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Sat, 12.15.1849

Rodolphe Desdunes fought segregation

Rodolphe Desdunes

*Rodolphe Desdunes was born on this date in 1849. He was an African American civic leader, author and scholar.

Rodolphe Lucien Desdunes spent much of his professional life as a clerk with the U.S. Customs Service, but his contribution to history lies in his efforts to promote the achievements of his Blacks and to challenge the legality of Jim Crow laws. On September 5, 1891, he helped to organize the Comite des Citoyens, which backed Homer Plessy's unsuccessful attempt to challenge segregation in public transportation.

His book Nos Hommes et Notre Histoire (Our People and Our History), published in 1911, celebrates the work of Louisiana people of color in art, literature, music, invention, philanthropy, and other fields of endeavor.

Desdunes was a staunch opponent of segregation and was the primary editorial contributor to The Crusader, New Orleans' weekly black newspaper, and held the meetings of the Comité des Citoyens at the newspaper's offices. Rodolphe succinctly defined the objectives of the organization. Rodolphe Desdunes died in 1928.

Reference:
Nebraska State Historical Society
P.O. Box 82554,
1500 R Street,
Lincoln, NE 68501

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