SU alum’s new book offers historical view, new insights of black life along Bayou Lafourche

SU alum’s new book offers historical view, new insights of black life along Bayou Lafourche
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POSTED: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 5:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 5:04am

Southern University alum Curtis Johnson will discuss his book "Glimpses of Black Life Along Bayou Lafourche" from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the John B. Cade Library.


In his new book, the Donaldsonville-native, looks back on his family's journey as it converged with a number of remarkable episodes in the history of Bayou Lafourche communities.


The book describes the experiences of African Americans who lived throughout the Mississippi River-Bayou Lafourche region of south Louisiana during the period 1875 to 1975. Johnson's writings cover St. James, Ascension, Assumption and Lafourche parishes.


"Glimpses," Johnson said, was inspired by "the gross lack of documentary evidence of how native black people contributed to the history of the region."


The writer delves into the rich and colorful history and culture of Bayou Lafourche, including the Great Depression, its cuisine, folklore, family life, music and the revered "hometown heroes."


Johnson captures the valuable history of participation by African-Americans in wars beginning with the Revolutionary War in 1776 and it lists over 1,800 African-American soldiers, dead and living, who served the U.S., beginning with the Spanish-American War of 1898.


All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to advance the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville.


About The Author:

Johnson was born Oct. 14, 1931 in Port Barrow and grew up in Donaldsonville. He says he can't recall having a boring day. He was active in school programs throughout his educational career. As a teenager, he worked at a lot of jobs to earn a living, including selling vegetables, wiring houses, working a gas station, a bellhop and river shrimp and cutting firewood.


He came to Southern in 1950 and sang in the Men's Glee Club, was a member of the ROTC Precision Drill Team and the Industrial Acts Club. He became a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May 1954 and received the Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts and Technical Education with a teaching certificate in August 1954.


He chose a military career that took him and his family to assignments Germany, France, South Korea, Vietnam and Turkey. He retired in 1974 as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years.


Johnson received his Master of Urban Affairs degree from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He has worked city and state positions in Virginia and received the Governor's Distinguished Service Awards from two governors.

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