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'I Was Ready': Jean Thompson's Civil Rights Story

The Historic New Orleans Collection

In 1960, the same year Ruby Bridges and other school children desegregated New Orleans schools, a group of high school students were learning to fight for civil rights. Jean Thompson was one of them. As a high school senior, she joined the NAACP Youth Council and CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality. In this edition of NOLA Life Stories, the Historic New Orleans Collection’s first-person narrative series, Mrs. Thompson remembers how she joined the frontlines of the civil rights movement.

Sarah Holtz covers local history. Her work has also aired on Houston Public Media, Northern California Public Media, KFAI, KTOO, KUNM, WCAI, WGBH, and WWOZ.
Mark Cave is an oral historian and senior curator at the Historic New Orleans Collection.