From Adele to Plessy
This concluding chapter presents Plessy v. Ferguson—the case that constitutionalized Jim Crow laws. The case reshaped the racial identities of people of African descent in New Orleans as the U.S. Supreme Court not only upheld the Louisiana Separate Car Act—which required railway carriers to segregate on the basis of race—but also implicitly classified all people with any degree of African ancestry, from former “Negro” slaves to “octoroons” whose ancestors had been free for generations, as belonging to the same race. In addition, the case helped establish a biracial system in postbellum Louisiana. As such, Plessy v. Ferguson —as well as the other case studies in the book—suggests that race is less a category than it is a process, which is continuously being made and remade.
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