Ordinance 740, New Series, passed by the Common Council of New Orleans in 1867 was the first
local law providing for the public education of African American children. This ordinance called for separate schools for
white and black students but this period of segregation proved to be short lived. The Louisiana Constitution of 1868
made separate schools illegal with the result that New Orleans public schools were integrated throughout the remainder
of the Reconstruction period.|
[New Orleans (La.) Common Council. Ordinances and resolutions, 1867]
These pages from the 1879 Report of the Chief Superintendent of the Public Schools of New Orleans to the State Board of Education (1880) show that the city's schools were once again operating on a segregated basis following the termination of Reconstruction in 1877.
A classroom at McDonogh #6 school, Napoleon Avenue at Camp Street, in 1904. This photograph was copied from an
original at the Louisiana State Museum.
Students at Leland University in 1904. Leland was a private institution of higher learning for African Americans. It was
located on St. Charles Avenue, just uptown from Tulane University. Leland, founded in 1870, moved to Baker,
Louisiana after the campus was severely damaged by the 1915 hurricane. Newcomb Place now occupies Leland's New
Orleans site. This photograph was copied from an original at the Louisiana State Museum.
Students and faculty members at Thomy Lafon school in 1917.
These pages from the 1905 Statement issued by the Advisory Board of the Colored Industrial Home and School describe the institution then located on Gentilly Boulevard east of St. Ferdinand Street. It was designed as a residence and school for young African American children who were charged with "trifling offenses." In earlier times such children had been housed together with older youths who had committed more serious crimes.
Colored New Orleans published by the Colored Civic League of New Orleans in 1923 included this "advertisement" for the Thomy Lafon school along with lists of the city's African American music teachers and public school teachers.
The old Valena C. Jones school in 1928.
The 1931 Roneagle, yearbook of McDonogh #35 High and Normal School. Among the students shown here in the Science Club photograph is Mack Spears, then president of the student body. Years later Spears was the first African American to be elected to the Orleans Parish School Board and its first African American president.
The first black Girl Scout troop in New Orleans was based at L. B. Landry High School. This photograph is dated
Valena C. MacArthur Jones (1872-1917). During the four years that she taught in the New Orleans Public Schools she
was voted "most popular colored teacher." In 1918 she became the fourth African American to have a local public
school named in her honor.
An adult education class being taught by Emma L. Brown in 1936. Photograph by Villard Paddio.
This photograph shows a WPA handicraft class at the Crossroads Home, 1332 Perdido Street in 1937.
A scene in the WPA-operated colored nursery school, 1936.
Close-up of a WPA radio class for the colored, 1937.
This photograph is marked on the reverse: "McDonogh 35, 1940s (?)." It shows one of the hardships [a child pouring
coal into a furnace] that African American youths had to endure in their quest for learning in the Crescent City.
A young student in a hearing impaired class during the 1950s.
A local special education class in the 1950s.
The Valena C. Jones school faculty, probably during the 1950s. Standing at the far left is Fannie C. Williams, longtime
principal of the school.
Girls learn to sew--sponsored by the Community Council for the Desire St. Area--Desire Project. From the Report of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, 1958
HANO maintenance employees receive training in plumbing. From the Report of the Housing Authority of New Orleans, 1959.
Ruby Bridges in 1960, the year that she was the first African American student to attend the previously all-white
William Frantz elementary school.
The old McDonogh #35 school on South Rampart and Girod Streets shortly after the building was destroyed by
Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The school found temporary quarters in the old Post Office on Camp Street (now the John
Minor Wisdom U. S. Court of Appeals Building) until the new McDonogh #35 opened for business on Kerlerec Street
in the early 1970s.