Published: Nov. 16, 2022
By: Drew Hawkins and Claire Sullivan | LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards apologized Wednesday (Nov. 16) on behalf of the state to former Southern University protest leaders and the families of two Southern students who were killed by an unidentified sheriff’s deputy 50 years ago.
“To the extent that the state of Louisiana can try to make this right, that’s what we’re gonna try to do,” Edwards said at an event at the Old State Capitol building to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the shooting.
Edwards said that on the morning of the shooting, students “bravely and peacefully” protested the disparities of educational opportunities in Louisiana.
He said the nine protest leaders who were banned from Southern’s campus following the protests were “unjustly punished.” He said he wanted “to make amends to those who were victims to injustices perpetrated by the state,” including the families of Leonard Brown and Denver Smith, the two 20-year-old students who were shot and killed.
He said wished to “recognize the lost potential of the lives” of the two young men.
The governor then signed a proclamation formalizing the apology.
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