NEW ORLEANS (press release) – As part of the NOLA Resistance collaborative initiative led by The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) to preserve and share stories from the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement, a new traveling exhibit titled The Trail They Blazed will make its debut appearance at the Tate Etienne and Prevost (TEP) Center Sunday, Sept. 10.
Built collaboratively with living individuals who bravely participated in the local Civil Rights Movement as well as those working today to preserve the legacy of the movement, The Trail They Blazed engages visitors in a multisensory experience that explores stories straight from the people who lived them. The exhibition includes 1,000 square feet of historic visuals and more than three dozen audio offerings that highlights boycotts, public school desegregation, the Congress of Racial Equality, the 1963 March on City Hall, the many individuals who supported the movement, voter registration and education efforts and activism in the Desire neighborhood.
“We were fortunate for the opportunity to preserve the stories of so many leaders of the local Civil Rights Movement as part of our NOLA Resistance initiative,” said THNOC Curator/Historian Eric Seiferth. “We designed The Trail They Blazed as an extension of the oral history project, continuing to prioritize a collaborative process that has produced a richer exhibition focused on honoring the past and inspiring the next generation of civic leaders.”
Understanding how change happens – how it happened in the past and how to enact change today – can be difficult. The Trail They Blazed attempts to clarify the process of making change by breaking down historical examples from the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s to 1970s. The exhibition encourages younger visitors to think critically about how change happens and provides examples from this era to help create a roadmap for future activism.
“The Trail They Blazed makes the TEP Center the perfect setting for the debut of this important exhibition about the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement,” said Leona Tate, founder and executive director of the TEP Center. “We invite all New Orleanians to visit and learn about the pioneers who made history here and elsewhere throughout our community.”
The Trail They Blazed, which is included in the TEP Center’s $10 general-admission fee, will be accompanied by a website with NOLA Resistance initiative oral histories, videos and educational resources intended to expand the reach of the project to both exhibition visitors and researchers everywhere. The website will be a lasting resource about the history of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement.
“The Historic New Orleans Collection’s NOLA Resistance collaboration owes its existence to the work, knowledge and efforts of many people and organizations who supported and participated in its production,” says Daniel Hammer, THNOC president and CEO. “The Trail They Blazed is designed to travel locally, with a goal of reaching New Orleanians first and foremost. Expanding outwards to other interested sites across the state, region and farther afield could follow and would help shine a light on the important role New Orleanians took in the national Civil Rights Movement.”
The Trail They Blazed was produced with assistance from the African American Civil Rights grant program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
The TEP Center is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. To learn more about The Trail They Blazed and to access accompanying oral histories and educational materials, visit nolaresistance.hnoc.org.