Will James, executive director of the North Louisiana Civil Rights Coalition (NLCRC), will deliver a lecture on the legacy of lynching as part of Centenary’s Black History Month programming in February. The lecture will be held Tuesday, February 19, at 6:00 p.m. in Centenary’s Kilpatrick Auditorium (event link). The event is free and open to the public.
James grew up in Shreveport in the Ledbetter Heights/St. Paul’s Bottoms/downtown area. After a career as an electrical engineer and United States Army soldier, he returned to his hometown to research the history of his childhood neighborhood as well as the bloody legacy of Caddo Parish’s role in the history of lynching in the United States. James is also a member of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an organization dedicated to challenging racial and economic injustices that helps to protect basic human rights for the most vulnerable members of society.
As executive director of the NLCRC, James directs the organization’s work to provide educational research and a collection of local civil rights data to schools and higher education institutions, non-profit groups, and churches. Eventually, the historical resources will be housed in Shreveport’s first Civil Rights Museum. The museum will include exhibits dedicated to the victims of lynching in Caddo Parish, and to their surviving family members. The research from Caddo Parish will also be linked to the Equal Justice Initiative’s lynching memorial database.
James’s lecture at Centenary presents several disparate but intersecting stories to spark a conversation about the impact of lynching on a national scale and how such atrocities are connected to Shreveport. The event is co-sponsored by the Centenary Department of Philosophy, the Centenary Diversity Committee, and the YWCA of Northwest Louisiana.