During Black History Month – and all year round – the ACLU of Louisiana works to celebrate and lift up the contributions and resilience of the Black Louisianans of every generation who have demanded justice, confronted white supremacy, and fought to create a more perfect union for everyone.
Ever since the first two ships carrying captive Africans arrived in Louisiana in 1719, African Americans have worked to build a more just and equitable America – one that finally delivers on its promise of freedom and justice for all – all while being subjected to enslavement, oppression, and brutality.
This month, we are unveiling an educational exhibit the ACLU of Louisiana developed in partnership with the Amistad Research Center at Tulane University and the Google Institute. The digital exhibit, entitled “Justice Can’t Wait: Oppression and Resistance: Slavery to Mass Incarceration in Louisiana,” traces Black Louisianians’ fight for justice from the early 1700s to the present day.
The digital exhibit, freely available in an interactive format thanks to support from Google, includes primary source material, photographs, and video and audio recordings from key moments throughout history.
Viewers of the exhibit can see an illustration of the 1874 Battle of Liberty Place, when white supremacists attacked the New Orleans’ Metropolitan Police in an attempted insurrection against the Reconstruction Era Republican state government; hear an interview with civil rights activists Oretha Castle Haley about her participation in the 1961 Freedom Rides; and watch Bogalusa Deacons leader Robert Hicks recall working with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) during the 1960s.
Confronting the truth about our past is vital to building a more just future, so we were honored to work with the renowned historians at the Amistad Research Center to bring this archival material to a digital platform that’s accessible to all.
Here is a compilation of multimedia resources to help Louisianians of all ages learn about Black history and get involved in the fight against anti-Black racism all year round:
Digital Exhibit: “Justice Can’t Wait: Oppression and Resistance: Slavery to Mass Incarceration in Louisiana,”
View the digital exhibit developed in collaboration with the Amistad Research Center and the Google Institute.
Virtual Event: Oppression and Resistance: Black History Month in the Era of Reckoning
Watch a recording of our virtual event with Professor Theodore Foster of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Jamal Taylor, co-founder of Stand Black and chair of the Louisiana NAACP Education Committee.
Blog: What the Black Panther Party Can Teach Us about the Fight for Racial Justice Today
Read Alanah Odoms's blog post about the legacy of the Black Panther party and watch her interview with Ronald Ailsworth and Betty Toussaint Ailsworth, who were early members of the Black Panther Party in New Orleans.