Journey for Justice: The A.P. Tureaud Story »»»Published: February 28, 2009

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  • In this age of civil rights we got where we are today by the efforts and dedication of men like A.P. Tureaud.

"A.P. Tureaud was a great man. The Lord put you here on earth for three things: to work for God, to work for your family, and to work for your people. And A.P. Tureaud was a master of all three. That man's courage was unbelievable. In this age of civil rights we got where we are today by the efforts and dedication of men like A.P. Tureaud."
- Thurgood Marshall

A.P. Tureaud was born less than 40 years after the end of slavery and just three years after the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court established the "separate but equal" doctrine of legalized racial segregation. Tureaud lived under Jim Crow laws, the most severe implementation of racial separateness, and worked to see these laws abolished.

A 1925 graduate of the Howard University Law School, Tureaud was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1927 and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court in 1935.

As the local attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and intimate of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Tureaud handled practically all the desegregation and other civil rights cases filed in Louisiana from the early 1940s through the 1960s. Among the many civil rights cases, Tureaud successfully obtained equal pay for Louisiana's black teachers and the admission of qualified students -- regardless of color -- to state-supported professional, graduate and undergraduate schools. He fought to end segregation on city buses in Louisiana, and he successfully defended one of the first sit-in cases to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tureaud died January 22, 1972, after a lengthy battle with cancer.




Journey for Justice: The A.P. Tureaud Story is a 60-minute documentary on the life and works of the late New Orleans civil rights attorney, Alexander Pierre Tureaud, Sr. As the local attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., Tureaud handled practically all the desegregation and other civil rights cases filed in Louisiana from the early 1940s through the 1960s, including suits filed to allow black students to attend Louisiana State University. The documentary includes sequences about his cases to equalize teacher salaries, to loosen restrictions on voter registration, and to desegregate state public universities and New Orleans public schools.
Other segments of the documentary explore Tureaud's educational background, his experience with harassment and threats on his life, and his struggle to maintain a legal practice and support a family.

The documentary features interviews with Tureaud family members and key national and local leaders who knew Tureaud, such as U.S. district judges Constance Baker Motley and Robert Carter; former S.U. Law School dean Louis Berry; Sybil Morial, wife of the late New Orleans mayor Ernest Morial; Archbishop Phillip Hannan, and retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Revius Ortique. Rare audio of Tureaud discussing his activities in the civil rights movement is also presented.

The documentary was produced by Rachel L. Emanuel, and written by Emanuel and Denise Barkis-Richter. Edward Dodd was director of photography and off-line editor, and Sailor Jackson was chief camera operator. Original music was composed and performed by Alvin Batiste. The program was narrated by Clyde Robertson. The program is sponsored by the A.P. Tureaud Chapter of the LSU Alumni Foundation and was funded in part by grants from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Louisiana Bar Foundation's Interest on Lawyers' Trust Account Fund (IOLTA).


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