SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser announced a project to revitalize the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, which includes two stops on the trail which are located in downtown Shreveport, and he is asking citizens to contribute to the state’s Civil Rights Trail.

Nungesser announced the planned revitalization during a luncheon Tuesday at the Whitney Plantation in Edgard, La., which is one of 38 sites on the trail.

Nungesser says that the revitalization of the African American Heritage Trail came as a result of the La. Office of Tourism working on the Civil Rights Trail. He says that many of the locations and artifacts that they came across did not fit the Civil Rights Trail, and they decided to update and add to the African American Heritage Trail.

“Our African American Heritage Trail had not been really promoted in many years. We thought we would relaunch it, add some new exciting things to the trail, and jointly promote this as we continue to build on the Civil Rights Trail,” Nungesser said.

Nungesser says there is so much history that many citizens were never taught, and the trail is an exciting opportunity to highlight moments in American and Louisiana history.

“When we were able to come up and put the marker at that church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his last speech before he was killed right there in Shreveport, I didn’t know that. I was never taught that history in school.”

The Lt. Governor says education is the key to a better understanding of what took place and who the Louisiana heroes of the civil rights movement were.

“I think anytime you can educate people on history, the good and the bad, it’s a good thing for relations, both race relations and all kinds of relations in understanding what people went through and what we’re up against.”

The Lt. Governor’s office has implemented two educational programs, Homework Louisiana and Uniquely Louisiana, to provide resources to Louisiana students. He plans to use those platforms to incorporate information from the African American Heritage Trail and the Civil Rights Trail.

“We have a great team that did such a great job with those two sites we’re excited about the educational component of what we’re building. The great thing about these trails – we are able to get stories from those who lived it.”

Nungesser and his team have big plans for the Louisiana Civil Rights and African American History Trails to bolster tourism in the state and make Louisiana a destination for history lovers and those who have visited other Civil Rights Trails throughout the south.

The trail launched in 2008 and includes sites from New Orleans to North Louisiana.

The two Shreveport locations are the Southern Museum of Art and the Multicultural Center of the South.

Sherman Houston, a history instructor at SUSLA says that not knowing history is crucial to progression.

“Its very important overall for the general public to know the history of Shreveport and be excited about this art that is right here in our own community. If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it, so that’s why it is very important for people in this area to know the history. To know what we have offered right here in Shreveport. You don’t have to go anywhere else, yall come right here and see this African art.

Houston says the museum contains art depicting creole life and jazz music. He says it is crucial for African Americans to know their own history. He says the revitalization is a great way to learn Louisiana’s rich history.

Nungesser is encouraging any Louisiana citizen who has knowledge of a historical figure willing to share their memories can visit the Lt. Governor’s office to ensure that history is preserved.