Dr. Antoinette Harrell is a genealogist, historian, producer of the genealogical television program Nurturing Our Roots, and author of several books. Presently she is preserving the oral histories and images of the culture, schools, churches, businesses, and civic organizations of prominent and influential African-American families and leaders of Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes in Louisiana. Her collections can be found at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies and the Amistad Research Center.
To be posted when available.
African Americans in Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes
Tangipahoa and St. Helena are two of the eight Florida Parishes in southeast Louisiana. In 1810, St. Helena Parish was founded, and Tangipahoa Parish followed in 1869. The historic St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, public school desegregation case predated the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Many families in the two parishes are the descendants of former slaves. They endured the harsh treatment of Jim Crow and segregation while remaining connected to the Florida Parishes. Notable Grammy-winning singer Irma Thomas and Collis Temple Jr., the first African American to play varsity basketball at Louisiana State University, call these parishes home. Many African Americans in the parishes are successful and are still working to improve race relations.
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