The Friendship CME Church in Lisbon has already been historically commemorated for being a location that played a significant role in shaping American history during the 1950s and 60s, but it is now receiving an additional marker.
Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Tourism will be unveiling the next marker on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail at the church this Friday, July 7, at 10 a.m.
Friendship CME Church had prominent community leaders among its congregation including Frederick Douglass Lewis, a well-known social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and statesman. He served as president of both the Claiborne Parish Civic League and the Homer Chapter of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The Deacons for Defense and Justice was made up of armed self-defense groups founded by black veterans to protect civil rights activists and their families.
Friendship CME Church was the only church in the parish to open its door for strategy meetings, voter registration drives, desegregation tests and non-violent workshops. The church and its members played a pivotal role to desegregate the Claiborne Parish Police Jury, school board, schools, public library, restaurants and law enforcement. Following soon after, African-Americans were not only able to vote and attend meetings in those capacities, but were also elected to hold local offices.