Tulane School of Architecture faculty Laura Blokker, Interim Director and Lecturer of Preservation Studies, and Andrew Liles, AIA, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture, recently received a national grant to preserve the legacy of mid-century, African-American schools in Louisiana.
Website AfricanAmericanHighSchoolsInLouisianaBefore1970.com was founded by Dr. Russell R. Hill, Mr. Ken Groomes, and associates. When a mutual friend, Dr. Kirk Clayton, was inducted into the New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, they all began to think about the other African-American athletes that matriculated through Louisiana’s once segregated schools. Although unable to locate a primary data source to include the name of each student whose school experience was largely shaped by the Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Organization, they were successful in getting a list of schools. From there, the group built an online directory of Louisiana’s once segregated Louisiana high schools.
According to architecture.tulane.edu, Blokker and Liles will “build off of an existing online map of historic schools to locate extant mid-century buildings and document them.” They will select two schools to create example visioning plans, including a “survey of existing buildings and concepts for reuse, recommendations for material and future preservation and design interventions.” Each stakeholder will receive a graphic and textual handbook of recommendations.
Visit the Louisiana African-American High Schools website. You will find that the site’s organizers have already collected, produced, and published resources to preserve and contextualize this underrepresented piece of Louisiana history. In the architecture.tulane.edu feature, Blokker states that she understands the community’s desire to “celebrate the legacy of generations of African American educators, leaders, and communities who nurtured these learning environments and sprung from them.”
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