Published on March 6, 2014
2.1 – Daily Sheet 2
What does this particular speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. foreshadow?
Summarize and evaluate the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights through the decisions in: Plessy v. Ferguson & Brown v. Board of Education
Precedent: When the Supreme Court defers to their previous cases. Segregate: To separate or keep apart from others Integrate: To end separation of different races and bring into equal membership in society Deprive: keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
On June 7, 1892, Homer Adolph Plessy was arrested for sitting in a white only section of a train. He later went to court and argued that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. The judge at the trial was a lawyer from Massachusetts by the name of John Howard Ferguson. He had declared the Separate Car Act illegal on trains that traveled through different states. In Plessy's case he decided that states should choose how to regulate trains running within their borders. Homer Plessy took his case to the Supreme Court of Louisiana and the Supreme Court of the United States. Both courts upheld Ferguson's decision.
The courts believed that as long as the facilities were equal, people could have separate facilities based on color. Unfortunately, Homer Plessy did not win and was jailed. Thus, the "separate but equal" doctrine became the constitutional basis for segregation.”
The scary part is that Plessy did not look black. Society hated black people so much that the law stated: If you had at least 1/16th black in you, you had to legally claim yourself as black. Black White White White White White White White White White White White White White
It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the case was put to the test again in the courts.
A little girl wanted to go to a school that was closer to home instead of walking miles away to a school that was not adequate. Her father took the case to court and won. The judge ruled that separate was not equal. Brown v. Board of Education overturns “separate but equal”
"We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
"...if the colored children are denied the experience in school of associating with white children, who represent 90 percent of our national society in which these colored children must live, then the colored child's curriculum is being greatly curtailed. The Topeka curriculum or any school curriculum cannot be equal under segregation."
The decision was heavily influenced by the issue of human rights and feelings. They made the courts feel empathy for minority children.
“To separate children solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.”
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