The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson, and America's Journey from Slavery to Segregation

Ranked #48 in Constitutional Law

Plessy v. Ferguson, the Supreme Court case synonymous with “separate but equal,” drew remarkably little attention when the justices announced their decision on May 18, 1896. Yet it is one of the most compelling and dramatic stories of the nineteenth century.

Told through the eyes of the people caught up in the case—the New Orleans resisters who brought it, the best-selling author recruited to argue it, the justices who heard it—Separate wends its way through a half-century of American history, beginning at the dawn of the railroad age, germinating in the...

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