Dating facts from 1950
In 1877 the that states could not prohibit segregation on common carriers such as railroads, streetcars, or riverboats.In the Civil Rights Cases of 1883, the court overturned key elements of the Civil Rights Act of 1875, thereby sanctioning the notion of “ (1890).
Their social standing, especially in New Orleans, had insulated them from some of the white reaction following the war.From the late 1870s, Southern state legislatures, no longer controlled by carpetbaggers and freedmen, passed laws requiring the separation of whites from “persons of colour” in public transportation and schools.Generally, anyone of ascertainable or strongly suspected black ancestry in any degree was for that purpose a “person of colour”; the pre-Civil War distinction favouring those whose ancestry was known to be mixed—particularly the half-French “free persons of colour” in Louisiana—was abandoned.It would not do if their test passenger was merely excluded from boarding or even thrown off the train; he would have to be arrested so that a real case existed and he could claim injury in federal court.One railway informed him that it did not enforce the law, while another said that though it opposed the statute as too costly, it did not want to go against it publicly.The Louisiana Separate Car Act passed in July 1890.
In order to “promote the comfort of passengers,” railroads had to provide “equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races” on lines running in the state. Although a slave state, Louisiana in general and New Orleans in particular had always had, because of their French origins, a more-tolerant attitude toward people of colour than did other Deep South states.
In the cities, where most free blacks lived, rudimentary forms of segregation existed prior to 1860, but no uniform pattern emerged.
In the North free blacks also laboured under harsh restrictions and often found an even more-rigid segregation than in the South.
But when whites regained power after the end of Reconstruction, they saw only two races, and the privileged position of the , and he and his newspaper became the leading opponents of the law.
After its passage his paper called for both a legal challenge and a boycott of those railroads that had segregated cars.
One might have expected the Southern states to have created a segregation system immediately after the war, but that did not happen.