PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - The "March on Washington" is one of the most remembered events in the Civil Rights movement. At the same time, Louisiana was making history as well with another civil rights march in South Louisiana.
Linda Johnson recalls a march in the city of Plaquemines that happened over 50 years ago in the 1960's. Johnson was one of many fighting for civil rights. She says the day started out normally like any other day. It was the first Sunday in September, and she and a group of activists gathered, ready to march from Plymouth Rock Baptist Church to Plaquemines City Hall that evening. Johnson describes that night as "very frightening."
"I thought surely I was going to die that night, "she says.
Johnson says as soon as they made it to city hall, they gathered around, filling the area in front of the building and began singing.
"We were covering this whole area with people, and we were singing 'We Shall Overcome'," she explains. "We had prayer, and I mean, it was like a riot when they came and started throwing tear gas and cattle prods."
Johnson says they were surrounded by angry protestors, and immediately began running back to the church, but there were people waiting to cause more damage.
"We ran back to the church, but when we got there some of the protestors were throwing tear gas in the church," she continued.
Now only a small monument stands where the old entrance to the church used to be.
"It's hard to visualize it now because it just looks like it could never have happened," Johnson adds.
The church had to be rebuilt, but now it is resting in a better area. Johnson believes that day was a staple in Louisiana history. She says she is waiting for the new leaders to come along so they can continue the legacy.