Friday, February 22, 2013

C&O No. 409

On June 7, 1892, 30 year old shoemaker Homer Plessy challenged Louisiana "Jim Crow" law by sitting in the white section of a passenger coach. Judge John Howard Ferguson upheld the State law resulting in an appeal to the Supreme Court. In the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, the Supreme Court ruled that "separate but equal" accommodations were legal. Of course, in reality these accommodations were not equal. Typically, segregated coaches were located directly behind the locomotive. If windows were open, smoke and burning cinders flew inside. If the windows were closed, the coach was stuffy and poorly ventilated. In many cases, the segregated coaches were also used to store tools and materials for the conductor.

No comments: