On a muggy summer day in 1892, an unassuming, well-dressed shoemaker from New Orleans named Homer Plessy bought a first-class ticket from the East Louisiana Railroad and boarded a passenger car designated whites only. But Plessy's journey was soon derailed. By day's end, he'd been arrested and convicted. His crime? Being black and boarding the wrong railroad car. Plessy's act of defiance constituted a violation of the state's separate-car law, a statute designed to keep the races separated on Louisiana's public transportation systems. Over the next four years, his case would work its way through the legal system until it landed on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. To Plessy supporters, the case served as a signpost for America's future. Would Jim Crow statutes continue to define black and white relations in the approaching 20th century? Or would blacks be able to taste new freedom? Plessy v. Ferguson sets the scene for this benchmark case with solid background information and lively biographies of those involved. Full-color photographs, detailed footnotes, and a chronology and timeline help put the proceedings in context.