October 29, 2010

Good Morning:

In 1960, three little girls, Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams and Gail Stripling, helped change the history of our city and country forever by integrating McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School in New Orleans.

Now grown women, the three will gather (along with the former U.S. deputy marshals who escorted them as they crossed the threshold of history) for a panel discussion commemorating the 50th anniversary of public school desegregation in New Orleans. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be held Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Freeman Auditorium of the Woldenberg Art Center. The event will be the first time Ms. Tate, Ms. Williams and Ms. Stripling have reunited with the marshals since 1960.

Desegregation was the first critical step in achieving equal access to public education in New Orleans. Unfortunately, this historic achievement was followed by years of neglect that resulted in a failing school system that proved woefully unable to meet the needs of our children.

Today, however, is a new day for public education in New Orleans. Schools are being rebuilt, test scores are rising, enrollment is up, innovative teaching methods are being implemented and a new attitude of involvement and hope has replaced indifference and despair.

I am proud of the role Tulane, and many of you, are playing in the renaissance of public education in our city. I believe we are crossing another threshold.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638