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Spotlight on History

Black History Month

Black History Month



During the month of February, the LDMA is highlighting Black History Month.  Explore our videos about Louisiana history during the periods of slavery, segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement. Also, be sure to check out the complete Black History Month topic to see more stories and interviews with black Louisianans who have made significant contributions to the state.    





Book Cover of Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup


Solomon Northrup & 12 Years a Slave (1853)

Learn more about the story of Solomon Northup and the publication of his memoir, 12 Years a Slave, which details his life as a slave in Louisiana.





People celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863


Emancipation Proclamation (1863)

In this clip from Louisiana: A History, take a look at the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation on slaves and free people of color in Louisiana during the Civil War.




Louisiana Native Guards at Port Hudson

Louisiana Native Guards at Port Hudson (1863)

In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the Louisiana Native Guards, the first officially sanctioned African Americans sworn into the United States Army during the Civil War.




Plessy v Ferguson


Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

In this clip from Louisiana: A History, learn more about the origins of this landmark Supreme Court case in New Orleans and its role in upholding segregationist laws through the doctrine of “separate but equal.”




Example of a Rosenwald School


Rosenwald Schools

Learn more about the history of the Rosenwald Schools, which were built to educate African Americans during segregation, and the donation of one of the schools to the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville.




Louisiana's First Black Nurses


Louisiana’s First Black Nurses

See the story of these pioneering black nurses, who worked at the Four South unit of Baton Rouge General Hospital, the only hospital unit available to black nurses and patients during the 1950s.




Baton Rouge's Troubled Waters


Baton Rouge’s Troubled Waters

View this 2008 LPB documentary which explores the close ties of the African American community in Baton Rouge and the challenges they faced during segregation.




Signpost to Freedome: The 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott


Baton Rouge Bus Boycott (1953)

Watch the 2004 LPB documentary, Signpost to Freedom, which chronicles the circumstances and events that led to the nation's first large-scale bus boycott protesting segregation.




With All Deliberate Speed


Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

View the 1983 LPB documentary, With All Deliberate Speed, which examines the 30-year history of school desegregation efforts in Louisiana following this landmark Supreme Court decision.


Kress Department Store, site of one of the Baton Rouge Sit-Ins


Baton Rouge Sit-Ins (1960)

See a story on the Southern University students who participated in the sit-ins at the Kress Department Store, Sitman’s Drug Store, and the Greyhound Bus Station in Baton Rouge in 1960.




Ruby Bridges


Integration of the New Orleans Public Schools (1960)

Watch an interview with Ruby Bridges recounting the day she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans under the guard of federal marshals.


Panel Discussion on 1963 Plaquemine Civil Rights Demonstration


Plaquemine Civil Rights Demonstration (1963)

See the story of a Civil Rights demonstration on September 1, 1963, in Plaquemine (three days after the March on Washington) that turned violent when state troopers stormed the old Plymouth Rock Baptist Church on horseback with the aid of teargas to look for James Farmer, the founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).


A.Z. Young, the organizer of the Bogalusa Civil Rights March


Bogalusa Civil Rights March (1967)

View several reports on the 105-mile march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge, which was organized by civil rights activist A.Z. Young.





To see more stories, check out the complete Black History Month topic and our blog post on our BHM stories from Folks.