Many pay respects to a great leader as his judicial portrait is unveiled


From left, SULC Vice Chancellor Russell L. Jones; Dr. Krishna Agnihotri; Chancellor Emeritus B. K. Agnihotri; Prof. Winston Riddick (retd.); Dr. Patricia Riddick, and Antonio “Tony” Clayton,’ 91, member of the SU Board of Supervisors.

More than 150 attended the judicial portrait unveiling of the late Dr. Jesse N. Stone, Jr., February 28, at the Southern University Museum of Art in Shreveport.

Southern University Law Center (SULC) and the Southern University Shreveport campus (SUSLA) hosted the ceremony for Dr. Stone, who was the first African American appointed to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The portrait is a gift to the Law Center from Chancellor Emeritus B. K. Agnihotri, Vice Chancellor Russell L. Jones, and Prof. Winston Riddick (retd.) in honor of their friend and mentor. It will become a part of the Law Center’s Judicial Wall of Fame.

Among ceremony participants giving accolades to Dr. Stone were SU Board of Supervisors Chairman Leon R. Tarver II; Southern University President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton;  SU Board member Rev. Joe R. Gant; Chancellor Agnihotri, Vice Chancellor Jones; and Prof. Riddick. Shreveport City Attorney William Bradford, Jr., presented a mayoral proclamation, and Shreveport City Councilman Calvin Lester presented a City Council resolution. SBA President Patrick Harrington and SULC Evening Division President Courtney Harris read a Louisiana Legislative Proclamation secured by Louisiana State Representative Samuel Jenkins.

Stone was one of the law school’s first graduates, the first graduate to serve as dean of the law school, the first African-American Assistant State Superintendent of Education for the Louisiana Department of Education; and the first president of the Southern University System. Throughout his career, Stone, a native of Gibsland, Louisiana, and a resident of Shreveport and Baton Rouge, advanced civil rights from the bar, in the political arena, within educational administration, and from the bench.

Stone’s daughter, Caddo Parish Juvenile Court Judge Shonda Stone, addressed the gathering, thanking everyone for the kind gesture and for honoring her father in this way. She described her “daddy” as “a bridge builder and a social engineer par excellence.”

“We owe him a great debt for paving the way for us to get to do what we do every day,” said SULC Interim Chancellor John K. Pierre.

Pierre also noted that he was a recipient of a scholarship that Dr. Stone awarded annually during his tenure at the university to Southern University students in honor of his late son, Michael.

At the ceremony, Brian Smith, ’94, senior partner in the Law Offices of Smith and Nwokorie, LLC, presented a $5,000 check to establish a scholarship at SULC in Dr. Stone’s memory. Smith was accompanied by associate Tikisha Smith, ’09.

Brian Smith,'94, and Tikisha Smith,'09

Brian Smith, ’94, and Tikisha Smith, ’09, Law Offices of Smith and Nwokorie, LLC.

Other members of the civil rights, education, legal, and political communities attending the ceremony included Caddo School Board Member Dottie Bell, assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Brown, SU Alumni Federation National President Preston Castille, S. P. Davis,  Caddo Parish Public Defender Richard Fisher, Carl and Kenna Franklin, Felicia Hamilton, Don Hathaway Jr., Angela Jackson, former state Sen. Lydia Jackson, Dr. Mary Jackson, Ruby Jackson, Dora Jenkins, Joe Jernigan, Calvin Lester, SU Board member Patrick D. Magee, Jim McMichael, Regina Martin, Benjamin Pugh, Dr. Regina Robinson, Mary Rounds, Dr. Phillip Rozeman, Jacqueline Scott, Caddo Dist. Atty. James Stewart, Margaret Thompson, SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo, and Alex Washington.

Members of the event planning committee were co-chairs Dr. Rachel L. Emanuel and Dr. Melva Williams, Carla Ball, Maya Riley Banks, Angelique Feaster Evans, Angela Scott Gaines, Krystle B. Grindley, Cynthia N. Reed, Tanya M. Freeman, Yvonne Schofield, and Henry Tillman.



Judge Shonda Stone with portrait of her father, the late Jesse N. Stone, Jr., first African American appointed to serve on the Louisiana Supreme Court.



From left: SULC interim Chancellor John K. Pierre; SU System Board of Supervisors Chairman Leon T. Tarver; SU Board member Antonio “Tony” Clayton; SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton, and SUSLA Interim Chancellor S. Albert Gilliam.