Find of the Week: A little piece of history that helped Oretha Castle Haley fight for civil rights

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NEW ORLEANS -- News with a Twist has teamed up with the Historic New Orleans Collection to bring you a unique find each week from the museum's vaults.

In 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality -- or CORE -- began freedom rides. In the same year, activist Oretha Castle Haley took over as president of the New Orleans chapter. This week's find from the HNOC is a little piece of history that helped her along the way.

Leaning on the Lord was a common theme in boosting morale among civil rights activists, and a morale boost is just what you'll find in this chorus book.

In 1962, a book of freedom songs was published. They were songs that CORE members sang as they worked in the early '60s to fight segregation, explained Eric Seiferth, assistant curator and historian at the HNOC.

Oretha Castle Haley owned this book and used the songs as a paramount tool of faith in the face of adversity.

"They tend to speak to freedom and to humanity and to strength and resistance," Seiferth said. "It's part of the gospel in many ways and certainly part of the Southern black gospel."

You can see all the Historic New Orleans Collection has to offer by visiting either one of their campuses. The Royal Street campus, including The Shop at The Collection, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Sundays, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Chartres Street campus, including the Williams Research Center and Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Learn more about the Historic New Orleans Collection here.

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