LSU Reilly Center to Explore ‘Separate but Equal’ Doctrine, Legacy of Plessy v. Ferguson

October 29, 2021

BATON ROUGE—LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs’ Racism: Dismantling the System series continues Thursday, Nov. 4, at 3:30 p.m. CT with “Separate and Unequal: The Legacy of Plessy v. Ferguson.” Postponed due to Hurricane Ida in August, the rescheduled Nov. 4 virtual event requires attendees to register in advance via Eventbrite. Those who registered before the postponement will have their registration transferred to the new date.

This episode will feature Plessy & Ferguson Foundation co-founders Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson. As descendants of Homer Plessy and Judge John Howard Ferguson, they created the foundation to bring people together around issues of race and inspire others to become active in the fight for equal rights. Joining them as panelists are Angela Allen-Bell, J.D., associate professor at Southern University Law Center; Brian J. Costello, O. de M. III, Tertiary, historian, genealogist and author; and Albert Samuels, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Political Science at Southern University. Mary Smith, a senior political science student at Southern University, will moderate the episode.

"I am excited to be able to moderate this episode of the Racism: Dismantling the System series," said Smith. "The conversation around the legacy of Plessy v. Ferguson is one that often gets narrowed down to just the 'separate but equal' doctrine, but it is so much more than that, and I know that this episode will help to highlight the broader importance of the case."

To date, season three of the series has featured discussions on the effects of seminal Supreme Court decisions, including Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education, and the impact of racist policies and practices on the Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The final episode will focus on the role of racial injustice in mental health inequity.

The series is hosted on Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live. Admission is free, but you must register in advance on Eventbrite to receive the Zoom meeting access code. Previous episodes are available for viewing on the Manship School’s YouTube channel.

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Launched in September 2020, “Racism: Dismantling the System” brings together a coalition of change-making organizations—Southern University and A&M College's Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences, Louisiana Budget Project, NAACP Louisiana State Conference and the LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion—to focus on solution-oriented action toward equal opportunity and justice in our communities. Each episode amplifies the voices of advocates, historians, activists, journalists and allies working for racial justice.

The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs is partnership-driven, action-oriented and dedicated to exploring contemporary issues at the intersection of mass communication and public life. Its interdisciplinary approach draws together experts from diverse fields to advance research and dialogue. The intent is to inspire our communities to think deeply, take action, develop solutions and broaden knowledge. Underlying the Center’s endeavors is to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national and state leadership in media and politics.

LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication and dual MMC/law degree.

The Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences at Southern University and A&M College aims to provide opportunities for a diverse student population to achieve a high-quality educational experience, to engage in scholarly research, creative activities and meaningful public service to the community, the state, the nation, and global environment. Located on the campus of Southern University and A&M College, the flagship of the nation's only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) System, the College offers six baccalaureate, four masters, and one doctoral degree program.

The Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) monitors and reports on state public policies and how they affect Louisiana’s low- to moderate-income families. Using research, outreach and advocacy, LBP educates policymakers, the nonprofit community and the public about the economic and racial barriers that Louisianans face each day, and looks for solutions that can create a more widely shared prosperity.

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

The LSU Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a division of the Office of Academic Affairs and provides support, referral, and information to students, faculty, and staff on issues and concerns related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. For more information, please visit