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Title in English: Fighting for public rights: writing, lawsuits and racial segregation in Louisiana (1888-1889).

This article explores the links between the fight against compulsory racial segregation and the day–to–day operation of the law in nineteenth century Louisiana. Using the figure of Louis A. Martinet, one of the organizers of the test case that yielded the U.S. Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, the essay argues that Martinet’s role as notary reflects the central importance to the community of color of questions of public standing and written records. The article also identifies the concepts of "public rights" and "public liberties" as key to the case itself, distinguishing these from the nineteenth–century U.S. construct of "social equality".


This article is available on the Cahiers du Brésil Contemporain website at: