Stanley Crosby spent over 54 years advocating for his Black students. He will now have a library named in his honor

Crosby spent most of his career at Lincoln High School, where he decried the unequal resources offered to Black students compared to the resources at area white schools.

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Stanley Crosby is known for being an advocate for African American students in both his personal life and during his more than 54-year tenure as an English teacher from New Orleans’ West Bank. He will also be remembered as the profoundly influential Jefferson Parish educator with a library named in his honor.

NOLA.com reported that the Jefferson School Board has voted to rename the library at Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts in honor of the lifelong educator, who is now 88 and retired.

“Whatever the White folks didn’t use, they sent to us,” Crosby recalled of his own experience growing up in Gretna, according to NOLA.com. “We had it hard, and it was very, very difficult, but we were determined.”

Stanley Crosby, Jefferson Parish Louisiana teacher and Black student advocate. (Photo Credit: Jefferson Parish Schools)

The fact that neither of his parents had completed high school apparently made it that much more important to them to ensure their children received a better education than they did.

Crosby went on to become the first African American from the West Bank area to obtain his Master of Education degree from Tulane University, according to a news release from Jefferson Parish Schools, which is the biggest and most diverse in Louisiana. 

“Back in those days, for Blacks, teaching was about the best thing you could go into because everything else was closed to Blacks,” said Crosby, according to NOLA.com.

JP Schools reported that he spent most of his career at Lincoln High School, where he was dissatisfied with the standard of resources offered to students compared to area white high school campuses. Crosby began transporting his students to the Orleans Parish Public Library in New Orleans, where they were eventually prohibited.

However, the staff at Tulane, where Crosby was simultaneously pursuing his master’s degree, welcomed his students to their library with open arms.

According to NOLA.com, Crosby’s influence went far beyond his English lessons. He regularly jeopardized his employment during the time of state-sponsored segregation to defend his students’ right to an equitable education.

“The [Jefferson Parish] School Board did everything in its power to keep us down,” Crosby said, per NOLA.com. “It was so hard to understand how human beings could be so cruel to other human beings.”

Crosby was sent to Livaudais Middle School, where he taught for one year, when Lincoln High abruptly closed in 1969 as Jefferson moved toward integration. From there, he went on to spend four years at what was at the time the all-girls Higgins High School and 34 years at West Jefferson High in Harvey.

The Black History Club was one of the many initiatives he sponsored during his tenure, noting that the contributions of Black Americans were not reflected in the textbooks, according to NOLA.com.

Even now, his influence continues to be recognized. In August, after he turned 88, a group of Lincoln High graduates picked him up in a limousine and treated him to a meal at Saltgrass Steak House. 

“We can still count on Mr. Crosby,” said Carolyn Covington, one of his former students who helped organize the dinner, NOLA.com reported. “He was born to be a teacher.”

Covington said Crosby, who still taught part-time for years after his retirement, “made everybody feel like somebody special.”

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