Civil rights icon Homer Plessy pardoned a century later

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NEW ORLEANS— With the stroke of a pen, Governor John Bel Edwards set to make right the wrong of convicting Homer Plessy of violating the state’s Separate Car Act of 1890.

Edwards spoke the proclamation, “I, John Bel Edwards, Governor of the State of Louisiana, recognizing the heroism and patriotism of his unselfish sacrifice to advocate for and to demand equality and human dignity for all of Louisiana citizens, do hereby grant a full posthumous pardon for the above listed offenses to Homer A Plessy.”

Congressman Troy Carter stated about the pardon, “What is says is that even those things that were so fundamentally wrong, can be made right.”

Descendants of Plessy and Judge John Ferguson were on hand for the ceremony and they say that Plessy’s actions were the start of the 20th century fight for civil rights in America.

According to Keith Plessy, “It really solidifies the fact that there’s no disconnect form our activities today in civil rights and the activities that took place in the 1800’s.”

During his speech, Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams stated, “Homer Plessy was no criminal. He was then and he is now a hero.”

Former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson was the first African American Chief Justice on the bench, often times being the lone voice on injustice from that body and she saw strength is Plessy’s actions

“You can’t be afraid to be the sole dissenter or the person who takes a stand,” stated Johnson.

Everyone on hand sought to turn a page on time that was not Louisiana’s finest hour, including Kyle Wedberg, President and CEO of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, “The best day to plant this tree would have been 130 years ago, right? The second best day to plant this tree is today.”

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