Ed Pratt: 'It was one of the worst days of my life' | Events
"It was one of the worst days of my life," Ed Pratt told a packed audience commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Smith and Brown tragedy on Southern University's campus.
Pratt was at the student demonstration that day on Nov. 16, 1972 when Denver Allen Smith and Leonard Douglas Brown were shot and killed. They were 20 years old.
"We thought they had been trampled," he recalled of seeing his classmates lying on the ground. "Then law enforcement officials started sending tear gas everywhere. It was scary."
Pratt was one of several people including family, friends and administrators reflecting on the anniversary at the John B. Cade Library at Southern on Friday, Nov. 16.
Smith's sister, Josephine Smith Jones who was also part of the student protest, says it was a "horrible time."
"I'm here on behalf of the Smith family seeking closure," she says. "Thank you for the opportunity to speak and to be heard like we wanted to be heard many years ago."
She says she'd like an apology from the university and the Naitonal Guard for the "senseless killing" of her brother.
No one has ever been charged in the young mens' deaths. A couple of people at the event called for a petition to be signed at change.org so the case could be re-opened and whoever was responsible could be brought to justice.
Meanwhile Chancellor James Llorens says the students will never be forgotten.
"This is a time to remember and a time to pray," Llorens says. "We pray especially that we never see this happen again on or off campus or at any other university. We will never forget them. These two young men will always be a part of Southern."
The student union is named in their honor.
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