Today we celebrate the dedication of the Heritage monument and the 75th Anniversary of the desegregation of the US Armed Forces. The Louisiana Heritage Monument honors the brave service and sacrifices of all African-American Veterans and their families from Louisiana and throughout the country. It was created by Count Time Living Legend Sheleen Jones. It is located in the Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park at the State Capitol. This episode includes remarks by Governor John Bel Edwards, Senator Royce Duplessis and more. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9980, which eliminated discrimination in federal employment, and 9981, which banned segregation in the U.S. armed forces.
Count Time Podcast Living Legend Sheleen Jones Dedication of the Louisiana Heritage Monument
Selected quotes and notes from Count Time Podcast with LD Azobra 75th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the US Armed Forces
Good evening. Good evening. Good evening it’s 4:00 PM. Stand up it’s count time, time for every man and woman to stand up and be counted. Welcome to another edition of Count Time podcast. I am brother LD Azobra. Thank you for joining us today.
The Louisiana Heritage Monument was created by Act 432, which was signed into law by Gov. Edwards in 2021. Authored by Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, the legislation won overwhelming bipartisan support. Sen. Royce Duplessis helped secure prominent New Orleans artist, Sheleen Jones. The monument begins with recognizing the contributions of the formerly enslaved soldiers who fought for the Union and in the 1863 Siege at Port Hudson. They primarily made up the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard regiments and were critical to the battle, which historians regard as a major turning point in the Civil War. These brave soldiers were the first Black soldiers who fought in combat and paved the way for others to enter all branches of the military and serve from the battlefields to the highest ranks.
Cast in bronze, the monument sits atop a limestone base, stands more than 9 feet tall and is 12 feet wide. It features military heroes beginning with America’s revolutionary war and reaches forward through the United States Space Force. Some of those depicted include the Tuskegee Airmen; the Buffalo Soldiers; Lieutenant General Russel Honoré; General Colin Powell; Lieutenant General Michael Langley; Brigadier General Sherian Cadoria; and Colonel Margaret Bailey; and others.
Artist, Sheleen Jones who is also a professor at Xavier University says, “It is an honor to create memorial sculptures for communities. I hope to continue creating images that capture and celebrate our humanity, our struggles, our beauty and our fortitude.”
Several of her sculptures are displayed throughout the New Orleans Metropolitan area. Commissioned sculptures include, Armstrong National Park “Chief Allison Tootie Montana”, Rev. Avery C. Alexander, “Forever a Crusader” of Civil Rights, the Memorial Plaza, and “Opening the Gates” A Memorial to A. P. Tureaud Sr.
Southern University and A&M College has partnered with the state and agreed to maintain the Heritage Monument website and share the stories of the veterans for many years to come.