About Mr. Jeff
This month we take the time to honor Mr. Morris F.X. Jeff. We are proud to have his name. We want to tell you more about this wonderful man! Morris Jeff, Sr. worked as a teacher but during the trying times of the great depression, was forced to take a job in 1940 as a laborer digging ditches in New Orleans for the WPA. Eventually, Mr. Jeff was promoted to the recreation department and ultimately, he was instrumental in creating the New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD).
In 1946, NORD was one of the first programs of its kind in the country, and in the first two years, they built 58 playgrounds and 8 pools, creating jobs and safe places to play across New Orleans. Mr. Jeff worked tirelessly to ensure that Black children had access to all facilities and activities that White children had available to them through NORD.
From the start, Jeff ensured there were programs in the arts and recreation opportunities for both youth and senior citizens, pioneering the way we think about recreation in the US. Mr. Jeff did all of this amazing work, often while working other jobs in the New Orleans Public School system where he worked as a teacher and coach at McDonough 35 and Booker T. Washington schools.
Mr. Jeff’s work is inspiring in its own right, but we find it especially meaningful that although he found himself living in the Jim Crow era during the worst economic crisis our country had ever seen – he channeled his belief that recreation and play could change children’s lives and paired it with strength, courage, and grit to create the NORD Commission.
As we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, economic downturn, and racial unrest, this seems like the perfect moment for us to reflect on the legacy Morris Jeff, Sr. has left us. He faced his impossible times by creating a progressive recreation program that was the first of its kind and improved the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of children. What will we do to live up to his namesake?
About Our Celebration
Morris Jeff Community School is honored to carry on the legacy of Mr. Morris FX Jeff. From November 1 through November 22, 2020, our community will come together to honor the life and legacy of Mr. Morris FX Jeff as well as the uniqueness and beauty of our school community. Throughout the month of November, we will celebrate our community with fun and fellowship that includes a Virtual Trivia Night, Brunch from our Premier Sponsor Ruby Slipper Cafe, and an online auction that will benefit our school.