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Pillar of Progress new Civil Rights marker unveiled at UL

Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 08:37:27-05

A ninth marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail along with The Pillars of Progress, now stands on UL's campus.

The Pillars of Progress honors the legacy of four black students who were denied admission in 1953 because of their race.

In 1954, they filed suit and won.

Previously named Southwestern Louisiana Institute became the first all white, state funded college in the South to integrate.

Those four students were Martha Jane Conway, Charles Vincent Singleton, Shirley Taylor, and Clara Dell Constantin.

KATC spoke to the older sister of Clara Dell Constantin, who shared her most precious memory of her younger sister.

The Pillars of Progress started in 2004, recognizing the fight of the first African American students to enroll at what was then the Southwestern Louisiana Institute.

"It is a great pillar for the students here to know that these four students stood up at a time when it must have been very difficult, we know it was difficult it's inspiring and it's good to know that so much of the civil rights movement was started here in Louisiana at this university." said Billy Nungesser, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana.

The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail, continues to recognize and bring to life Louisiana’s role in the modern Civil Rights Movement.