Raphael Cassimere, Jr. was born March 2, 1942 to Raphael Cassimere and the former Estelle Elam. He attended Macarty Elementary, A.J. Bell Jr. High, and Joseph S. Clark Senior High (class of ‘59) public schools in New Orleans. Cassimere received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in History from LSUNO (now the University of New Orleans). In 1971 he received the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in History from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
He has been a member of the History department of the University of New Orleans since 1971 and presently holds the rank of Professor-Emeritus. In 1984 Cassimere was the first recipient of the UNO-AMOCO Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, and in 1994, he was selected as the UNO Liberal Arts College’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
In 1996 Dr. Cassimere was appointed one of the three initial recipients of the Seraphia D. Leyda University Teaching Fellowship which "recognize outstanding faculty members for their accomplishments as teachers and reflects the university's continuing commitment to excellence in teaching." In Spring 2005 he was selected as one of the university’s all time “favorite professors.” Cassimere is the author of African Americans in New Orleans Before the Civil War.
Dr. Cassimere has been active in the NAACP since 1960 and has held the following offices: President, New Orleans NAACP Youth Council, 1960-1966; President, Louisiana State Youth Conference, 1962-65; Chairman, Southwest Regional States, for both adult and youth conferences, and in 2007, he was elected to an unprecedented ninth term as regional chairman. He also served as vice president of the Louisiana State Conference, NAACP from 1971-1982 and secretary of the New Orleans branch of the NAACP, 1979-82. From 1992-96, Cassimere served on the board of directors of the Crisis Publishing Company, the official journal of the national NAACP. He served as interim chairman of the Crisis Board in 1996. In 1982 Dr. Cassimere received the A.P. Tureaud Black Citizenship Medal, the highest award conferred by the NAACP in Louisiana.
In 1971, Governor John J. McKeithen appointed Dr. Cassimere to the Louisiana Advisory Bicentennial Commission. In 1975, Governor Edwin W. Edwards appointed him to the Louisiana Election Code Revision Commission which was responsible for revising the election laws of Louisiana. He was subsequently elected secretary of the commission. In 1984, Governor Edwards named him one of the original members of the Louisiana Black Culture Commission. In 1982, Mayor Dutch Moral appointed Cassimere to the Vieux Carré Commission. In 1983 he was elected commission chairman and reelected to that position in 1984 and 1985. Dr. Cassimere also served as a member of the Historical Pharmaceutical Museum Commission from 1983-86. Cassimere served as a member of the Board of the Bureau of Governmental Research from 1990-96.
Dr. Cassimere is married to the former Inez Hale, a master teacher. They have two children, Raphael Martin Cassimere and Raquelle Angelle Cassimere and one granddaugher.