HOMER PLESSY Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


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Name: Homer Plessy                                                                         
Born: 17 March 1863                                                                       
Died: 1 March 1925                                                                         
Homer Plessy (March 17, 1863 – March 1, 1925) was the American plaintiff in the         
United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. Arrested, tried and           
convicted of a violation of Louisiana's racial segregation laws — his great-grandmother 
was black — he appealed to the Supreme Court. The resulting "separate-but-equal"         
decision against him had wide consequences for civil rights in the United States           
for the next half century in that it legalized segregation.                               
Plessy was born Homère Patrice Plessy in New Orleans, Louisiana, on St. Patrick’s       
Day 1863, not quite three months after the issuance of Abraham Lincoln's                   
Emancipation Proclamation. His middle name later appears as Adolphe after his             
father, a carpenter, on his birth certificate. His parents were classified as             
free people of color or Creoles of color, with African and French or Spanish               
forebears. Adolphe Plessy died when Homer was seven years old, but in 1871, his           
mother Rosa Debergue Plessy, a seamstress, married Victor M. Dupart, who was a             
clerk for the U.S. Post Office, but who supplemented his income as a shoemaker.           
Later, Plessy too became a shoemaker. During the 1880s, he worked at Patricio             
Brito’s shoe making business on Dumaine Street near North Rampart. New Orleans           
city directories from 1886-1924 list his occupations as shoemaker, laborer,               
clerk, and insurance agent.                                                               
In 1888, Plessy, then twenty-five years old, married nineteen-year old Louise             
Bordenave, with Plessy’s employer Brito serving as a witness. In 1889, the               
Plessys moved to Faubourg Tremé at 1108 North Claiborne Avenue. He registered to         
vote in the Sixth Ward’s Third Precinct.                                                 
Plessy seems to have led a rather ordinary life; however, by 1887, he became               
vice-president of the Justice, Protective, Educational, and Social Club, a group           
dedicated to reforming public education in New Orleans.