Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS

Documents, maps, photographs, all pertaining to Northwest Louisiana. The vision of LSUS Archives and Special Collections is to be the instrument of regional historical and institutional memory, to be an active participant in furthering the institutional mission and knowledge of the history of northwest Louisiana and the Red River region, and to continuously provide unexpected learning opportunities for all constituencies of LSUS.

Mission: The mission of LSUS Archives and Special Collections is to collect, preserve, and make accessible to interested users and researchers the papers, records and other materials of persons, groups and organizations significant to the history of Northwest Louisiana and the Red River region, and to provide for the orderly retention and disposition of all University records.

Operating as usual

Shreveport has a long history of celebrating Labor Day with parades and festivities. On September 6, 1920, exactly 100 years ago, the city's labor unions staged one of the largest. Thirty-six local unions participated "in order that Shreveport's 50,000 people might have an opportunity to pay homage to organized labor."

Pictured on parade are the Association of Train Porters, Brakemen and Switchmen; Cooks & Waiters Local 669; Electrical Workers Union 194.

On September 6, 2020, we take an opportunity to celebrate labor and the many contributions unions have made to American society. Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day.

Between Covid-19 and political campaigns, it would be easy to overlook an important anniversary this week. Tomorrow, August 18, 1920, marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving American women the right to vote. Shreveport women were actively involved in the campaign for woman suffrage. “Votes for Women” was a common phrase around town and in the local newspapers. On August 13, 1920, The Times reported, “Mrs. Lydia Wickliffe Holmes, of New Orleans, who is on the battleground in Tennessee wired Mrs. John D. Wilkinson last night that ‘suffrage skies’ in Tennessee are right and the prospects are rosy for ratification. If Tennessee ratifies, Shreveport will know the news by the ringing of bells and screeching of sirens. Such is the arrangement which has been perfected by local advocates of ratification.”
The 19th Amendment was a starting point for African American women’s involvement in electoral politics in the years to come. Though often overlooked in the history of woman suffrage, Black women engaged in significant reform efforts and political activism leading to and following the ratification in 1920 of the 19th Amendment. This photo of a “Votes for Women” assembly in front of the Caddo Parish courthouse, depicts a celebration that included women and men, black and white. It was an important step toward achieving American democracy and American ideals.

Since about 1868 Shreveport and Caddo Parish have honored their war veterans. Originally called Decoration Day, the observance became known as Memorial Day in the 1880s, but it did not become a national holiday until 1971. By then, the United States had engaged in four more wars. On Memorial Day, 1953, the front page of the Shreveport Times featured veterans of those four wars who were patients at the new VA hospital in Shreveport, opened just three years earlier (1950).

Grouped around the flag, left to right, are: M. D. Cozine, Spanish-American War veteran; William A. Gordon, World War I; Jack N. Roberts, World War II, and Adolph Cody, Korean War. Photo by Bill Alexander

To all our veterans, then and now, thank you.

For all those of you missing the boys of summer, here's a short history of Shreveport baseball I put together a couple of years ago. It's part nostalgia and part cautionary tale.

Just for fun, here are a couple of the pictures that actually are of the car race.

Here's a challenge for you. I found these photos by J. Frank McAneny in a file labeled "Big Car Race October 1950." There were some pictures of open-wheel sprint cars racing in it. But these were also in the file, and they are obviously not pictures of a car race. Anyone know what this contraption might be?

Except for COVID-19, we would be winding up the 67th celebration of Holiday-in-Dixie tomorrow, April 19. One of the oldest festivals in the South, Holiday in Dixie celebrates the beginning of spring and the Louisiana Purchase. It began in 1949 and was an idea originated by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Its stated purpose was to publicize the Ark-La-Texas and to provide a spring festival of fun and entertainment. It was also intended to instill an awareness of the advantages of the community. Although it was originally planned around a flower theme, that theme was considered redundant, and a Confederate theme was chosen instead, commemorating the lowering of the last Confederate flag in Shreveport on May 26, 1865. A new theme was adopted in 1950 centering on the Louisiana Purchase. Over the years Holiday-in-Dixie has expanded to encompass much of the Ark-La-Tex area. The first festival was eight days with fourteen events; that has grown to ten days and more than sixty events. These photos were taken in the 1950s and 60s.

When our daily lives have been disrupted as they have been by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's easy to feel as if we're uniquely affected. In some ways, that may be true, but when we take a look back at Louisiana and Shreveport during the 20th century Spanish flu pandemic of 100 years ago, we realize that despite the passage of time and our advanced technological capabilities, we're not as unique as it seems. This report from the Shreveport Times of September 29, 1918, about the Red Cross response to Spanish Flu sounds quite familiar.

Throughout history crises such as epidemics bring out the best and the worst in humanity. There have always been some who sought to profit from crises. In the vanguard have been peddlers of miracle cures. Here is an ad from "The Shreveport Times," 20 September 1873.

Shreveport, the place we call home, has seen its share of epidemics. In the 19th century, they were perennial--Cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, even flu were common--but certainly the best known is the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1873. Then, as now, Shreveport rose to the challenge as noted in this brief comment from the "Memphis Appeal" newspaper in support of its fellow journalists at "The Shreveport Times."

As Women's History month winds down, we remember the Hormel Girls who marched down Texas Street and up Milam Street in Shreveport on an October afternoon in 1948. This drum and bugle corps was part of an all-woman orchestra and chorus made up of former WACS, WAVS, SPARS, and Marines. Most of the 65 women were members of American Legion Post 570 of Austin, Minnesota. In May 1950,a new musical program, "Music with the Hormel Girls", debuted over CBS-KWKH radio in Shreveport.

Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, a beloved celebration in Catholic Louisiana, the Feast of St. Joseph which fell on March 19 this year, was cancelled. Small consolation, but we thought you might enjoy the Gullo family St. Joseph's altar from 1950. Gullo's produce and grocery business has been a Shreveport institution for more than half a century. Leo and Sarah Gullo are obviously proud of their St. Joseph's altar in this picture.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic, a beloved celebration in Catholic Louisiana, the Feast of St. Joseph which fell on March 19 this year, was cancelled. Small consolation, but we thought you might enjoy the Gullo family St. Joseph's altar from 1950. Gullo's produce and grocery business has been a Shreveport institution for more than half a century. Leo and Sarah Gullo are obviously proud of their St. Joseph's altar in this picture.

[03/21/20]   The mission of Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS is to document the history of the Ark-La-Tex. As part of that mission we would like to collect the personal experiences and reflections of people in our region during this historic pandemic. What are you doing to cope? What are your thoughts, hopes, fears, and frustrations? Please send them to us by email at [email protected].

[03/17/20]   Dear patrons, students, and researchers,

As of 4:30 p.m. today, the Noel Memorial Library and the Northwest Louisiana Archives will be closed until April the 13th in coordination with the LSU University system's Covid-19 policy.

While we will not be at the office, we may still be reached at our official email. You may also reach out to us here at our Facebook account as we will be checking in (and maybe posting some interesting things along the way!)

Until the stacks reopen, take care of yourselves and be kind to one another.

Scott Weightman and White Resistance Movements in Northwest Louisiana

The Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS is officially publishing the first episode of our developing podcast "Secrets in the Stacks" where we interview visiting and local researchers regarding their work in regional history.

In this debut episode of "Secrets in the Stacks", Head Archivist Laura L. McLemore, Ph.D. CA, interviews Scott Weightman who visited from the United Kingdom in August of 2018. Weightman, a Ph.D. candidate in history and American studies at the University of Leicester, was a guest on behalf of the Northwest Louisiana Archives, the LSUS Foundation, and the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership researching topics related to the white resistance movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s in response to the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision and the greater Civil Rights movement at large.

Weightman specifically examines the impact of Louisiana citizens such as Ned Touchstone and William Rainach and their strategic and sophisticated use of publications such as “The Councilor” and groups such as the White Citizens’ Council movement to influence national politics and the rifts in those organizations as their narratives began to shift from states’ rights and constitutional government to overt racism and white supremacy.

Since 2018, Scott Weightman has entered the final stages of his Ph.D. program and will soon have his work on white resistance media strategies and political movements published through the University of Leicester.

Look forward to more episodes in April from local researchers in Northwest Louisiana!

#SecretsInTheStacks In this debut episode, Archivist Laura McLemore, interviews Scott Weightman, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leicester. In August of 2018, he was a guest on behalf of the LSUS Foundation and the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. His research details white resistance of the 1950.....

City of Shreveport Government

Did you know that William Hines was Shreveport's 1st African American Police Officer?

William grew up on a plantation in a house with no glass windows, a tin roof and pine floor. He went to Missionary Rosenwald School, where teachers often dismissed classes at noon in fall so children could help pick cotton. He reports he could pick 400 pounds of cotton a day, earning 50 cents per one hundred pounds. On the farm, he says, "you worked from can until can't."

William was drafted into the U.S. Army William and was sent to Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas, for basic training on November 2, 1950. His platoon was integrated, and there was "lots of tension; lots of fights," he recalls. Trained on the machine gun, he was sent to Korea in April of 1951, where he was placed in the 8th Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He earned four Battle Stars and was a Corporal when his unit was replaced and sent to Japan on December 29, 1952.

In 1954 he joined the Shreveport Police Force as the city's first African American Policeman. He walked his beat for four years in African-American sections of town before he and another African American patrolman, Joe Johnson, were given a patrol car. Unable to join the Fraternal Order of Police William formed the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association in 1956. In 1973 he brought a class action suit against the Department to force it to promote more African American Officers and allow them to work in more areas of the Department and the City. He also petitioned the Governor to hire the first African American Sate Trooper in North Louisiana. William retired from the Police Force in 1975 and passed away May 21, 2014.

#WilliamHines #aShreveportFirst #LoveShreveport

***Info courtesy of The R. W. Norton Art Gallery***

Originally opened in 1923 along the 1000 block of Texas Avenue, the Freeman and Harris Cafe was known as the most integrated restaurant in Shreveport throughout the Civil Rights era.

The second location, pictured here, resided at 317 Western Avenue (now Pete Harris Drive) and was host to both Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy who enjoyed the "relaxed atmosphere" during their visits to Shreveport.

This photo is from the Ledbetter Heights Materials taken between 1978-1986 (Collection 543.)


Today the Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS joins the city in remembrance of 75-year-old Shreveport educator, historian, and author Professor Willie Dennis Burton, Jr. As a lifelong resident of Shreveport, he served as representative of District 3 on the Caddo Parish School Board for just over two decades and as Chairman of the Social Sciences Department and professor of history at Southern University at Shreveport, LA over a decorated 44-year-long career. As an author and historian, Professor Burton published “On the Black Side of Shreveport” in 1983 and “The Blacker the Berry: A Black History of Shreveport” in 2002, where he explored the challenges and triumphs of Black Shreveport through collected research and oral histories.

Funeral Services for Professor Burton will be held at 1:00 p.m. today at Booker T. Washington High School (Shreveport, Louisiana) located at 2104 Milam Street.

Tomorrow morning between 11:00 and 1:00 p.m., the Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS will be participating in the Noel Collection's monthly "Pressed and Published" pop-up exhibit at the University Center on the LSU Shreveport Campus.

Our graduate assistant will be in attendance sharing works by Preston "Pap" Dean, the cartoonist for the The Shreveport Times for 41 years (1938-1979.) Come by and take a look at a curated selection of reprints and original artworks from the Dean collection.

Time may have march on since the days of Pap Dean's cartoons, but many of the themes have unquestionably remained the same.


Today we at the Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS observe the passing of Shreveport businessman and philanthropist O. Delton Harrison Jr. at age 88.

Described in a 1975 interview with Shreveport Magazine as the "Advocate of Downtown & Patron of the Arts", Delton Harrison was both a public and private supporters of the arts and culture in Shreveport, Louisiana for over half a century. Harrison's active influence into Shreveport's Arts community saw him as the organizational president for the Shreveport Opera between 1960-1962, the president of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council beginning in 1992, and a board member of the Shreveport Little Theatre since 1967. Harrison was also a founding contributor to the Red River Revel arts festival as well as the Shreveport Art Guild. In 1997, he was awarded the "Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year" award by the North Louisiana chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives and in the year 2000 was named the "Arts Patron of the Year" by the Louisiana State Arts Council under Governor Mike Foster.

In honor of his passing, we remember his decades of hard work, encouragement, and unparalleled contributions as an integral part of the city of Shreveport and share in his vision of a bright and ever-expanding horizon for our community's future.

In our continued observance of National Veterans and Military Families Month, today the Northwest Louisiana Archives at LSUS would like to share the collection of renowned local photographer and military veteran Thomas “Jack” Barham.

During World War II, Barham served with the U.S. Coast Guard as a combat photographer during the Battle of Okinawa and then later served with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve during the Korean War.

Upon returning from service in World War II, Jack Barham would quickly gain employment with local newspaper The Shreveport Journal as a photographer and lead photo editor for nearly half a century until the paper closed in 1991. During that time, Barham became nationally recognized for his coverage of current events both foreign and domestic and built a reputation as a portrait photographer which lead to personal friendships with the likes of ELVIS PRESLEY, Bob Hope, and JOHN WAYNE.

Today we are sharing a few items from the immense Jack Barham negatives collection as our last post for National Veterans and Military Families Month: a picture of Jack during his time with the U.S. Marine Corps reserves and photographs he took in August of 1950 when U.S. Marines departed for the Korean War.


More information about the Jack Barham collection, one of our largest photographic collections, can be found at the following permalink:

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Noel Memorial Library, Louisiana State University In Shreveport, One University Pl
Shreveport, LA

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 16:30
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