Seventh Ward Civic League- Its History and Accomplishments

Revised 2- 7th Ward League

Please click the photograph to enlarge image

[ The individuals shown above are the original 46 members of the Seventh Ward Civic League of 1927. ]

(1) Mrs. A. Picou   (2) L. Clavo  (3)  J. W. Nelson  (4) Albert Broussard   (5) George A. Courseault  (6) Miss Emily Watts  (7)  Manzel Woodfork  (8)  M. B.Williams  (9) Mrs. Antoine Trudeau       (10) Albert Blandin  (11) Hon. Walter L. Cohen  (12) Atty. A. P.Tureaud  (13) Prof. George Longe  (14)  Mrs. Leontine  M. Hardin  (15)  George Roques  (16) Mrs. Wilhelmina De Rouen                   (17)  William De Rouen  (18)  Antoine M. Trudeau  (19) Dr. Joseph A. Hardin [President]  (20)  Alex Mollay [1st Vice-President]  (21) Mrs. Alex Mollay   (22) Alex Richard  (23) Aaron Morris                (24) Arthur J. Chapital [Sergent  at Arms]  (25) Oscar Daste [Treasurer]  (26) Wilfred Collins Jr. [3rd Vice-President]   (27) Gilbert Valentine  (28) Patrick M. Cambre  (29) Miss Elizabeth Crowden   (30) Mrs. Bertha Chapital  (31) Lucien Honore [Financial Secretary]  (32) Rev. Joseph Martin [Chaplain]  (33) George McKenna, Sr. [Recording Secretary]     (34) Noah J. Burleigh  (35) Miss Jennie Watts  (36) T. R. Anderson  (37) Mrs. Bridget DeRonselet  (38) Louis Alfred  (39) Rev. F. H. Lewis  (40) Mrs. E. H. Lewis  (41) Emile Evans  (42) Albert J. Victorian  (43) Miss Fannie C. Williams  (44) C. A. Daste  (45) A. M. Thompson  (46) Miss Mary Watts.

It all began at a racially- mixed political mass meeting held on September 13, 1927 at the San Jacinto Social and Pleasure Club.  It was on this occasion that one of the white speakers made the statement that since whites had freedom far longer than Negroes, they (the Negroes) should not expect to occupy seats on the Republican Party’s committee, but should be satisfied with being able to vote and to build the organization’s membership. Many in the audience applauded the speaker’s statement, but others saw fit to reflect upon this outlandish statement rather than applaud.

Among those  present were Alexander Mollay (retired U.S. postal employee) and Dr. J. A. Hardin (prominent physician), both residents of the Seventh Ward in New Orleans. On leaving the meeting, these two men disputed the speaker’s statements and decided then and there to contact other civic- minded members of their district to discuss forming their own civic group. Friends and neighbors were contacted, meetings were held at various homes, and plans were set in motion.

At a meeting held at the Autocrat Club on November 23, 1927, the Seventh Ward Civic League was formed and officers were elected. Long discussions followed and goals of the organization were outlined. They were: (1) to unite the people of the 7th Ward in bonds of friendship and civic pride (2) to further educational opportunities of  young people (3) to improve public health (4) to encourage the establishment of more businesses in the 7th Ward and get residents to give support (5) to have their organization represented  before governmental and other civic public bodies (6) to provide for intelligent interracial cooperation.

The League was composed of  both males and females of at least 18 years of age who were residents within the acknowledged boundaries of the ward. Dues were 15 cents per month and all members were volunteers.

They immediately went into action and took on causes that brought about solutions to their community. They appeared before the school board on numerous occasions and were successful in obtaining the newly built public elementary school in the 7th Ward, Valena C. Jones.

They obtained more street lights for those areas that had none. They brought in sand, gravel, and cement to pave streets that were dirt roads. Weeds were cut and neighbors throughout the area were encouraged  to plant gardens to beautify the area. Stagnant gutters which had been a serious problem were drained.

Success was also achieved by forcing the city to renumber houses over  a large part of the ward so that the post office could deliver everyone’s mail promptly and to their correct addresses. The League even succeeded in promoting  interracial cooperation and good will by inviting many prominent men and women of both races to speak at their meetings.

So successful were the efforts of this League that leading citizens of other wards proposed starting similar groups throughout the city. With the cooperation of  the Seventh Ward League, the Fourth Ward was next to organize, followed by the Fifth, Sixth, Eight, and Ninth Wards. This new movement continued and on November 14, 1928 the various ward leagues came together to organize themselves into what became known as The  Federation of Civic Leagues of the City of New Orleans. An article on this newly formed group and its accomplishments will be posted at a later date.

SourcesAmistad Research Center / A.P. Tureaud Papers (Box 77- Fol. 46); Amistad Research Center/ photo from: Joseph A. Hardin Collection(Box 1-Fol.5); The Louisiana Weekly 30 June 1934 pages 1and 2.

Lolita C. Cherrie

 

14 thoughts on “Seventh Ward Civic League- Its History and Accomplishments

    • The post on the 7th Ward Civic League, originally posted on 8 June, was removed a few hours later because of the difficulty in being able to make out the facial images of its 46 members. After several days we were able to enlarge it so our readers could get a better image of how each individual looked, especially if they are relatives. It was somewhat of a difficult task, but I thought it was important to do so. This is a rare photo and the original was just about postcard size. Thanks for sharing and hope you enjoy it.

  1. Lolita,

    I love all the articles in this blog but I must say that this photo has interest for me. My grandfather’s name was George Roques and in 1927, he would have been approximately 24 years of age. He lived and died in the seventh ward. That picture is a little hard to decipher but my grandfather did have big ears which this George Roques seem to have.

    • Madam Viola Devore Brundy was the mother of my cousin Irma George. I think that makes us cousins. We should meet.

      • Kathryn Labat, Please forgive me I am just now noticing 4 years later to your post. Irma Brundy George is my 3rd cousin. Cousin Irma is the first cousin of my grandfather, Joseph Willis Brundy, Sr. Are you related to Irma on her mother’s side Bertha Howard or her father (my uncle) Walter Brundy? Viola Devore Brundy was also married to Walter Brundy. Thank you in advance.

  2. Does anyone have any information on the Colored Civic League of New Orleans. I am looking for information on my aunt, Viola DeVore Brundy.

    • The only colored Civic League that I am aware of is the 7th Ward Civic League and the Federation of Civic Leagues which was formed in 1928 and consisted of various wards (such as the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th wards) coming together with the 7th ward to do good things for the blacks in their communities. Which ward did your Aunt Viola reside and at which time period would she have been a member?

  3. Dr Hardin is my great grandfather that I never knew existed until seeing this website and getting information from Jari Honora .He has been a big help in learning more about Dr Hardin. He has been so knowledgable about these creole families.

  4. I graduated from V. C. Jones, went to Rivers Frederick , played for Hardin park and graduated from St. Aug. I always knew I was walking in the footsteps of giant.

  5. I used to live on New Orleans St. Hardin Park was across the street, so I’ll assume the Park was named for Joseph Hardin. You learn something new every day!

  6. My grandfather is #10 in the above picture. I grew up living next door to him in a traditional duplex so I have many memories but can’t recall seeing a pic of him so young. I’ve never seen the above one before as with many other pics of relatives archived here. This is my visit to creolegen.org (don’t know how I missed it) but having a great time.

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