A nation that was segregated and unfair was pushed to the point of cracking under the pressure due to the sensitive nature of cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. As a nation whos Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal” would be foolish to impose such rules as segregation, however it was found as constitutional one more than one level of the local, state, and federal government. That is until one case overturned the other and shook a prejudice nation to its very core and changed history as the United States of America knew it.
In 1896, during the trial Plessy v. Ferguson, the United States Supreme Court made the final decision that separate accommodations for whites and blacks on railroads that travel within the state was constitutional. The foundation to justify other laws passed by many other states to separate whites and blacks was provided by the decision that was made during Plessy v. Ferguson. It wasnt until 1954 that the Supreme Courts decision during Plessy v. Ferguson was overturned by the trial Brown v. Board of Education. The arrest of Homer Plessy on June 7, 1892, was planned as a part of a challenge to the 1890 Louisiana Separate Car Act by a group of black professionals out of New Orleans. Soon after its organization in 1891, the committee appointed Albion Tourgee its legal representative. They had managed to prove that segregation in railroad cars traveling between states was unconstitutional and now they wanted to prove that it was also unconstitutional to segregate railroad cars that only traveled within the state. They wanted someone who had “mixed blood” and Plessy jumped at the opportunity because he was half white, half black and therefore could legally pass as white. Plessy ended up being arrested and his case was taken before the Louisiana district court. When Plessy went before district court in Louisiana, the court ruled that Louisiana had the power to regulate the companies that only ran within the state borders and stated that the Louisiana Separate Car Act was legal. The decision was later appealed to the state supreme court in 1893 and after that to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1896.
In 1954 the Brown v. Board of Education case was decided by the United States Supreme Court. Linda Brown was rejected by local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas all because of the color of her skin. The voting in Browns suit broke with long tradition and unanimously overturned the ???separate but equal??? decision of Plessy v. Ferguson. This determined that for the first time ever that segregation in public schools was a direct violation of the 14th amendment. In 1955, after the Supreme Court heard the final arguments of Browns suit, the court decided that schools needed to immediately be desegregated.
After the Brown hearing small changes started among the southern schools. After incidents, such as the Little Rock school crisis of 1957, integration started to catch on (slowly at first) in schools throughout the entire south. The main reasons for this was because the federal government threatened to cut funding and put all the schools under orders from the court, failure to abide by these order would result in termination from jobs, loss of federal money, and could even end in jail time. Because of the Brown case and the decision made, the door was opened for the civil rights movement to gain supporters all across the nation. The verdict reached helped to speed the process of integrating schools as well as other public domains.
Two trials that changed the future of so many people. Plessy v. Ferguson decided that it was the states constitutional right to determine if railroads that run throughout the state can be segregated, and Brown v. Board of Education overturned the previously made decision and said that it was unconstitutional for anything to be segregated after a girl was denied acceptance to a public school because she was black. These two cases helped shed light on a nation that had previously been concealed in darkness and plagued by segregation.