Prof. Moore's new book examines police brutality, African American activism in New Orleans
With its French, Spanish and Creole influences, New Orleans has the oldest black urban community of any city in the country.
Posted: February 23, 2010
Leonard N. Moore
It also has a shocking history of police brutality that is told in Black Rage in New Orleans: Police Brutality and African American Activism from World War II to Hurricane Katrina, a new book by Leonard N. Moore, associate professor of history and assistant vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.
Moore’s book, which will be released by LSU Press in April, recounts the history of police brutality in the Crescent City along with the energetic opposition waged by blacks.
Although incidents of police brutality were recorded more than 50 years before WWII, Moore chose to begin his study with the war because it was a time when many African Americans moved to the city to get jobs.
Drawing on police records, records from civil rights organizations, oral histories and newspaper accounts, Moore details the problems with an underpaid, understaffed, undereducated police force that had an unwritten mandate to “keep black folks in line.”
In the early 1950s, New Orleans began hiring more African American policemen. However, Moore said these men weren’t allowed to wear uniforms or arrest white people. If an incident arose, they would have to borrow a phone and telephone a white officer to come and deal with whatever situation was at hand.