Ladies First: Women Activists Leading the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans

This tour will explore how women and girls played a major role in challenging legislation that perpetuated racial segregation in New Orleans by explaining the experiences of each woman and girl, and events associated with each person and location. By organizing, protesting, marching, picketing, boycotting, and conducting administrative work, women and young girls successfully fought for Black equality and provided a framework for future generations of women to agitate for increased civil rights.

Leona Tate: Integrating McDonogh 19 Elementary School

In the 1954 Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schools violated the Fourteenth Amendment prohibiting states from denying equal protection of the laws to any…

Rosa Freeman Keller

Rosa Freeman Keller used her influence to mold the world around her and change the unfair practices she saw daily due to white supremacy and segregation. Keller, born in 1911, was the daughter of a successful Louisiana Coca-Cola tycoon, A.B. Freeman.…

Sybil Haydel-Morial

Growing up in New Orleans during the 1930s and 1940s, Sybil Haydel-Morial wondered why she could not go to certain places like other people. Reflecting on her childhood in her memoir, Witness to Change, Haydel-Morial stated “why I wondered, should my…

Dorothy Mae Taylor

Dorothy Mae Taylor, born on August 10, 1928, is known as “The First Lady of 1300 Perdido Street” due to her years of service in New Orleans City Hall, located at 1300 Perdido Street, from 1986 to 1994. (1) In 1971, Taylor became the first woman of…

Doratha "Dodie" Smith-Simmons

As a teen, Doratha “Dodie” Smith-Simmons entered the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Dorothy Smith Venison. Simmons’ activism began as a means to gain access to The Golden Pheasant Social Club.…

Marie Galatas Ortiz

Marie Galatas Ortiz, born in New Orleans in 1939, participated in many demonstrations, marches, boycotts, and founded Grass Roots Organization for Women (GROW), an organization once housed at 1610 Basin Street. (1) Ortiz became increasingly involved…