Rudy Lombard
(1939 — 2014)


As remembered by David "Dave" Dennis
December 13, 2014

Hi Everyone:

I hope all is well with everyone.

This is to inform you that at around 12 noon Central time today, Rudy Lombard moved on to join our ancestors and the Stars of Freedom. Condolences are extended to the family of Dr. RUDY LOMBARD.

Dr. Lombard was a guiding light for me and many others, his legacy is forever etched in time for his noble work that changed the course of history in America. As a student at Xavier University Rudy was the Chairman of the New Orleans Chapter of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) in early 1960's during the sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in New Orleans.

...after being arrested in 1960 for sitting in at a lunch counter Rudy Lombard announced from jail that "We, the members of CORE are willing to make any sacrifice [to gain] the support of the community . If we cannot secure your backing, then we must carry on this struggle alone." ... at a mass meeting he admonished the black community to "Be not discouraged by the threat of jail, or criticism of those who oppose equality... Fight against the smugness of our community ". He stated that "No man can imprison the desire to be free. I speak with confidence when I say, not even the threat of death shall silence of the cry of the Negro for liberation from the imprisonment of segregation".

Excerpts from the book Righteous Lives: Narratives of the New Orleans Civil Rights Movement - Kim Lacy Rogers



As remembered by Karen Spellman
December 13, 2014

I just saw your message about Rudy. This is a major loss to the civil rights community. He was a great man, a visionary, and an inspiration to many of us in the movement. But his legacy will live on now that he has become a "freedom star".



As remembered by Cynthia Palmer
December 13, 2014

Another sad day!!!. So glad he was able to come to Freedom Summer. Prayers for his family.



As remembered by Joanne Gavin
December 13, 2014

Dave, thanks so much for that.

Another big hole in my heart; he will always be a special brother to me, though I never saw him after Rudy drove (in a tiny "Morris Mini-minor" that he was way too tall for!) with me and Lois Rogers from San Francisco to Dayton, Ohio, for the '62 (or '63?) C.O.R.E. national conference, and, of course, at that conference).

It was quite an adventure and I have many memories from it.

I had eMail correspondence with him a few years back and we reminisced about that trip.

Rudy Lombard: Presente!



As remembered by Judy Richardson
December 13, 2014

I am so sorry to hear this. I don't know why I thought that Rudy would beat this, particularly given how long he'd been fighting this. Maybe because he always seemed so upbeat — even at the Mississippi 50th! I swear, I hate this stuff.

 — judy


As remembered by Courtland Cox
December 13, 2014

Rudy, was determined to come to Freedom Summer 50. I think that the 50th Anniversaries provide a chance to see each other because "... this may be the last time, we do not know."

Courtland Cox


As remembered by Bernice Johnson Reagon
December 13, 2014

Good Morning Joyce, thank you for this sharing and yes, we are entering that time when memorials begin to crowd our calendars.

These days, it seem that I walked with my arms wide — stretched out straddling as if to connect the gap created as we commemorate one more stepping across the line...



As remembered by Joyce Ladner
January 1, 2015

I met Rudy Lombard in the early sixties. By the time I met him he was already well-known for his participation in the New Orleans sit-in movement. Rudy and I went to work at Howard University in the early 1970's. He directed a treatment program for addicts where he applied his movement organizing skills superbly. Rudy's interests were broad so he eventually went back to New Orleans to work on the city's problems. Rudy was a kind of jovial and no nonsense brother at the same time. His dedication to fighting for the rights of black people would take many forms over his lifetime. He was tough, strong, focused, and he didn't court the spotlight. He also had a kind heart. Rudy was a Creole culture maven who was dedicated to preserving that culture. He did it through co-authoring a book titled Creole Feast: 15 Master Chefs of New Orleans Reveal Their Secrets. One night he cooked a big pot of okra gumbo for my party. He was a great cook and owned a restaurant in the Bay Area. When he was diagnosed with prostate cancer he again took his skills and organized educational programs for black men with the disease I was so happy to see Rudy at the Freedom Summer 50th. I shall always remember him.


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