Baton Rouge is being recognized by the Toni Morrison Society for its important role in the Civil Rights Movement with the 1953 bus boycott, which served as a precursor to the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The Louisiana capital will be the 18th city to participate in the society’s “Bench by the Road Project.” It joins the ranks of Paris and Atlanta for having a historic role in advancing African-American rights.
A bench with a commemorative plaque will be placed at the McKinley High School Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive. McKinley High was the first high school for black students in Baton Rouge.
“Too few people are aware of the role that the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott played in the Civil Rights Movement. The bravery and courage of the residents of Baton Rouge changed public policies, hearts and minds. The Toni Morrison Society’s Bench by the Road Project provides opportunities for local communities, states, nations and the global community to engage in moments of reflection that connect our collective pasts with our shared destinies,” said Lori Latrice Martin, LSU associate professor in the Sociology and African and African American Studies departments, who helped lead the effort to receive the society’s recognition.
A series of events held at Carver Library, 720 Terrance St., will be held leading up to the bench’s unveiling. On Nov. 21, LSU sociology professor Thomas Durant will give a book talk, and on Dec. 19, the film “Troubled Waters” will be screened. On Jan. 16, the film “Sign Post to Freedom: 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott” will be shown. All of the events kick off at 9 a.m.
The bench will officially be unveiled Feb. 6. The bus bench was purchased from donations by MetroMorphosis and Aetna.