Phebe Hayes

Dr. Phebe Hayes, a native and lifelong resident of Iberia Parish, is the founder of the Iberia African American Historical Society, whose mission is to research, preserve, commemorate and teach the full and inclusive history of African Americans of Iberia Parish. She is a descendant of West Africans enslaved on plantations in present-day Iberia, St. Martin and St. Mary parishes, including the Shadows-on-the-Teche. In 2013, following 26 years of service, she retired from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she was a Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders and served as Dean of the College of General Studies. Following her retirement, Dr. Hayes used research skills acquired over years of work to explore her own family history, discovering primary records that provided evidence of the true history of African Americans who lived in Iberia Parish. She found that much of that history was suppressed by racist leaders of the day whose aim was to erase evidence of African American success during the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction eras.