100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History presents 100 profiles of the key people behind some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases. Edited by Melvin I. Urofsky, a respected constitutional historian, each 2,000-word profile delves into the social and political context behind landmark Court decisions. For example, while a case like Brown v. Board of Education is about an important idea—the equal protection of the law—at its heart it is the story of a little girl, Linda Brown, who wanted to go to a decent school near her home. The outcome is accessible and objective “stories” about the individuals—heroes and scoundrels—who fought their way to constitutional history.

Homer Plessy

Homer Plessy

Validation of Jim Crow

“Laws Designed to Debase and Distinguish Against the Inferior Race”

Plessy v. Ferguson

163 U.S. 537 (1896)

Homer Adolphe Plessy (1863–1925) was a man of color who dedicated much of his life to improving the social conditions of his fellow citizens in his community. The New Orleans native quietly contributed his time and leadership skills to several local social concerns. He worked hard to attain social equality for the persons of color in his home state, and, by challenging Louisiana's Separate Car law of 1890, Plessy briefly found himself in the midst of a battle that resulted in a landmark constitutional case. The Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana statute that required railroads to provide “equal but separate accommodations” to whites and persons of ...

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