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Louisiana Governor Pardons Homer Plessy From ‘Separate But Equal’ Ruling

The landmark 1896 case solidified Jim Crow.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has pardoned Homer Adolph Plessy, of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling.

According to CBS, Edwards signed the pardon during a ceremony outside the former rail station in New Orleans where Plessy was arrested 130 years ago for sitting in a white area of the train.

On June 7, 1892, the shoemaker from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans bought a first-class railroad ticket in the white car to travel to Covington, Louisiana. Homer Adolph Plessy, who was seven-eighths white, was legally considered to be “colored.” When asked to leave the white car, the then 30-year-old was arrested and charged with violating Louisiana's Separate Car Act of 1890. It was, however, a pre-planned act of civil disobedience that led to the historic Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld the “separate but equal” Jim Crow doctrine from 1896, until it was overturned by the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.

Plessy died March 1, 1925 with that conviction still on his record.

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Edwards said before signing the pardon, which Plessy’s descendants advocated for, "The stroke of my pen on this pardon, while momentous, it doesn't erase generations of pain and discrimination. It doesn't eradicate all the wrongs wrought by the Plessy court or fix all of our present challenges. We can all acknowledge we have a long ways to go, but this pardon is a step in the right direction."

See the news brief below of the ceremony:

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