On Friday, Sept. 24, East Lansing will be holding a series of events to honor Robert L. Green, former MSU student, professor and local civil rights leader.
Those events include East Lansing Public Schools' celebration of the renaming of Pinecrest Elementary to Robert L. Green Elementary School to commemorate Green's courageous acts.
Green was the first Black person to purchase a home through the use of a realtor by using former President John F. Kennedy's Executive Order 11063, which provided equal opportunity in housing by prohibiting discrimination in the sale, leasing, rental, etc.
Superintendent Dori Leyko said the Robert L. Green Commission brought the renaming idea to the East Lansing Board of Education.
The leader of the committee who spearheaded this project is East Lansing's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Administrator Elaine Hardy.
"Black people that lived in East Lansing and bought homes likely through white proxy-buyers, but Dr. Green sued the Lansing Board of Realtors and then prevailed in that lawsuit, really effectively in being the ability for people to discriminate against you based on your skin color," Hardy said. "So, we felt like his contribution in the housing discrimination fight should be memorialized."
In addition to his many contributions in the fight against housing discrimination, Green fought for educational equity his entire career, serving as the first Black dean at MSU and as the national education director for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., continuing his never-ending efforts to fight racial discrimination.
"He helped strategize on the threat to boycott the NCAA, which didn't happen because they began hiring and allowing Black officials to officiate NCAA games," Hardy said.
Green's efforts in human rights proved he was an indispensable component not only in the civil rights movement but to the City of East Lansing and MSU. Further, his righteous acts served as inspiration for the Robert L. Green Commission to memorialize him.
"We just felt that it was fitting that the school that his children likely integrated, Pinecrest, should be renamed for him," Hardy said.
Additionally, a new historical marker will be added in the park land adjacent to Green's former home on Sept. 24.
Then, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 24, the Wharton Center will host "An Evening with Dr. Robert L. Green," which will feature Green's reflections on the civil rights movement. Green will be joined by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist.
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