Professor, civil rights chief to talk at UNO commencement – New Orleans CityBusiness

Raphael Cassimere Jr., an academic and civil rights activist who was hired as the first black instructor at the University of New Orleans, will speak at the university’s spring graduation ceremony, the university said.

Cassimere was hired in 1969 when the university was known as Louisiana State University in New Orleans and taught for nearly four decades, the UN said in a press release announcing his role in the spring ceremony. He was also active in the NAACP, where he was president of the organization’s youth council from 1960 to 1966 and helped lead local boycotts. He was also the secretary of the organization’s New Orleans office, chairman of the regional office in the Southwest, and a NAACP certified trainer since 1985.

The president of the university praised Cassimere as “one of the most influential people in the history of our institution”.

“During his remarkable life, he has positively impacted so many people in and out of the classroom through teaching, scholarships, mentoring and activism. Our city and our world are richer and more equitable through him, and I am thrilled that he will share his wisdom with our graduates, “said President John Nicklow in the press release.

Cassimere, who will also receive an honorary doctorate during the ceremony, taught courses on African American culture, early American history, Louisiana history, and US constitutional history.

The university plans to hold four in-person ceremonies at its Lakefront Arena as it follows guidelines to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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