American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana | Tulane University Special Collections

Name: American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana

Historical Note:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana (ACLULA) started in 1956, adopting the initial name of the Louisiana Civil Liberties Union (LCLU). The first president of the group was George Dreyfous. In the chapter's early years, the organization dealt with many issues related to segregation, including school integration, voting rights, and censorship of media. The group also struggled against public perceptions that the group had Communist sympathies. In addition, otherwise sympathetic individuals were reluctant to involve or be involved with the LCLU, because anything the group stood for would give that cause "the kiss of death" due to its unpopular reputation in the South.

In the 1960s, the ACLU of Louisiana (as it was by then known) continued to move forward with significant activity. Concerns included continuing involvement in civil rights issues, as well as monitoring Louisiana prisoner's rights, being a watch dog for civil rights infringements by the New Orleans Police Department. In May 1967, noted civil rights activist Oretha Castle Haley was elected to the board. Those involved with the ACLU often faced threats -- the KKK fire-bombed a Board member and a Director's home in the 1960s.

During the 1970s, the ACLULA expanded with chartered chapters elsewhere in the state, including Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Since the 1980s, the ACLULA continued to file lawsuits and monitor infringements of civil liberties around the state. More information is available at

Sources: Collection 661 and LaRC Vertical Files
Note Author: EMT

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