On this day, June 7, in 1892, Homer Plessy was arrested for refusing to leave his seat in a "whites-only" railroad car in New Orleans.
Plessy was seven-eighths white and one-eighth black, which, by Louisiana law, meant he was required to use facilities designated for "colored" patrons. Plessy's act of civil disobedience was a test case whose aim was to overturn segregation laws being enacted across the South.
In Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Plessy, giving legal standing to segregation.
The ruling would divide America along racial lines for decades. Blacks in some states had to use separate water fountains, restrooms and schools.
That precedent stood until Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
-- Scott McCabe