That's from Phoebe Ferguson, the great-granddaughter of Judge John Ferguson, who ruled against Homer Plessy in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson. The descendants of Plessy and Ferguson met in New Orleans, to remember the historic event of Homer Plessy's act of courage:
People often think that his ancestor held some responsibility for the legalized segregation known as "separate but equal, " said Keith Plessy, 52, a longtime New Orleans hotel bellman whose great-grandfather was Homer Plessy's first cousin. In actuality, Homer Plessy boarded that train as part of a carefully orchestrated effort to create a civil-rights test case, to fight the proliferation of segregationist laws in the South.
Keith Plessy first learned about his relationship to the case from his teachers at Valena C. Jones Elementary School, who called him to the front of the room as they discussed the case. But his textbooks simply listed the name of the case and its result: a half-century of "separate but equal" schools, drinking fountains and buses.
Phoebe Ferguson, 51, a documentary filmmaker, left New Orleans in 1967 but moved back after discovering her great-great-grandfather's role in the infamous legal fight.
Judge John Howard Ferguson ruled against Plessy from his bench in Orleans Parish Criminal Court. The judge was born in Massachusetts and had strong ties to abolitionists, she said. So she doesn't think he was a racist.
Still, Phoebe Ferguson can't quite get over the powerful impact his decision had on the black community, which would endure a half-century of government-sanctioned segregation.
"That a part of my family started Jim Crow is kind of a load to carry, " she said. "I wish I could change that."
Read the whole thing.