By Morgan Lawrence
Today marks the 125th anniversary of the arrest of Homer Plessy for violating Louisiana’s Separate Car Act of 1890. To honor the occasion, the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation will present its annual “Plessy Day Celebration” at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday, June 7) at the New Orleans Jazz Museum in the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave.
Homer Plessy was born a free man of color; but by 1890 he could no longer ride in the same carriage with White passengers. Plessy’s act of civil disobedience was planned by the Citizens Committee and designed to test the constitutionality of the Separate Car Act, one of the many Jim Crow laws that threatened the freedoms gained by Blacks after the Civil War.
Plessy Day begins with a Second Line Procession led by the Carl Leblanc Band. Keith Plessy, a descendant of Homer Plessy will discuss the strategies of resistance used by the Citizen’s Committee to challenge Louisiana Act 111 of 1890. Panelists Dr. Brice Miller, Professor Jesse McBride, Freddi Evans and Dr. Michael White will discuss the emergence of jazz as a response to the legal, social and economic restraints of the late 1890’s through early 20th century New Orleans. This event is co-sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz Museum, and the first in a series of public programs planned for the 125th Anniversary of Homer Plessy’s arrest.
This event is free and open to the public to learn more about the depth, strength, and courage of Homer Plessy.