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Louisiana pardons Homer Plessy — 130 years later — page 1 
Plessy was an early civil rights activist.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recently granted a posthumous pardon to a man named Homer Plessy. “Posthumous” means something that happens for someone after their death. Plessy broke a Louisiana state law in 1892 and was found guilty. But his case did not end there. In fact, this case went all the way to the Supreme Court — and ended up becoming one of the most important legal cases in U.S. history.

Homer Plessy was born in 1862 or 1863 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He came from a racially mixed family, so he was supposed to follow the state’s Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws were laws that enforced racial segregation in the U.S. South from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 until 1965. These laws banned Black people from using the same facilities and having the same rights as white people.

Plessy was one of the leaders of a group of Black people that wanted to tear down these racist laws. Plessy was considered Black, although he looked like a white man. He volunteered to test the Separate Car Act by breaking the law. This Act said that Black people could not sit in the same train cabin as white people. On June 7th, 1892, Plessy bought a ticket for a “whites-only” train car. When the conductor asked for his ticket, Plessy announced that he was Black — and that he would not leave his seat. He was quickly arrested and charged with violating the Separate Car Act. He pled guilty in court, and Judge John Howard Ferguson fined him $25. Plessy did this on purpose so that the unfair law could be challenged in a higher court.
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