New Iberia Adds Historic Marker for Howe Institute

The Iberia African American Historical Society (IAAHS) unveiled the Howe Institute’s historical marker on Saturday.

This new marker recognizes the Howe Institute which was established in 1888 to educate blacks in New Iberia and surrounding areas.

Howe also served as a temporary refugee camp for black citizens following the floods of 1927.

Before being under the control of the 6th District Missionary Baptist Association.

Many Howe alumni went on to serve communities in Louisiana and the United States with distinction. According to the organizers, Howe’s oldest and most successful director was Professor Jonas H. Henderson (1896-1933).

“I think it shows our diversity; I think we add a little trail if you want. And I think the more we can promote our whole story, the more of a tourist attraction we become, the more visitors we will gain. Plus it’s going to be good for our economy. As well as for our citizens and the quality of life. Every community should know its history, ”said Mayor Freddie Decourt.

The marker also acknowledges Booker T. Washington’s visit to the Howe Institute on April 14, 1915, as part of his historic tour of black schools in Louisiana.

Which garnered national attention and drew thousands into the institution to watch Washington speak.

“The fact that Booker T. Washington could bring together thousands of people in an unprecedented fashion across the colored line that line the streets and fill the arenas to hear this incredible order, possibly one of the most famous speakers in the world.” , Keynote speaker, said Dr Michael Bieze.

Dr. Bieze is a renowned art historian and an expert on Booker T. Washington. His most recent work on Washington’s 1915 tour of Louisiana analyzes photographs of AP Bedou, the Washington photographer.

While studying this collection in depth, Dr Bieze identified a group of photos listed as taking place in New Orleans.

The photo of Washington on stage addressing a crowded crowd dressed in his finest Sunday best was actually taken in New Iberia at the Howe Institute.

This historical marker is now the fourth to recognize black history in the region.

Dr Bieze says he is currently writing a book on historically black institutions which is expected to be completed next year.

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