Guiding Question: To what extent did Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice become a reality for African Americans from Reconstruction to the end of the nineteenth century?
- I can interpret primary sources related to Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice from the colonial era to the outbreak of the Civil War.
- I can explain how laws and policy, courts, and individuals and groups contributed to or pushed back against the quest to end slavery.
- I can create an argument using evidence from primary sources.
- I can analyze issues in history to help find solutions to present-day challenges.
|Parish||A division of territory and local government in
Louisiana, similar to a county in other states
Prior to the Reconstruction Era, Louisiana was a unique southern state. Slavery was common there prior to the Civil War, but differences in its colonial and cultural history meant Blacks and whites coexisted more peacefully in Louisiana than in other southern states. The end of Reconstruction assimilated Louisiana with the majority of southern states, and it adopted Black Codes and Jim Crow legislation to limit the rights of African Americans.
Louisiana Separate Car Act, 1890
Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana, That all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this State, shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races . . . No person or persons shall be permitted to occupy seats in coaches other than the ones assigned to them on account of the race they belong to.
Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, etc., That the officers of such passenger trains shall have power and are hereby required to assign each passenger to the coach or compartment used for the race to which such passenger belongs; any passenger insisting on going into a coach or compartment to which by race he does not belong, shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars or in lieu thereof to imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish [county] prison and any officer of any railroad insisting on assigning a passenger to a coach or compartment other than the one set aside for the race to which said passenger belongs shall be liable to a fine of twenty-five dollars or in lieu thereof imprisonment for a period of not more than twenty days in the parish prison; and should any passenger refuse to occupy the coach or compartment to which he or she is assigned by the officer of such railway, said officer shall have power to refuse to carry such passenger on his train, and for such refusal neither he nor the railway company which he represents shall be liable for damages in any of the courts of this State.
Comprehension and Analysis Questions
- What was the main purpose of this law?
- What provisions did this law put in place to enforce “equal but separate accommodations” in railroad cars?