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					Today’s Lecture:

Plessy and the NAACP

Number:

9

Lecture Organization: • Class Announcements

• Plessy
• Social Transformation • Political Organization • Litigation Strategy • Brown v. Board of Education

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Class Announcements

new website features -- I’ll be putting some new features on your web pages today. Go the course page to see them later tonight or whenever. -- [explain the new features and why you did it]

Class Announcements

test -- here is what I’m inclined to do: -- exam is February 11th -- two options: (a) can take half of it then, the other half on Friday 13th (b) can take half of it then and do the essay -- if you do the essay, handed out Feb 4th, consult with me on that Friday about it, given back for reforms

Questions?

Plessy

facts -- a separate car law is enacted for trains in New Orleans -- a citizens’ committee is formed to oppose it -- most members were “Creoles” -- mixed racial ancestry, going back to the days of French ownership of New Orleans -- recruit Homer Plessy for a test lawsuit

The Creoles and Homer Plessy -Many in the Creole community were doctors and lawyers, and many of them passed for whites in New Orleans. Lewis Martine, a predominate Creole physician and lawyer, began looking for someone who was willing to bring a test case. He found a candidate in Homer Adolf Plessey, a young Creole who often passed as a Caucasian. Plessy was a person referred to as an “octoroon,” which was a term used to described someone who had 7 great grandparents who were white and one that was of African descent. Usually, the one would be a female slave .

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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The Creoles and Homer Plessy --

Under LA law, any drop of African blood was enough to make a person "black" under the law. There was a bit of discrimination on top of discrimination: many of the Creoles resented the fact that they were lumped in with those having more African-dominant ancestry. History doesn't know what Homer Plessy's exact motivation was -- whether it was to stand with solidarity among all Americans of African descent or the other motivation. But he did what he did nonetheless: he purchased a first class ticket to Covington LA, a trip of about 50 miles. He had no intention of completing the journey. He had actually arranged with railway officials to be arrested. Plessy took a seat in the white coach and refused to move. Police officers then took him to jail.

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Plessy

the attorney -- Albion Winegar Tourgée

Tourgee -Martine already had a leading civil rights attorney ready to represent him pro bono. He was a former union army officer. The guy's name was Tourgee. He was widely regarded as the most vocal proponent of equality among the races of that century (parallel to Thurgood Marshall in the century that follows). Tourgee invented to the phrase that the constitution in colorblind and knows no classes [meaning castes] among its people – something that Justice Harlan would use in his dissenting opinion.
1/18/2007
(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 9

Plessy

the holding -- “separate but equal” is ok -- legitimated the American apartheid -- separate schools, swimming pools, restaurants, bathrooms, water fountains, military units, etc. -- complete separation of societies (My impression of the two halves of Alabama)

Question:
What is the holding in the case?

Plessy

the dissent -- Justice John Marshall Harlan (remember him?)

Harlan –
The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is, in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is, therefore, to be regretted that this high tribunal, the final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a State to regulate the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race.
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(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 12

Harlan’s Warning – “The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law. What can more certainly arouse race hate, what more certainly create and perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races, than state enactments, which, in fact, proceed on the ground that colored citizens are so inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by white citizens?”

1/18/2007

(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Harlan’s Warning – “The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law. What can more certainly arouse race hate, what more certainly create and perpetuate a feeling of distrust between these races, than state enactments, which, in fact, proceed on the ground that colored citizens are so inferior and degraded that they cannot be allowed to sit in public coaches occupied by white citizens?”

1/18/2007

(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.

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The Great Contradiction – “We boast of the freedom enjoyed by our people above all other peoples. But it is difficult to reconcile that boast with a state of the law which, practically, puts the brand of servitude and degradation upon a large class of our fellow-citizens, our equals before the law...”

1/18/2007

(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Plessy

the consequences Immense discrimination in the south: -- black codes: Forbade certain professions, interracial marriage, prohibited the use of firearms, etc., etc. -- denied the right to vote White primaries, violence and intimidation, poll taxes, literacy tests, etc.

Social Transformation

the Great Migration -- Factory jobs during World War I and II -- Factories needed labor (women involved too --Rosy the Riveter)

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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Social Transformation

the Great Migration -- Migrated to northern cities to seek jobs in war factories AND educational opportunities. -- Migrated out of the rural south as southern cities became more industrialized.

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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Social Transformation

the Great Migration the result -- Voting composition becomes more influential. -- The emergence of an African American middle class

(Note the significance of income differentiation)
[also note racism and lynching]

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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Social Transformation
Resource Meter:

the Great Migration the result

1. More educated citizenry developing -- Voting composition becomes more influential. -- The emergence of an African colleges” established • “Negro American middle class after income differentiation) (Note the significance ofthe civil war. [also note racism and lynching] 2. Voting bloc 3. Income stratification … leads to two HUGE developments:

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Social Transformation
Resource Meter:

the Great Migration the result

1. More educated citizenry developing -- Voting composition becomes more influential. -- The emergence of an African colleges” established • “Negro American middle class Self Awareness after income differentiation) Political (Note the significance ofthe civil war. Constituency

• Question the inferiority • From [also note racism and lynching] the 1930’s onward, 2. Voting bloc theory it will become more difficult
3. stratification • Begin to understand Incometo ignore this portion of the political marketplace victimization from a social construction … leads to two HUGE developments:
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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 22

Social Transformation

reduction in social distance -- Olympic runner Jesse Owens (American Hero) -- Boxer Joe Lewis (American Hero) -- development of sound in movies and the portrayal of Americans of African descent in the cinema: • Gone with the Wind and To Kill a Mocking Bird -- Intellectual developments: invention of sociology as a discipline and the re-examination of African American history

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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In swimming ayourChurch, sidewalks, of thesocial networks In school;pools,homesame bus,space lunch counter, etc. As riding countryeatingone the mall In Reduction – clubs dinner son or daughter – – same family the of social private

1

2

3

4

5

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Cognitive Theory of Racism Emotive intelligence Human Brain Arithmetic, logic, symbol combination Brain highs: 1. Drugs 2. Love 3. Chocolate 4. (Me: Steelers)

Computation Pleasure center

Sectors Fear, Insecurity Activated when the human is threatened
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Synthetic functions Linking the other sectors together; synthesizing knowledge; comparison and contrast
Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Group A

1. Italians, Jewish people 2. Asians 3. Race is the largest barrier

[mention school fights in Texas town from removed New Orleans community] [mention your professor friend at WVU]
1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.

Group B
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Group A

1. Politics and selfishness play a role too (“ideology”) 2. So does social learning

Universal application: 1. Can apply this to anything: even children who castigate at school 2. Racisms is not autonomous; it is a symptom of a larger weakness built into cognitive functioning. It is existential Group B (similar to other character failings. It needs a kind of therapy )
1/18/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007. 27

Social Transformation

World War II -- Americans of African descent serve in battle -- more serving in leadership positions than before -- the learning of advanced technical skills

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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Social Transformation

Ideological hypocrisy on the world stage -- USA was saying things to Germany about its treatment of Jews, but would have its own problem with race here at home -- How could the USA tell Africa to resist communism during the cold war, when communists could say that the USA was a racist country?

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Political Organization
1. NAACP --established as an interracial organization in 1909. (African Americans and whites established it) 2. Garland Fund -- 1922, Charles Garland, Boston Millionnaire -- 1929, some of the funds went to establish a legal defense fund within the NAACP -- mission: to give Americans of African descent the constitution that all Americans were promised
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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 30

Political Organization
3. Howard Law School

A. Charles Hamilton Houston
-- dean of the law school -- philosophy: every man should be a reformer, and that it was the duty of Howard graduates to attempt social reform -- mission: develop a cadre of African American lawyers that would attack Plessy. B. Thurgood Marshall (a protégé)
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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 31

-- son of a dining car waiter -- grandson of a slave -- Hamilton Houston said he was his most talented & best liked students -- lead counsel for the NAACP -- argued the Brown v. Board case -- later went to the supreme court. • JFK appointed him to the lower courts • LBJ appointed him to the Supreme Court
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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 32

Litigation Strategy
1. Support Plessy completely! -- you want separate but equal? Fine. Now give it to us. -- the segregated facilities were NEVER equal

School in Camden Massachusetts

Question: Why?

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Litigation Strategy
-- it would be quite costly to create an equal duplicate of every facility in the south [imagine the difficulty] -- use Plessy to make states that discriminate build quality facilities for African Americans 2. Pick small battles first

-- e.g., graduate or professional schools.
3. After achieving success, go back and say it isn’t good enough

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Litigation Strategy
4. Sweat v. Painter (1950) -- no law school for African Americans in Texas -- courts: create one in 6 months! -- the “school:” two rented rooms in Houston; 2 part-time instructors, no library.

-- the Texas legislature fears what federal judges will say, so they give $100,000 to establish a “real” law school
• three rooms • $10,000 library • access to the state law library in the capitol building
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Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007. 35

Litigation Strategy
• professors on rent from the university of Texas school of law -- lower appellate courts said this was fine -- NAACP appealed and won; the law school was not equal.

-- African Americans win the right to attend the white Texas law schools.

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Litigation Strategy
5. McLaurin v. Oklahoma

-- George McLaurin was a professor with a master’s degree
-- He wanted to get his Ph.D -- Oklahoma made it a crime for a white school to admit an African American -- NAACP sues; Court rules (a) make up a separate school like Texas was doing; or (b) admit him

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Litigation Strategy
4. interesting twist: --they admitted him, but segregated him internally 5. The Court rules that you can’t do that. – if a state chose to educate aa and whites in the same facility, they could not segregate. McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (1948)

1/26/2009

Copyright, Sean Wilson. 2007.

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Description: Slides from lecture given winter 2009.