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HELENA REDMOND LAWSON

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Birth Date: 1917
Birth Place: Louisville, Kentucky
Passed Away: 2006

Honored By

Donor names:   Saundra and Christopher Taylor
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile - small
Location on plaza map: C5
Areas of Achievement: Activism, Community Building, Education
 
Helena Lawson was a trailblazer as an educator in the segregated city of Louisville, Kentucky. While raising two children, she completed her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Nazareth College in 1953 and her master’'s degree in education from the University of Louisville in 1955. During this time Louisville, like most of the South, was segregated. Because she was an outstanding teacher, Helena was one of a select number of teachers invited to teach in the first integrated schools in Louisville in 1959. Helena became a leader in helping the Louisville Board of Education understand the learning challenges faced by African American children who were now integrated into the formerly all white Louisville school system. She was a bridge-builder through her mentoring of younger teachers, particularly white teachers, in their approach and understanding of their new African American students. She also became a Master teacher in reading and provided this expertise to many teachers in her school. During her forty-year tenure in teaching she won many awards not only for her excellence as a teacher, but also for her efforts in successfully desegregating the Louisville school system.

Helena was a leader in her community. She used her talents as a teacher to work with youth in the community and within her church. Above all she was a wonderful mother. She provided support and challenge to her daughter, Saundra, and son, Danny, and to her three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Helena will be remembered by her own family and by the hundreds of children she taught for her contribution to their development and growth, for her commitment and passion for teaching, and for her belief in the power of education to enrich one’'s life.