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Oral History Recounts School Desegregation

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When Leona Tate approached McDonogh 19 on November 14, 1960, an angry crowd confronted her and the two other girls who would be the first African-American students to attend the New Orleans school.

In an oral history conducted by THNOC, Tate described how she felt as a small child thrust into a momentous historical event:

“ … The crowd was out there. It looked like Mardi Gras morning. Why was I going to school on a holiday? That’s really what I thought. I didn’t even pick up on everyone in the mob being white. It didn’t ring a bell at all.”

Eli A. Haddow, The Historic New Orleans Collection

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