Knights of Peter Claver

The NAACP Youth Council organized its 2-year stand-off with Canal Street businesses at The Knights of Peter Claver Headquarters during the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans.

The Knights of Peter Claver, Inc. is the largest historically African-American Catholic lay organization in the United States. The Claver Building as it is often called, was the headquarters of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP and was a pivotal location where organizers gathered to plan and implement the boycott of Canal Street businesses during the Civil Rights Movement from 1963 to 1965.

Before the Canal Street boycotts were initiated, African Americans were not allowed to work in sales positions in stores such as Sears, Krauss, and Maison Blanche. They were also not allowed to sit alongside white patrons at the lunch counters at places such as McCrory's and Woolworth's all located on Canal Street, which is the busiest and most popular shopping districts in New Orleans still to this day.

Inez Cassimere, who joined the NAACP in 1960 as a student at the University of New Orleans (then LSUNO), was the secretary of the NAACP's Youth Council and actively participated in the Canal Street boycotts. Although Cassimere mentions a church on Dumaine and Galvez, the building on Orleans Ave is where the local branch of the NAACP met. This local branch office was in fact the Knights of Peter Claver building and it was the headquarters of the local chapter of the NAACP, where plans for the Canal Street boycott began. The Knights of Peter Claver allowed the NAACP to use their space despite the negative attention it may have brought to the organization and the church. This building was an anchor for the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans and as Cassimere states, "It was home."


"It Was Home," an excerpt from an interview with Inez Cassimere.
Interview with Inez Cassimere, Secretary of the NAACP Youth Council during the Canal Street Boycotts ~ Source: UNO Digital History Lab ~ Creator: Monisha Jackson ~ Date: March 18, 2017
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1825 Orleans Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116