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Crossing Border Street: A Civil Rights Memoir
  • Peter J Honigsberg

Crossing Border Street is a first-hand account of the author's work, as a law student, in the civil rights movement in Louisiana in the late sixties. He worked mostly in Bogalusa, near the Mississippi border, with the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The Deacons were one of the first modern-day black groups to carry guns and respond with force against the Ku Klux Klan. In examining the grassroots struggle of the Deacons in its fight for integration and equality, Honigsberg's narrative evokes the emotions and personal dangers that this little-known activist group and their courageous leaders faced.

Unlike most law students, Honigsberg also participated in marches, integrations and demonstrations. On the way to integrating a beach with black and white colleagues, he witnessed a prominent civil rights leader lift his car's trunk to display a cache of carbines and grenades to a station attendant who refused to fill the tank with gas. Honigsberg also tells the story of Gary Duncan, a black man who was charged with battery for touching a white boy in Plaquemines Parish, the fiefdom of arch-segregationist Leander Perez. Honigsberg was part of the team that took the case to the Supreme Court, establishing the constitutional right to a jury trial.

  • Deacons for Defense and Justice,
  • Bogalusa Louisiana,
  • civil rights,
  • integration,
  • desegregation,
  • Gary Duncan,
  • memoire
Publication Date
University of California Press
Citation Information
Peter J Honigsberg. Crossing Border Street: A Civil Rights Memoir. Berkeley(2000)
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