Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Remembering a 'Woman of the Century'

In celebration of the Women's vote centennial, each month, a woman who made a difference in Bossier Parish has been spotlighted in this column. This month, Marguerite White Hudson is in the spotlight. Hudson was born in Pitkin, Louisiana, in 1929. After high school, she went to Northwestern University, where she earned her BS in Physical Education and met the love of her life, Plain Dealing native Billy Brooks Hudson, who was also a teacher.

In 1961 their careers brought them to Bossier City, where they both began teaching at Bossier High School. As many teachers do, Hudson continued her education and obtained a Master's degree in Education and a Master's degree in English. Hudson taught at Bossier High School until 1970 when she became one of the charter teachers for Bossier Parish Community College as an English teacher.

Even after "retiring" in 1979, Hudson continued to teach English at the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, Louisiana Tech, and Centenary for the next ten years. After forty years of teaching, she decided to focus on how she could better serve Bossier Parish schools outside of the classroom. She ran for a seat on the Bossier Parish School Board, which she was elected to in 1991.

In an interview with Shreveport Times reporter Fred Powell, Hudson asserted, "I intend to see that the quality of the classroom's environment is foremost." She served two terms on the BPSB and was elected as vice president and then president. Though she decided not to run for re-election in 1998, she kept on doing things to better the parish where education is concerned, which is why she started campaigning for the expansion of the Bossier Parish Library system.

She believed that the history of Bossier Parish needed to be preserved and accessible to the people. She organized a history presentation with Dr. James Hudson and Dr. Tom Carleton, including the archeological history of Bossier Parish, emphasizing the need for a history center and an archives repository. Along with her husband and three other couples, the Bossier Parish Historical Foundation was re-activated. She was instrumental in the school board's decision to lease the old courthouse site in Benton to the Historical Foundation and having the Hughes House moved and restored.

Hudson has served the community in many other ways, such as serving as chairwoman of the Bossier Parish Citizens' Advising Committee on Corrections. This 12-member committee sought answers to corrections problems, including persistent overcrowding at the parish Jail in Benton. She was a volunteer for Project R.E.A.D. sponsored by BPCC, which matched non-reading adults with volunteer tutors.

In 2000, she was recognized by the Women's Business Council, an affiliate of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, selecting her as a Woman of the Century. Her lifetime of devotion to education and public service found her inducted in the Bossier High School Hall of Fame in 2012.

Hudson co-authored a cookbook Crème de la Crème with Geri Cope and Pat Maxwell, and she was the author of two other books. Her first book was Emmet Cope: A Tribute of Remembrance, a tribute to Emmett E. Cope, former principal of Bossier High and Superintendent of Schools of Bossier Parish. The second book is Whiskey Chitto Woman: A Civil War Novel, which is a historical fiction novel based on the lives of her great grandparents, Aaron and Ellen Johnson, during the civil war.

To learn more about Hudson and other women who made a difference in Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center, 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City. While you are here, you can view an exhibit on some of these women or suppose you are interested in reading books by Hudson. In that case, both books are available at the Bossier Parish Library History Center on the reference shelves, or they can be checked out from any location. (Crème de la Crème is not available.)

By: Amy Robertson

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