Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY

Thursday, 15 October 2015

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : SEGREGATION - THE SUPREME COURTS DECISION IN PIESSY V FERGUSON 1896 UPHELD STATE-MANDATED DISCRIMINATION IN PUBLIC TRANSPIRATION UNDER THE " SEPARATE BUT EQUAL" DOCTRINE :

          BLACK    SOCIAL     HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                     Segregation

The Supreme Court's decision in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) upheld state-mandated discrimination in public transportation under the "separate but equal" doctrine. As JusticeHarlan, the only member of the Court to dissent from the decision, predicted:
If a state can prescribe, as a rule of civil conduct, that whites and blacks shall not travel as passengers in the same railroad coach, why may it not so regulate the use of the streets of its cities and towns as to compel white citizens to keep on one side of a street, and black citizens to keep on the other? Why may it not, upon like grounds, punish whites and blacks who ride together in street cars or in open vehicles on a public road or street? . . . .
The Plessy decision did not address an earlier Supreme Court case, Yick Wo v. Hopkins118 U.S. 356 (1886),[2] involving discrimination against Chinese immigrants, that held that a law that is race-neutral on its face, but is administered in a prejudicial manner, is an infringement of the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. While in the 20th century, the Supreme Court began to overturn state statutes that disenfranchised African Americans, as in Guinn v. United States (1915), withPlessy, it upheld segregation that Southern states enforced in nearly every other sphere of public and private life. The Court soon extended Plessy to uphold segregated schools. In Berea College v. Kentucky, 211 U.S. 45 (1908), the Court upheld a Kentucky statute that barred Berea College, a private institution, from teaching both black and white students in an integrated setting. Many states, particularly in the South, took Plessy and Berea as blanket approval for restrictive laws, generally known as Jim Crow laws, that created second-class status for African Americans.
In many cities and towns, African Americans were not allowed to share a taxi with whites or enter a building through the same entrance. They had to drink from separate water fountains, use separate restrooms, attend separate schools, be buried in separate cemeteries and swear on separate Bibles. They were excluded from restaurants and public libraries. Many parks barred them with signs that read "Negroes and dogs not allowed." One municipal zoo listed separate visiting hours.
The etiquette of racial segregation was harsher, particularly in the South. African Americans were expected to step aside to let a white person pass, and black men dared not look any white woman in the eye. Black men and women were addressed as "Tom" or "Jane", but rarely as "Mr." or "Miss" or "Mrs," titles then widely in use for adults. Whites referred to black men of any age as "boy" and a black woman as "girl"; both often were called by labels such as "nigger" or "colored."
Less formal social segregation in the North began to yield to change. In 1941, however, the United States Naval Academy, based in segregated Maryland, refused to play alacrosse game against Harvard University because Harvard's team included a black player.