KSLA Salutes: Air Force veteran recalls protesting at Grambling State in 1967
"So I looked at what’s going on (now) and I said ‘Man, I done seen this before somewhere,' you know”
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — For 2.5 weeks, protests have been staged in Shreveport and elsewhere throughout the country.
And while many people continue to hit the streets pushing for change, change is something Air Force veteran Kenneth Armand knows pretty well.
“It’s amazing how you see some of the similarities historically. So I looked at what’s going on and I said ‘Man, I done seen this before somewhere,' you know.”
Armand was vice president of the Student Government Association at Grambling State University when he and other students began protesting in 1966 over the school administration’s overemphasis on athletics.
“Athletes could get away with murder, you know, rape whatever else,” he recalls. “But if you spoke out, you had to go. So after a year, we made our point and they made some concessions. But they didn’t keep their word.”
“It was really intense, and really the fear factor wasn’t there.”
Armand was among the many students who were arrested and expelled as a result of that protest. Eventually, he ended up attending Centenary College, a private school in Shreveport.
“Dr. (Louis) Pendleton was on the Shreveport Human Rights Commission. And so he had to vouch for me and my background before they let me in.”
The Vietnam War was happening during that time. And Armand found himself protesting again — this time off campus.
He soon became dean of men at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.
Then in 1976, at the age of 29, he decided to join the Air Force. Armand started working as an equipment operator and later transitioned into working as a career adviser.
“It was pretty much a natural being a career adviser, you know, introducing newcomers to the military way of life.”
Armand went on to spend the next 30 years serving all over the world before he retired.
Now, decades later, he is stuck watching history repeat itself.
But it’s the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that he hears as he watches our country work to move forward.
“He said that the true measure of a man is not determined through times of comfort and convenience, but through times of controversy and adversity.”
Following are excerpts from accounts provided by the Grambling State University Digital Library about what transpired at the Lincoln Parish school:
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