Thursday, June 7, 2007

On June 7, ...

... 1929, the Holy See attained sovereign status when the Italian Foreign Minister and an envoy of Pope Pius XI, meeting in Rome, exchanged copies of the Lateran Treaty that had been ratified earlier in the year.
... 1892 (115 years ago today), at Press Street railway station in New Orleans, an American man of African and European ancestry, born Homère Patris Plessy fewer than 3 months after the Emancipation Proclamation, boarded the "White Only" car of a train headed for Covington, Louisiana. A detective dragged him out and arrested him for violating the Separate Car Act of 1890, which authorized imprisonment for defying the requirement that railroads in Louisiana segregate passengers by race. Plessy (pictured at left) and the Citizens Committee that had recruited him pressed his civil disobedience challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In its 1896 judgment in Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court sustained the maintenance of "separate but equal" facilities by a vote of 7 to 1. The Court reversed itself in 1954, to join the view of Justice John Marshall Harlan, the lone dissenter in Plessy, that such de jure segregation violates the Constitution.

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