With over 300 years of history, the legacy and importance of Africans in America to the growth of the South, the United States and the world is evident through the collection and exhibits of rare artifacts found at the museum.
We invite you to view a glimpse of the exhibits we offer at the River Road African American Museum here on our website. History awaits you.
Although New Orleans is known as the birthplace of Jazz, a lesser-known fact is that many African American performing artists hailed from or were born in the river parishes: Ascension, Assumption, St. James, St. Charles and St. John. Trace the roots of Jazz through its rural beginnings by exploring local musicians such as:
Joe King Oliver - Was Louis Armstrong’s mentor. Oliver was born in Abend, Louisiana in 1885, a mile or two down river from Donaldsonville.
Plas Johnson - Played the slinking intro to Henry Mancinis "Pink Panther" theme. This Donaldsonville native, has played a standard part of the orchestral recordings with Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra.
Bill Summers - Bill Summers grew up in Ascension Parish. Summers is internationally recognized for his work on the Emmy Award winning television series Roots, The Wiz, and The Color Purple.
Other entertainment greats from the rural area were Claiborne Williams, Billy Kersand, Papa Celestine, Worthia “Showboy” Thomas, Ernie Kato, Kid Ory, Fats Domino and hundreds of others. Look for the future exhibit on the rural roots of jazz designed for the True Friends Benevolent Society Hall.