As a young black LSU journalism student in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Jinx Coleman Broussard developed a thick skin against the racial prejudices she encountered in the classroom, on campus and even in Tiger Stadium.
She refused to succumb to “the curses hurled at me and my girlfriends when we went to a football game,” or to the white students “who moved after I sat down,” she says.
She focused on her goals and remained dedicated to succeeding and becoming the first African-American student to earn a bachelor’s degree from the journalism school, now the Manship School of Mass Communication.
“I had a goal, and nothing was going to stop me from graduating and pursuing my dreams,” says Broussard, who today is an LSU journalism professor and one of two recipients who will be honored at the 2015 LSU Legends A.P. Tureaud Sr., Black Alumni Chapter and LSU Alumni Association’s Legends program.
Her efforts helped make it possible for me and hundreds of other minority students, including LSU Legends winner Donald R. Cravins Jr., to successfully complete our college careers at the state’s flagship university.
Cravins graduated from LSU in political science in 1994, earned his law degree from Southern University and has become successful in politics, law and community activism on the national scene.
In 2006, he was elected to the state Senate for the seat vacated by his father and was re-elected in 2007. He served as staff director and chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and is currently national political director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the National Urban League’s senior vice president.
Broussard was inducted into the Manship School Hall of Fame in 1990 for her distinguished career in public relations and political communication work for the city of New Orleans. Also an author, she is the F. Walker Lockett Distinguished Professor for the Manship School.
As a journalism student, she covered student government for The Reveille, the university’s student newspaper.
“I was fortunate because the professors in the Journalism School, as it was called then, were very enlightened and created a welcoming environment in my classes and in the school,” she said, adding that not all professors were accommodating.
But Broussard was determined.
“I was as focused as a laser on pursuing my dream of reporting from points near and far,” she said.
Broussard and Cravins will be honored at the LSU Legends Forum: “The Audacity of Change: A History of Protest at LSU,” at 6 p.m. Oct. 23 in the LSU Union.
Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.