Skip to Main Content

Plessy v. Ferguson Viewing Guide

Access our Homework Help video on the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case and use the following lesson to follow along! Overview: How did the odious doctrine of “separate but equal” become legally permissible in the United States? In 1892, Homer Plessy, a biracial man, purposefully rode in a “white-only” railroad car to challenge the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Separate Car law. He argued that this law violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments. In a 7-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional since it provided for separate but equal accommodations.

  1. When were the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments passed, and what did they aim to accomplish?
  2. What did Louisiana’s Separate Car law state?
  3. Who wrote the majority opinion? What arguments did the majority make to defend their decision?
  4. Who wrote the dissenting opinion? What arguments did he make to defend his decision?
  5. What Supreme Court case overturned the decision made in Plessy v. Ferguson?
  6. How did the decision in Plessy v. Ferguson violate the principle of equality?

Access the Answer Key to this activity here.