Keith M. Plessy
Keith is a longtime bellman at The Marriott hotel. He is a native of New Orleans and a graduate of John McDonogh High School and NOCCA – the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.When he was a student at Valena C. Jones Elementary School in the 1960s, Keith discovered he had a famous last name. A gifted artist, he was recruited to return to Valena C. Jones elementary school in 1979 to paint more than a hundred portraits of civil rights leaders on the interieror walls of the school, His paintings are still there today. Currently, as president of the Plessy and Ferguson Foundation, Keith works tirelessly reaching out to civil rights leaders, activists, and community members to let them know about the foundation and to seek their input and guidance in developing programs.
Phoebe is a New Orleans native. She worked as a successful photographer and filmmaker in New York City for 20 years, before returning home. Right after Katrina, she drove a truck full of supplies from Brooklyn, New York to the families in her film, who lost everything during the storm. Eight months later, she moved back to her roots to finish her documentary,Member of the Club, and start a new life as co-founder of The Plessy and Ferguson Foundation. Ms. Ferguson’s special interests are ensuring equity in education and developing programs that combine history and the arts. Ms. Ferguson holds degrees from Art Center College of Design and New York University.
Keith Weldon Medley
Keith 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. 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.
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, The Times-Picayune, Southern Exposure, and many other publications.
Brenda Billips Square
Specializing in African American history, race relations and civil rights, archivist and librarian,Brenda Billips Square served as the Director of Archives at the Amistad Research Center from 1998 to 2011, where she collaborated with hundreds of researchers and writers on a variety of publications, educational programs, exhibits, oral history projects and documentaries, while also collecting and preserving the personal papers of national and local civil rights leaders, artists and community activists.
Reared in New Orleans’ lower 9th ward, Ms. Square has been dedicated to the work of collecting oral history interviews of returning residents of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She has also been instrumental in helping to salvaged damaged records, documenting the history of New Orleans public schools, the mental health crisis, and the neighborhoods of Treme, the Lower 9th Ward and Pontchartrain Park.
Embracing God’s transforming mission to do justice, seek peace and build community, she has a long record of active involvement in church, community and professional organizations. In 2007 she received the Blessed Are the Peacemakers Award from the World Council of Churches for “inspiring courageous and faithful efforts to build a just and peaceful world”.