In A Flash

Louisiana governor ‘looks forward’ to reviewing pardon of civil rights leader Homer Plessy

By: - November 13, 2021 9:00 pm
Louisiana governor discusses solar and wind at U.N. climate conference

Gov. John Bel Edwards is traveling to Europe on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for 10 days to examine new flood control infrastructure in the Netherlands. (Photo credit: Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

The Louisiana Board of Pardons voted to pardon Homer Plessy — a Creole man whose arrest for sitting in a “whites-only” car led the Supreme Court in 1896 to uphold segregation on the basis of race for another 50 years. 

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has final approval of the decision, was out of state Friday, “but looks forward to receiving and reviewing the recommendation of the Board upon his return,” Shauna Sanford, the governor’s spokesperson, said.

In 1892, Plessy — who was described in the Supreme Court ruling as “a free man who was seven-eighths white and one-eighth of African descent” — was arrested for sitting in a “whites-only” railroad car on a train running between New Orleans and Covington. 

The Plessy v Ferguson decision justified whites-only spaces in trains and buses, hotels, theaters, schools and other public accommodations, according to the Associated Press. The decision was later overruled by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is a former Louisiana Illuminator reporter. Prior to working with the Illuminator, Canicosa worked for Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon. Canicosa earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.