Today, Tate is working with the exhibit designers to re-create her first-grade classroom. Almost certainly, visitors will see three small desks pulled close to the chalkboard in the corner classroom. All the windows will be covered in brown kraft paper, as they were in 1960, so that no one could see in or out.
But visitors to her classroom will see no other desks. At Frantz school, a handful of white students braved crowds of hecklers for the entire school year. But McDonogh 19’s enrollment quickly plummeted to three. “For the rest of the year, it was just me, Gail, Tessie, and Miss Meyer, our teacher,” Tate said.
At first, people expected the white students would return to New Orleans schools, after a few days or maybe a few weeks. That didn’t happen. It was a prime example of structural racism in action, Tate said.
Some students from the two desegregated schools in New Orleans transferred to newly built, all-white “private” academies that used state per-pupil funding to operate. Immediately after desegregation, school buses paid for by segregationists picked up white students from the city’s 9th Ward and took them across county lines to neighboring St. Bernard Parish, where the all-white schools took them in, with the state picking up the tab.
My pal and one of favorite storytellers and literary critics, Dr. Nancy Dixon was on Susan Larson’s Tricentennial Reading List this week. This whole series by Susan is magnificent. But start with “DoctorDix”
Nancy Dixon with Susan Larson
Home page of series
Oh, I am digging this woman’s language and her approach.
The capital of the Confederacy should be known as the capital of the American slave trade, but civic leaders can’t agree on how to tell that story. So Free Egunfemi stepped in, armed with typography, historical knowledge and a spiritual commitment.
…She took his advice to heart and founded Untold RVA the next year with a mission to tell the city’s untold historic narratives in order to inspire self-determination in today’s Richmonders. A serial entrepreneur who has hustled as a face painter, loc twister, jewelry importer, and even a vegan iron-chef champion, she incorporated as an LLC, having no interest in grant-based non-profit fundraising….
…At first, Untold RVA was a self-directed effort and a money-losing proposition. In conjunction with a carpenter, she made wooden signs, called “portals,” at a cost of $600 each — a big expenditure, especially if any were stolen or vandalized. Then she discovered posters and had a revelation. “Typography is my superpower,” she says.
…Egunfemi maintains a hard-line stance in favor of the tactical-urbanism approach for commemorating the history of enslaved persons in Richmond. “I don’t think we should use Gilded Age methods to memorialize ancestors,” she says. “Why build a $1-million statue when the schools are falling apart?”
As New Orleans marks its 300th birthday, the city has yet to achieve health equality for all of its residents, according to a new report from The Data Center. The report says discrimination in the health care system throughout the city’s history has had an adverse effect on the longevity and quality of life of its African-American residents. Even today, the report points out that there is a 25-year difference in life expectancy between people who live in New Orleans ZIP codes 70124 and 70112, neighborhoods only five miles apart, but where residents are 3 percent and 75 percent black, respectively.
The Louisiana Creole Research Association will host a forum and unveiling of a new historic marker this weekend for L’Union (1862-1864), the South’s first Black newspaper, and the New Orleans Tribune (1864-1869), America’s first Black daily paper.
The forum takes place this Saturday, June 16 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.at the Williams Research Center at the Historic New Orleans Collection, 410 Chartres Street. The marker unveiling will immediately follow the forum, and the event is free and open to the public.
From The Advocate article:
In response, Roudanez formed L’Union with his older brother, Jean Baptiste Roudanez, as publisher and Paul Trevigne as the paper’s first editor.
As soon as L’Union began publishing, the three men faced repeated threats of arson and death, but in response, they decided to expand their audience by publishing the daily Tribune.
As the paper editorialized in 1869, its goal was not to be a journal dedicated merely to beautiful prose. “We plead for equality not as philosophers (who) in their closet write beautiful essays about abstract principles,” the editorial said. “We are seeking to throw off a tremendous load which has been our inheritance for centuries. With us, it is a reality and no abstraction.
Found at 527 Conti Street (at Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights showroom building)
Reading the brilliant Race and Reunion book by David Blight which gives evidence of the 3 narratives of the post Civil War era of emancipation, North/South reconciliation and white supremacy and how emancipation was largely pushed aside in favor of the other two. In the book, the origins of Memorial Day are discussed. What began as a day in many communities to honor those lost in the War, (one of the earliest post-war events was in 1865 was staged by African-Americans in South Carolina to honor the Union soldiers who had died in their Confederate prison), Decoration Day quickly became a day for “genre” for oration and assumed a political character of reconciliation. “By the early 1870s, a group of ex-confederate soldiers in Virginia had forged a coalition of memorial groups that quickly took over the creation of the “Lost Cause” tradition… In the South, monument unveiling took on a significance equal to, if not greater than, Memorial Day. The story of Civil War memory and the rituals of Decoration Days continued well beyond 1885 with the emancipationist legacy fighting endless rearguard actions against a Blue-Gray reconciliation that was to sweep American culture.”
In a column entitled “Memorial Day”, Albion Tourgee wrote: “To dwell upon the hero’s suffering and ignore the motive which inspired his acts is top degrade him to the level of mercenary. Fame dwells in purpose as well as in achievement. Fortitude is sanctified only by its aim.”
As Clifford Geertz has written, “In a ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined, fused under the agency of a single set of symbolic forms, turns out to be the same world.”