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LOUISIANA PUBLIC BROADCASTING SAVES HISTORIC RECORDINGS INCLUDING THE MARCHERS

LPB SAVES HISTORIC RECORDINGS INCLUDING THE 1982 DOCUMENTARY ON THE 246 MILE BLACK VOTER REGISTRATION MARCH IN LOUISIANA

The Marchers: 16 Days on Highway 1 - Newly digitized and now available for streaming on LPB’s Louisiana Digital Media Archive

Baton Rouge - Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) rediscovers a documentary not seen in decades about voter registration efforts in Louisiana on the eve of the historic 2020 election. A recording of this 1982 documentary nearly lost to history, The Marchers: 16 Days on Highway 1, was recently digitized and preserved through the work of LPB’s Louisiana Digital Media Archive (LDMA) with support from a grant award from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB).

The Marchers: 16 Days on Highway 1 was first broadcast on LPB on August 18, 1982. The documentary chronicles the 16-day, 246-mile Black voter registration march from Shreveport to Baton Rouge that took place in June 1982. The march was sponsored by the Louisiana NAACP and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus. The program includes highlights of the speeches made by several civil rights activists, including A.Z. Young, the organizer of the 1967 Bogalusa Civil Rights March; Reverend T.J. Jemison, one of the organizers of the 1953 Baton Rouge Bus Boycott; State Representative Joe Delpit; Rupert Richardson, the President of the Louisiana NAACP; Ben Jeffers, the march organizer; State Representative Richard Turnley; and future State Senator Cleo Fields.

This documentary explores the many African American politicians in Louisiana during Reconstruction; the issues of white supremacy and segregation; the high poverty level in the Black community; the 350,000 unregistered Black voters in the state at the time; and the community reaction encountered by the marchers encouraging voter registration.

LPB Deputy Director Christina Melton, “It’s incredible to rediscover the amazing and important work of Louisiana’s civil rights leaders and activists through this time capsule of a documentary. A big part of LPB’s mission is to tell Louisiana’s story, something we have done for 45 years. Thanks to the LDMA and the grant from the AAPB, significant stories such as this are not lost to time and can serve as inspiration to a new generation of community leaders.”

The Marchers: 16 Days on Highway 1 was saved through the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Transcribe to Digitize Challenge by vendor George Blood L.P., a digitization service provider. For every speech-to-text transcript that LPB corrected, George Blood digitized one of LPB’s programs free-of-charge.

LDMA Archivist Leslie Bourgeois, “The LDMA and LPB are very grateful to participate in this Challenge. Special thanks goes to Friends of LPB volunteer, Jane Honeycutt, whose efforts helped us save this documentary. Many of the videotapes in our collections are deteriorating at a rapid rate because they have outlived their shelf lives and the equipment required to play back these videotapes is no longer being manufactured. Despite these challenges, LPB and the State Archives work together to continue to save Louisiana’s historic record.” Over 100 LPB programs have been digitized through this project.

To watch The Marchers: 16 Days on Highway 1, visit https://lpb.org/votermarch

About Louisiana Digital Media Archive (LDMA)

The LDMA is the online home of the LPB Digital Collection and the Louisiana State Archives Multimedia Collection. This is the first project in the nation to combine the media collections of a public broadcaster and a state archives. This ever-expanding site contains a combined catalog of thousands of hours of media recorded in Louisiana in the late 20th and early 21st centuries freely available for streaming. The oldest videos in the collections date back to the late 1940s and early 1950s. The majority of these videos have not been seen in decades. Since 1975, LPB has produced a wide variety of award-winning programming, including news and public affairs series, political debates, documentaries, French language programming, educational shows for the classroom, and cooking series.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB)  The AAPB is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 70 years. To date, over 110,000 digital files of television and radio programming contributed by more than 120 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been preserved and made accessible for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at the Library of Congress and WGBH, and more than 52,000 files are available online at americanarchive.org.

About the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Transcribe to Digitize Challenge

The Transcribe to Digitize Challenge was launched in 2019 as a preservation effort by the American Archive of Public Broadcasting and George Blood L.P., a digitization service provider. George Blood digitized one analog tape at no charge for every transcript that was corrected in AAPB’s online transcript editor FIX IT+. Seven public media stations, including LPB, joined the Challenge and thanks to the collective crowdsourcing efforts, 551 corrected transcripts are now searchable and accessible online and 551 tapes are being digitized by George Blood for long-term preservation and public access in the AAPB.

Media contact:

Leslie Bourgeois

Archivist

Louisiana Digital Media Archive

Lbourgeois@lpb.org

225-767-4284