The Full Story Of How Lake Charles Won The Right To Have A MLK School Holiday [VIDEO]
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day everybody! The old saying is true, “you gotta know where you’ve been, to know where your going.” In part II of my interview with retired educator Dr. Nancy B. Shepard, she explains how the MLK School Holiday came about here in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
I’ve known Dr. Shepard most of my life. My first introduction to her was like many in my age group, at school. She was always happy and ever since I could remember called me ‘Gina Baby’. Every now and then, she stops by the radio station and asks me to read an introduction for one her plays/poetry/theater productions and of course I always do.
Recently, she stopped by and we started to discuss the civil rights movement, the changes her generation went through and the national Dr. King holiday. As we talked, she made me aware that children here in Lake Charles and surrounding cities in Calcasieu Parish didn’t always have the opportunity to celebrate the MLK holiday like they do now.
Dr. Shepard explained, she and many others had to fight for it back in 1995. It was at that moment, that I felt I should get a camera from our news department and document her talking about the historical event. Knowledge is power right? To set things up, The National MKL School Holiday already passed on November 2nd,1986. In fact many school systems in Louisiana began celebrating Dr. Kings birthday, but Calcasieu Parish wasn’t one of them.
So, Dr. Nancy B. Shepard, then president of ACORN led ACORN and NAACP members to hold a meeting with the Calcasieu Parish School Board. When that was unsuccessful, they took their fight to the State Legislature Chairman of Education. Here is Dr. Shepard giving a detailed account of how the MLK School Holiday came about in Calcasieu Parish.
Big thank you to EVERYONE who was involved and made the “MLK School Holiday” a reality!