Dr. King's Visit to Shreveport

Updated: Jun 30

In January of 2002, Shreveport resident William Hines, who was one of the city's first African American police officers, gave an oral history to Professor Shondra Houston and her student Senae Hall. The interview can be located in its entirety in the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Mr. Hines offered a good description of St. Paul Bottoms, the neighborhood in Shreveport that was mainly inhabited by blacks during the period between Reconstruction and desegregation. A quote from the interview, re-printed below, shares some interesting information about the area when Dr. Martin Luther King visited Shreveport's Galilee and Evergreen churches.

Dr. King stayed at the Castle Hotel on 1000 Sprague Street, which sadly, no longer exists. Being an ardent admirer of Dr. King as well as forgotten architecture, I searched around until I found its former location and an image of the hotel while it was still in use.

In 1958, the reverend met with community and NAACP leaders to formulate a school integration plan at the (old) Galilee Baptist Church on Williamson Street in Shreveport. The church has since moved on to a bigger and more modern sanctuary, but the ca. 1917 building, where the meeting took place, still remains (NAACP, Simpson & Brock, LLC).

The Castle Hotel at 1000 Sprague Street in Shreveport no longer stands (shreveporthistory.com)

Built in 1917, the old Galilee Church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. strategized with local civil rights leaders still stands, though its congregation has moved to more modern facilities.

"When Martin Luther King came here, I was assigned to offer security for him. I had the privilege of shaking his hand when he first came because myself, Tisdon... We had four black officers and we had to go to Evergreen Church and Galilee to offer security for him. He lived down at the Sprague Street Hotel because blacks didn't live in the Holiday Inn and all those places. There was a pretty good hotel out on Sprague Street and so that's where he lived. I gave him security while he was here."

Read more about Mr. Hines's experiences in Shreveport here (warning: inappropriate language used): http://bossier.pastperfectonline.com/archive/C7DD71D8-075D-4070-BBB4-952774254834

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