Talk:Homer Plessy

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Conflict in the facts[edit]

There seems to be a conflict in the "facts" of the Plessy v. Ferguson United States Supreme Court decision. In the main article of Plessy v. Ferguson it states :

"The railroad company had been informed already as to Plessy's racial lineage, and after Plessy had taken a seat in the whites-only railway car, he was asked to vacate it and sit instead in the blacks-only car. Plessy refused and was arrested immediately."

which seems to indicate that a third party had informed the railroad company of Plessy's racial lineage. This is contardicted by the Homer Plessy page which states:

"On June 7, 1892, Plessy bought a first-class ticket on the East Louisiana Railroad, running between New Orleans and Covington, and sat in the "whites only" passenger car. When the conductor came to collect his ticket, he told him that he was 1/8 African American, and he was refusing sit in the black only car."

Could someone out there who has any idea about this case please rectify this contradiction.

The way I learned it in my United States History class was that the incident was rigged.
My own mother is a quadroon, just like Homer Plessy, and you would never, ever, be able to guess than she has any black ancestry. Anywhom, this goes to the point that Plessy could not have been identified as black by mere sight, so you are definitely right in assuming that the conductor was informed by ear, and not sight, that Plessy was part-black.
So, back to history class. According to my teaching of the incident, the railroad company was having a hard time making seperate carts for blacks and whites and needed the money that was being wasted on a half-full black car and a half-full white car. Integrated seating would have saved them thousands.
So, to crush the demands of the whiny white people who needed their own car, the railroad hand-picked Homer Plessy to sit in the white cart and make a scene with the conductor so that the police (and eventually a court) would have to get involved. The railroad was so confident that the whites' silly and unreasonable demands for segregation would be denied by the court system.
Instead, they opened the gate for 50 years of "seperate but equal". Oops.
--S.M. 08:28, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
This is an error. Plessy was asked by a civil rights organization to challenge the law; he was chosen because he closely approximated white appearance and complexion, and he informed the conductor that he was colored, not white.ll
----gab 21:58, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

The involvement of the East Louisiana railroad was engineered by Louis A Martinet who was a notary and the publisher of the Citizen Committee's newspaper The Crusader. In a letter to the Committee's national lawyer, Martinet gleefully informed Albion Tourgee about the cooperation of the railroad. According to a newspaper report on the day after his arrest, the conductor asked Plessy, "Are you a colored man?" to which Plessy responded "Yes." Also, there is confusion about Plessy's 1/8th black lineage. This designation is based on appearance rather than genetics. On his birth certificate, both of his parents are listed as free people of color. In other documents, his mother is listed as a mulatto. It would be mathematically impossible for a person who is a half-black mulatto to produce offspring that is 1/8th black. (Census takers did not do your geneaology to make these determinations). His grandfather was a white Frenchman from Haiti. His grand mother was a free woman of color from New Orleans. His mother and father were people of color. the above comment was contributed on March 25, 2009 by 204.63.38.15


grandmother or grandfather?[edit]

This article contradicts the article at African American, which states that it was the grand*father* that was black. Can someone with a history textbook fix this please? - Richardcavell 21:52, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

Answer: I think that this is an error at African American Registry; it would be more likely that his great-grandmother would be black and possibly a slave who was later emancipated along with her--and her white master/lover's--children. The great-grandmother and great-grandfather (who undoubtedly supplied and allowed her to assume the surname of Plessy) would be his ancestors as a Creole of color.--gab 21:51, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
According to American Nightmare: The History of Jim Crow by Jerrold M. Packard (p. 73), Plessy had one black great grand-parent and was seven-eighths white. MK2 19:28, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Plessy Photo[edit]

Is it possible that the photo appearing and labeled as Homer Plessy is incorrect? If Mr. Plessy died in 1925 at the age of 62 it does not seem possible that the photograph is of the Plessy of Plessy vs. Ferguson. It seems too contemporary to be of the early 20th century or even late 19th century.

If anyone has a better photo, or can confirm this photo it would be appreciated.

--KMSullivan 21:42, 28 May 2006 (UTC)KMSullivan

I have removed the photograph and my previous remarks regarding it. I took a closer look at the original photograph and studied the context in which it might originally have been portrayed. The style of dress worn by other men in the photograph appears to be from the 1940s-1950s. The young man was trying to integrate a whites-only waiting room and was being ushered out. He is not Homer Plessy. --gab 15:12, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

new Plessy Photo Revisited[edit]

The current version of the Homer Plessy photo is not confirmed by his biographer, Keith Weldon Medley.

I have placed a question on the talk page of the user who uploaded it. That user, however, is without a history on Wikipedia so I am confused. The photo does not show its origin or provenance. I am therefore inclined to remove it until it can be authoritatively confirmed. Anyone have an opinion on this? Skywriter 21:24, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I went ahead and removed that photo HomerPlessy.jpg uploaded by first time user who did not state its origin or provenance. Photo can be returned when and if we are certain of its origin. Skywriter 21:41, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

I have tagged Image:HomerPlessy.jpg for deletion. It is a photograph of P. B. S. Pinchback (cropped and reversed). --Dhartung | Talk 22:45, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Photographs of Homer Plessy[edit]

Check Google Images, and you'll find various photographs of Homer Plessy. Maybe some of those are in the public domain. If so, they could be copied into Wikipedia and this article could include them. Michael Hardy (talk) 04:43, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I have looked through Google Images and I could only find one photograph that I thought could be him, but I was not confident of the sourcing. Google Images will return photos found on pages where Plessy is mentioned, but has no way of being certain that any of them are of the subject. (See above for one error someone has already made.) --Dhartung | Talk 22:45, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
The article about the Supreme Court decision uses this [1] picture. What do you think?--93.196.46.11 (talk) 20:13, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm looking through the pictures in the book, "We as Freeemen: Plessy v. Ferguson" by Keith Weldon Medley, NOLA historian and journalist. The photo linked to in the above comment appears to be of James C. Walker. Medley refers to Walker as Plessy's local attorney. There are no photos of Plessy in Medley's book though Ferguson is pictured along with members of the Citizens Committee (Comité des Citoyens). Skywriter (talk) 19:11, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

DoB of Homer Plessy[edit]

(March 17, 1992 – March 1, 1384) seems a little odd for a dude born in 1992 to have died in 1384 someones been playing silly games maybe? i don't know the correct date but i'll try to find it in a couple of days if a more knowledgeable user doesn't get there first -- forgot to login! sorry! user name is teknotiss -- —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.132.152.165 (talk) 00:13, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

THERE IS NO KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF HOMER PLESSY[edit]

There is no known photograph of Homer Plessy.[1] If you do an online image search for Plessy's photo, you get several results, however, the image that most crops up is one of P. B. S. Pinchback, usually cropped and reversed. This is not Homer Plessy.

So, please don't try to place a photograph of Homer Plessy on this page.

My reference[edit]

  1. ^ Anderson, Wayne (2004). Plessy V. Ferguson. New York: Rosen Pub. Group. p. 19. ISBN 082394011X. 

TuckerResearch (talk) 22:18, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

(I wrote this months ago and neglected to sign it so the date is off.)Skywriter (talk) 10:38, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Note to Tuckerresearch, I haven't seen that book nor any reviews of it and I wonder about authenticity of such a photograph that has not been found by other researchers. No matter. You can't lift a photo from a book and place it on Wikipedia because it would violate copyright. Skywriter (talk) 10:38, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Article Structure Reconfiguring[edit]

I'd like to propose that the introductory section of this article be shortened to be more concise, and that extra material be moved down after the "Contents" navigation. (Especially material about how he came to be arrested, etc.) Also, the "Homer Plessy Historical Marker" section is scattered, so the section should either be renamed or split into new sections. Normally I'd just go ahead and do this, but I don't really have the time right now. I'll try to work on it, but feel free to jump in if you'd like to help polish up this article. Yale2010 (talk) 01:32, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Your edits to this article are controversial. For example, your claim that if Wikipedia does not have an article on a state supreme court justice, then that justice is not notable-- is ludicrous. You ought not to have deleted that reference. You made another deletion based on commercial reasons. Please link to the Wikipedia policy to which you refer. And please use the talk page to suggest changes. We don't want a revert war. Try persuasion. Thanks. Skywriter (talk) 10:25, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Ok, better reasons to exclude them: none of the people (a state supreme court justice, a professor, an amateur historian) had any connection to the event other than their attendance at a minor function, and their attendance has no impact on the significance of the event, however minor. All of the people referenced had names linking to outside websites -- my grandmother doesn't get to edit Wikipedia articles to claim that she attended, then link to her Geocities home page. It's irrelevant and detracts from the value of the article, which should be about Homer Plessy's life... this kind of extraneous detail just muddies the article instead of making it more concise and relevant.

I removed the book reference in-text because many people have written books about the case and Plessy. If you have a fact, it gets inserted into the text as a stand-alone statement, and we attach a reference to support it. The attribution goes at the bottom, however, not in the text of the article. I viewed it as an irrelevant mention of one independent scholar's book, among many others. If I write a book on Homer Plessy, it's both unhelpful and unethical to write mentions of my book into the article. Wikipedia welcomes adding your contributions to knowledge, but that doesn't entitle people to litter the page with multiple references to their own book. (It's also an irrelevant plug that the two descendants met at Medley's book signing, or that Medley was in attendance at the marker donation. He's an amateur historian who wrote a book and showed up at a public event -- it has nothing to do with Homer Plessy, his life, or its significance. It's self-promotion.) Yale2010 (talk) 19:06, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

We're not talking about your grandmother or geocities, Yale2010, or any books you may or may not write. This is not about you.

You are wrong about this-- "many people have written books about the case and Plessy." Medley's book is original in that it provides original biographical detail--found nowhere else-- about Ferguson, Homer Plessy, and members of the Citizens Committee that staged the arrest.

You are also wrong about Medley, who was the force behind obtaining funding for the historical marker and who wrote the text for it. He is a recognized expert historian on the subject of New Orleans history -- and he appears at official state functions as such. As to self-promotion, if you think Medley added that material, you are wrong. I did and I am not Medley.

It is not irrelevant that the Plessy and Ferguson descendants met and joined forces to combat racism. It is a footnote to history. Plessy and Ferguson's names are on the Supreme Court decision that legalized segregation in every state, a decision that lasted for half a century.

"Unethical?" Your comments are over the top. Perhaps you will calm down. Lower your hostility level and try persuasion. Skywriter (talk) 21:12, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not opposed to citing Medley's book -- as skeptical as I am about sources that have not been peer-reviewed by other scholars (since it's not from an academic press and I can't find any scholarly reviews online) but to be charitable I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume total correctness of all facts in his book -- but there were two issues I brought up that you didn't address: citations belong in footnotes and not in-text, and his book is one among many. On the first point, unless it's an article about historiography it's irrelevant to a casual reader which scholar contributed which facts... there are simply facts, and Medley gets credit with a footnote citation. On the second point, Medley may have contributed original material but there are still other books on the subject. It's strange (and almost certainly unethical!) to mention one scholar -- BY NAME, IN-TEXT, MULTIPLE TIMES -- when others have contributed to our knowledge of Homer Plessy. We could cite Separate and Unequal (Harvey Fireside, 2005) or one of the numerous studies that contextualize Plessy's life in terms of Supreme Court cases, segregation, race relations, Louisiana history, Southern history, creole studies, etc. As I said at the beginning, I don't oppose citing Medley -- I oppose in-text references to an author by name. It should be in a footnote.

As for Medley's significance as a human being in his own right, go ahead and create a Wikipedia page for him and see how quickly it gets flagged for deletion. I dare you. References to him by name in this text are inappropriate, unless maybe -- MAYBE -- the memorial section gets cleaned up, in which case it's relevant that he secured the funding and it would be appropriate to say something like, "A group led by New Orleans historian Keith Weldon Medley secured funding for the memorial."

You're so right about the last point that I will just straight-up quote you: "It is not irrelevant that the Plessy and Ferguson descendants met and joined forces to combat racism." Yes, there is some scrap of relevancy in that fact, so let's err on the side of including it. My problem, however, was with the irrelevant detail attached to the aforementioned fact. It makes no difference that they met at a particular book signing or that they went on a particular New Orleans TV station. (If you think it's relevant that the meeting place was Medley's book signing, again... go ahead and create that Wikipedia page and watch it get flagged. Such a detail would belong in that hypothetical Wiki article, not here.) What's relevant is that their descendants joined together to combat racism and commemorate Plessy's forgotten story, and that's the only part of that detail that merits inclusion. Extraneous facts (like Medley's book being cited AGAIN in-text or mentioning WLTV) are unhelpful and should be excluded. Yale2010 (talk) 15:41, 29 January 2010 (UTC)

Article poorly constructed[edit]

This may be a case of "too many cooks spoil the broth", which can be all too common on wikipedia, but this article seems very poorly constructed.

First, the introduction takes up 50% of the article. It is much too long. In fact, the last paragraph of the introduction is an exact duplicate of the section titled, "Aftermath of Supreme Court Case". If that weren't bad enough, the section "Aftermath of Supreme Court Case", seems mis-titled. It doesn't mention about the effects of the Supreme Court case, but instead tells about Plessy's life after the Supreme Court case. Finally, the last two paragraphs of the article seem like orphans. Someone wanted to introduce this information, but didn't know where to put it. It ends up under the section titled, "Homer Plessy Historical Marker", but it really has nothing to do with the historical marker.

If someone closer to this article wants to correct or respond to this, that's great. If not and if there are no objections, I will attempt to rewrite these short comings. Van Vidrine (talk) 18:40, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

    No Early childhood or Education

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Deterioration[edit]

For some reason User:Zacwill thinks that the removal of wikilinks is making the article better. Unfortunately, I can agree with his reasoning Not 'vandalism', I removed repetitive and unnecessary content. The whole article is horribly written and I would have edited it further if I knew more about the subject. The Banner talk 19:09, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

The Banner, if your problem is that I removed links, please replace them instead of undoing the entire edit. In general I believe that I improved the quality of the article, given how awkwardly written it was.
As a sidenote, can I remind you that there's no need to be antagonistic? We're both here because we want to improve this article. We're on the same side. Zacwill (talk) 19:46, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

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