Honoring Jerome ``Big Duck’’ Smithby Representative Cedric L. Richmond
Posted on 2015-02-11
RICHMOND asked and was given permission to address the House for
1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. RICHMOND. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in my continuing recognition
of Black History Month to honor Freedom Rider and civil rights legend
Jerome ``Big Duck'' Smith. An active mentor of youth in New Orleans, he
earned his nickname because there is usually a line of children
waddling behind him.
From a young age, Big Duck was not intimidated by what he viewed as the racial norms in New Orleans. When he was 10 years old, he removed a screen that acted as a barrier between Black and White passengers on a New Orleans streetcar, causing some uneasiness. An older Black woman riding the streetcar took him off the car and told him ``never, ever stop'' and that she was proud of him for what he had done. This show of support would light a fire within him to fight for racial justice.
Jerome Smith would go on to become part of the Freedom Riders, a group that looked to desegregate bus terminals across the Deep South. Also, he helped found the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, one of the big four civil rights organizations.
Today, Big Duck is the director of Tambourine and Fan, a youth organization in New Orleans that engages young people on the civil rights movement, leadership, and the importance of political engagement. His work for the civil rights movement and with youth throughout the city is an inspiration not only to me, but to the entire region. Big Duck embodies the never-ending struggle for justice and equality of opportunity.