SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – He was a pioneer for education and his legacy will live on through his students and books.
Shreveport historian, author and retired professor Willie Burton passed away this week at the age of 75.
Dottie Bell says, “Southern was his heart.”
The history professor started his career at Southern University at Shreveport in 1968.
“A man who wanted those African American young men and women to graduate with a degree.”
Bell calls Burton a mentor, she learned from while they both served on the Caddo Parish School Board.
“There wasn’t no such thing as black board members, white board members. Everybody came together cause that’s the way he presented it. That’s the reason he was president so many times.”
Burton represented District three on the school board for two decades and Shreveport NAACP President Lloyd Thompson is following in his footsteps.
“I’m mostly honored because I had the opportunity to follow him. To sit in the school board seat that he was the longest serving member of.”
Burton chronicled the history of Shreveport’s African American community in two books and also authored a book on the history of SUSLA.
Ray Belton, President of the Southern University System released the following statement:
The entirety of the Southern University family is deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Willie Burton — a consummate thought leader who could be easily identified as the patriarch of the Southern University at Shreveport campus.
As a former colleague of Mr. Burton, I not only had the opportunity to observe his untiring commitment to students, research and public service but also the depth to which he took to heart his role of shaping destinies and defining lives.
It has been a personal honor to have known him and most satisfying to be able to call him a friend. His contributions to Southern, Shreveport and indeed the state of Louisiana will long be remembered.