What does Separate But Equal Mean?

Separate but equal was a doctrine or policy that was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, which basically held that segregation was basically legal so long as the facilities provided for both blacks and whites were equal. For example, if there were separate public restrooms provided for blacks and whites, this was ok so long as both facilities were of the same standard and quality. The Court, in essence, claimed that this did not constitute racial discrimination in violation of the Constitution. This decision was overruled in the famous case of Brown v. Board of Education, where the Court finally acknowledged in its ruling that separate cannot be equal and that such a policy is inherently discriminatory. This case opened the door for integration to take place, officially kicking off desegregation.