civil rights

'This Is Where My Life Turned': A Civil Rights Reflection

Mar 15, 2018
The Historic New Orleans Collection

As part of the NOLA Resistance project, The Historic New Orleans Collection has recorded conversations with several former members of the Congress of Racial Equality. New Orleans CORE became the center of the civil rights movement here, driven by the leadership of a few visionary organizers. Dave Dennis was one of those people, though his relationship with the movement began a bit unconventionally.

The Other Empty Classroom: Bearing Witness To Desegregation

Feb 15, 2018
The Historic New Orleans Collection

When Ruby Bridges walked through an angry crowd to attend her newly integrated school in 1960, there was a white girl sitting in another empty classroom down the hall. Pam Foreman attended William Frantz Elementary School during this first year of integration. Her mother, Nyra, remembers the experience vividly. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we hear from Nyra about what was going through her mind during that turbulent time. 

The Historic New Orleans Collection

The civil rights movement witnessed students becoming teachers as they propelled social change. New Orleanian and lifelong activist Raphael Cassimere was a student leader who eventually became a professor of history. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, Dr. Cassimere chronicles his experiences as the local chapter president of the NAACP Youth Council.

This NOLA Life Stories interview was conducted by Mark Cave for The Historic New Orleans Collection and produced for WWNO by Sarah Holtz.

The Desegregation Of McDonogh 19: An Oral History

Nov 16, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

 

School desegregation was a major turning point of the civil rights movement, especially here in New Orleans. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we meet Tessie Prevost-Williams. She was one of The McDonogh Three, the young African-American girls who integrated their elementary school in the 9th Ward in 1960. Tessie describes her memory of that first morning on the way to school. 

Nonviolence As A Way Of Life: An Oral History Of New Orleans CORE

Oct 19, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

The Historic New Orleans Collection has embarked on a project to record oral histories from activists of the civil rights movement. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, we hear from Doratha Smith Simmons, who spent years spreading the philosophy of non-violence at sit-ins throughout the Deep South.

American Routes Shortcuts: Mavis Staples

Jul 28, 2017
Mavis Staples
American Routes

Each week, American Routes brings you Shortcuts, a sneak peek of the upcoming show. This week, it’s the second installment of our program all about Bob Dylan.  Here’s host Nick Spitzer with Mavis Staples, on American Routes.

NS: Bob Dylan admired the civil rights songs of the Staples singers,  and would hear them on tour in the early 60s. Mavis Staples remembers when her father, Pops, heard Dylan for the first time, and how Dylan’s protest lyrics influenced their family in return.

Eyes on the Prize: Movement Moments from a Civil Rights Activist

Mar 30, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection

The March on Washington, the bus boycotts, and sit-ins across the country: these are all images of the civil rights movement that we may familiar with. What may be less obvious are the turning points that pushed individuals to join the struggle. William Rouselle's career spans decades of activism, from his groundbreaking work as a television reporter to his cultural organizing with the Free Southern Theater.

Bobby Grier speaks with representatives from the Sugar Bowl in 1956.
The University of Pittsburgh / The University of Pittsburgh

Bobby Grier was the first African-American to play in the Sugar Bowl. As a member of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Grier played against Georgia Tech on January 2, 1956 — only months after Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi and weeks after Rosa Parks was arrested in Alabama.

Perhaps as expected, his participation was met with opposition: the governor of Georgia insisted that Georgia Tech boycott the Sugar Bowl that year. But the game was played, Grier was its leading rusher, and the Civil Rights Movement continued to gain momentum.

President George W. Bush visits the restored Dooky Chase Restaurant in 2008 with Leah Chase, left, and Dooky Chase, right.
Joyce N. Boghosian / The White House

Edgar "Dooky" Chase, Jr., the patriarch of the Chase family who passed away at the end of 2016, helped in making Dooky Chase’s Restaurant the landmark establishment it is today. Here, his wife of 70 years, Chef Leah Chase, shares memories of her husband, his life as a musician and the quiet role he played behind the scenes in the Civil Rights movement.


On the grounds of Whitney Plantation. Former slave quarters are on the right with Allées Gwendolyn Midlo Hall visible in the background.
Sarah Holtz

In this special edition of Louisiana Eats, we celebrate the 151st anniversary of Juneteenth — the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States.

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