Today marks the 115th anniversary of the ruling in the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case that originated right here in New Orleans. On May 18, 1896, the United States Supreme Court upheld the earlier ruling of the Louisiana Supreme Court, which in turn upheld the constitutionality of the “separate but equal” law of 1890.
At the Amistad Research Center, there are many avenues for primary source research on the Plessy case, particularly in the papers of A. P. Tureaud, Charles Rousseve, and Nils Douglas.
The pamphlet depicted here reflects the keen interest of the Plessy case among contemporary African American lawyers, most notably Louis A. Martinet. Martinet, in his newspaper The Crusader, decried the original “separate car bill” in an editorial shortly after its 1890 ratification. Subsequent generations of African American lawyers, including Douglas and Tureaud, researched the legacy of the Plessy case.
Posted by Andrew Salinas
(Image from the Charles Rousseve papers. May not be reproduced without permission.)