In the Spring of 1944, the town of New Iberia, Louisiana, threatened, beat, and expelled key leaders of the town’s black community – leaders who had recently formed a new NAACP branch and were in danger of getting, by some accounts, the “upper hand.” Among the expelled were the town’s only black physicians, and their removal left the town without a black doctor – or strong black community leadership – until the Civil Rights Movement.
A weekend of remembrance and storytelling was organized by Dr. Phoebe Hayes, founder of the Iberia African American Historical Society and funded by a 2019 Rebirth Grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Louisiana’s Poet Laureate, John Warner Smith, wrote a poem “Sermon of the Dreamers,” in memory of the expelled doctors, and debuted it live at the event. Louisiana civil rights historian Adam Fairclough spoke and Louisiana artist Paul Shexnayder unveiled a painting he created for the commemoration. And more than a dozen descendants of the expelled leaders told stories and shared memories about their ancestors.
Southern Hollows producer Stinson Liles traveled to New Iberia in November 2019 for the 75th Anniversary Memorial of the events. They recorded a live episode as part of this historic event. SEE AND HEAR ALL THE DETAILS OF THIS REMARKABLE EVENT