Rosa Freeman Keller was raised in an atmosphere of wealth and privilege, yet she devoted her life to social activism, most notably in the arena of civil rights. During the turbulent period of desegregation in New Orleans, she broke ranks with the majority of her peers and worked tirelessly in support of African-American efforts to achieve social, educational and political equality with whites. In the years that followed the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s, she continued to offer her energy and wisdom to causes and organizations dedicated to making our city a better place for all of its citizens.
We atNew Orleans Public Library are proud that Rosa Keller was "one of our own." In 1953, she began her long association with the Library when she became the first woman appointed to its board of directors, a post she held for the next twenty-six years. Her dedicated service to New Orleans Public Library and her courageous and energetic efforts to further the cause of equal opportunity for all are honored and celebrated in the rededication of the Broad Branch in her name -- and in this exhibit, which pays tribute to one of New Orleans' most extraordinary women.
--John Nelson *
* John Nelson, the attorney who successfully fought the suit to desegregate Tulane University--a suit financed by Rosa Keller--, is quoted in Pamela Tyler. Silk Stockings and Ballot Boxes: Women and Politics in New Orleans, 1920-1963. University of Georgia Press, 1996.