Delgado in the 60's: Diversity Abounds

By: Dee Shedrick
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. The 1960s started with the Beatles and ended with Motown. Barbie got a new boyfriend named Ken. Women wore bouffant hair, then miniskirts. We were introduced to the Big Mac, Tab and Fritos. Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Hippies drove Volkswagens, while American-made cars were parked in suburban driveways.
The 60s was a turbulent decade of political and social change in America, as African-Americans, women and baby boomers fought for civil rights, social equality and self-expression. The events and new discoveries of that era brought a lot of change and progress to society. And like the rest of the world, Delgado Community College experienced its own growth spurt that has made the school what it is today.
Campus headlines
  • In 1960, Delgado Central Trades School changed its name to Delgado Trades and Technical Institute, started its two-year program and began graduating students with associate degrees.
  •  In 1961, a check was presented to Delgado for $150,000 from the estate of Elleanora Moss, who was a good friend of Isaac Delgado, the founder of the school, to build The Moss Technical Library.
  • Circa 1961-1962, a Rehabilitation Center opened on the City Park campus, with dormitories for handicapped students that currently houses Allied Health in building four. Also a Vocational Rehabilitation Center was started through a contract with the State Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Welfare.
Left: City Park Campus Rehabilitation Center circa 1961 - 62
Right: Present day Rehabilitation Center

Doris Guthrie, first woman to graduate from Delgado.
Photo courtesy of Times-Picayune, July 30, 1964.
  • In compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Mrs. Doris M. Guthrie was the first woman to graduate from Delgado with a degree in Commercial Education-Secretarial Studies, and Sterling Doucette was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from the school. Doucette attended Delgado with all expenses paid after the federal government merged the black and the white carpenter unions. Doucette studied construction, construction management and blueprint reading. Charity School of Nursing also complied with the act by allowing married students to enroll in its program.
  • In 1965, the first African-American student was admitted to Charity School of Nursing.
  • In 1966, Delgado Institute became Isaac Delgado College, then shortly after that, Delgado Vocational-Technical Junior College. Also, the Louisiana State Legislation and the New Orleans City Council recognized the school as the leading junior college in the state of Louisiana. 
  • Circa 1966-1967, plans for the West Bank campus were underway at the Algiers Naval Base.
  • In 1968, Ford Motor Company donated auto equipment to the Vocational Rehabilitation Center.
  • In 1969, an engineering building, renovation to the Rehabilitation Center and the library were completed.
    Ford Motor Co. donated auto equipment to the Vocational
    Rehabilitation Center at a banquet in 1968.
Students making payment during registration in 1968 at Delgado.
 New Orleans and Louisiana headlines
In 1960, Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost desegregated John Mc Donogh 19, an all-white school in the lower 9th Ward, while Ruby Bridges simultaneously made her solo entrance through the front doors of William T. Frantz school escorted by U.S. federal marshals. Construction began on interstates I-10 and I-20.
  • In 1963, the bald cypress is named Louisiana’s state tree.
  • In 1965, Hurricane Betsy destroys the city.
  • In 1966, the brown pelican is named Louisiana’s state bird.
  • 1n 1967, funds are appropriated to build the Louisiana Superdome.
  • In 1969, "Moon" Landrieu is elected mayor.

National and world headlines
  • In 1960, John F. Kennedy is elected president.
  • In 1961, Freedom Riders are beaten for trying to segregate public transportation.
  • In 1962, a ban on Cuban imports is ordered and Marilyn Monroe sings happy birthday to President Kennedy.
  • In 1963, John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas.
  • In 1965, the Voting Rights Act is passed by Congress, Vietnam War continued and the anti-war movement began.
  • 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy are assassinated.
  • In 1969, a man walks on the moon and a three-day music festival called Woodstock takes place.
Works Consulted

Delgado website, www.dcc.edu <http://www.dcc.edu> .
Delgado catalogs, 1967-1968, 1969-1970, 1970-1971, 1978-1979 and 1999-2000.
Delgado Master Plans, 1973 and 1987-1988.
Desegregation, The New Orleans Tribune, November 14, 2010.
Library Handbook, 1965
The States-Item, October 1961

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