Media Contacts:

Lauren Noel, The Historic New Orleans Collection
(504) 556-7655 |
Sarah Chambless Federer, Gambel Communications
(985) 373-5271 |
533 Royal Street | 400‒410 Chartres Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
(504) 523-4662 | |

WHO: The Historic New Orleans Collection with Doratha "Dodie" Smith-Simmons and Sybil Haydel Morial

WHAT: "Women of the Civil Rights Movement," a conversation with civil rights and political advocates Dodie Smith-Simmons and Sybil Haydel Morial, followed by a closing reception for "Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans"

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 • 2 p.m.
A light reception will follow the program.

WHERE: The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal St. in the French Quarter

HOW: Admission is free and registration is recommended. To make reservations, email or call (504) 523-4662. More details are available at

WHY: In conjunction with THNOC's current exhibition "Voices of Progress: Twenty Women Who Changed New Orleans," Doratha "Dodie" Smith-Simmons and Sybil Haydel Morial-two stalwarts of New Orleans's political scene-will speak about their experiences advocating for change on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 2 p.m. at 533 Royal St. A light reception will follow the program.

As a teenager, Smith-Simmons was one of the founding members of the local chapter of CORE (the Congress for Racial Equality) and a Freedom Rider. Her experiences took her across the South, where she witnessed the tragedies and triumphs of the civil rights movement. Morial became the first African American teacher in the Newton, Massachusetts, public school system after graduating from Boston University, where she met Martin Luther King Jr. With her husband-Ernest "Dutch" Morial, the first black mayor of New Orleans-and their five children, she pursued a lifetime of political activism. She became active with the Louisiana League of Good Government and helped form the Civil, Cultural, and Social Organization when the League of Women denied African-American women from participating. She chronicled her experiences in her memoir, "Witness to Change: From Jim Crow to Political Empowerment" (John F. Blair, 2015), which will be available for purchase at the event.
The exhibition "Voices of Progress" revisits the stories of 20 remarkable women of New Orleans, whose contributions range from the 19th-century campaign for child welfare, through the woman suffrage movement, to the fight for civil rights and equality. On view now through Sept. 11, 2016, at 533 Royal St., the exhibition is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Admission to both the lecture and the exhibition is free. "Voices of Progress" is presented as part of Nola4Women's Women of New Orleans: Builders and Rebuilders initiative (


About The Historic New Orleans Collection

Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. For more information about THNOC, visit or call (504) 523-4662.

About Nola4Women
Nola4Women began as a group of four women who organized a series of programs celebrating and exploring the place of women in the city-past, present and future. Now with more than 40 partners, the organization represents various institutions working on a three-year series of exhibitions on the history of women as well as classroom projects exploring local women heroes and a global summit on the challenges women and girls face. To learn more about these projects, visit