Celebrating Black History-Olis and Leo Antee

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Among many Civil Rights pioneers in Natchitoches Parish are the late Olis and Leo Antee who joined with Elnora Robertson and Mrs. James Gay Sr. to petition the school board to integrate the schools with students and staff of all races in 1968.

A burning cross outside their home did not deter the Antees from their mission. The suit was the beginning of the end of segregation in public schools. It resulted in many changes including the merging of the all-black Central High and all-white Natchitoches High into today’s Natchitoches Central High School.

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It also resulted in an end to deplorable and unsanitary conditions in black schools and better opportunities for black teachers. Mrs. Antee was a beautician and stay-at-home mother and Mr. Antee was a barber.

He was the first black man to open a business in downtown Natchitoches and she was recognized by the La. State Senate with the Black Heritage Pioneer of Civil Rights Award.

•The Times will publish Black History profiles in every February edition.