The obituary of Judge John H. Ferguson. It makes no mention of his role in sentencing Homer Plessy.
Judge John H. Ferguson
Political cartoon: "Car for white folks and Jim Crow car."
Homer Plessy boarded the East Louisiana Railroad Company.
West End station for the East Louisiana Rail Road
Article from The New Orleans Times-Picayune (June 9, 1892): "In the Wrong Coach: A Snuff-Colored Descendent of Ham Kicks against the 'Jim Crow' Law - And takes the jail end of it rather than comply with the distinctive provision." Yesterday afternoon at 4:15 o'clock private detective C.C. Cain arrested from the East Louisiana train Adolph Plessy, a light mulatto, and locked him up in the Fifth Precint station, on a charge of violating section 2 of set 111 of the statute of 1890 relative to separate coaches. Detective Cain made an affidavit this morning against Plessy in the Second Recorder's Court.
Homer Plessy’s bond order.
Homer Adolph Plessy's birth certificate
The Supreme Court’s order in Plessy v. Ferguson.
Phoebe Ferguson and Keith Plessy standing on the railroad tracks where Homer Plessy was arrested in 1892.
In 1890, Louisiana required all trains to “provide equal but separate accommodations for the white, and colored races, by providing two or more passenger coaches for each passenger train.” Two years later, Homer Plessy intentionally “took possession of a vacant seat in a coach where passengers of the white race were accommodated.” The train conductor ordered Plessy, who was described by the Court as “of mixed descent,” to take a seat in the other coach. Plessy refused and was forcibly ejected by a police officer. After his arrest, Plessy posted a $500 bond and was released. There are strong indications that Plessy wanted to get arrested to set up a test case. His goal was to challenge the validity of Jim Crow laws. Plessy filed suit against John H. Ferguson, the judge of the criminal court who handed down his sentence.
The Court upheld the Louisiana law by an 8-1 vote. As in the Civil Rights Cases, Justice John Marshall Harlan was the lone dissenter.
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