The World Will Move: Civil Rights and Public Transportation, 1860s-1950s

January 2 - January 31, 2010

Traveling Exhibit - Louisiana State Museum

Image of historic print with steam locomotive from the East Louisiana Railroad Co.

We as Freemen: Plessy v. Ferguson

In June 1892, Homer Plessy, an African American man, boarded the East Louisiana Railroad #8 train in New Orleans bound for Covington, Louisiana, and took a seat in the first-class compartment of a whites-only train car. His intention was to test a Louisiana law that allowed separate railroad cars for African Americans and whites. Little did he know that the result would be one of the most pivotal civil rights cases in American history, decided four years later by the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the U.S. Supreme Court sanctioned the doctrine of "separate but equal," legalizing segregation in the United States for the next fifty-eight years until the decision was overturned in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

This traveling exhibition observes the one hundredth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1896 decision, analyzing the events leading up to Plessy's arrest on the train, Plessy's trials and appeals, and the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Easy-to-read text panels and reproductions of original photographs and documents relating to the case are utilized to illustrate the circumstances surrounding the Plessy v. Ferguson decision in the context of the Civil Rights Movement in the South, particularly Louisiana.

Free and open to the public daily, January 2 to January 31, 2010, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, at Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, 1515 SE Monroe Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66612.

For more information, call the Brown Foundation at (785) 235-3939 or send an email by clicking here.

Colored waiting room signs from bus stations in Georgia and North Carolina from the mid-twentieth century.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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1515 SE Monroe Street
Topeka, KS 66612-1143


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