1944 Expulsion of Iberia’s Black Doctors Symposium November 15-16 2019

The Iberia African American Historical Society Sponsors Historical Marker Acknowledging 75th Anniversary of Expulsion of Black Doctors and the NAACP in 1944: Two-Day Symposium and Dedication

On November 15-16, 2019 The Iberia African American Historical Society (IAAHS) hosted a community-wide symposium in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the 1944 incident that resulted in the violent expulsion of all of Iberia Parish’s Black doctors and leaders of the local NAACP chapter. For the first time Black and White citizens of the parish gathered to hear the truth about this incident as told by the leading researchers of the case, Dr. Adam Fairclough and Prof. Margaret Burnham. This free, 2-day event was held at the Sliman Theater for the Performing Arts located in the heart of the historic district of New Iberia (129 E. Main St.).

Southern University Law Center partnered with IAAHS to sponsor the Friday, November 15th opening night dinner (catered by Anointed Soul Food Restaurant) and speaker in observance of “The 1619 Project” that marked the 400th anniversary of the beginning of slavery in the United States and its vestigial connections to Jim Crow-era violence like the one that occurred in New Iberia in 1944. The opening night speaker was prominent law professor, Margaret Burnham of Northeastern University School of Law and founder of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project. Prof. Burnham’s work has been instrumental in casting light on unsolved cases of Jim Crow-era violence.

Thanks to a 2019 Rebirth Grant awarded by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), IAAHS hosted a day of activities on Saturday November 16th that featured a presentation by retired professor, Dr. Adam Fairclough (Raymond and Beverly Sackler Professor of American History, Leiden University); a panel composed of descendants and/or relatives of the doctors and NAACP leaders; the premiere of an original poem composed and read by Louisiana’s Poet Laureate (2019-2021), John Warner Smith; the unveiling of an original painting by local artist, Paul Schexnayder; and dramatization of the 1944 event in a national podcast (Stinson Liles, Southern Hollows). The day culminated with the unveiling of a Louisiana state historic marker honoring the doctors and NAACP leaders. The marker was placed at the site of Dr. Eddie L. Dorsey’s former home (500 French Street, New Iberia, LA 70560). The Iberia Comprehensive Community Health Center partnered with IAAHS to provide a complimentary lunch for the Saturday symposium attendees.

Click here for Symposium Program

Here is the Southern Hollows podcast

Doctors Orders Southern Hollows

In the Spring of 1944, the town of New Iberia, Louisiana, threatened, beat, and expelled key leaders of the town’s black community – leaders who had recently formed a new NAACP branch and were in danger of getting, by some accounts, the “upper hand.” Among the expelled were the town’s only black physicians, and their removal left the town without a black doctor – or strong black community leadership – until the civil rights movement. Photos, show notes and more at: http://www.southernhollows.com/episodes/doctorsorders
  1. Doctors Orders
  2. Breaking Down