In the mid-1920s, a Chinese American man named Gong Lum sued the local school board when his daughter, Martha, was denied admission to her local school because of her race. When the case went before the Supreme Court in 1927, Gong Lum lost. The Court affirmed that segregated schools for Chinese Americans did not violate the Fourteenth Amendment.
In the years following the Civil War, Reconstruction-era legislation granted African Americans citizenship, equal protection under the law, and, for black males, the right to vote. For nearly a decade, former slaves enjoyed unprecedented freedom until the controversial presidential election of Rutherford B. Hayes and the Compromise of 1877 effectively ended the era of Reconstruction.
During the 1880s and 1890s, southern states, where 90 percent of African Americans lived, enacted laws designed to dismantle Reconstruction and restore white supremacy and control. These included segregation ordinances, which mandated separate public accommodations for the races, and changes to their constitutions to restrict, and then systematically disenfranchise, black male voters.
On June 7, 1892, a biracial man named Homer Plessy was forcibly removed from the "For Whites" car of the East Louisiana Railroad and jailed. His arrest was part of a planned action by the Citizens' Committee to Test the Constitutionality of the Separate Car Act. According to the 1890 Louisiana Separate Car Act, Plessy was required to sit in a car designated for "colored" persons, although, as he asserted, he was seven-eighths Caucasian and one-eighth Negro.
Plessy took his case to court, arguing that the Louisiana Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments and was thus unconstitutional -- that separating the races implied involuntary servitude and inferiority rather than equality. New Orleans trial judge John H. Ferguson ruled against Plessy, affirming that Louisiana could choose to impose the Separate Car Act on trains that operated within the state.
Plessy appealed his case to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which upheld Ferguson's decision. He then appealed to the United States Supreme Court. On May 18, 1896, the Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the Separate Car Act was not in conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment, and that separate train cars did not imply involuntary servitude. The Court also ruled that the Separate Car Act did not violate equal protection provided by the Fourteenth Amendment, as long as separate accommodations were equal. The lone dissenter in the case, Justice John Harlan, argued that separate accommodations did imply a separate class status for blacks and that "our U.S. Constitution is color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens."
The decision provided the foundation for state and local governments in the South and in other states to legally segregate the races in most spheres of public life, including transportation, public accommodations, and public schools. The Fourteenth Amendment now had limited impact, and with the rise of white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, segregation and discrimination were often enforced with violence and intimidation.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.