Skip to content

Louisiana

Louisiana State School for the Negro Blind (Baton Rouge)

In the 1920s, the state of Louisiana established a school for African-American children who were blind on the campus of Southern University, which had been established in 1880 as a college for African-Americans. The Louisiana School for the Blind had been founded in 1852 (as the Asylum for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind). An early principal of the school remarks:

One might wonder what was happening to the Negro blind of the state during this period. From all accounts, they were sitting idly at home, mental and physical liabilities to their families and relatives. A few secured a little financial aid by singing or begging on the streets of their neighborhoods, while others were ambitious enough to seek educational opportunities in other states.1

The school formally opened in October 1922, with the president of Southern University as its superintendent. Its first year was rocky: the school had no equipment, no books or other materials, and the two instructors read only New York Point, not braille. By 1945, however, the school comprised four buildings, thirteen well-trained instructors, and 55 students. Older boys attended industrial classes at Southern University, while girls received their "vocational training" by sharing in the caretaking of the buildings.

The Louisiana State School for the Negro Blind and the Louisiana State School for the Blind merged in 1978, and the name was changed to the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired.


  1. Ida Moore Theus, The Beginning of the Education of the Negro Blind in Louisiana, 1945.


, ©2011, American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.