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The United States of the United RacesA Utopian History of Racial Mixing$
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Greg Carter

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814772492

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814772492.001.0001

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Plessy v. Racism

Plessy v. Racism

(p.77) 3 Plessy v. Racism
The United States of the United Races

Greg Carter

NYU Press

This chapter discusses the how Republican Superior Court judge Albion Tourgée challenged Louisiana's retrograde system of segregation for blacks, in defending Homer Plessy for riding a “white-only car”. He levied his white parentage against his black parentage, hoping the white seven-eighths would outweigh racial conclusions based on the black one-eighth. Tourgée's brief to the U.S. Supreme Court described the Fourteenth Amendment as the source of “new rights, privileges and immunities, derivable in a new manner” that would result in interracial families of various combinations and a wholesale disruption of racial categories. He recounts what the Reconstruction Amendments attempted to do: expand the Declaration of Independence to include all. However, the Supreme Court rejected Tourgée's argument, sanctioning Plessy for civil disobedience.

Keywords:   Republican Superior Court, Albion Tourgée, Homer Plessy, Fourteenth Amendment, racial categories, Reconstruction Amendments, civil disobedience, black segregation

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