Group Continues To Work On Museum For Grambling Football Legend Eddie Robinson

By Nick Deriso
Updated: March 10, 2005

Eddie Robinson

GRAMBLING, La. — A group hoping to build a museum to honor Eddie Robinson continued its re-organizational efforts with a series of small, but important decisions.

In a March 2nd meeting, group members agreed that in order to get the initiative back on track, there would need to be structure and leadership.

They’d also have to start thinking about funding.

The Louisiana Legislature approved the Robinson museum project in 1999, but a series of budget cuts and disagreements over location nearly derailed it. In fact, a board that oversees the project hadn’t met for nearly a year when these new efforts began in January.

Still, Ruston lawyer John Belton has been the only original governor-appointed board member to attend.

So Stacy Sharpe, museums program coordinator in the Secretary of State’s Office, sent letters to each of the appointees last month in an effort to gauge their interest in returning to the project.

Lottie Green and James Davison did not respond. Johnny Maxwell said he would continue to support the museum, but could not remain on the board.

Recommendations for new appointments were made on March 2nd — including Grambling Chamber of Commerce secretary Barbara McIntyre, local businessman Bill Crow and former state Sen. Randy Ewing.

Among those in attendance was Jennifer Grigbsy, a legislative assistant to state Sen. Bob Kostelka, who agreed to check on the status of $1 million in funding that was previously earmarked for museum capital outlay.

“We don’t want to risk losing that money,” said Preston Friedley, executive director of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I’m not sure we know the status of that allocation.”

GSU president Horace Judson again recommended discussing a site off-campus on March 2nd — an idea supported by Grambling Mayor Martha Andrus.

“We can’t become what we need to become as a university unless the city of Grambling becomes all that it can become,” said Judson, who has been at work on a long-range development plan for the institution.

Leaders for subcommittees then were selected, including one headed up by football coach Melvin Spears that will examine the museum’s location — a sticking point that has consistently slowed progress on the project.

“This is something we have to do, or else we will keep revisiting this every time,” said McIntyre.

State archivist Florent Hardy compiled and distributed a comprehensive collection of documents relating to the museum — including the official bylaws, past board meeting notes, correspondence and an accounting of Robinson memorabilia now in storage in Baton Rouge.

Shannon Glasheen, curator of statewide services with the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, brought environmental testing equipment that could be used to evaluate any proposed temporary site for the museum. Fluctuations in humidity, heat and light, she said, could damage those precious artifacts.

Belton, who is at work on gaining non-profit status for the project, suggested that a permanent ad-hoc position be created for the convention and visitors bureau, with Russell Leday as the representative. He also said he would like to honor Green at the board’s next meeting.