By Charles A. Lofgren
In 1896 the U.S. very best court docket case Plessy v. Ferguson upheld "equal yet separate lodgings for the white and coloured races" on all passenger railways in the country of Louisiana. during this account with implications for present-day the United States, Lofgren strains the roots of this landmark case within the post-Civil conflict South and pinpoints its moorings within the era's constitutional, criminal, and highbrow doctrines. After reviewing de facto racial separation and the shift through southern states to legislated transportation segregation, he indicates that the Fourteenth modification grew to become a prepared automobile for legitimating type by way of race. even as, scientists and social scientists have been proclaiming black racial inferiority and reduce courts have been embracing separate-but-equal in usual legislation fits. inside this context, a gaggle of recent Orleans blacks introduced a judicial problem to Louisiana's 1890 Separate vehicle legislations and carried the case to the splendid court docket, the place the ensuing reviews via Justices Henry Billings Brown and John Marshall Harlan pitted criminal doctrines and "expert" opinion approximately race opposed to the belief of a color-blind structure. all through his account, Lofgren probes the highbrow premises that formed this significant episode within the historical past of legislation and race in America--an episode that also increases troubling questions on racial class and citizenship--revealing its dynamics and position within the continuum of felony change.
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