Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Winter newsletter

Our winter newsletter is here! Follow the link to see what we've been up to over the past several months.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

History Center Open House

Join us at the History Center for our annual holiday open house! You'll be in for a special musical treat, as well.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Shreveport's Historic Oakland Cemetery

We are excited that some of our most engaging speakers, Dr. Gary Joiner and Dr. Cheryl White, will be at the History Center on Sunday, November 15 at 3 pm to present and sign their new book profiling Northwest Louisiana's early heroes and pioneers buried in Shreveport’s historic Oakland Cemetery. The book's stories evoke lives that were boldly lived in the nascent city of Shreveport and beyond. 

Free (always) and no preregistration required.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Local History Authors Book Signing

Participants and their books:
Most books  available for sale at the event or bring your own copy for signing
· Kevin Jones, author of the just-released Arcadia Press Images of America Series: Bossier City

· Shawn Bohannon coauthor of Arcadia Press Images of America: Barksdale Air Force Base; Forgotten Eagle: A Biography of Brigadier General Arthur B. McDaniel 

· John Andrew Prime co-author of Arcadia Press Images of America: Barksdale Air Force Base and contributor to Shreveport Sounds in Black and White

· Kathryn DeFatta-Barattini I Live in Shreveport-Bossier! by Louise E. Ana, Ladybug; Shreveport Bossier Alphabet and more

· Dr. Roy Phillips Exodus from the Door of No Return

Not confirmed at this time: Bertha Harris, author of The Courage to Rise Again
Copies of The Late Col. Neill A. Yarborough’s book History of Bossier City, Louisiana from the Early Years 1833-2006 will be available for sale

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bossier Bios: Lambert W. Baker

Lambert William Baker was born in North Carolina in 1818. In 1844, he married Martha Allen in Walker County, Alabama. Their first daughter, Theodocia, and only son, Percy, were both born in Jasper, AL. By 1849, the family had moved to Minden, LA, where they had four more daughters: Josephine, Alza Dora, Elizena, and Martha Cassandra. Their last child, Maniza Louisa, was born in Bossier Parish in 1860. Lambert, a republican, was elected as Bossier Parish judge in 1868 with 945 votes. He was re-elected in both 1870 and 1872. Richard Welcome Turner defeated Baker in the district judge election of 1876.

As a republican in Reconstruction-era Louisiana, Baker was known as a “scalawag” by the democratic majority of Bossier Parish. The term was mainly used in a derogatory fashion to refer to white republican Southerners who sided with Reconstructionist policies after the Civil War. Baker writes to Governor Warmoth in July of 1868, “I have not been molested, but hear threats of assassination in every direction and it seems to aggravate them that I treat such talk as a joke. My son [Percy] was assaulted on the 26th instant by a squad of cut-throats, with whom he was unacquainted, in the presence of Mr. Hill, sheriff of the parish, but he did not intercede to protect the life of a republican (of course not).” At the time of these threats, Baker’s seven children still lived with him at home. Maniza, the youngest, would have been about 8 years old. Sheriff Hill, who would go on to become US Marshal of Louisiana, wrote a letter to The Bossier Banner editor, William Scanland, proclaiming the account a falsehood. The Congressional review into the Presidential Election Investigation of 1878-79 mentions that Hill was one of the leaders during the Bossier Riots of 1868.

Baker’s political career came at a tumultuous and dangerous time in Bossier Parish. In 1868, an event known by several names (Shady Grove Riot, Bossier Riot, Bossier Massacre, and Gibson’s War) occurred in the parish. While the exact number of victims is not known, it is thought that around 200 black citizens of Bossier Parish were murdered and possibly another 100 wounded. Baker’s accounts of this time are recorded in the Session of the 44th Congress, known as “Use of the Army in Certain Southern States”.

“Bossier, This parish...has had enacted within its borders during the last six years some of the most atrocious murders ever put upon record by the historian's pen. As no language of mine can add to the extracts taken from official records and personal experiences hereinafter set forth, I shall simply give the statistics as I have been able to collect them, with the remark that, in my opinion, the "Bossier negro-hunt" or massacre, during the month of September, 1868, was, without exception, the most thoroughly wanton, unjustifiable, and in every respect uncalled-for slaughter of innocent and unoffending people, solely on account of their color and political sentiments, that ever occurred among civilized people.
"I have often conversed with men who took an active part in what is known as the Bossier Riot of 1868, and who participated at different places, and they place the number killed at from two to three hundred. Some say more than three hundred. Of that number two were white men and the balance were negroes. No prosecutions were had for that riot.”

Baker and his son Percy both went to the polls with their shot-guns in their hands, as they cast the only two votes for the Louisiana Constitution of 1868 in Bossier Parish. The Bossier Banner newspaper published an article noting that “only two white men in Bossier parish voted for the mongrel Constitution!...Who are the men of nerve among you?...Who are the two greatest skunks in Bossier!” At the time, Percy was a state representative from the parish, but this position offered him no protection. Both father and son report that election fraud was rampant in the 1872 election, and “wholesale intimidation was practiced throughout the parish. Terrible threats were made to revive the fearful election massacre of four years ago [a reference to the Bossier Riots], at which several hundred colored men were killed…A body of Ku-Klux, commissioned as constables, did the work.” Lambert writes to republican politician Stephen B. Packard that armed guards in Bossier Parish are well-known as members of the KKK, and claim not to be White-Leaguers, preferring to call themselves ‘Governor McEnery’s militia’.

In September of 1874, Baker wrote to Packard again and described a threat leveled against him by a White League committee. Baker was told to cease to act as parish judge and United States commissioner and ordered not to make any report of this threat under any circumstances. He was told that disobedience would result in his inability to leave the state and that he “could not live here twenty-four hours.” Baker told Packard that armed White Leaguers held the courthouse and had all elected officials under surveillance. The scope of the situation is not readily available as “outrages are daily committed but not reported by the papers. Anarchy prevails.” The newspaper that fails to report these outrages must be The Bossier Banner.

There is evidence that Baker’s political ideals made even small matters difficult within the parish. In 1875, he applied with the Police Jury to change the Bellevue and Fillmore road in front of his residence. The jurors rejected his application on the grounds that it would lengthen the road. Sheriff W.H. Hill, the same man who failed to intervene during the attack on Percy, submitted the report and reason for rejection.

Baker and his family continued to live in Bossier Parish. Lambert Baker died in 1902 and is buried in the Bellevue Cemetery. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Panel Discussion on how local institutions will preserve the stories of the Civil Rights movement

FREE and open to the public
This event- on Sat. May 30-was inspired when I was looking to do some oral history interviews related to Bossier's school integration case and another Civil Rights trailblazer with Bossier Parish ties and found out they had already passed.

Participants and the institutions they are representing:
Moderator: Dr. Michael Hicks, Jarvis Christian College and Executive Director of the North La. Civil Rights Coalition
Dr. Laura McLemore, Archivist: Noel Memorial Library Archives and Special Collections, LSU-Shreveport
Ashley Hazelton: Oral History Project at R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Deborah Allen: North Louisiana Civil Rights Coalition 
Brian McNew, McNew Architecture, North Louisiana Civil Rights Museum
Pam Carlisle History and Outreach, Bossier Parish Library Historical Center
Dr. Orella Brazile, founder and Library Director, Black Ethnic Archives at Southern University – Shreveport

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bossier Bios: Dr. S.E. Prince

Dr. Shea Edward Prince was born in the Bossier Parish town of Princeton (yes, named for his family!) on August 8, 1869. He was the son of Joseph Wilson Prince and Virginia Alice Locke Prince. He went to school in Bossier Parish and was a resident student at the Shreveport Charity Hospital in the early 1890s, where he worked with Superintendent Dr. T.E. Schumpert. He continued his education at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated in 1896. He returned to Northwest Louisiana and married Pauline Trigg in March of 1899. Prince’s marriage announcement in the Bossier Banner notes that he is a prominent and popular young physician. He practiced medicine in Bossier, Webster, Ouachita, Caddo, and Sabine Parishes. During World War I, Prince was medical examiner for the Bossier Parish draft board. Shea and Pauline had three daughters: Emmaleen Virginia, Helen Beverly, and Hallula Sue.  

In addition to his medical practice, Prince was very involved in the banking industry. He organized and served as president at the Noble State Bank in Sabine Parish. He founded the Bossier State Bank and was also president of the Plain Dealing State bank. On February 6, 1941, Prince had been at the Bossier State Bank as usual, and then spent the evening with his family at his home in Shreveport. He suffered a heart attack later that night and passed away. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Exodus from the Door of No Return

Black History Month event at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. Dr. Phillips has an amazing story to tell. You won't be disappointed if you come hear his talk. And family history researchers, if you want some insights on moving through some research challenges, this talk is for you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bossier History: Tornado Strikes Princeton in 1957

The January 24, 1957 issue of The Bossier Banner-Progress reported on a tornado that struck Princeton.

“Three persons were killed and nine injured in a tornado which struck in a farming community of Princeton Tuesday morning at 11 o’clock.”
“All of the dead were Negroes and were dead on arrival at hospitals in Shreveport.”
“The dead were Allison Law, 66, and his wife Mary Ann Law, 68, and Ruth Bradford, 6 year old Negro baby.”
“The injured hospitalized were all Negroes of Princeton.  They were Barbara Stinson, 8, fractured hip, condition serious; David Washington, 60, fractured hip, condition serious, Charles Bradford, 4, possible head injuries, condition fair; Bernice Bradford, 26, mother of the dead baby, head injuries, condition fair.”
“Eddie Brutus, 56, back injury, condition undetermined, Josephine Johnson, 64, lacerations, given emergency treatment and discharged; Gusspie Platt, 45, head laceration, not serious; Vernon Lee Woods, five, head injury, condition satisfactory.”
“J. J. Thomas, white, of Princeton, suffered minor injuries but was treated by a physician and not hospitalized.”
“The dead and injured were all rushed by ambulance to Confederate Memorial Hospital with the exception of the Woods baby, who was hospitalized at Minden, and Thomas.”
“The storm struck with fury and during a heavy downpour of rain several homes were destroyed and the twister narrowly missed the Princeton school which has 800 students in elementary and high school grades.  Had it struck this building the damage might have been enormous.”

This Louisiana State Trooper holds a kitten, the only survivor from the Law household.  Photograph courtesy of LSU-Shreveport Archives and Special Collections, Noel Memorial Library, Henry Langston McEachern collection. Please do not reproduce image without permission.