Plessy v. Ferguson
In the 19th century the fight against racial segregation was being openly lost in the courts. Standing alone on his judgment, Justice John Marshall Harlan argued that separating races could only mean that one was inferior. Despite his best efforts, on May 18, 1896, Harlan was outnumbered and the Supreme Court ruled that separate but equal facilities were in fact constitutional. The Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896 created a severe precedent for the nation and unleashed decades of perfectly legal racial discrimination.