Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker installed at Texas & Pacific Railway Depot
NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) - Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism were joined on Tuesday, Sept. 19, by the National Park Service, the Cane River National Heritage Area and the City of Natchitoches to unveil the 13th marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail.
The marker was placed at the Texas & Pacific Railway Depot in Natchitoches.
The occasion also served as an open house that marked the completion of construction that began in Jan. 2022 to convert the abandoned depot into the new National Park Service headquarters and visitor center in Natchitoches.
“As one of the last remaining examples of segregated public facilities, this site is significant to the Louisiana Civil Rights story,” Nungesser said. “It is a testament to the long-standing tradition of public-private partnerships in Natchitoches and the community’s investment in historic preservation that we’re here today in celebration. After four decades of trials, the depot’s doors are open, and her stories of the resilience of the Cane River people will be shared with new generations of residents and visitors.”
According to officials with the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Texas and Pacific Railway Depot was a conduit for the Great Migration as African Americans migrated from rural communities in the South to larger cities in the North and West. During Jim Crow and the early Civil Rights Movement, migration allowed for better economic opportunities, access to better education, and a departure point for military service. It was also the departure and arrival point for local and national civil rights leaders who worked on voting and civil rights issues in Natchitoches Parish.
“The City of Natchitoches is often described as charming, historic, and one of the best small towns in America. I wholeheartedly believe this and am extremely proud that the City of Natchitoches continues with these time-honored qualities that make our great city like no other. Embracing and highlighting ugly truths can be difficult. Still, today is a monumental occasion of reflection and inspiration for our great City,” Mayor Ronnie Williams, Jr. said.
In the first series of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail markers installed in 2021, one was placed at Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport.
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