This Day in History

June 7, 1892: Homer Plessy Arrested for Violating Louisiana’s Separate Car Act

Time Periods: Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity

Marker placed at Press and Royal Streets in New Orleans in 2009.

On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy was arrested for violating Louisiana’s Separate Car Act.

We all know the court’s Plessy v. Ferguson ruling, but less familiar is the incredible organizing by the Comité des Citoyens that led to this test case.

The Comité dedicated years to fundraising, strategic planning, public education (with The Crusader newspaper), and more.

They even raised the funds to hire the guard to arrest Plessy to be sure he was charged correctly in their effort to challenge an unjust law.

Regardless of the outcome of the court case, it is an important example of the strategic efforts by African Americans to challenge state and nationally sponsored white supremacy.

Learn more by reading “Plessy v. Ferguson: The Organizing History of the Case” by Keith W. Medley.