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Black Pioneers in Government (1984)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1984-02-12

Duration: 00:26:56

Subjects: African Americans | Collins, Robert F., 1931- | Law | JUDGES | TARVER, LEON | Government | Louisiana. Department of Urban and Community Affairs | Williams, Ulysses | Louisiana. Department of Labor


  • Hinton, Rob Host
  • Stewart, Genevieve Host
  • Collins, Robert F. Interviewee
  • Tarver, Leon Interviewee
  • Williams, Ulysses Interviewee


This episode of the series “Folks” from February 12, 1984, focuses on the black pioneers in Louisiana state government. Rob Hinton first interviews U.S. District Judge Robert Collins, the first African American federal judge in Louisiana and the Deep South. He discusses: his initial interest in the law; his role as a federal judge; his hope to blaze a trail for other black judges; his process of seeking the position; his favorite and least favorite parts of his job; the underrepresentation of minorities in Louisiana’s judiciary; and his future plans. Next, Genevieve Stewart interviews Leon Tarver, the former Secretary of Urban and Community Affairs and the first African American to serve as the secretary of a state agency since Reconstruction. He discusses: why he left the private sector for government service; the attention he received because of his appointment; his experience in the position; the high number of African Americans in Governor Edwin Edwards’ administration; why he left the office; and his desire to return to public office. Lastly, Rob Hinton interviews Secretary of Labor Ulysses Williams. He discusses: his appointment by Governor Dave Treen; his role as the Secretary of Labor; the distinction of serving as the first African American in his position; his favorite and least favorite parts of his job; his parents; and his future plans.