On February 14, 1957, a group of Baptist pastors and activists from across the South met at the New Zion Baptist Church at the corner of Third and LaSalle streets. It was here the group formed the Southern Leadership Conference, which later that year would rename itself the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The members chose as their first president a 28-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. The organization would coordinate nonviolent action to desegregate bus systems across the South, and later would take on bigger issues of segregation nationwide. A small plaque describing the work that Dr. King and the other SCLC members undertook inside New Zion Baptist Church sits on the exterior of the church. Plans are also underway for a memorial across the street that will offer interpretive displays to tell the story of the SCLC’s founding and other New Orleans-based civil rights milestones.

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Address: 2319 Third Street, New Orleans, LA, United States

New Zion Baptist Church

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