The 2020 Baton Rouge Black History Month shirt features:
Robert-Joseph was an American community activist and founder of the Baton Rouge Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African- American History. She was also the founder of the nonprofit, Community Against Drugs and Violence. Robert-Joseph organized the city's annual "Juneteenth Celebration."
Dr. Louis James
Dr. James was the first African American to sit on the Executive Board of the Baton Rouge General Hospital, the first African American Chief Deputy Coroner of East Baton Rouge Parish working closely with Dr. Hypolite Landry. Dr. James was very involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Baton Rouge participating in both the Bus Boycott of 1953 and the Kress Lunch Counter Protests of 1960. He graduated from McKinley High School, Southern University and Howard School of Medicine.
Rev. Betty Claiborne
Rev. Claiborne was a beloved Baton Rouge civil rights leader. At the age of 20-years-old, Claiborne, her sister and two others attempted to integrate City Park pool, a segregated pool that was a social hub at the time, according to NPR. She was stopped by police before she could enter the pool and the police claimed the women got into an altercation with them. Claiborne was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Claiborne took the case to the Supreme court, finding out that the segregation of recreational facilities is unconstitutional. The simple battery charge remained on her record until 2005 when former Governor Kathleen Blanco pardoned her during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.
Rev. T.J. Jemison
Theodore Judson Jemison was the president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. from 1982 to 1994. It is the largest African-American religious organization. He oversaw the construction of the Baptist World Center in Nashville, Tennessee, the headquarters of his convention. In 1953, while the minister of a large church in Baton Rouge, Jemison helped lead the first civil rights boycott of segregated seating in public bus service. The organization of free rides, coordinated by churches, was a model used later in 1955–1956 by the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama. Jemison was one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957.
Atty. Johnnie Jones
Jones, a civil rights lawyer in Baton Rouge, served as the lawyer for the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott effort, the first large-scale bus boycott challenging segregation, 15 days out of law school. Jones also defended the Southern students who staged the lunch counter-protest at Kress downtown Baton Rouge. He helped desegregate the courthouses.
Driving to the Goal Scholarship was created to assist high school students in north Baton Rouge with the cost of driving education classes. The goal is to provide scholarships for these students to ensure they can successfully obtain their driver's license.
The Baton Rouge Black History Month t-shirt was created to help raise funds for the Driving to the Goal Scholarship, as well as celebrate local African-American leaders who have contributed to our community.