A.P. Tureaud was born less
than 40 years after the end of slavery and just three years
after the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson decision in which the
U.S. Supreme Court established the "separate but equal"
doctrine of legalized racial segregation.
Tureaud lived under
Jim Crow laws, the most severe implementation of racial separateness,
and worked to see these laws abolished. A 1925 graduate of the Howard University
Law School, Tureaud was admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 1927
and admitted to practice before the United States Supreme
Court in 1935.
As the local attorney
for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., and
intimate of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall,
Tureaud handled practically all the desegregation and other
civil rights cases filed in Louisiana from the early 1940s
through the 1960s.
Among the many civil rights cases, Tureaud
successfully obtained equal pay for Louisiana's black teachers
and the admission of qualified students -- regardless of color
-- to state-supported professional, graduate and undergraduate
schools. He fought to end segregation on city buses in Louisiana,
and he successfully defended one of the first sit-in cases
to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.
January 22, 1972, after a lengthy battle with cancer.
More Noble Cause:
A.P. Tureaud and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Louisiana
By Rachel L. Emanuel and Alexander P. Tureaud, Jr.
LSU PRESS ISBN-13: 978-0-8071-3793-2 (352 pages)
Published April 2011
Throughout the decades-long legal battle to end segregation, discrimination and disfranchisement, attorney Alexander Pierre Tureaud was one of the most influential figures in Louisiana’s courts. A More Noble Cause is both the powerful story of one man’s lifelong battle for racial justice and the very personal biography of a black professional and his family in Jim Crow–era Louisiana.
During his lengthy and influential career, there were times when A.P. Tureaud was the only regularly practicing black attorney in Louisiana. Based in New Orleans, the civil rights pioneer fought successfully to obtain equal pay for Louisiana’s black teachers, to desegregate public accommodations, schools and buses, and for voting rights of qualified black residents. Tureaud’s work, along with that of dozens of other African-American lawyers, formed part of a larger legal battle that eventually overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized racial segregation.
This intimate account, the first full-length study of Tureaud, presents the culmination of more than twenty years of research into the attorney’s astounding legal and civil rights career as well as his community work. Tureaud worked tirelessly within the state and for all those without equal rights. He was an active organizer of civic and voting leagues, a leader in the NAACP, a national advocate of the Knights of Peter Claver – a fraternal order of black Catholics – and a respected political power broker and social force as a Democrat and member of the Autocrat Club and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
An engrossing story of a key legal, political and community figure during a tumultuous time in American history, A More Noble Cause provides insight into Tureaud’s public struggles and personal triumphs, offering readers a truly candid account of a remarkable champion of racial equality.
LSU Civil Rights Symposium Celebrates the Life of Legendary Civil Rights Leader A.P. Tureaud