Locals honored for fostering racial equality

Locals honored for fostering racial equality

Credit: Houma Courier

Top row: Boykin. Bottom row from left to right: Verdine, Verrett

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by Kris Johnson / Houma Courier

wwltv.com

Posted on February 25, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 10 at 11:59 AM

HOUMA, La. - Three Terrebonne Parish residents were honored Friday for their contributions to civil rights and their fight for racial equality.

The awards were given by the Louisiana Police Jury Association's Black Caucus. More than 1,000 government officials are attending the association's state convention, which concludes today after three days at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.

Honored during Black Caucus luncheon were Hazel Boykin, Bishop Arthur Verrett and Cleveland “Coke” Verdine.

“These people and so many more made it possible for us to have the relationship we have today as blacks and whites together,” said Terrebonne Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams, president of the National Association of Black Officials.

Though struggles remain, black residents, children in particular, don't have to “fight the same fight,” because of the road paved by people like the three honorees, said Williams, a member of the caucus' Executive Board.

About the honorees:

- As the 1966 school year began, Hazel Boykin dropped off two of her children, Jerome, 7, and Connie, 6, at West Park Elementary in Houma. It was 12 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision prohibited racial segregation in public schools, but Terrebonne's remained divided.

In a Courier story last month, Boykin, now 89, recalled that day.

“The judge said to give them time to integrate, but I took it upon myself,” she said.

Boykin did not attend Friday's luncheon. Her son, Jerome Boykin, longtime president of Terrebonne Parish's NAACP chapter, accepted the award on his mother's behalf.

- Arthur Verrett, a Baptist minister, was honored for his 12 years of service on the Terrebonne Parish School Board, including one year as vice president. The caucus also cited his work, in conjunction with parish government, to provide housing for underprivileged residents for the past decade.

“It was very moving,” Verrett said after receiving the award. “They chose to honor me, but I've been in ministry for 40 years, so this, helping people, is just a part of my lifelong work.”

- Cleveland “Coke” Verdine, 76, was one of the first black criminal investigators in Terrebonne Parish. He was elected the first black constable in Ward 1, which includes parts of Schriever, Gray, Coteau and Bayou Blue. He was honored as Constable of the Year by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office in 2004.

Three Terrebonne Parish residents were honored Friday for their contributions to civil rights and their fight for racial equality.

The awards were given by the Louisiana Police Jury Association's Black Caucus. More than 1,000 government officials are attending the association's state convention, which concludes today after three days at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.

Honored during Black Caucus luncheon were Hazel Boykin, Bishop Arthur Verrett and Cleveland “Coke” Verdine.

“These people and so many more made it possible for us to have the relationship we have today as blacks and whites together,” said Terrebonne Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams, president of the National Association of Black Officials.

Though struggles remain, black residents, children in particular, don't have to “fight the same fight,” because of the road paved by people like the three honorees, said Williams, a member of the caucus' Executive Board.

About the honorees:

- As the 1966 school year began, Hazel Boykin dropped off two of her children, Jerome, 7, and Connie, 6, at West Park Elementary in Houma. It was 12 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision prohibited racial segregation in public schools, but Terrebonne's remained divided.

In a Courier story last month, Boykin, now 89, recalled that day.

“The judge said to give them time to integrate, but I took it upon myself,” she said.

Boykin did not attend Friday's luncheon. Her son, Jerome Boykin, longtime president of Terrebonne Parish's NAACP chapter, accepted the award on his mother's behalf.

- Arthur Verrett, a Baptist minister, was honored for his 12 years of service on the Terrebonne Parish School Board, including one year as vice president. The caucus also cited his work, in conjunction with parish government, to provide housing for underprivileged residents for the past decade.

“It was very moving,” Verrett said after receiving the award. “They chose to honor me, but I've been in ministry for 40 years, so this, helping people, is just a part of my lifelong work.”

- Cleveland “Coke” Verdine, 76, was one of the first black criminal investigators in Terrebonne Parish. He was elected the first black constable in Ward 1, which includes parts of Schriever, Gray, Coteau and Bayou Blue. He was honored as Constable of the Year by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office in 2004.

Three Terrebonne Parish residents were honored Friday for their contributions to civil rights and their fight for racial equality.

The awards were given by the Louisiana Police Jury Association's Black Caucus. More than 1,000 government officials are attending the association's state convention, which concludes today after three days at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.

Honored during Black Caucus luncheon were Hazel Boykin, Bishop Arthur Verrett and Cleveland “Coke” Verdine.

“These people and so many more made it possible for us to have the relationship we have today as blacks and whites together,” said Terrebonne Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams, president of the National Association of Black Officials.

Though struggles remain, black residents, children in particular, don't have to “fight the same fight,” because of the road paved by people like the three honorees, said Williams, a member of the caucus' Executive Board.

About the honorees:

- As the 1966 school year began, Hazel Boykin dropped off two of her children, Jerome, 7, and Connie, 6, at West Park Elementary in Houma. It was 12 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision prohibited racial segregation in public schools, but Terrebonne's remained divided.

In a Courier story last month, Boykin, now 89, recalled that day.

“The judge said to give them time to integrate, but I took it upon myself,” she said.

Boykin did not attend Friday's luncheon. Her son, Jerome Boykin, longtime president of Terrebonne Parish's NAACP chapter, accepted the award on his mother's behalf.

- Arthur Verrett, a Baptist minister, was honored for his 12 years of service on the Terrebonne Parish School Board, including one year as vice president. The caucus also cited his work, in conjunction with parish government, to provide housing for underprivileged residents for the past decade.

“It was very moving,” Verrett said after receiving the award. “They chose to honor me, but I've been in ministry for 40 years, so this, helping people, is just a part of my lifelong work.”

- Cleveland “Coke” Verdine, 76, was one of the first black criminal investigators in Terrebonne Parish. He was elected the first black constable in Ward 1, which includes parts of Schriever, Gray, Coteau and Bayou Blue. He was honored as Constable of the Year by the Louisiana Attorney General's Office in 2004.

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