Ibra Bradford January, Sr.
January, I. B.jpg
Ibra Bradford January, Sr.

American Legion,Scouting, Delta-Votech, all were his work!

Ibra Bradford January, Sr. was a political activist and politician during the period spanding 1940- 1985. January was a World War II hero and veteran of two world wars. He received the Bronze Battle Star for Bravery in combat When he returned home, he began efforts that resulted in the establishment of an American Legion Post for Negro veterans.

He was the post’'s first commander. A graduate of Tuskegee Institute, January understood the value of vocational training for Blacks. He worked untiringly to secure political support and funding for the construction of a vocational school for Negro youth. The school was constructed on the campus of Carroll High School. It has since been merged with the Ouachita Vocational School and moved to a bigger and more extensive operation on the 1-20 corridor. It is now called Louisiana Technical College - Ouachita/Delta Campus. Prior to the integration of the Scouting movement, January, along with others, worked untiringly to establish leadership building programs for Negro boys.

He, along with B.D. Robinson, A.V. Turner and others spent thousands of dollars of their personal funds to develop leadership training for Negro youth through scouting. Supporting this effort, the Britton family in Calhoun donated a camp site and January worked untiringly to convince white leaders to fund Negro Scouting activities. Black involvement in scouting is a legacy January leaves to the Monroe Community.

January believed that the future of the Black community rested heavily on the training of Negro men to become leaders. He believed each man should have a trade, a sense of responsibility and pride that self sufficiency brings. He spent his entire adult life trying to lead the community in that direction. He supported the Bayou Boys State Program with an almost religious zeal recruiting Negro youth with potential and paying their fees for participation in this program that trained young men to become community leaders.

As a businessman, January was successful. In business, his word was his bond and his wisdom and expertise made his name respected in business circles. Much of January'’s objectives relied heavily on his ability to persuade white leaders to help Blacks, even during periods when it was unpopular to do so. Though he dined with governors and met frequently with the rich and powerful, he could regularly be found playing dominoes at the Stamper’s Barber Shop pool hall. He never lost the common touch.

Often those who had bad breaks in life would approach January for help. He refused to give handouts, but took hundreds of people to the bank and stood for loans on their behalf to help them establish themselves. “"Now I have helped you, when you get set up, help somebody else.," He would often say as he helped others.

He received many awards for his life’'s work, including the Silver Beaver of Scouting and NAACP Trailblazer Award.

Among the scores of community leaders that have led us over the last century, January ranks among the best.