Sit-Ins and Marches at City Hall

Stop 7 of 8 on the Modern Civil Rights in New Orleans tour

In 1963, sit-ins and boycotts on Canal Street and Dryades Street had been taking place for two years. African Americans were fighting for their Civil Rights both behind the counter and in front of the counter. This meant employment for African Americans in businesses along these streets and the desegregation of the city.

On August 9, 1963, Mayor Victor Schiro signed an agreement to remove segregation signs from public buildings and employment would be equal. It was believed that this agreement would bring the Canal and Dryades boycotts to an end.

This agreement was not completely upheld and even City Hall did not integrate its cafeteria. This led to another sit-in. It soon became clear to members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) that it was time to change tactics. They organized a march that would start in Shakepear Park and end at City Hall.

On September 30, 1963, the march took place. There were approximately ten thousand African American marchers and three hundred white marchers. Once the marchers descended upon City Hall the leader, Reverend Avery Alexander listed their demands. They wanted an end to segregation in all its forms in New Orleans. They wanted African American appointees in government and an end to police brutality. The government finally responded in the winter of 1963 and desegregated the City Hall cafeteria.


March on City Hall
Clip shows people on the march to City Hall ~ Source: Video: Music:
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Don Hubbard on the City Hall March
Don Hubbard speaks about the different organizations and people involved in the 1963 New Orleans Freedom March. ~ Creator: The Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies
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