Emmitt James Douglas (October 14, 1926 – March 25, 1981) was an
African-American businessman from New Roads, Louisiana, who served
as president of his state's National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) from 1966 until his death.
was born in Newellton in northern Tensas Parish in north-eastern
Louisiana to Samuel Frederick Douglas and the former Fannie Rose
Armstrong. He was educated at the segregated since defunct black
schools in Newellton and from Tensas Rosenwald in St. Joseph. He was
a classmate of Andrew Brimmer, later the first African American
named to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System. The
institutions closed in 1970, when Tensas Parish public schools were
Brimmer then attended the historically black
Roman Catholic-affiliated Xavier University in New Orleans.
Thereafter, Douglas entered the United States Army, where he reached
the rank of master sergeant. From 1950–1952, he was stationed in
Anchorage, Alaska, and Fort Worth, Texas. Thereafter, he was a
letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and a salesman for
Southern Barber and Beauty Supply Company in Baton Rouge. On July
24, 1949, in New Roads, the seat of Pointe Coupee Parish, Douglas
married the former Audrey Marie Daisy (1920–1991), daughter of
farmer Thomas Daisy (1898–1975) and the former Lillian Pourclau
(1897–1985). The Douglases had one child, Kordice Majella Douglas
(born 1955). Kordice Douglas is a graduate of the Harvard Law School
and practices law in Baton Rouge.
Douglas was active in
Democratic politics at a time when his party dominated most of his
native state. He headed the New Roads NAACP from 1965–1981 and
served on the national board of the organization from 1967–1981.
Governor Edwin Washington Edwards appointed Douglas to the Prison
System Study Commission. He served in 1975 on the Commission on
Judicial Compensation for City, Parish, and Municipal Courts. He was
a member of the St. Augustine Catholic Church in New Roads, where he
resided from 1949 until his death. He had lived in New Orleans from
1942–1946 and in Baton Rouge from 1946–1949. He was a district
manager for Standard Life Insurance Company and Supreme Life
Insurance Company and the proprietor of Douglas Barber and Beauty
Supply Company and Douglas Fine Foods Grocery, both in Baton Rouge.
Douglas pushed to accelerate school desegregation, a gradual
process completed in all sixty-four parishes by August 1970,
including Douglas' native Tensas Parish, which is predominantly
African American. In 1970, Douglas was arrested when he attempted to
dine at an all-white establishment in Baton Rouge. The incident
occurred six years after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Douglas retained as his attorney Murphy Bell, also a former NAACP
In 1976, Douglas quarreled at the national NAACP convention in
Memphis, Tennessee, with executive director Roy Wilkins, who
postponed his planned retirement from the organization by an
additional year. Wilkins criticized certain board members as having
conducted a "campaign of vilification" against him, questioning his
integrity, health, and competence. Wilkins had threatened lawsuits
against the offenders. Douglas took a microphone and rebuked
Wilkins: "I resent allegations against board members unless they are
Douglas died at the age of fifty-four of a heart
attack at New Roads General Hospital. He and his wife are entombed
at the St. Augustine Catholic Church Mausoleum in New Roads. he is
honoured by the naming of the Emmitt J. Douglas Park on Tenth Street
in New Roads.
Any contributions will be
Errors and Omissions
We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas
If you spot errors, or omissions, then
please do let us know
If you have met a brick wall
with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives
Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!
You may also be able to help others answer their queries.
Douglas Archives Forum.
||We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our
What's New section on the
We also use
Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the
Douglas Clan Gathering - 30th June to 6th July 2014
|A Clan Douglas
Gathering is to be held in Scotland in the summer of 2014. If this is something that
you would be interested in being part of, then please visit our
Gathering Website and
to find out more.
There is still time to tell us what we should do at the Gathering, and
what you would like to achieve when in Scotland. Join our
and make your views known.
If you would like to be kept informed, please
sign up to receive our newsletter