Paving their own Path: Ezora Proctor

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 07:07:28-05

Ezora Proctor did not grow up the powerhouse that she is today.

She grew up Ezora Johnson in Eunice.

One of seven children, Ezora said her life may have been simple but it was a good.

"We were poor but we didn't know that we were," Ezora said. "We had so much love and compassion. We of course supported each other and helped each other."

As she neared adulthood, Ezora said her path in life was not clear--to her at least.

"One of my teachers, Mrs. Gloria Batiste, told my mom that I was so smart and so intelligent that I needed to go to college," Ezora said. "At that time, whatever the preacher said or the teacher said was gospel."

Ezora's main concern was money. She knew that her parents did not have much of it to spare.

"When it was time for me to go to the college, she (my mother) went to the bank and told the president of the bank, of course she took me with her, she said this is my daughter and I want her to go to college," Ezora said. "We don't have any money so I want to borrow some money to send my daughter to college. Believe it or not the president of the bank said that he was going to help her."

The determination and confidence she saw from her mother that day shaped her for the rest of her life.

"Women just make things happen," Ezora said. "When it seems like it's impossible you give that job to a woman and that woman will make it happen."

After college Ezora, with a little help from her father, started to teach.

"My Daddy had an old pickup truck and said we're going to find you a job," Ezora said. "He came to Crowley and met with Dr. John Bertrand who was the Superintendent of Schools. He didn't know Dr. Bertrand. He knew of him and told him that I needed a job and that he knew that he could help me to get that job. Dr. Bertrand said OK, I will."

Ezora moved to Rayne. She rented a small bedroom from an older woman in the city.

Through the years Ezora witnessed many changes in the world.

One of the biggest being integration. She said it was hard on everyone.

"We tried to fit in, African American teachers and students," Ezora explained. "It was difficult to fit in. If you don't know much about my culture and I don't know much about yours then we are trying to learn about each other."

In that time, Ezora married Bishop James Proctor and had two children.

She never slowed down.

"Know yourself, your strengths, and weaknesses," Ezora said. "Build on the strengths that you have and do your very best."

From humble beginnings to making a name for herself, Ezora Proctor continues to inspire women across Acadiana.

She has showed them that no matter what life throws your way, anything is possible.