Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965

By Davis W. Houck; David E. Dixon | Go to book overview

§15 Albert D’Orlando

Albert D’Orlando was born in 1915 in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his M.Th. from Tufts University and was ordained as a Unitarian in 1945. He ministered to two small churches in New Hampshire until 1950. Upon his arrival in New Orleans that year he began to integrate his church, and continued to serve the congregation and the broader community for nearly 50 more years. Reverend D’Orlando was the epitome of what intransigent segregationists hated—a Bostonian Yankee who came south to tell others how to live their lives. He joined others to establish a Louisiana chapter of the ACLU in 1956. In 1958 he testified before the House of Representatives’ Un-American Activities Committee. He used all available resources to support as many ground-breaking civil rights advances as he could, including the integration of Tulane University and public schools. He also came to the aid of children convicted under Napoleonic law for criminal anarchy following sit-ins and other peaceful protests. He routinely received death threats. Disgruntled Klansmen firebombed his home and church. In 1966 Reverend D’Orlando received the Holmes-Weatherly Award for his social activism.

After retiring from the pulpit in 1981, he remained active in various campaigns for social justice. He died on February 28, 1998 at the age of 83. He is survived by

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