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Listen to the “Recovered Voices” of 19th Century Black Activists

NEW ORLEANS – Voices of freedom from 19th-century New Orleans will speak again March 5–7, 2021, at the 25th Williams Research Center Symposium, which will draw upon three new groundbreaking publications from The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC).

The protagonists of these books—journalists, poets, politicians, educators, and ardent champions of civil rights—have gone too long unheralded. Through their words, recovered from the archives, readers will explore the origins and legacies of Black activism in New Orleans. The conversation unfolds in English and in French, in classrooms and newsrooms, and in the streets.

Titled “Recovered Voices: Black Activism in New Orleans from Reconstruction to the Present Day,” the symposium will be presented virtually via Zoom and will be available on a pay-what-you-can basis. Northwestern University scholar Kate Masur will deliver the keynote address, “Black Civil Rights Activism during Reconstruction: A National View.”

“The Historic New Orleans Collection’s mission is to steward the history of our region,” said THNOC President and CEO Daniel Hammer. “These publications are the product of many years of thorough research and creative composition and remind us of a time when New Orleans was in the vanguard of our nation’s struggle for equity, inclusion and freedom for all. We encourage everyone to dig deeper into our shared history by reading the books and attending ‘Recovered Voices.’”

Additional symposium presenters include Angel Adams Parham, Loyola University New Orleans; Caryn Cossé Bell, Midlo Center, University of New Orleans; Mishio Yamanaka, Doshisha University; Leona Tate, civil rights pioneer and TEP Center founder; Lydia Charles, head of resource and partnership development at the TEP Center; and others.

Visit to learn more, view supplemental resources, review the symposium schedule, and register to participate. All three titles are available for purchase at The Shop at The Collection, located at 520 Royal St. in the French Quarter, or online at

More about the books: 

“Afro-Creole Poetry in French from Louisiana’s Radical Civil War–Era Newspapers: A Bilingual Edition” 

Translated and introduced by Clint Bruce, “Afro-Creole Poetry” features 79 original works by over a dozen activist authors who wrote for “L’Union and “La Tribune de la Nouvelle-Orléans,” pioneering Black newspapers published in New Orleans in the 1800s. Learn more at

“Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood”

Written by Fatima Shaik, “Economy Hall” follows the members of the Société d’Economie et d’Assistance Mutuelle through landmark events—from the Haitian Revolution to the birth of jazz—that shaped New Orleans and the United States. Learn more at

“Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana”

Co-created by Brian K. Mitchell, Barrington S. Edwards and Nick Weldon, “Monumental” resurrects the inspiring yet tragic story of Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Oscar James Dunn, an iconic American who never should have been forgotten. “Monumental” tells Dunn’s story in graphic history form, a first for THNOC. Learn more at


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