New Orleans Public Library
Martin Luther King Holiday Celebration
Main Library
January 15, 2004

This year's Martin Luther King holiday celebration at the library featured history makers (l-r) Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams, and Gail Etienne Netters. As children, they helped integrate New Orleans Public Schools in 1960 when they entered McDonogh 19 school and later Semmes elementary school.

Before the program the keynote speakers (Tate, Prevost-Williams and Etienne Netters) chat with local poet Sukether Williams Simmons (far left) who began the program with a delivery of her poem, "Color Blind."

This year's chair of the Black History Committee, Lydia Ball Arthur, introduces the keynote speakers.

Gail Etienne Netters shares the experience she and her colleagues, Tessie Prevost Williams and Leona Tate went through while integrating McDonogh 19 and later Thomas Jenkins Semmes elementary schools.

Tessie Prevost Williams explained how their experience strengthened their faith and helped shape their character. She encouraged the students in the audience to stay in school and build their dreams.

Leona Tate questioned the significance of the LEAP test and its current role in the educational process of today's public school students.

Members of the local Martin Luther King Commission enjoy the program (l-r) Irma Magee, Louis Keller, Sr., Registrar of Voters for Orleans Parish, Rev. Simmie Lee Harvey, co-chair of the city's Martin Luther King Federal Holiday Planning Commission, and Valencia Hawkins, Head of the African American Resource Center and advisor to the Black History Committee.

Local musician Carl LeBlanc delighted the audience with his renditions of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," "Sista Rosa" and Stevie Wonder's version of Happy Birthday.

The audience enjoys the music of Carl LeBlanc

Following the program Black History Committee member JoAnn Allen helped serve commemorative cake that read "Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "

Keynote speakers, (third from left) Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost-Williams and Gail Etienne Netters are pictured with (l-r) Valencia Hawkins, Head, African American Resource Center; Kenya Smith, executive assistant to Mayor Ray Nagin; Rev. Simmie Lee Harvey, Co-Chair, Martin Luther King Holiday Planning Commission; Martin Luther King Holiday Planning Commission members Irma Magee and Louis Keller; and Black History Month Chair, Lydia Ball Arthur.

Go to Black History Month 2004

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