Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Brown, Nikki

Second Advisor

Atkinson, Connie

Third Advisor

Kennedy, Al


This paper seeks to insert the voices of students into the historical discussion of public school integration in New Orleans. While history tends to ignore the memories of children that experienced integration firsthand, this paper argues that those memories can alter our understanding of that history. In 1963, Benjamin Franklin High School was the first public high school in New Orleans to integrate. Black students knowingly made sacrifices to transfer to Ben Franklin, as they were socially and politically conscious teenagers. Black students formed alliances with some white teachers and students to help combat the racist environment that still dominated their school and city. Ben Franklin students were maturing adolescents worked to establish their identities in this newly integrated, intellectually advanced space. This paper explores the way in which students – of differing racial, socio-economic, religious, educational, and political upbringings – all struggled to navigate self and space in this discordant society.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2020