Henderson pitched for Louisiana school curriculum by local historians
Louisiana historians Betty Allen and Brent Engel have asked the Louisiana R-II School Board to include famous resident John B. Henderson in middle-school curriculum.
The school board did not vote on Dec. 9 on whether to include Henderson or not, but they did give Allen and Engel an ovation after their presentation to do so.
The famous Louisiana resident “was orphaned at age 10 and a hellion,” Engel said. But Henderson had a sharp mind and became “one of the greatest forgotten heroes in American history.”
Henderson co-authored the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, fought for women’s voting rights and tried to forge peace with Indian tribes, Engel said. The former Louisiana city clerk was also an attorney, and was a U.S. Senator for Missouri.
“Betty and I believed it is past time to recognize John Brooks Henderson,” Engel said.
Engel suggested a unit on Henderson be taught to seventh and eight graders, not over a semester but simply “a week or two of intense instruction. You’re not talking about a big cost,” he said.
“My focus is on what he did here and where he lived,” Allen said.
Henderson went to school in Aberdeen along Hwy. B in northern Pike County, Allen said. He started what is now the Bank of Louisiana as well.
“I personally think the importance of history should not be neglected,” Allen told the board. I consider him to be someone who has really been neglected.”
Allen and Engel are still vying to get Henderson installed in the Hall of Famous Missourians at the capitol in Jefferson City. Two other Missourians were named in a recent induction and a third has yet to be selected. Allen and Engel are still hoping it will be Henderson.