Jesse N. Stone
|Jesse Nealand Stone, Jr.|
June 17, 1924|
Gibsland, Bienville Parish
|Died||May 14, 2001
Caddo Parish, Louisiana
|Alma mater||Southern University Law Center|
|Spouse(s)||Willa Dean Anderson Stone|
|Children||Shonda Deann Stone|
A native of Gibsland in Bienville Parish, Stone in 1950 was in the first ever graduating class of the historically black Southern University Law Center, an institution established in Baton Rouge in 1947. For a time, he was the only black attorney in Shreveport, much as Louis Berry had filled that same role in Alexandria.
During the civil rights movement, Stone was affiliated with the NAACP and worked as well through the Congress of Racial Equality, founded in Chicago in 1942 by James Farmer, Jr., and the newer Southern Christian Leadership Conference, established in 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. He was active in the desegregation of Caddo Parish public schools during the 1960s.
Stone rose to state prominence during the administration of Governor John J. McKeithen, having filled the positions of associate director of the Louisiana Commission on Human Relations, Rights and Responsibilities and as the assistant state superintendent of education under Bill Dodd.
In 1971, Stone became dean of his alma mater, the Southern University Law Center. From 1972 to 1974, he was an appointed associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. On July 1, 1974, he returned to the Southern University System to serve as its fourth president, a position that he retained until 1985. After leaving the presidency, Stone became a law professor at the center but retired in 1986. Thereafter, he was a member of the Southern Board of Supervisors from 1991-1995.
Stone died in Shreveport of a long illness shortly before his 77th birthday. Survivors included his wife, the former Willa Dean Anderson (born ca. 1928), and a daughter, Shonda Deann Stone (born March 10, 1963), a Shreveport attorney.
In 1990, Stone was the first inductee of the Southern University Law Center "Hall of Fame". A professorship was endowed in Stone's honor in 1998. The Jesse N. Stone Lecture Hall on the campus of Southern University at Shreveport is named in his honor. A video conferencing room inside Stone Hall is named for former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., also of Shreveport