Lt. Gov. Nungesser, Louisiana Office of Tourism to unveil Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker honoring the 761st Tank Battalion at the Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Museum
PINEVILLE, La (press release) – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism will unveil the next marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail on Wednesday, February 2, at the Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Museum in Pineville honoring the 761st Tank Battalion, an experimental unit, just like the Tuskegee Airman, formed at Camp Claiborne on April 1, 1942.
From 1940-1944, Louisiana hosted a series of military maneuvers designed to train soldiers for all aspects of Army Ground Forces operations. Approximately 75,000 black soldiers maneuvered in Central Louisiana. The 761st Tank Battalion was attached to many commands in Europe. Eight infantry divisions utilized this armor unit for direct support. As part of General Patton’s Third Army, the fighting ability of the 761st became legendary and it acquired the nickname, “Patton’s Panthers.” By showing their prowess, this and other units proved the Army did not need segregated units. On July 21, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the United States Army.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail continues to recognize and bring to life Louisiana’s role in the modern civil rights movement. The markers tell the significant role Louisiana played in shaping American history during the 1950s and 60s and draws attention to the courage and commitment of the trailblazers of the movement.
|WHO:||Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser
Louisiana Office of Tourism
Maj. Gen. D. Keith Waddall, Louisiana National Guard
Richard Moran, Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Museum
Rev. Frank Jackson, St. Matthew Baptist Church Pastor
|WHAT:||Louisiana Civil Rights Trail Marker Unveiling
|WHEN:||Wednesday, February 2, 2022
|WHERE:||Louisiana Maneuvers & Military Museum
About the Markers
The Civil Rights Markers are life-sized metal figures that are cut from steel, weigh over 200 pounds, and stand over 6 feet tall. The fabrication of the interpretative markers for the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail is being supported in part by an African American Civil Rights grant from the Historic Preservation Fund administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior.
The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail
The trail is a cultural tourism product that informs, inspires, and invites visitors to experience and explore Louisiana’s prominent role in the modern movement. The trail reveals inside stories and examines the civil rights era from culture and commerce to desegregation, protests, and confrontations. Two years in the making, the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail was developed with community vision and public submissions from across the state. Twenty-two meetings were held in every region of the state and university scholars and subject matter experts reviewed all submissions. To learn more about the unique and important history of the movement in the State of Louisiana or to nominate a site, a person, or an activity for inclusion, visit LouisianaCivilRightsTrail.com.