SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – This Friday Grambling State University will be closed to recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday.
“It is still important that African Americans have a place where they will be celebrated not tolerated.”
Juneteenth commemorates the date in 1865 that the last documented illegally detained slaves learned they were free, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law.
“I think it’s important that we be on the front line of recognizing the significance of the freeing of slaves in America.”
Grambling was established 36 years later out of a need to educate African Americans.
“Because of our foundation and what started the need for Grambling as an institution and here we are 119 years later, that we are still as relevant if not more relevant today than we were in 1901.”
President Rick Gallot says the university is a top producer of criminal justice students in the nation.
“We are on the frontlines of that task of preparing professionals to make a difference and make our criminal justice system more fair and equitable to all people especially for the lives of African Americans.”
Gallot admits there’s still work left to be done in this country.
“As we can see through things that are going on not just with law enforcement, but in the workplace. Statistics still show that African Americans don’t make as much as whites that do the same job.”
He says they must continue to be a leader, advocating for the rights and privileges of African Americans.