Orleans Parish School Board Honors UNO Faculty Member
The Orleans Parish School Board honored a University of New Orleans professor this month for his seminal work collecting thousands of school board records dating back to the 1800s. In fall, UNO celebrated the 30th anniversary of the collection, which is now housed at the University's Earl K. Long Library.
Al Kennedy, who received a master of arts and doctoral degree in urban studies from UNO, has served as an adjunct instructor at the University since 1999, teaching American history, Louisiana history and music history courses. He started amassing old public school photographs and records in the late 1970s and soon found himself driving around on his lunch hour and on weekends to retrieve and store elements of personal collections, as information spread word of mouth.
An informal effort grew into a formal agreement between the school board and UNO signed February 24, 1983 named the Earl K. Long Library as the official repository for the school district's historical records. Kennedy, who was then a New Orleans Public School staff member and archivist for the Orleans Parish School Board, brokered the agreement after working with the UNO History Department and Earl K. Long Library's Special Collections staff to create the Orleans Parish School Board Collection.
Housed within the collection today are more than 170 years of school board records, rules and regulations, legal files for landmark education cases, an oral history collection, school newsletters, yearbooks and 4,000 photographs, some dating to the 19th century. The documents are available for public viewing, research and study.
The Orleans Parish School Board presented Kennedy with a proclamation this month for his outstanding work and scholarship. Kennedy worked on the book, "Crescent City Schools -- A History of Public Education in New Orleans" with authors Donald DeVore and Joe Logsdon.