Iberville Green’s stage to be named for NSU’s first seven Black attendees
The stage on Iberville Green will be named The Seven Oaks Stage, after the first seven Black students who integrated Northwestern State University 56 years ago. The seven Black students are Steve Jackson, June Cofield, Doris Ann Roque-Robinson, Hynes J. Baptiste, James Johnson, Johnnyne Britton-Paige and Pearl Jones-Burton. Seven oak trees will be erected around the stage to honor them.
“We came up with the name because we felt that this would be a great way to honor the first Black students at NSU,” Student Body President Nick Hopkins said. “These students were pioneers and are the ones who planted the seed of equality and inclusion that has allowed our university to grow and become the diverse institution we are today.”
The request was submitted and approved by Student Government Association and will be presented to the University Naming Commitee for approval at the board meeting near the end of this month.
“I believe as an institution NSU has a history of exclusion and therefore, I believe this is a great first step in providing homage to the struggle of these students,” Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity Michael Snowden said.
NSU officials are proud to make this big step in the campus’s history.“
We are excited that this part of NSU’s history is celebrated as integral to our university’s heritage and these first seven students are being honored with the naming of the Seven Oaks Stage,” Northwestern State University President Chris Maggio said.
Hopkins feels this is a great first step in recognizing, honoring and celebrating the great diversity that the university showcases and is proud to be a small part in this recognition.
Francis Conine, dean of students, said she is awed when she thinks about the courage and fortitude it took for these young men and women to lead the way in the deep South so long ago.
“While our work is not done, these students truly paved the way for the rest of us,” Conine said.
Clarification: The University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors must approve the proposed name change. The board’s next meeting is Feb. 25.