problem with the separate-but-equal doctrine was that things were separate but they were definitely not equal and this was a major setback for African Americans permitting major discrimination and unequal opportunities. This doctrine was quickly extended to cover many other different areas; separate seat in theatres, restaurants and hotels, separate waiting rooms, separate restroom and even public schools. It was not until many years later in 1954 that the Brown v. Board of Education decision overturned the separate-but-equal doctrine and served to turn the country in a new

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