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Southern University, community to commemorate 50th anniversary of deaths of Denver Smith and Leonard Brown

Southern University, along with other community entities, will host events in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the deaths of students Denver Smith and Leonard Brown beginning Monday, Nov. 14. Smith and Brown were fatally shot amid a peaceful protest on Southern’s campus on Nov. 16, 1972. Southern’s student union bears their names.

Activities will include participation from the families and classmates of Smith and Brown, Southern University alumni and students, and community members. All events are free and open to the public. Events at Southern are sponsored by the Baton Rouge campus, Southern University Law Center, Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and the Denver Smith Foundation.


Monday, November 14

Smith-Brown Archival Exhibit 

9 a.m.-10 p.m. (Open through Friday, November 18)
Southern University 
Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union 
Mocha Room


The Impact of the Loss of Denver Smith: A Community Conversation

West Baton Rouge Parish Museum
845 N Jefferson Ave.
Port Allen, LA 70767

Presented by the West Baton Rouge Parish Museum


PBS Frontline Documentary and Panel

6 p.m.
Southern University 
Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union 
Royal Cotilion Ballroom


Wednesday, November 16


Pilgrimage from the Southern University Museum of Art to the Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union

9 a.m.



10 a.m.-Noon
Southern University
Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
Royal Cotilion Ballroom


10 a.m. “Blood on the Bluff”
Documentary and Presentation by Donney Rose, SU alumnus, writer and Kennedy Center Fellow


10:45 a.m.-Noon

Moderated by Brandi B. Harris, SU alumna and WBRZ-2 anchor
Denver Terrance, SU alumnus and nephew of Denver Smith
Nelson Smith, brother of Denver Smith
Shunda Wallace, daughter of Leonard Brown
Dr. Valaray Irvin, SU alumna and SU Counseling Center director
Edward Pratt, SU alumnus, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries press secretary, and award-winning columnist


Student Roundtable: Where Do We Go from Here?

2-3 p.m.

Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
Royal Cotillion Ballroom

Denver Terrance, SU alumnus and nephew of Denver Smith
Donney Rose, SU alumnus and activist
Myra Richardson, SU student and activist
Walter "Geno" McLaughlin, SU alumnus and activist


A Cold Case Investigation: Episode 50 On this 50th Anniversary of the Deaths of SU Students Denver Smith & Leonard Brown, We Gather to Explore Social Context

5 p.m.

Old State Capitol, Downtown Baton Rouge
Presented by the Louisiana State Conference of the NAACP, Southern University Law Center Professor Angela Bell and law students.