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Jack Nelson interview, Part 5
Nelson, John P. "Jack"
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Jack Nelson explains that he was "skeptical of organizations" and primarily represented individuals in his legal work. He also describes how organizations like CORE recruited non-Southern lawyers for more effective fundraising. However, he adds that his efforts to recruit Southern lawyers into more Civil rights work were unsuccessful. Nelson notes that the Kennedy administration encouraged establishing legal offices as part of local economic development campaigns, which helped him build his career in the 1960s. He offers that A. P. Tureaud and Moon Landrieu opposed these developments because they were a poor allocation of limited city resources and required that many lawyers be consumed with comparatively trivial legal issues such as traffic violations and the like. Nelson and Rogers discuss the work of the Black Panthers in New Orleans, though Nelson shifts the conversation to emphasize the work of the Deacons for Defense and Justice: "Panthers are pussycats compared to the Deacons." Nelson briefly outlines his work with the Black Panthers through the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corporation (NOLAC). He continues to overview his work with NOLAC and describes his chief function as president of that group as defending the NOLAC lawyers. Rogers asks Nelson about a critique of his organization as one that redistributes wealth and resources, and he answers that this is exactly at the heart of the work of NOLAC in addition to protecting the fourteen amendment and personal rights in general. He describes Lombard vs. Louisiana in specific detail as well as the opposition of city leaders and police to sit-ins.
Amistad Research Center
Box 7, Item 13, Side 2, Kim Lacy Rogers collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
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