New Orleans School Desegregation

New Orleans school desegregation was a 1960 crisis over desegregation in schools located in New Orleans. Desegregation was a policy that introduced black students into all-white schools, as ordered by the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, in which the Court ruled racial segregation of public schools to be unconstitutional. There had been significant backlash from white New Orleans residents towards desegregating, and the New Orleans school board tried everything they could to postpone the mandatory desegregation from the federal government.

By the end of the day on November 14, 1960, there were few white children left at McDonogh No. 19 and William Frantz Elementary schools. A white boycott  occurred at both schools.


On the second day of the boycott, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34-year-old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his 5-year-old daughter Pam through the angry mob. A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children.

Three 6-year-old girls Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost & Gail Etienne who became well known as the McDonogh Three attended the previously all-white school McDonogh No. 19 and Ruby Bridges attended William Frantz Elementary School. All four girls faced public humiliation, taunts, and racial slurs as they walked to school daily. A race riot broke out on November 16, 1960 in front of the Orleans Parish school board meeting.


There were numerous death threats against the black children and the presence of United States Marshals was required for Leona Tate, Ruby Bridges, Tessie Prevost and Gail Etienne for their attendance at McDonogh No. 19 and William Frantz Elementary. It took ten more years for the New Orleans public schools to fully integrate. In September 1962, the Catholic Schools of Orleans Parish were also integrated.