At the center of this project are a series of video interviews with Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, Gail Etienne and others who led the school integration movement in New Orleans.
These interviews will be featured on our website, in our podcast, and as exhibits in a new museum and educational center in New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward.
Leona Tate (center), Tessie Prevost (left), and Gail Etienne (right)
The goal of these video interviews is not just to tell the story of school integration in New Orleans, but to prompt viewers to consider how they themselves might have reacted in the same situations that Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost faced.
How would they have endured the jeering mothers who lined up every day outside McDonogh 19?
What about the next year, when the US marshals left?
What about in third grade, when the three girls were transferred to another white school where teachers ridiculed them and students attacked them? Or graduation, when, after integrating five different white schools, Leona Tate had to decide whether to go on to college?
We'll also interview New Orleans teachers, legislators, and civil rights activists whose lives have been affected by school segregation...and integration...and, finally, re-segregation.