This project chronicles the black labor movement in New Orleans (named earlier as Bvlbancha). We start the timeline in the reality of a slave-based society and move through the decades to arrive at today's neoliberal capitalist order of a low-wage and fractured workforce. Building resistance through organizing for people power was as necessary then as it is now. Here you will find stories and information about the Black Workers' Movement, grounded in this place.
We welcome your feedback and experiences to continue to interrogate our history.
The New Orleans Black-led Labor History Timeline was developed through a collaboration between Stand with Dignity, a branch of the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, and Tulane University students beginning in 2014. Stand organizers Colette Tippy, Alfred Marshall, and Toya Ex Lewis partnered with Prof. Sarah Fouts and her courses (through the Center for Public Service and Stone Center) at Tulane. Stand members and students conducted archival research at the Amistad Research Center and Tulane's Howard-Tilton Library. Additionally, Stand members documented oral histories with labor organizers across the city.
Stand with Dignity launched the project on Juneteenth 2016 through a teach-in at the McKenna Museum of African American Art. In the fall of 2019, a group of organizers and an inter-institutional collaboration of faculty at University of New Orleans (UNO), Tulane, and University Maryland-Baltimore County joined forces to further expand the timeline. Research was developed by Prof. Molly Mitchell’s public history students at UNO, Prof. Jana Lipman’s students at Tulane, and Jesse Chanin (City, Culture, and Community Program) at Tulane.
Plans for a physical public exhibition were postponed due to the pandemic. However, efforts to restart an exhibition branch of the project are underway.
Review the timeline from 1811 to the PRESENT to learn more about the gains won and challenges faced throughout the course of the Black Workers Labor Movement in New Orleans. We will continue adding events as we research them and as we organize.
Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans at full force on August 29, 2005. The injustices black and brown workers faced in its aftermath sparked the Workers Center and its three member-led groups: Congreso de Trabajadores, STAND with Dignity, and Alliance of Guestworkers for Dignity