CBS News report recalls the courageous actions to desegregate McDonough 19 Elementary School in New Orleans
As part of its Black Heritage Month coverage, CBS News on Feb. 14 aired a report that recalled an untold story about a historic moment that led to desegregation at an elementary school in New Orleans with a Lafayette College connection.
CBS News’ report featured the recollections of Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost who, as six-year-old girls accompanied by U.S. Marshals and facing an angry crowd, bravely entered the former McDonough 19 Elementary School in New Orleans on Nov. 14 1960 to desegregate schools in Louisiana for the first time.
The report noted that their courageous act is often overshadowed by Ruby Bridges, who on the same day entered the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and received recognition as the first African-American child to desegregate a school in Louisiana.
Vacated after Hurricane Katrina, the former McDonough 19 Elementary School has been transformed into the TEP Interpretive Center, an educational facility with a mission to promote Civil Rights and undo structural racism.
McDonough 19 Elementary School was named for Louisiana plantation owner John McDonogh (1779-1850), who freed his enslaved people, including David K. McDonogh (1821-1893) who came to Lafayette in 1838 and became one of the first enslaved people in the United States to earn a college degree. The McDonogh Network, an active networking organization for multiple generations of Lafayette’s Black alumni and students, is named in honor of David K. McDonogh.