Grambling, LA - Before 1901 there were few options in northeast Louisiana for educating African American children.
Dr. Mildred Gallot says, "Education in Louisiana was very, very narrow in terms of providing things for our kids."
Then came the establishment of Grambling State University. A letter was sent to Booker T. Washington. Charles P. Adams traveled from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to Grambling. He served as president for 36 years.
"It was important to have a school, so the kids could go to school."
Dr. Gallot enrolled as a student in 1955.
"Now when people came to visit, all of the old graduates they say o my goodness, it's just so different. Yeah but we had to work hard to get this."
Gallot knows first hand about the hard work While pursuing a graduate degree at Louisiana State University she was encouraged to focus her dissertation on Grambling State University, because she was the only student who worked at a historically black college.
She says everyone wanted to know about Grambling State University, but she hit a roadblock. Gallot went to the LSU's library and there wasn't anything written about Grambling. She went back to GSU and started interviewing people about the school's history. Eventually her school assignment lead her to write a book.
Dr. Gallot says the school has experiences lots of changes. Changes that will require additional chapters in her book Including the addition of her son, Rick Gallot as the 10th president of GSU.
"There's no strangers to him, because he say that he's never lived any place else, but in Grambling. He's had the same zip code his whole life."
President Gallot is fully aware of the responsibilities that come with the job and the expectations. He knew all of the presidents of Grambling with the exception of the university's first leader.
He says, "All of the things that they did do during some pretty transformative years, certainly adds some pressure to do well and know they set a pretty high mark."
President Gallot's mother and father went to Grambling, along with his sisters, nephew and now his own son. Gallot says leading Grambling into its next chapter isn't a job but a labor of love.
"I just sort of jumped in and started working, I guess it really hadn't hit me that this is really a part of history."
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