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SYMHC Classics: Plessy v Ferguson

2021-03-20 | 🔗

This 2015 episode covers a landmark legal moment. The ruling in this infamous U.S. Supreme Court case stated that segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities were equal.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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average Otto Insurance savings by new customers. Sir eight and twenty nineteen potential savings will very discounts Mary and are not available in all states, and situations Abby Saturday. One of our absurd coming up this week includes a brief mention of the: U S: Supreme Court decision, classy versus Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation as long as the segregated, Cities are equal, we're bringing our episode on Bessie versus Ferguson out of the archive to give a little bit more context to that, and when this Persona originally came out. We followed up with two episodes on Brown VIII Board, which overturned this ruling we mention that those are coming at the top of the episode, but since we have other classics lined up over the next few weeks, just Beware we're not gonna, be replaying knows this time around. So don't don't wait for those two Chopin, your feed, but they still are in the archive folks are interested. This originally came out February, sixteenth, twenty fifty,
I welcome this. You missed in history class a production of Iheart radio and welcomed Tracy bewildered and I'm Holly from night. We are going to spend a few episodes over the next few weeks. Talking about the two Supreme Court cases,
that sort of in a way book ended segregation in the United States in plenty versus Ferguson, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was legal as long as the separate facilities were equal and then many years later round, Verses Board of Education overturned, plus he versus Ferguson and found that school segregation was unconstitutional. Bad decision was such a big deal and was so monumental and lead to such a huge backlash. There are actually going to split that part of the conversation into two episodes later down the road. So those two facts about
Plus he burst Ferguson in Brown. Verses Board are things that most people who have studied the civil rights Movement or United States history in any way are pretty familiar with, but I think for me and for you both both of us and probably a lot of other people, the names of the cases and what they did is but the beginning and the end of the conversation like I had no idea what the story was behind how these cases came to be, or any of that until I really got into researching them. for these episodes. So that's what we're gonna spend some time on this. The talk about who the people were involved in plenty versus Ferguson in Brown versus board and sort of the journey that these cases took to come to the Supreme Court in the first place. The context that we're gonna start with today is actually the: U S civil war. There are
people who will argue that the civil war was not fought over slavery, that it was about states, rights or economics, and while states, rights and economics were certainly involved, the primary rights in question were right to own slaves in the right to travel freely with slaves. India states where slavery was illegal, the primary economic. at issue was, at the southern economy, really relied on slavery in labour intensive industries such as cotton farming. You could also make the argument that the civil where was bought over the bird over, neither of those things that it was spot because the north wanted to preserve the union of the states, but the south wanted to secede from that union and, while, strictly speaking, this is also true that big factor that was driving states to six to secede, which was specifically cited in the declarations of causes. They were issued by George,
Mississippi South Carolina in Texas was slavery. This is all relevant because after the union won the war in eighteen, sixty five slavery, abolished in the places where it was still legal and the federal government tried to read EL the southern infrastructure and encourage racial equality. In a period the became known as the reconstruction three amendments were added to the United States constitution. As part of this effort, the thirteenth amendment formerly abolish slavery. The fourteenth amendment granted citizenship to anyone who was born in the United States or nationalized, which included former slaves and the fifteenth amendment read in part. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the union, states or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. There was a lot more going on during reconstruction. All of the twists and turns could easily be their own whole series of episodes, but to me
extremely long story short, the South overall resented the largely northern pressure to free slave and give them the right to vote. This was a spy. surely tree. Was black officials were elected to office in the south and for a brief period of time, some progress was made towards Rachel Equality, as the southern states were readmitted to the union, and the federal government had less influence on how they states were run. The states started passing laws that restricted African Americans right to vote by basically taking advantage of the fact that most of them had been slaves and during their time as slaves, they had
not been allowed to learn to read or write or to earn money or the whole property. So new laws required that, in order to vote, people had to pass illiteracy test or pay a whole tax or own property, something that in general white people in the south could do much more easily than black people. Could some of these tests were also virtually impossible, but were only required for black voter here's what their right to vote restricted. Black Americans lost many of their prior gains in terms of representation in the government afterwards states both southern states in border states, enacted segregation laws that became known as Jim Crow Laws, which separated black and white citizens in everything, from hospitals to water fountains. Just the name
Jim Crow was an insult. It came from a heavily stereotypical character in minstrel shows these laws were enforced, not just through the usual means of making a rests and bringing people to trial, but also through a social structure that insisted that black people be subservient to white people. The laws were also enforced more directly through intimidation and violence up to and including murder, white supremacy organizations like the coup collects clay, I'm really flourished and violence against black citizens at the hand of whites. And became both commonplace and rarely prosecuted before we get into talking about a Jim Crow LAW and how it led to a Supreme Court being that legalise segregation. Jonah have a word from a sponsor sure, stupendous. I am one of thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer or embassy, which is breast cancer. That has spread to other parts of the body I am
in the moment and taking I brands, helpless. Second, I brands a hundred and twenty five milligram tablets within a Roma tastes. Inhibitor is for Postman Apostle women or for men with HIV positive, her two negative NBC as the first formal based there would be in your moment. Ask your doktor about I brands and visit. I brands dotcom patients too I brands can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause serious infection. Secondly, to death, I Brandt's may cause severe and the nation of the lungs that can lead to death. Tell your doktor right away. If you have new or worsening symptoms, including trouble, breathing shortness of breath, cough or chest pain before taking eyebrows hell, you doctor, if you have ever chills or other signs of infection, liver kidney problems are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant. Come inside affects include low red blood cell. In low plainly counts infections, tiredness Naga sore, mouth abnormalities, liver blood tests, diarrhoea, hair thinning or loss, vomiting, rash and loss of appetite, I'm one of thousands of women with metastatic, breast cancer or NBC, which is breast cancer. That has spread to other parts of the
de I am living in the moment and taking eyebrows public cyclic. I brands a hundred and twenty five milligrams tablets within a rheumatism abler is for Postman Apostle women, also men with HIV positive. Her two negative NBC as the first four mono based there will be be in your moment. Ask your doktor about I brands and visit. I brand Stockholm patients digging, I brands can develop low white blood cell counts, which may cause serious infections that can lead to death. I Brandt's may cause your inflammation of the lungs that can lead to death. Tell your doktor right away. If you have new or worsening symptoms, including trouble, breathing shortness of breath, cough or chest pain. Before taking eyebrows
hell, you doctor, if you have fever, chills or other signs of infection, liver kidney problems are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant. Common side effects include low red blood cell in low plainly counts, infections, tiredness Naga sore, mouth abnormalities, liver blood tests, diarrhoea, hair thinning or loss, vomiting, rash and loss of appetite. Third to return to the story of Buzzy versus Ferguson. One example of these Jim Crow Laws was Louisiana, separate Karla, and this law was to quote, promote the comfort of passengers on their trains by providing quote equal, but separate
preparations for the white and colored races. So anyone who boarded a car in Louisiana that was not meant for their race could be fined or jailed interracial. Couples were not exempt from the law, nor were black maids and servants who were travelling with white employers. Really, the only exception was nurses who were taken care of children of another race. This was signed into law on July, ten, one thousand eight hundred and ninety thanks to its sizeable black population, including slaves, free slaves and creoles of color, and to the union's presence in New Orleans during which of the civil WAR New Orleans. to a large population of affluent, politically active black citizens with us,
what car law was passed. Activists in New Orleans set to work immediately, trying to put together a plan to challenge it on September. First, eighteen, ninety one eighteen prominent black and create New Orleans citizens form these citizens Committee to test the constitutionality of the separate Karla or the committee, This citoyen they got legal help from a white lawyer named Albion, w torture. He was from New York and had been an abolitionist towards a waved, his fees- and he promised to argue the case before the Supreme Court should it make it all the way there since Thursday was both very busy and also very far away from Louisiana. They also had the help of a local lawyer named James C Walker. The committee settled on a strategy of civil disobedience. They would find someone to break separate, Karla and get arrested, and then they would take the case through the court system. This they hoped would lead to overturning cigarettes.
We should not just on Louisiana trains, but in all of the United States. Then they started looking for volunteers who the law we consider to be colored, but who looked white legal distinctions about who is considered to be part of which race really varied from state to state and through the years and as a general rule, particularly in the south. The law required smaller and smaller amounts of african him and ancestry to be considered coloured, and eventually this came down to the one drop rule, meaning that in a lot of places, if a person had one drop of african blood, that person was considered to be black it had to be law abiding citizens with good reputations people who would not be dismissed as disreputable and who
nothing in their background that could be. They could become an easy excuse for not taking your case seriously. Their first attempts to break the separate Carla was made by a man named Daniel to Dunes, and he was a musician. He was also the son of one of the members of the committee and he was one slash: eight black keyboard at the first class car of a train on February 24th, one thousand eight hundred and ninety two, and then he told the conductor that he was colored. He was removed from the train and arrested, but before the case could go to trial, the charges against him were dismissed because the state Supreme Court ruled in a different case but state segregation laws couldn't apply to interstate travel. Radiance tickets had been to Mobile Alabama so per the Louisiana Supreme Court. That ride was regulated by federal law and not state law. The committee had action shows that an interstate ticket on purpose because they were hoping to draw on interstate karma commerce laws. In the case, the committee
cried again and this time the man breaking the law was homer policy. A thirty world shoemaker, He was also one eighth african American one of his great grandmothers had been black and he had skin light enough that here not be questioned boarding the car he bought his first class ticket to come in Louisiana on the EAST, Fluent Louisiana Rail Road, so that the whole trip would take place within the borders of the state. Nobody raised many questions when policy boarded the first class car and different accounts vary in exactly how the conductor came to know that he was legally a colored man and in the wrong place in some of the versions blessedness told him and in others the conductor asked, because he knew that the committee was sending someone to test the segregation law that day and in others the conductor asked every one in the car, because it was part of
job to confirm the race of all passengers and, with everyone risen. The corrects car on the train, regardless of how it played out in this information, came too late. The trains conductor J J Dowling ask Tomer policy to leave the train after learning his race even though the law designated separate but equal cars, there was not actually a car for black passengers on the train that Dame plus he refused. He was arrested by a private detective hired by the committee and Jails
members of the Citizens Committee pool their money to bail plus the out policies. Trial was set for October thirteenth of eighteen. Ninety two James Walker, who we mentioned earlier, argued, but his arrest violated the thirteenth in fourteenth amendments to the constitution. Previous court rulings had expanded on the interpretation of the thirteenth amendment, not just to include a literal slavery, but also quote badges of slavery and servitude, which is how an amendment that was set, to abolish slavery was being applied to the matter of being segregated on a train but Lionel Adams. The attorney for the prosecution argued that the separate car act reduced racial tension, and so it was actually good for the state. He also argued that, because the separate hours were equal. It was not discriminatory. Two separate people into them by their race, although were not clear
somehow that applied to give him that there was reportedly no actual car for black passengers. On that particular train judge, John H, Ferguson ruled in favor of the prosecution on November 18th, and the next step in the case was the appeal, but again we're going to pause for a second forward from a sponsor before we dig into all of that juicy metier I'm one of thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer or embassy, which is breast cancer, that has spread to other parts of the I'm living in the moment and taking I burns Papa Cyclic eyebrows, one hundred twenty five milligrams tablets within a Roma tastes. Inhibitor is reposted, oppose a women or for men with HIV positive. Her two negative NBC as the first hormonal based Araby, be in your moment. Ask your doktor about eyebrows and visit iron's dotcom patients, taking I brands develop low white blood cell counts which may cause serious infection, secondly to death, I Brandt's may cause
you're inflammation of the lungs that can lead to death. Tell your doktor right away. If you have new or worsening symptoms, including trouble, breathing shortness of breath, cough or chest pain before taking France, tell your doctor. If you have fever, chills or other signs of infection, liver kidney problems are pregnant, breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant. Come inside effects include low red blood cell in low plainly counts, infections, tiredness Naga sore, mouth abnormalities and liver blood tests, diarrhoea, here thinning or loss, vomiting, rash and loss of appetite, a car max flexible. Without with how you can buy a car if you'd rather scroll through fifty thousand cars instead of walking the lot go for it If you want to see our car smells on the lab before you bite by all means, we all have our things I want to thing to come to you without ever leaving home by online. Compare how the speaker sound when playing your favorite mixed. You visit our lot
and if you want to browse a little on the lot and select markets have delivered at home were certainly not stopping you car max the way it should be well, let's, let's get back to the story which, at this point, as a third of the Supreme Court plus he's case, went to the Louisiana Supreme Court first, which herded on November, the twenty second of that year. The arguments were essentially the same as what had been argued in the court before and in what came. As a surprise, to no one court ruled that the law was not discriminatory because it applied equally to everyone. It would actually be four years before the case would get to the: U S Supreme Court and ass. He had promised when originally agreeing to work with the Citizens committee I'll be entourage. I plan to argue the case before the Supreme Court Rather than appealing immediately, he actually decided to take some time to try to raise funds for the case and work out his strategy. In addition to that, he in the committee were also.
hoping that by delaying a little bit, they would find themselves before a court that would see their case more favourably based on decisions that the court had already issued justices in eighteen. Ninety two were really not very likely to find that this, but their separate Karla was unconstitutional that precedent, which does not running in favour of this case. So the committee crossed their fingers that some of the justices would be replaced before they submitted their own case. Eighty, ninety five to Supreme Court Justices died and new appointees took their place. However, This did not look much better for policy and a citizens committee than the previous court have one of the new justices was a former confederates soldier and the other had a reputation for being quite conservative. The new court also set an immediate precedent of upholding other Jim Crow laws, plus
Just a couple of years, the overall racial climate in the United States had gotten worse instead of better. So in spite of the fact that things seem to be kind of running against them towards a submitted, the case which he prepared, along with Walker and Samuel, F Philips, and he submitted it for review towards the end of eighteen. Ninety five, the Supreme Court, heard the case which was now known as plus. U verse Ferguson in eighteen. Ninety, six in the written briefs, an oral arguments. Tunisia and team argued that the separate Carla was unconstitutional in several ways, including the following is very much an abridged list, but first up it violated the fourteenth amendment from several different angles: by giving white citizens and the colored citizens different rights and protection under the law. Second, while proponents of the law
claimed. It was for the comfort of both black and white passengers. Tourism argued that it was really for the comfort of white passengers at the expense of black passengers and therefore discriminatory second, while proponents of the law claimed that it was for the comfort of both black and white passengers, torture argued that it was really for the comfort of white passengers at the expense of black passengers and therefore discriminatory. He also, given that the law violated the fourteenth amendments due process clause by giving train conductors the power of law enforcement while giving train passengers. No legal recourse about decisions. The conductors made last that it created conditions of subjection and inferiority which previous court decisions headed term
to be in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment representing Louisiana side was Alexander Peter, more serious legal specialty was federal appeals. He argued that the separate car law was designed to prevent problems and serve the common good, so rather than making african american passengers second class citizens according to him, it actually protected them from harassment and discrimination by white passengers. He also noted several prior cases in which the Supreme Court at had upheld states rights in the matter of segregation, and he said that the right that issue in a separate Karla were civil rights at all. They were social rights which are not constitutionally protected. The Supreme Court announced its decision on May eighteenth of eighteen. Ninety six justice, David J Brewer, excused himself from participating because his daughter had just died in the room,
in a judge's upheld the constitutionality of the separate Karla in a seven to one ruling. Henry Billings Brown wrote the majority opinion which dismissed the here that the separate car law violated the thirteenth amendment entirely, he also cited several cases in which the court had upheld states rights to segregate, and he dismissed the idea that providing separate facilities was inherently discriminatory. This is a thing he rode on that point. We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiffs argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races. stamps the colored race, with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. So it goes on to say that, if quote, the colored race became the majority in the state, legislature and inactive.
the same law that white people would not think themselves inferior because of it. This is the point where I had to stop reading Supreme Court rulings and take a little break. Probably for the best in terms of your annual stability there's a lot that's really offensive in in the hall, Majority opinion and and the part where it's like this, do you guys are making a big deal out of it? This is on you not on us. That was the part that made me like, yes, feel, like they haven't changed very much, because this feels like these stop playing the race card of the late nineteenth century, yet so the soul, the centre in all of this was John Marshall Harlin, who went against the majority with so much vigour that he became known as the great dissenter. His descent accurately predicted. What was going to happen next, which was that states were going to use this ruling as a justification, to enact a whole lot more segregation laws and to be more blue,
it led to strip discriminatory feeling like they have the backing of the Supreme Court in doing so, one of his statements goes like this quote. In my opinion, the judgment this day rendered will in time prove to be quite as pernicious as the decision made by this tribunal in the dread Scott case, so if you're not familiar with that one, that's dread. Scott versus Sandford when Dread Scott, who was a slave sued for his freedom and the court, decided but anyone with african ancestry, whether they were a slave or free, was not intended to be a citizen of the United States and therefore was not entitled to bring such a suit in federal court The court also ruled that the federal government couldn't prohibit slavery in territory that it has acquired after the United States was founded. Harlin's descent also argues strenuously against the idea that segregation was good for race relations, to quote
sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks. The destinies of the two races in this country are indissolubly linked together in the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law. What can more, certainly arouse race hate? What more certainly create and perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races, then state enactments, which in fact proceed on the ground that colored citizens are so far inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by. Why, citizens. That, as all will admit, is the real meaning of such legislation, as was enacted in Louisiana yeah. His whole tone is basically it's completely obvious to everyone that the intention here is to subjugate an entire race of people and upholding this law is going to make it.
So much worse. Today, Leslie versus Ferguson is a pretty infamous and notorious Supreme court case. But at the time it really did not make a lot. Big NEWS: the reaction of a lot of the media and of the majority as a whole with sort of well obviously, afterward though states really did begin, passing more and more segregation laws and, in spite of the ruling being based on the idea that things were separate, but equal. A lot of these separate facilities were not equal at all. They were often massively and deliberately inferior, that from the facilities for why people and a lot of people interpreted this ruling to mean that all discrimination in everything was legal. Not just the separation of races into two separate but supposedly equal facilities, and while most of these laws were passed in the south, this was not exclusively a southern phenomenon. Twenty percent segregation laws in the United States were in the North MID west in the west, and it also was
just about segregating African Americans in states with sizeable populations of Asians Mexicans and native Americans. For example, these populations were segregated from the white population as well, since the Supreme Court had upheld the previous verdict, o replacing then appeared before a judge Ferguson in Louisiana one more time, undulate on January, eleven eighteen. Ninety seven, as was to plead guilty and to pay, is fine for violating the separate Karla. He spent the rest of his life working as a laborer and then a clerk, and then eventually he became an insurance salesman for an african american own insurance company our unless he died on March first of nineteen twenty five, it would be almost sixty years before this decision was,
overturned, and we are going to talk about that in another episode and then at another episode after that, we're going to talk about what happened after it was. They require, pays them extra joining us on this Saturday, since this episode is out of the archive of you an email address or facebook url, or something similar over the course of the show that could be obsolete. Now our current email address is history. Podcast at I heart, radio dot com are old, helstone. Firstly, email address no longer works and you can find us all over social media at missed in history, and you can subscribe to our shared apple podcast, Google, podcast, the Iheart Radio APP and wherever else he listened the broadcasts stuffy missed in history
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-21.