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Plessy v. Ferguson

Significance, "separate But Equal", Further Readings


Homer A. Plessy


J. H. Ferguson, New Orleans Criminal District Court Judge

Petitioner's Claim

That Louisiana's law requiring blacks to ride in separate railroad cars violated Plessy's right to equal protection under the law.

Chief Lawyers for Petitioner

F. D. McKenney, S. F. Phillips

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

M. J. Cunningham, Louisiana Attorney General

Justices for the Court

Henry Billings Brown (writing for the Court), Stephen Johnson Field, Melville Weston Fuller, Horace Gray, Rufus Wheeler Peckham, George Shiras, Jr., Edward Douglass White

Justices Dissenting

John Marshall Harlan I (David Josiah Brewer did not participate)


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

18 May 1896


That laws providing for "separate but equal" treatment of blacks and whites were constitutional.

Related Cases

  • Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303 (1879).
  • Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883).
  • Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886).
  • Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337 (1938).
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).


Bradley, David and Shelley Fisher Fishkin eds. The Encyclopedia of Civil Rights in America. Armonk, NY: Sharpe, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917