Louisiana State Capitol
Built in the early 1930s by the dynamic political leader Huey Long, the Louisiana State Capitol has outstanding artwork and an incredible view of the city from an observation platform at the top. It stands as the tallest state capitol building in the United States. In August 1967, the Capitol steps witnessed the dramatic ending of the Bogalusa to Baton Rouge March, led by Civil Rights leader A. Z. Young. The march, heavily protected by National Guardsmen and State Police, had been organized to protest ongoing racial injustice in the state.
In the front lobby, you can visit the bust of Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, a larger-than-life figure who became the first African American governor in our nation's history. The son of a planter and an emancipated slave, Pinchback was born in Georgia in 1837, educated in Ohio, and made his way to New Orleans during the Civil War. He served as the only African American captain in the Union-controlled 1st Louisiana Native Guards during the Civil War. He later became active in the Republican Party and participated in Reconstruction state conventions. He was elected to the Louisiana Senate in 1868 and, three years later, became acting lieutenant governor when Oscar Dunn, the first elected African American lieutenant governor in American history, died.
In 1872, the sitting governor, Henry Clay Warmoth, was impeached, convicted, and removed from office. Pinchback succeeded him and served as governor for 35 days. (Not until 1990 would another African American become governor of a U.S. state.) Pinchback went on to be elected to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, although both elections were contested, and he was never seated. In 1877, Pinchback left the Republican Party to support the Democrats. The last public office he held was that of surveyor of customs in New Orleans. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1890 and lived there until his death in 1921.
Listen to Voices from the Trail with storyteller Louis Gossett, Jr.