RSF Journal Conference: The Legacy of 'Separate but Equal': Policy Implications for the 21st Century

Awarded Scholars:
Susan Gooden, Virginia Commonwealth University
john a. powell, University of California, Berkeley
Samuel L. Myers, Jr., University of Minnesota
Project Date:
Jun 2019
Award Amount:
$35,000

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) enshrined the doctrine of “Separate but Equal,” and may be the most significant U.S. Supreme Court decision affecting race relations in America. “Separate but Equal” public policies shaped the location and financing of housing and the creation of racially segregated schooling, buses, hospitals, restaurants, and public parks. Despite the apparent reversal of the tenets of the Plessey decision in Brown v. Board of Education, racial disparities persist. The upcoming 125th anniversary of Plessy v. Ferguson offers the opportunity for a retrospective consideration of the legacies of state-sanctioned racial oppression, as well as specific inquiries into plausible causal connections between the Supreme Court’s approval of state-imposed racial segregation/hierarchy and persisting racial disadvantages and inequities. For an upcoming issue of the RSF Journal, political scientist Susan Gooden, legal scholar john powell, and economist Samuel Myers will organize a symposium and co-edit the issue on the policy implications of Plessy v. Ferguson. The issue will address how the case has had a lasting impact on social and economic outcomes facing racial and ethnic minority group members.

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