Separate but equal was a legal doctrine in United States constitutional law , according to which racial segregation did not necessarily violate the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution , which guaranteed "equal protection" under the law to all people. Under the doctrine, as long as the facilities provided to each race were equal, state and local governments could require that services, facilities, public accommodations , housing, medical care, education, employment, and transportation be segregated by "race" , which was already the case throughout the states of the former Confederacy. The phrase was derived from a Louisiana law of , although the law actually used the phrase "equal but separate". The doctrine was confirmed in the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision of , which allowed state-sponsored segregation. Though segregation laws existed before that case, the decision emboldened segregation states during the Jim Crow era, which had commenced in and supplanted the Black Codes , which restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans during the Reconstruction Era. In practice, the separate facilities provided to African Americans were rarely equal; usually, they were not even close to equal, or they did not exist at all. The report says that "in a few south Florida counties and in most north Florida counties many Negro schools are housed in churches, shacks, and lodges, and have no toilets, water supply, desks, blackboards, etc. During the era of segregation, the myth was that the races were separated but were provided equal facilities. No one believed it. Almost without exception, black students were given inferior buildings and instructional materials. Black educators were generally paid less than were their white counterparts and had more students in their classrooms In , Pompano white schools collectively had one teacher for every 25 students, while the Pompano Colored School had one teacher for every 54 students. At the Hammondville School, the single teacher employed there had 67 students. Board of Education of The U. Declaration of Independence refers to secession from the British empire as a process by which groups of people take up "the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them. The Reconstruction Era brought new freedoms and laws promoting racial equality to the South. However, after the Compromise of ended Reconstruction and withdrew federal troops from all Southern states, many former slaveholders and Confederates were elected to office. The Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal protection to all people but Southern states contended that the requirement of equality could be met in a way that kept the races separate. Furthermore, the state and federal courts tended to reject the pleas by African Americans that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, arguing that the Fourteenth Amendment applied only to federal, not state, citizenship. After the end of Reconstruction, the federal government adopted a general policy of leaving racial segregation up to the individual states. One example of this policy was the second Morrill Act Morrill Act of Before the end of the war, the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act Morrill Act of had provided federal funding for higher education by each state with the details left to the state legislatures. Provided, That no money shall be paid out under this act to any State or Territory for the support and maintenance of a college where a distinction of race or color is made in the admission of students, but the establishment and maintenance of such colleges separately for white and colored students shall be held to be a compliance with the provisions of this act if the funds received in such State or Territory be equitably divided as hereinafter set forth. In the late 19th century, many states of the former Confederacy adopted laws, collectively known as Jim Crow laws , that mandated separation of whites and African Americans. The Florida Constitution of mandated separate educational systems. In Texas, laws required separate water fountains, restrooms, and waiting rooms in railroad stations. Prior to the Second Morrill Act, 17 states excluded blacks from access to the land-grant colleges without providing similar educational opportunities. In response to the Second Morrill Act, 17 states established separate land-grant colleges for blacks which are now referred to as public historically black colleges and universities HBCUs. In fact, some states adopted laws prohibiting schools from educating blacks and whites together, even if a school was willing to do so. The constitutionality of such laws was upheld in Berea College v. Kentucky U. The legitimacy of such laws under the 14th Amendment was upheld by the U. Supreme Court in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson , U.
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