Will W. Alexander
Will W. Alexander has been an influential figure in the New Orleans community since he moved to the city in 1902. His efforts to improve educational opportunities for African Americans, his involvement in the civil rights movement, and his dedication to politics earned him many accolades in his lifetime.
Born in Alabama, Alexander moved to New Orleans during the early 20th century when Jim Crow was law of the land in the south. Despite these oppressive laws and racist attitudes, Alexander dedicated himself to improving educational opportunities for African Americans and ensuring they had access to quality education. He co-founded several organizations including the White Rose Missionary School which offered instruction for black schoolchildren.
Throughout his time in New Orleans, Alexander worked with several prominent civil rights activists including A. P. Tureaud and Plessy vs Ferguson lead plaintiff Homer Adolph Plessy. In 1912, he was elected as president of the Louisiana conference’s board of education which helped provide improved educational resources throughout Louisiana’s various parishes.
Alexander also served on the City Council from 1915-1918 and was even elected to represent Louisiana’s Second Congressional District from 1940-1944 - making him the first African American representative from Louisiana since Reconstruction! Even after leaving Congress - Alexander continued fighting for civil rights and equality until his death in 1955 at age 92.