"The only vacated seat was beside a nigger. He wore a derby and shined shoes and he was holding a dead cigar."

Though segregation was repealed during the Reconstruction years, it was reintroduced in most southern states between 1901 and 1907 following the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling. In Mississippi, therefore, this man would have been required to surrender his seat to make way for Quentin. No such laws existed in the North, though in general unwritten social codes continued to maintain a divide. However, the fact that so prominent a civil rights advocate as W. E. B. Du Bois reports in 1890 that “A street-car ride to Boston on a pleasant morning is quite a treat” suggests a more liberal attitude may have prevailed there.