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LA Governor Pardons Plessy of Historic "Separate But Equal" Segregation Case

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Courtesy: Louisiana Governor's Office

POSTHUMOUS PARDON OF PLESSY— Louisiana’s governor has pardoned the Black man whose 1892 arrest and conviction led to the Supreme Court ruling that cemented “separate but equal” into U.S. law for half a century. Yesterday in a special ceremony in New Orleans, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the pardon for Homer Plessy who was arrested, tried, and convicted for refusing to leave an all-white railroad car. The state Board of Pardons recommended a posthumous pardon for Plessy in November. Governor Edwards had these comments during the pardoning ceremony yesterday.

"The stroke of my pen on this pardon while momentous, it doesn't eliminate generations of pain and discrimination," Edwards said. "It doesn't eradicate all the wrongs wrought by the Plessy court or fix all of our present challenges. We can all acknowledge we all have a long ways to go. But this pardon is a step in the right direction."

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Courtesy: Louisiana Governor's Office
Governor John Bel Edwards speaks before signing a posthumous pardon for Homer Plessy of the "Separate But Equal" segregation case fame.

Plessy, a 30-year-old shoemaker was part of a New Orleans-based organization trying to change a segregation law. But the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed Louisiana’s law in 1896, in the historic “Plessy versus Ferguson” court case that resulted in reinforcing the “separate but equal” laws that would dominate the South for the next several decades. Plessy pleaded guilty about eight months later and paid a $25 fine.