Fourteen which gave African Americans citizenship and the Fifteen which gave them the right to vote. However, all non-whites were considered by whites as second-class citizens and were segregated from whites by law and society. Segregation was legalized in 1896 by the Supreme
Court Plessy v. Ferguson decision “separate but equal”, where whites and blacks had to ride separate trains based on their skin color. Ever since, people such as Oliver Brown and civil rights organizations such as The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) have fought for the rights of African Americans. Brown challenged segregation and the Supreme Court after his daughter was denied access to a nearby school assigning her to a nonwhite school far away from their home. Brown argued that separated schools, based on race, were harmful to African American children, and it violated the Fourteen amendment. The long road to integration came about by challenging discrimination through education. While it appears that the road to segregation was a simple one, the road to integration was a fight for equal access to education fought by the NAACP.
Discrimination against blacks was common in the South. The most discriminatory law were the Jim Crow laws, which were a system of segregation and discrimination in the South between 1877 and the mid-1960’s. The Jim Crow was supported by many white southerners that thought blacks were inferior and argued that, “God supported racial segregation”. The Jim Crow
Laws consisted of strict etiquette norms, rules, and laws on how to treat and interact with white people. In 1877 after Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president, a racist himself. As a result Jim
Crow laws were applied by many more southerners limiting African Americans from their liberties excluding them from public transportation, jobs, juries and neighborhoods. Blacks were even denied the right to vote by grandfather clauses and white primaries. Jim Crow signs were placed everywhere to differentiate between white and blacks establishments. Segregation was legalized on June 7, 1892, when Homer Plessy was arrested for violating a Louisiana racial segregation law, after he sat on the “whites-only” side of a train. Even though in physical appearance he looked white, he was 7/8 white and refused to seat in the “blacks- only” side of the train. Plessy was immediately arrested and sent to jail. After he was sent to court, he argued that segregated trains had violated his rights given by the Fourteen and Thirteen amendment, however, Judge John Howard Ferguson ruled that the state of Louisiana had the right to operate railroads any way they wanted. On May 18, 1896 the court declined Plessy’s arguments on the Fourteen amendment and was found guilty and put in to jail once again. The
Louisiana court argued that it did not violated any of the amendments and he was not treated unequally but just separate. Even though Plessy did not win his case, the impact of his case was huge. The decision of “separate but equal” made everyone believe that having separated facilities was fine as long as they were equal. However, it was not equal, black people would get the cold food, and their establishments would always be dirty, while whites would get the best. When Oliver Brown’s daughter was denied access to a nearby school, and forced to go to a colored school; he argued that The Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1, which establishes citizenship, and protects a person’s civil and political rights from being denied by any state, were being disturbed. Within this amendment there was the Equal Protection Clause, which established equal protection of the law to everyone;