Modern Civil Rights in New Orleans

This tour focuses on New Orleans's role in the modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. As one of the South's largest and most important cities, one with an African American protest tradition spanning generations, New Orleans was the center of activism as national civil rights groups, local churches, and college students organized to protest segregation through non-violent means.

McCrory's Five-and-Dime

Segregation was widespread and remained deeply rooted in New Orleans in the early 1960s. Following the Woolworth's lunch counter demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina, student-led, nonviolent direct action swept across the country. In 1960,…

Civil Rights Activists Protest Woolworth’s Department Store

On September 9, 1960, seven local university students staged a sit-in at Woolworth’s department store located at 1031 Canal Street to protest the store’s refusal to serve Black people at the lunch counter. According to The New Orleans States Item,…

A. L. Davis Park

Known as Shakespeare Park until 1979, this park served as a starting point of revolution and change during the Civil Rights Movement. During The 1960 Dryades Street Boycott, Black New Orleanians protested local businesses that accepted their money as…

New Zion Baptist Church

On February 14, 1957, New Orleans' New Zion Baptist Church hosted a meeting of local pastors. The Reverend Martin Luther, Jr. was in attendance, and by the end of the day, the Southern Leadership Conference (SLC) was formed. A precursor to the…

Knights of Peter Claver

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…

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

During the 1950s and 60s, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant provided a safe space for national and local civil rights activist to meet and strategize over a bowl of Leah Chase’s famous Creole Gumbo. Beginning in 1939, as a sandwich shop and lottery outlet on…

Sit-Ins and Marches at City Hall

By 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…

McDonogh 19: Desegregation of the New Orleans School System

On November 14, 1960, McDonogh 19 was integrated by three young first-grade African-American girls: Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, and Gail Etienne. Located in the Lower Ninth Ward, McDonogh 19 had traditionally been an all-white school, even after the…