When school began on Monday, August 7, the students at Medard H. Nelson Charter School were met with a surprise. Thirty Black Businessmen lined the hallway of the main entrance to the school and welcomed the students with honor.
This wasn’t a typical welcome though. The scholars heard their names called as if they were walking into the Grammy Awards on the red carpet. They heard cheers and loud shouts as they came through the halls shaking the hand of every man lined up on both sides of the hallway.
The men who participated are all members of an organization called Nola Nobles. While the group of men are very organized, they prefer to be called a movement. “We don’t collect dues. The brothers don’t have to disengage from any other social group they are already in. We are not affiliated with any religious agenda and you don’t have to make a specific income to join our activities,” said Torrence Taylor, Nola Nobles Movement Founder.
Taylor began the movement in November 2015 during Men’s Health Month. “Our ultimate goal is to raise confidence in every Black man,” he said. “We must see each other as great,” he added.
Medard Nelson Charter School is under the charter umbrella of the New Beginnings Schools Foundation. Located in the New Orleans 7th Ward / Gentilly area, Nelson has had many odds against it. Taylor says one of the reasons they chose to go to Nelson is because of it’s past struggles. “We chose Nelson because the school received an F score by the state. We shouldn’t all rally around the schools which perform well just so we can be associated with their success. If we are truly concerned about all kids, the community must see where there is a need and meet that need,” said Taylor.
He said his group was inspired to go to Nelson when they heard there was a new principal appointed to the school. “Her goals and aspirations for these kids will need the support of the community,” said Taylor. The school’s new principal is Mrs. Freda Smith. She is determined to take the school from it’s current failing score to a C in this school year.
The men were dressed in business attire. Most of them wore suits and ties. “When I grew up I remember seeing men dressed for success. Our dads and grandfathers knew how important a first impression was and they were well dressed, well spoken gentleman. Black Men need to go back to the traditional images of honor and integrity. It is vital that our kids see us in this light,” said Taylor.
The Nola Nobles have committed to partnering with Principal Smith at Nelson Charter School on other projects throughout the upcoming school year. Taylor says, “the goal is to empower these young students with positive images of Black Men. It’s important they know we care.”
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Photos / Patrick Melon