Eursla Dickerson Hardy
Civil Rights

Eursla was born in Thibodaux, Louisiana, one of three children of McNeil and Bertha Lucas Dickerson. Her mother was a housewife while her father worked for Texas and Pacific Railroad. During his off-hours he used the family car as a taxi cab to earn additional money. Eursla says she grew up in an integrated neighborhood at 111 East 12th Street. As a child she played "all boys' activities," she says. "I could shoot marbles and play ball better than any boy." In after-school hours, she washed dishes for a white woman who lived behind her house. Eursla played basketball at Cohn High School in Port Allen, Louisiana. She claims she scored more points than any girl in Louisiana. She earned a basketball scholarship to Grambling State University, but because of conflicts with the coach, did not play. She earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She also met McHenry Hardy, Jr., whom she married on July 23, 1955. After college she taught at Cohn Elementary School, then coached the girls' basketball team at Cohn High School, winning the parish championship three years. In 1958 she and McHenry moved to Shreveport where she began work at Herndon High School while he was at Hollywood Elementary. She then moved to Newton Smith Elementary School where she worked as a third grade teacher and librarian for 25 years. Meanwhile she earned a library science and master of science degree from Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas. In the struggle for civil rights, Eursla picketed Stan's Record Shop, just one endeavor in many to force downtown stores to integrate their work forces. Coming from south Louisiana, she saw a large difference in race relations between the two regions. "Down there in south Louisiana, people just mix, white and black. It was totally different than it was here. It was hatred here." Today she believes race relations have "improved tremendously although there's still a whole lot to do." Eursla retired in 1985. She is a Caddo Parish school board member and serves on several other boards. They include Shreveport Art Guild, Friends of Meadows Museum of Art, Caddo Career and Technology Center, David Raines Community Health Center. She serves as president of the Theater of Performing Arts and the Newton Smith First Faculty. She and McHenry have one child and two grandchildren.