by Jasmaine Talley
As part of our blog series, “A Range of Experiences: Documenting African American Women’s History and Achievements,” we highlight the work of Mrs. Sybil Morial. Her papers give us a look at her life, family and the many political, educational, religious and civic organizations in which she was involved. The collection contains correspondence, articles, speeches, organization materials, ephemera and photographs. Among these papers is documentation of the Louisiana League of Good Government.
In her memoir, Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment, Mrs. Morial discussed how she founded the Louisiana League of Good Government (LLOGG) when she couldn’t join the League of Women Voters due to Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation. The LLOGG was a nonprofit created to help African Americans overcome deterrents to voting such as literacy tests. Even after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which struck down such barriers to voting, the organization continued its efforts to promote good government “through an informed and participating citizenry,” and to encourage people to register to vote, as stated in the organization’s by-laws.
While processing Mrs. Morial’s papers during the tumultuous 2020 election year, one of the things that struck me was that the fight lives on regarding issues such as civil rights and voting rights. Mrs. Morial’s grassroots efforts to help African Americans exercise their right to vote continue to resonate.
Though it may sound cliché, it is still important to remember what happened in the past so that we have a better context for current events, particularly around voter suppression and efforts to overcome it.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MH-245560-OMS-20]. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog post do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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