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Ora M. Lewis
Prolific Journalist
Ora M. Lewis
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An Extraordinary Life
SEEDS In The Wind
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The Life of Ora M. Lewis
 

Ora M. Lewis was born in New Orleans, Louisiana during World War I on March 29, 1918. Her father, Nathan Lewis was a native of the West Indies and Jamaica where he lived in the mountains among the Arawak peoples, prior to his arrival in Louisiana. He was a decorated soldier, under British rule, and served aboard a Naval ship in the Dardanelles from 1914 until 1915. Ms. Lewis's mother, Cecilia Atkinson Lewis, was a descendent of West African Catholics, who arrived aboard their own ships and settled in the Louisiana Territory. Ms. Lewis, her parents, her brother and sister lived in the home of her maternal great grandmother after her parents married on October 5, 1915. It was in this home that she heard the “old folk” talk in no less than five formal languages and at least three dialects or “specials.” Ms. Lewis' parents and grand parents spoke English, French, German and Creole. However, her father forbade her from speaking any language aside from “The King's” English. Ms. Lewis' mother was a graduate of Lutheran College, trained as a percussionist with an emphasis on classical piano. After the War, her father taught at Southern University, Baton Rouge and at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama during the summer months. Both of her parents were actually accomplished musicians and often entertained the family at home. Her father enjoyed playing string instruments. Her mother, Cecilia Lewis, passed away on August 13, 1925 after young Ora cared for her in agony. Ora M. Lewis was merely seven years old at the time of her mother's passing. She and her siblings remained in New Orleans to be reared by her grandparents, although her father separated from them just prior to the passing of his wife. She continued to spend summers in Baton Rouge with her father, stepmother and three additional sisters. Ora M. Lewis began writing as a young girl and earned several staff writing and columnist jobs with major newspapers in New Orleans. She began writing as a desegregation advocate and earned full academic scholarships to attend college and study in residence at a major university. She attended and graduated from Saint Mary’s Academy (1941) and Xavier University in New Orleans (1946). After graduating from Xavier University, Ora M. Lewis fell in love with and married Lawrence J. Martin, Sr., who cofounded Twinkle Magazine with her in 1944. He was a New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish native. They became a family of seven including three daughters and two sons. Now adults, each attended Loyola University of New Orleans, as their father originally envisioned, prior to his passing in 1972. Determined to have an impact on the potential of her students, Ms. Lewis continued her studies and earned a Masters degree in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola University of New Orleans. She founded two counseling programs in the New Orleans Public School Systems that supported the educational and career dreams of hundreds of students through the years. Ora M. Lewis cherished the faith that many had in the publication of her SEEDS In The Wind novel and continued the tradition of her family as a source of insight into the untold realities of Black Catholic Louisiana history. Ms. Lewis has been honored posthumously for her years of dedication to voting rights, educational equity and peace.

 
DISCOVERING HER LEGACY TODAY
 
The 100th Birthday Of Ora M. Lewis Celebrated

"Shadows Across The Doorsill" Dedication

Her Early Published Work

1927 Thru 1943

The Ora M. Lewis Film

The Ora M. Lewis film on her profound journalistic desegregation and voting rights works is forthcoming. The film will challenge and inspire the mainstream understanding of how the Louisiana Catholic Church was desegregated.

Coming Soon...

Action Words: Journey of a Journalist

Published in February 2017, the desegregation novel reveals the extraordinary story of Ora M. Lewis in 1935 and 1936 at the outset of her professional writing career.

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Celebrating Her Life

Happy 99th Birthday To Ora M. Lewis.

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THE ORA M. LEWIS LEGACY
 
  • SODALIST
  • JOURNALIST
  • EDITOR
  • NOVELIST
 
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