Marshals museum plans events for King’s birthday

FORT SMITH — Three former students who desegregated a New Orleans elementary school in 1960 will join the U.S. Marshals Museum in celebrating the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday holiday on Monday.

The three — Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams and Gail Etienne Stripling — desegregated McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School. The girls and their families depended on the help of U.S. marshals to protect them from hostile crowds.

Besides the three former students, Louie McKinney — the first career deputy to lead the U.S. Marshals Service and a black deputy marshal who helped enforce desegregation in the South — will be in the city for the festivities.

Events are:

• 7:30 a.m., breakfast and panel discussion, in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. The three former New Orleans students and McKinney will be at the breakfast. The panel discussion — “Love and Unity in the Service of Hope” — will feature a group of Fort Smith Lincoln High School alumni who will share their experiences desegregatin Northside High School.

• 11:30 a.m., a “Celebrate the Dream Parade” will be held along Garrison Avenue.

• 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m., a “Meet the Pioneers Happy Hour” at the Courtyard Marriott.

The Marshals Museum is scheduled to open on Sept. 24, 2019, the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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