As gas clouds cleared, two lay dead. A sister wondered, ‘Why? Why?’

Published: Nov. 2, 2022

By: Drew Hawkins, Adrian Dubose, Maria Pham and Annalise Vidrine | LSU Manship School News Service

Second in a four-part series (Read part one here.)

The knock on the door came at 4 a.m.

Rickey Hill and Herget Harris, two protest leaders at Southern University, peeked out and saw sheriff’s deputies outside their apartment.

Hill had been arrested the week before for disrupting the campus. Now, on Nov. 16, 1972, the deputies were looking for Harris and others in their Students United protest group.

Harris jumped out a rear window to avoid detection. After the deputies left, he and Hill learned in a hurried call that Fred Prejean, a 25-year-old community activist, and three other students were being taken to jail.

Hill and Harris decided to ask Southern’s president, George Leon Netterville, to secure the students’ release. As they and their supporters walked toward the two-story brick administration building around 8 a.m., students ran up to find out what was going on.

“So they followed,” Harris said, and “the following grew as we continued on.”

By 8:30 a.m., 75 students were outside the building – some members of Students United, others just curious onlookers. Netterville, who was fed up after weeks of demonstrations and boycotts over the quality of education at Southern, agreed to let Hill, Harris and three others into his wood-paneled office.

Read more at Verite News

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