Finding Books

The Book Search link on the LACC library's homepage allows you to find print and some eBooks in the library's catalog. Once you click on Book Search, you will be prompted to enter search terms. You will notice that there are several different ways of searching, including keyword and subject searches.
Below, you will find some effective search terms to use with each.

Recommended Keyword Searches:
Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy (many authors use this abbreviation)

Sample Keyword Searches for Related Topics:
Separate, but Equal
Jim Crow Laws

Recommended Subject Search:
Plessy Homer

Subject Search Terms for Related Topics:
United States Race relations History
African Americans Civil rights History
Civil rights United States History
Segregation Law and legislation
Segregation Law and legislation United States
Segregation in transportation Law and legislation


Reference Books (Encyclopedias, etc.)

Reference books are a great place to begin research. The titles listed below, which represent only a small sampling of the many specialized reference books that are available for use in the library, are especially relevant to this assignment.
All of these books are found on the library's first floor. If you have trouble locating one or have questions, a librarian at the Reference Desk will be happy to assist you.

Finkelman, Paul, ed. Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2006. Pages 1181-1182.
Call Number: R 342.7308 En19f v.2
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pages 239-240.
Call Number: R 342.73 Ox2h
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Johnson, John W., ed. Historic U.S. Court Cases. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Routledge, 2001. Pages 625-628. [also refers to contributing cases]
Call Number: R 342.73 J623h2 v.2
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Kutler, Stanley, ed. Dictionary of American History. 3rd ed. Vol. 6. New York: Thomson Gale, 2003. Pages 370-371.
Call Number: R 973.03 D561k3 v.6
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Levy, Leonard W., and Kenneth L. Karst, eds. Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. Pages 1918-1920.
Call Number: R 342.73 En19L2 v.4
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Magill, Frank N., and John L. Loos, eds. Great Events from History: American Series. Vol. 2. Englewood Cliffs: Salem Press, 1975. Pages 1261-1267. [Establishment of Separate, but Equal doctrine for black and white public facilities (Plessy v. Ferguson)]
Call Number: R973.03 M272g v.2
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Martin, Waldo E., Jr., and Patricia Sullivan. Civil Rights in the United States. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000. Page 600.
Call Number: R 323.0973 C499m v.2
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Palmer, Colin A., ed. Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. Pages 1786-1787.
Call Number: R 973.0496 En19p2 v.4
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

"Separate but Equal." In The Negro American: A Documentary History. Ed. Leslie H. Fishel, Jr. and Benjamin Quarles. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1967. Pages 339-342. [John Marshall Harlan's dissenting opinion to the Plessy decision]
Call Number: R 973.0496 F53n
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

Stephens, Otis H., Jr., John M. Scheb II, and Kara E. Stooksbury. Encyclopedia of American Civil Rights and Liberties. Vol. 2. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006. Pages 734-735.
Call Number: R 342.7308 En 19s v.2
Reference Collection - 1st Floor

United States Supreme Court Reports, Lawyers' Edition. Vol. 41, Rochester: Lawyers Co-operative Publishing, 1957. Pages 256-265.
Call Number: R 345.5 Un3c 2nd ser. v.41
Reference Law Collection - 1st Floor East



Our extensive eBook collection features over 50 books discussing this notorious case. These can be accessed on Periodical/Database Search link on the LACC library's home page. Then select EBSCO eBooks. If you are searching from off campus, select Book Search from Off Campus and then select EBSCO eBooks from Off Campus. You will need your LACC Username and Password in order to read eBooks outside the library.


Finding Articles

Articles in the library's electronic databases are good resources for academic papers. They can also be accessed in the library or remotely. To reach databases from the main library page, go to Periodical/Database Search link.
Then, choose a database. For this assignment, we recommend:
  • Academic OneFile
  • Academic Search Premier
  • America: History and Life with Full Text
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL)
  • LexisNexis
  • MasterFile Premier
  • U.S. History in Context.
Once you have selected a database, use the keywords below to find relevant articles.
Recommended Keyword Searches:
"Plessy v. Ferguson"

Related Search Terms and Topics:
"Separate, but Equal"
"Jim Crow", "Jim Crow Laws"
"Separate Car Act"
"Homer Plessy"
"John Marshall Harlan", "Justice Harlan"
"Henry Billings Brown", "Justice Brown"


Finding Reliable Websites

Books and articles found in the library or through the library's website are high-quality, accurate resources. You can also find credible information about this landmark case on the Internet. However, remember to critically evaluate websites for accuracy, authority, objectivity, currency, and coverage before using them in your research. Go to our Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages handout to find out more about evaluating websites.
Also confirm that your instructor will allow you to use websites as resources before utilizing them. Here are several examples of credible Internet resources:

"PLESSY v. FERGUSON."Legal Information Institute. Cornell Law School, n.d.

"Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)." National Initiative on American History, n.d. Civics, and Service.

"Jim Crow Stories: Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)." The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. PBS, 2002.


For additional resources, you can also use nearby libraries:

Los Angeles Public Library

Los Angeles County Library

CalStateLA University Library

Back to Library Main Page


Created by Dorothy Fuhrmann, Kathryn McGuire and Andy Mezynski