Pictured from left to right, Brandon Adams, Landscape Architect, Perez, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Vaughn Fauria, President of NewCorp Inc., and Shelenn P. Jones, Sculptor
Perez is proud to participate in designing the renovation of the A.P. Tureaud Memorial located in the 7th Ward of New Orleans.
Alexander Pierre Tureaud, Sr. (1899-1972), a native New Orleanian, a Civil Rights fighter, who devoted his life fighting for justice, desegregation of schools, public transportation, and public accommodations. He was victorious in the landmark case argued before the U.S Supreme Court which removed tests requirements for blacks registering to vote. A.P. Tureaud was known as Mr. NAACP because of his efforts and unceasing quest to rid the South of racial segregation.
The renovation of the memorial, designed by landscape architect Brandon Adams of Perez APC, is being made possible by NewCorp, Inc., a private non-profit 501(C)(3) CDFI. The project includes a large plaque honoring A.P. Tureaud, Sr., a low circular wall with plaques honoring fifteen other New Orleans area civil rights leaders, the refurbishment of the existing statue of Mr. Tureaud, new decorative pavement, new benches and new plantings including trees surround the memorial area. The project is estimated to be completed by the Fall of 2021.
The fifteen additional honorees represented on the plaque will be as follows from the original dedication ceremony in 1997:
Louis A. Martinet (1849-1917) – Louis A. Martinet was admitted to practice law in 1875. He subsequently studied medicine and practiced both medicine and law. Louis Martinet founded the New Orleans Crusader, a weekly newspaper used to combat the increasingly virulent racism of other New Orleans newspapers. A member of the Southern University faculty, he is particularly remembered for his legal support of Homer A. Plessy, calling for the American Citizens’ Equal Rights Committee to gather funds to test the constitutionality of the “separate but equal rule.”
Homer A. Plessy (1862-1925) – Homer Plessy worked as a shoemaker, laborer, clerk, and insurance agent. But he will ever be remembered for refusing to vacate a “Whites Only” seat on the East Louisiana Railway. He was charged with violating an 1890 Louisiana law requiring separate transportation accommodations by race and challenged his arrest: a became a plaintiff in the landmark case – Plessy v. Ferguson in which the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
Professor Alvin H. Jones (1905-1951) – Professor Jones taught Economics at Southern University and Xavier University. He served as Executive Secretary of the Urban League and Vice President of the Orleans Parish Progressive Voters League. On January 5, 1950, Professor Jones led a group of African-Americans seeking to fill out voter registration applications in Opelousas, Louisiana. During this protest, he was brutally beaten by a mob of white men: and he later died as a result of a spinal injury sustained in that beating.
Arthur J. Chapital (1901-1972) – Arthur J. Chapital was educated in the New Orleans Public Schools and Straight College and worked for the U. S. Postal Service. For ten years he served as President of the NAACP. Throughout his life, Arthur Chapital was devoted to achieving equal rights for African-American people.
Oretha Castle Haley (1939-1987) – To bring down retail segregation, Oretha Castle Haley played a major role in the powerful demonstrations that the Consumers League of Greater New Orleans and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) organized against Canal Street and Dryades Street merchants. She served as the New Orleans Chapter and State President of CORE and aggressively entered the fight against police brutality and segregation of the City of New Orleans operated recreational facilities.
Judge J. Skelly Wright (1911-1988) – Judge J. Skelly Wright served as U. S. District Judge for the Eastern District where he heard many legal challenges to segregation. In various civil rights cases, Judge Wright ruled unconstitutional the segregation of public schools, Louisiana State University (LSU), and other universities. So too, he ruled unconstitutional a law banning sports events between African-Americans and Whites. In voter rights cases, he ruled favorably on legal actions taken to enfranchise African-Americans.
Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial (1929-1989) – Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial was the first African-American to graduate from LSU’s Law School. He entered his practice under the mentorship of A. P. Tureaud. Dutch Morial was the President of the NAACP and the national Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He was actively and persuasively involved in many civil rights cases that broke down educational and public accommodation barriers to African-Americans. He was the first African-American elected to the Louisiana Legislature in the 20th century, and many firsts followed. Dutch Morial was the first African-American Juvenile Court Judge and State Court of Appeals Judge. Thereafter, he was elected New Orleans’ first African-American Mayor.
Earl J. Amedee, Sr. (1919-1990) – Earl Amedee’s successful challenge of the veteran and diploma privileges, used to admit Whites exclusively to the Louisiana Bar Association, paved the way for many African-Americans to be admitted to the Bar without examination. In 1950, he ran for Orleans Parish School Board and became the first African-American in the 20th century to run for public office. He was appointed the first African-American Assistant District Attorney for the Parish of Orleans. Attorney Amedee’s legal victories won many Louisiana African-Americans their first opportunity to register to vote. Earl Amedee reached out to provide free legal services to the poor and to all who faced violations of their basic rights.
Israel M. Augustine, Jr. (1924-1994) – Israel Augustine was the first President of the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society. He was a founder, member of the Board, and first General Counsel of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Israel Augustine was the first African-American to become a State Criminal District Judge in modern Louisiana history. He also served as Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Israel Augustine worked tirelessly on the boards of the Urban League, the Louisiana Human Relations Committee, the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights and Responsibilities, the Community Relations Council, and the Metropolitan Area Committee. He instituted the First Offender and Angola Awareness Programs and served on the Gethsemane Prison Ministry.
Alvin Bazile Jones (1922-1973) – Alvin Bazile Jones received his law degree from Southern University. He represented the Consumers League of New Orleans in their fight for fair treatment of African-Americans in retail employment. He was active in voter registration activities in Plaquemines Parish, which was known for trampling the basic rights of African-Americans. Alvin Jones fought continually against police brutality. He was appointed the first African-American Assistant City Attorney and Judge Ad Hoc in Traffic Court.
Clarence “Chink” Henry (1910-1974) – Clarence “Chink” Henry began work as a longshoreman at the age of 18. In 1954, “Chink” Henry was elected President of Longshoremen’s Local 1419. He fought unceasingly for his members on many fronts, including wages, safety laws, job discrimination, equal public accommodations, and voter registration. He was an organizer and member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Board of Directors, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Reverend A. L. Davis, Jr. (1914-1978) – For many years, Abraham Lincoln Davis, Jr. served as President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in New Orleans. In 1941, he organized the first march on the Registrar’s Office to end discrimination in voter registration. He was a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and of the Orleans Parish Progressive Voters League. Reverend Davis organized and led many local rallies and marches that protested the unequal treatment of African-Americans. He was appointed the first African-American New Orleans City Councilmember in the 20th century.
A. Marcel Trudeau (1927-1978) – Antoine Marcel “Mutt” Trudeau was appointed cooperating attorney to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He served as co-counsel on numerous civil rights cases and was active in voter registration drives in Plaquemines Parish. He was President of both the NAACP State Conference and the Urban League.
Ernest J. Wright (1909-1979) – In addition to his being a key organizer in the labor movement locally, Ernest Wright traveled throughout the South speaking at rallies and organizing African-Americans and Whites on the job. He founded the Peoples Defense League, the first organization to advocate widespread African-American electoral participation. Each Sunday, he spoke at Shakespeare Park (now A. L. Davis Park) on issues affecting African-American people, always insisting in his words that “A Voteless People Is A Hopeless People.”
Daniel E. Byrd (1910-1984) – Daniel Byrd served as the Executive Secretary of the New Orleans Branch of the NAACP and the first President of the Louisiana State Conference of NAACP Branches. He worked with A. P. Tureaud on many civil rights cases suing successfully for equal accommodations of public facilities for African-Americans. He served as Field Secretary of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Inc.. In 1946, Daniel Byrd served on a team that investigated the “Blow Torch” lynching in Minden, Louisiana.
The A. P. Tureaud Civil Rights Memorial Park is dedicated to the memory of
Alexander Pierre Tureaud, Sr., and those he worked with and inspired. Like A. P. Tureaud, those who are honored and will be honored here stood in harm’s way during our continuing struggle for equal opportunity and justice. We shall not forget their courage nor our cause.