LSU Professor explores impact of historic South Baton Rouge with new book

February 2017

LSU Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology, Lori Latrice Martin, recently co-authored a book on the history of an African American community in Baton Rouge. The book, “South Baton Rouge,” covers the time from antebellum America to the historic visit by President Barack Obama.

The community of South Baton Rouge, sometimes referred to as Old South Baton Rouge, is rich with historical importance. It was one of the first places African Americans could receive a high school education in the state. The three-mile community around McKinley High School, the first high school for African Americans in East Baton Rouge Parish, was also the site of the nation’s first successful bus boycott. When laws restricted where African Americans could live, work, learn and play, South Baton Rouge was a refuge. African American restaurants, theaters, gas stations and other businesses populated the community. Change-makers including African American lawyers, judges, clergy, educators and nurses helped sustain the community and other parts of the southern half of Louisiana’s capital through the end of legal segregation and beyond.

“South Baton Rouge includes over a hundred images of free people of color, historic businesses, faith-based institutions, political figures, the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott, dedication of the Toni Morrison Society’s Bench by the Road at McKinley High School Alumni Center and President Obama’s visit to McKinley High School,” Martin said. 

Martin and co-author Raymond A. Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church and CEO of MetroMorphosis, will discuss their book at local bookstores throughout February and March, and as part of the “Lecture and Lunch” series at West Baton Rouge Museum.  All proceeds from the book benefit McKinley High School Alumni Center.

“As the city celebrates the 200th anniversary of its incorporation, we want to make sure that the history and contributions of black communities, such as South Baton Rouge, are not forgotten,” Martin said.

You can purchase the book on Amazon with this link:


Adapted from a press release by LSU’s Alison Satake. You can find the original article here: