On June 7, 1892, a racially mixed shoemaker from New Orleans named Homer Plessy bought a first-class ticket for a train bound for Covington, Louisiana, and took a seat in the Whites-only car. He was asked to leave, and after he refused, he was dragged from the train and charged with violating the Louisiana Separate Car Act. He pleaded guilty and was fined $25.
Now, nearly 130 years after the arrest, Plessy has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the state of Louisiana. In January, Governor John Bel Edwards signed a posthumous pardon, acting after a vote by the Louisiana Board of Pardons.
“It left a stain on the fabric of our country and on this state and on this city,” Edwards said before he signed the pardon, speaking at the New Orleans station where Plessy boarded the train before his arrest. “And, quite frankly, those consequences are still felt today.”