Civil rights activist Don Hubbard, a leader of the desegregation efforts in Louisiana, will receive the 36th Annual Ben Smith Award by the ACLU of Louisiana. This award honors people who have demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of civil liberties in Louisiana. It is named for the late Ben Smith, a founder of the ACLU of Louisiana and a civil rights lawyer who was arrested for his work to end segregation and for participating in mixed-race gatherings.
Beginning in the 1960's, Don Hubbard led efforts to desegregate the City of New Orleans and to combat police abuses. In 1963 he organized a civil rights march on City Hall and was a key leader in the activities that led to the integration of lunch counters, restaurants, department store fitting rooms, and other public accommodations. As a founder of the New Orleans chapter of CORE (the Congress of Racial Equality), in 1964 Hubbard drove from New York to Mississippi in the car in which the civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney were killed.
In the late 1960's, as leader of a broad, multi-racial coalition including the NAACP, the ACLU of Louisiana, SNCC, several community groups and local clergy, Mr. Hubbard blocked the adoption of a New Orleans ordinance that would have required a police-issued identity card and authorized police to "stop and frisk" without reasonable suspicion. His activities led to numerous arrests in Louisiana and Mississippi as he worked to advance equal rights for all.
Most recently, Hubbard continues as a mentor and advisor to leaders and activists while operating the first African-American owned business on St. Charles Avenue, the nationally-acclaimed bed-and-breakfast called the Hubbard Mansion.
A gala dinner honoring Don Hubbard will be held on March 10, 2012 at the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center in New Orleans. The keynote speaker will be journalist and author James Ridgeway, who has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Village Voice, Mother Jones, and many other magazines and newspapers.
For more information, and to purchase tickets, click here.