Homer Plessy has finally been pardoned posthumously, pending the Lousiana governor’s approval, more than 100 years after he was arrested for not moving from a section of a train that was prohibited to Blacks.
Plessy was a Creole man who was arrested in 1892 after he refused to move to the section of a train car where members of the Black community were permitted to sit, The New Orleans Advocate reported.
He was a shoemaker who was on the train to challenge Louisiana’s state law that mandated segregated seating.
His case went all the way to the Supreme Court where, in the 1896 case of Plessy v Ferguson, the court ruled that states could legally segregate on basis of race as long as it was “separate but equal.”
The next year, Plessy pleaded guilty to violating the Separate Car Act and had to pay a fine of $25, which is — according to an inflation calculator — equivalent to more than $800 in 2021.
The Louisiana Board of Pardons voted unanimously to throw out Plessy’s conviction Friday, The Associated Press reported.
But the pardon still has to be approved by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the AP reported.
Plessy’s descendants, along with those of John Howard Ferguson, the judge who convicted Plessy, had become friends over the years and formed a nonprofit for civil rights education.
Plessy’s memory has also been honored when the city council named the section of the street where he tried to board the train after him in 2018.
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