Civil Rights in Shrevport
Reverend E.E. Jones and his family held pivotal roles in the civil rights movement in Shreveport. Jones and his group of activists filed a lawsuit to integrate caddo schools. After it had passed, his children became the first few to attend the integrated school. The actions of mr E.E Jones opened up doors for other African Americans in the area, allowing many other children to go to school. The granddaughter of Reverend E.E. Jones helped on the campaign to elect Cedric Glover, Shreveport's first black mayor. The family through each generation worked for Civil Rights, each contributing. Reverend E.E Jones believes that racism is slowly dying out thanks the actions of his generation.
Reverend C.E. McLain's father was the pastor at Union Baptist Church when Dr. Martin Luther King visited in 1962. Due to his visit, McLain's family was the target of many racist threats. Their house was watched and they were often scared to leave it. Before MLK came, their church had been the host of many civil rights organizations and received a few minor threats, but after MLK's visit, they became the target of many major threats. C.E. McLain believes that the church is the main institution in the area of equality and, although many advancements in equality took place outside the church, that it still plays a vital role today.
Doctor C.O Simpkins was a dentist who played a large role in registering black voters and making the school system equal, working closely with Dr Martin Luther King. He helped organize the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He said voter registration was hard because there was always a question that had to be answered that caused many to fail the registration test. He was the first black man to run for public office, namely the Caddo Parish School board. He received just as many white votes as black votes proving that even a mostly segregationalist white community would vote for a black person if he was qualified. He received many death threats, enough to the point that it forced him to flee Shreveport. He left and practiced dentistry in New York City, and after 26 years, returned to Shrevport. He later was elected to the state House of Representatives. He says some of his proudest moments were having Cedric Glover elected as mayor and Barrack Obama elected as President.
Willie Burton was a college student in the 1960's during the height of the Civil Rights movement. He is now the Caddo Parish School Board President. He recalls Project C, the "beginning of the black revolution, 1963". It took place in Birmingham...