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Dutch Morial And The Police Strike Of 1979

By Laine Kaplan-Levenson

In 1979, Ernest "Dutch" Morial became the first black mayor of New Orleans. He won the election with 95% of the black vote, and just 20% of the white vote. He campaigned on a platform of police reform, but it wasn’t just Dutch who wanted to re-organize the NOPD – they were organizing themselves. They wanted a union, pay increases, and better working conditions. Soon after Dutch took office, the police wasted no time. They staged their first strike, in history. Their bargaining tool? Mardi Gras.

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