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Keith Weldon Medley

new orleans, Louisiana, United States



Keith Weldon Medley is the author of “WE AS FREEMEN – Plessy v. Ferguson – The Fight against Legal Segregation” (Pelican Publishing Company; May, 2003). He is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and a 2001 and 2002 recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ Publication Initiative Grants. As a freelance writer, he has compiled over fifty writings on Louisiana’s history and culture including two reports in Smithsonian magazine. His contributions have also appeared in Historic Preservation, The New Orleans Tribune, American Legacy, Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Preservation In Print, Times-Picayune, Southern Exposure, and many other publications. The Forbes publication, American Legacy, featured a summer travel issue in 2000 with a cover story by Medley on sites of Black historical interest in New Orleans. The May 2004 issue of Smithsonian magazine featured an article by Medley on the historic Tuskegee Airmen.

Mr. Medley has written a great deal on the New Orleans origins of the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case. He authored the text of "When The Future Became The Past", a Tulane University and Louisiana State Museum touring exhibit that chronicles this pivotal United States Supreme Court case. During the 1996 centennial of the case, an interview of Medley by Scott Simon was broadcast on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered”. This year, he was a commentator on NBC Enterprises’ “A Change is Gonna Come: Brown vs. Board of Education.” He has also been featured on Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s popular show Louisiana: The State We're In and was interviewed in WDSU-TV’s special report by Norman Robinson entitled “Bound for Freedom”. In addition, articles by Medley on the case appeared in Louisiana Cultural Vistas, Times-Picayune, and as a cover story in The New Orleans Tribune.

As a photographer, Medley’s work has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, American Legacy, the New Orleans Tribune, and the front cover of Callaloo #20, and also the front cover of In These Houses by Brenda Marie Osbey. He has also contributed photographs to American Poetry Review and Welcome! A Guide for Black Tourists In New Orleans. Medley’s photographs are also part of the New Orleans Public Library’s regional photographers collection.

Medley attended Holy Redeemer Elementary School, St. Augustine’s High School, and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Southern University in New Orleans with studies in Sociology and Psychology.

Writing Resume
Keith Weldon Medley


WE AS FREEMEN: Plessy v. Ferguson – Pelican Publishing Company

Smithsonian Magazine: The Sad Story of how Separate but Equal was born (2/94)
Reprinted in
Conflict, Confidence, and Power Edited By Mary Farmer-Kaiser, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. 2002.

The Way We Lived: Essays and Documents in American Social History by Frederick
M. Binder / Daivid M. Reimers. D. C. Heath And Company. 1996.

Readings For U S. History, by Dr. Michael A. White. Kendall / Hunt Publishing
Company. 1995.

Social Issues Research Series, 1994.

The Remarkable Journey. 2004.
Commentator in this NBC Enterprises syndicated look at the Brown v. Board of Education fiftieth anniversary.

Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities:
Recipient of 2001 publication/research grant for The Plessy Matter.
Recipient of 2002 publication/research grant for Moving Back the Mountains.

National Public Radio. 1996. Featured in an interview by Scott Simon for the weekend edition of All Things Considered.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting. 1996. Featured in an interview by Jeff Duhe for the show "Louisiana: The State We're In".

The Plessy Conference. 1996. Tulane University New Orleans, 1996. Moderated a panel entitled In Search Of Homer Plessy.

The Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo. 1996. Authored the text of "When The Future
Became The Past", a Timeline exhibit that chronicled the Louisiana origins of Plessy V.
WDSU-TV, New Orleans. Interviewed by Norman Robinson in a segment entitled Bound For Liberty.

Articles on Plessy v. Ferguson:
Louisiana Cultural Vistas: When Plessy Met Ferguson - Winter, 1996.
Times-Picayune: The Life And Times Of Homer Plessy And John Ferguson (5- 18-96)
The New Orleans Tribune: The True Story of The Supreme Court Case Of Plessy V. Ferguson (5-96)

Smithsonian magazine: On Clipped Wings (May, 2004)
American Legacy: Black New Orleans (Summer, 2000 Travel Issue)
The Ties That Bind: From Sire To Son – From Chief To Chief [1/2000]
(Catalogue for a photo exhibit)
Preservation In Print: The Will of the Widow Couvent (5/99)
Memories of Lincoln Beach (10/99)
Historic Preservation: Big Gamble In The Big Easy (7/94)
New World Outlook:
A New Community Center for Dulac (1/88)
Undoing The Wrong That Was Done (2/88)
Southern Exposure: Remembering Ernest Wright (6/84)
New Orleans Observer: 1954:A Year in the Life of Lincoln Beach (9/85)
NSBE Journal: Down Freedom's Mainline (2/86)
Atlanta Tribune:
Dobbs, Ram and Company (10/87)
Pre-Sentencing Services Keep First Offenders From Prison (9/87)
New Orleans Tribune:
Two, Four, Six, Eight.. (11/85)
Gillbert Academy's Legacy of Distinction (11/85)
Norman Smith: Packaging The Forgotten Past (12/85)
New Orleanians Join The Freedom Rides (6/86)
New Orleans’ Congo Square: African Seeds in American Soil (8/86)
The Martinet Society (6/88)
Fannie Williams: Pioneer in Public Education (8/88)
The Congress of Racial Equality Returns to New Orleans (11/88)
Mardi Gras Mambo (2/89)
Friday Night in the Crescent City (6/89)
Houma Indians Continue Strides Toward Recognition (7/89)
Island Sons and Daughters (11/89)
Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery (1/90)
New Orleans in the Decade of Change (2/91)
Nuremberg on the Bayou (11/91)
The Carver Class of 1992 (6/92)
The Woods Directory (10/93)
Whatever Happened To The Class Of 1928? (8-94)
A Legacy of Learning (9/98)
Dryades Street: Remembrance and Reclamation (4-00)

APPEARANCES (Keith Weldon Medley):
Presenter: Satchmo Summer Festival Augst, 2005
The Mint - New Orleans,LA
Topic: Growing Up Satchmo 1901-1922

Esence Music Festival - July 2005
New Orleans, LA.
A Civil Rights Century -
The Centennial of the Niagara Movement
COmmisioned by the State of Louisiana

Lecture Series: Brown v. Board of Education
University of North Carolina at Wilmington - February 2004
Guest Lecturer:
Topic: “Before Brown, There was Plessy”

Panel Discussion - The Impact of Brown v. Board of Education
New Orleans Public Library - January 2004

Symposium: From Plessy to Brown and Beyond
Louisiana State Museum
New Orleans - November 2004
Introductory Speaker
Topic: “A Civil Rights History – Activism in New Orleans”

Symposium: The 1st Annual Congo Square Symposium
Center for African and African American Studies
Southern University at New Orleans/ International Arts Festival - June 2004
Topic: “Congo Square at the Dawn of Freedom”

Symposium: The 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education
College of Education
Southern University at New Orleans - May 2004

Symposium: From Plessy to Brown
Tulane University - September 2004
Topic: “The National Impact of New Orleans Activism”

The National Spirit Project’s Vo-DU Macbeth Performance
New Orleans Southern Repertory Theater - July 2004
Historical Commentator
Topic: “Activism of Free People of Color in New Orleans”

Essence Music Festival Book Emporium
New Orleans – Ernest N. Morial Convention Center - July 2004
Book Signing

National Public Radio
All Things Considered Weekend Edition - May 1996
Discussion with Scott Simon
Topic: “100th anniversary of Plessy v. Ferguson”

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
Book Signing

Brown v. Board of Education Commemoration Celebration
Ashe Cultural Arts Center New Orleans - May 2004
Keynote Speaker
Topic: “Preserving Civil Rights in Louisiana”

Guest Lecturer Series
The Cabildo - Arsenal Complex
Louisiana State Museum New Orleans - March 2004
Guest Lecturer

Symposium: Beyond Brown vs. Board of Education
Faculty Resource Network National Symposium
New Orleans - November 2004
Topic: “Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education”

United States District Court – Eastern District of Louisiana
Federal District Judges’ Book Club
Book Club Discussion – July 2004
Topic: We AS FREEMEN – Plessy v. Ferguson

When the Future was the Past – Plessy v. Ferguson
Traveling Exhibit sponsored by Tulane University – May 1996
Script Writer

Legacies: The Civil Rights Movement
Dillard University’s Honors Convocation - July 2004
Topic: “The Arrest of Homer Plessy”

From Treme to the Supreme Court: The Path of Homer Plessy
Preservation Resource Center New Orleans - September 2004
Guest Lecturer

A Change is Gonna Come: Brown v. Board of Education
The Remarkable Journey syndicated television series
NBC Enterprises May-August 2004

Kurnhardt Productions – Freedom: A History of US
Smithsonian - February, 1994.
The Soul of New Orleans Visitors’ Guide - 1994.
American Poetry Review - March, 1986.
Callaloo#20, cover photo - Summer, 1984.
In These Houses by Brenda Marie Osbey, , cover photo
The New Orleans Tribune - Numerous Issues
Regional Photographers Collection, New Orleans Public Library

Bachelor of Arts
Sociology, Psychology
Southern University
New Orleans, La.

Interests: New Orleans, Civil Rights, History, South

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: Yes


Published works:


  • Civil Rights Memorial In Montgomery - A New Awakening of Conscience?
  • A New Community Center for Dulac
  • Big Gamble InThe Big Easy
  • From Sire to Son - From Chief to Chief - Alfed, "Tootie", and Darryl Montana
  • The Streets They Walked: New Orleans for the Historical Explorer
  • The Will of the Widow Couvent
  • The Sad Story of how Separate But Equal Was Born Readings For U. S. History by Dr. Michael A. White.
  • Undoing The Wrong That Was Done Plaquemines After Perez
  • Mardi Gras Mambo
  • WE AS FREEMEN - Plessy v. Ferguson
  • The Congress of Racial Equality Returns to New Orleans
  • Black New Orleans
  • The Birth of Separate but Equal
  • Whatever Happened To The Class of 1928
  • Rising From Atlantis
  • On Clipped Wings
  • The Woods Directory
  • Ernest Wright: People's Champion
  • The Sad Story of How 'Separate but Equal was Born
  • From Sire to Son - From Chief to Chief : Alfred, Tootie, and Darryl Montana
  • Dryades Street/Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard:Remembrance and Reclamation
  • A Year in the Life of Lincoln Beach
  • Scripts

  • Gilbert Academy’s Legacy of Distinction