[Courtesy of The Black School]

Nonprofits that Liberate Black People in New Orleans

07:00 June 11, 2024
By: Cynthea Corfah

Lift Every Voice

For Black people in America, freedom has not been treated like a birthright.

Since Africans were forcibly brought to the United States through the slave trade, African Americans have created crucial organizations, global movements, and significant centers to educate and empower one another while battling systemic oppression.

Today, Black leaders and Black allies in New Orleans are spearheading organizations that uplift Black people and combat the effects of racial injustice in all areas of life including education, housing, economic development, safe childbirth, and access to the arts and mentorships. In commemoration of Juneteenth on June 19, get to know these local organizations liberating Black New Orleanians one program at a time.

The Black School Workshop at Xavier University [Courtesy of The Black School]

Ashé Cultural Arts Center


With a whopping 10,000 square feet of gallery space and 20,000 square feet of performance space, this established nonprofit produces over 350 music, theater, dance, spoken word, drum circles, and multi-disciplinary events annually. It creates programming and services that support and celebrate the African diaspora including event art therapy, Mardi Gras celebrations under the bridge on Claiborne and Orleans avenues, and fitness classes.

Black Education for New Orleans


This organization supports Black educators and schools to ensure Black children in New Orleans get a better education and opportunities to build a flourishing Black community. It leads a virtual and in-person speaker series about Black brilliance and hosts an annual Black is Brilliant Summit. It also created the Black is Brilliant Institute, a six-month paid fellowship that provides holistic support for Black educators.

Daughters Beyond Incarceration


When parents are incarcerated, it affects the whole family. This organization creates a safe haven for girls with a parent who is or was formerly incarcerated. It provides after-school programs for girls ages 8-18 in areas like ACT prep, cosmetology skills, positive coping skills, gardening, and kickboxing. It also educates the fellows on how to advocate for the needs of children with incarcerated parents to lawmakers.

Eternal Seeds


Even if you don't know their name, you probably have seen this organization's murals adding splashes of vibrancy to the streets of New Orleans. This nonprofit, founded by Brandan "BMike" Odums and the StudioBE team, allows teens and adults to create public art installations and join artist roundtable discussions. Teens can also take summer sessions for art and digital media production and join a youth-led creative network.

Material Institute


This lush and innovative nonprofit arts center in New Orleans' Ninth Ward provides an inclusive and diverse learning environment for creative experimentation and expression in areas including fashion, music, and community gardening. It hosts regular events, workshops, classes, and artist residencies. Educational offerings include plant medicine-making days, crafting with recyclables classes, natural dye workshops, and beading and embellishment workshops.

The Black School Dome Workshop at MoMA [Courtesy of MoMA]

New Orleans African American Museum


The New Orleans African American Museum preserves history and elevates African Americans' art, culture, and contributions both in New Orleans and to the African diaspora. Programs include artist talks, weekly music performances, open discussions, annual music and arts festivals, and powerful art exhibitions. The museum's signature event Saturdays at NOAAM features live performances by local Black artists from all genres.

No Dream Deferred NOLA


Let Black people tell Black stories. No Dream Deferred NOLA is an artistic home for local theater-makers of color to authentically tell their stories. This organization offers playwriting, acting, and Equity and Justice for Institutional Change courses. Previous plays have included Back in the Day by Harold Ellis Clark and Sons of Liberty, written by Cris Eli Blak and directed by John "Ray" Proctor.



New Orleans is a growing hub for filmmakers. This organization is the grounding force behind some of the city's emerging talent in film. It offers youth programs including summer camps, digital media training, and workshops. For adults, it has programs, including indie filmmaker classes and community filmmaking cohorts, for new and emerging filmmakers. It also loans equipment, facilities, and editing suite rentals.

Workforce Development Art Department Pathways NOVAC [Courtesy of Tracy L. Norwood]

Son of a Saint


Boys with absent fathers don't have to grow up alone. Son of a Saint provides mentorship, education, recreation, camaraderie, cultural enrichment, and emotional support to their mentees. The organization offers academic support including tutoring and homework assistance, immersive travel experiences, mental health support with licensed counselors, and nutritional resources and education.

The Black School


This forward-thinking and progressive organization is a Black creative's dream. It offers educational workshops, wellness programs, and hosts the Black Love Festival, an art and music festival. In 2025, it plans to open a cutting-edge community center in the Seventh Ward. The initial plans for the future schoolhouse are made with recycled shipping containers, metallic copper paint, reclaimed wood shutters, a community chalkboard wall, an announcement marquee, a solar roof, and a community garden.

Black Love Fest 2017 [Courtesy of Tiffany Smith]

Other Organizations Creating Change for the Black Community

100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans | 100blackmennola.org

Birthmark Doula Collective | birthmarkdoulas.com

Black Man Rising | blackmanrisingmovement.org

Career Immersion & Leadership Institute | internshiptalent.org

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music | ellismarsaliscenter.org

The First 72+ | first72plus.org

Go.Be. | gobe.org

Grow Dat Youth Farm | growdatyouthfarm.org

Junebug Productions | junebugproductions.org

Power Coalition for Equity & Justice | powercoalition.org

Sankofa Community Development Corp. | sankofanola.org

The 1881 Institute | the1881institute.org

Thrive New Orleans | thrivenola.org

TrainingGrounds, Inc. | mytraininggrounds.org

Turning Tables | turningtablesnola.org

Ujamaa Economic Development Corp. | ujamaaedc.org

Urban League of Louisiana | urbanleaguela.org

Sign Up!