On June 7, 1892, Homer Plessy was arrested for violating Louisiana’s Separate Car Act.
We all know the Supreme Court’s horrific 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 the article Plessy v. Ferguson: The Organizing History of the Case by Keith W. Medley and the book Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance by Mia Bay. Find additional classroom resources below.
Read about many more attempts to desegregate transportation in Transportation Protests: 1841 to 1992.