REMEMBERING AVERY CEASAR. ALEXANDER (June 29, 1910- March 5, 1999)Avery Ceasar Alexander was an important leader in the struggle for civil rights for African American Louisianians. Born in Terrebonne, Louisiana seven years after his father’s death, the family relocated to New Orleans. He gained his high school diploma in 1939 from Gilbert Academy where he had taken night classes. He studied at several universities and graduated from Union Baptist Theological Seminary. He was ordained into the ministry in 1944.
A member of the NAACP, Rev. Alexander traveled statewide participating in voter registration drives in the years before the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. In New Orleans, he helped to organize several boycotts against white businesses to hire blacks for jobs above the “broom and mop” level. He also led a successful boycott against New Orleans Public Service, Inc. to hire the first black bus drivers.
Rev. Alexander participated in marches with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., including the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and the first and second marches on Washington. He also was involved in sit-ins to integrate lunch counters all over New Orleans. In one incident, during a sit-in being held at the eating facilities at City Hall, he was arrested and dragged by the heels up the steps from the basement of that building. Films of that event became the story of the day nationwide. In 1975, Rev. Alexander was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives (Democrat, District 93) holding that office until his death. During his life, he was also a real estate broker, insurance agent, and longshoreman, becoming the manager of the longshoreman’s welfare system from 1958-1962. In 1990, he established the Church of All People, a non-denominational ministry. He continued his fight for civil rights until his death. The new LSU medical center was named in honor of the late Rev. Avery Alexander. The Louisiana House approved the naming in Senate Bill 304 by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, on a 95-0 vote. The bill cleared the Senate 35-0 on April 2, 2012.
Avery C. Alexander was born in Terrebonne, Lousiana on June 29, 1910. He died in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 5, 1999, at the age of 89.