Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hail to the Pioneers!

Yes times have changed...but least we forget. Mrs. Lena Dandridge-Houston and others who pioneered the efforts in 1965 to desegregate Jefferson Parish in New Orleans LA celebrated "Champions, Plaintiffs and Pioneers Breaking Barriers" at a gathering of alumni in the Hilton New Orleans Airport in Kenner LA. While attending one of their alumni meetings as a guest I sat quietly listening to a role call of normal everyday people whose parents had become fed up 45 years ago with second class-ness and challenged the educational system and Jim Crow laws in Jefferson Parish. It was humbling to me, a man just shy of elementary school age in 1965, how these children endured some of the most vile indignations and harsh treatments to go to school...and to go practically anywhere else in the deep south. I sensed the greatness of the pain in memories truly personal and deep. My hat goes off to them and congratulations for continuing for 45 years living and working in an environment that was and in some sense still is an exhausting endeavor.