We were delighted to hear from Ms. Leona Tate, Civil Rights Pioneer, and Founder and Executive Director of the Leona Tate Foundation for Change, on why it is important to remember the past while looking toward the future. This special listening session also featured remarks from the Honorable LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans, and the Honorable Rodney E. Slater, former US Secretary of Transportation.
On November 14, 1960, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the six-year-old Leona Tate unwittingly became a pioneer of the American Civil Rights Movement when she, along with two other little girls, walked into McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School and helped begin school desegregation in the South.
Today, Ms. Tate continues to make strides toward achieving racial equity in this country. Her fateful walk as a young child inspired a life-long mission, leading to the founding of the Leona Tate Foundation for Change. With Ms. Tate’s vision and determination, she was able to raise funds and purchase the school she was escorted into many years ago, and now the foundation is reaching another milestone with the redevelopment and transformation of the historic McDonogh No. 19 into the Tate, Etienne, Prevost (TEP) Interpretive Center. The TEP Center, named after the three Civil Rights pioneers, Leona Tate, Gail Etienne and Tessie Prevost, who went to McDonogh No. 19, will house education and exhibition spaces dedicated to sharing the history of New Orleans public school desegregation, civil rights and restorative justice. The facility will also encompass affordable housing for senior citizens.