AFT Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus (d. 2020)
Nat LaCour (b.1938-d. 2020) was appointed to his emeritus position by the AFT executive council in July 2008, following his retirement as AFT secretary-treasurer. He served as the union’s executive vice president prior to his election as secretary-treasurer in 2004. LaCour also served on the executive council of the AFL-CIO.
Throughout his union career, LaCour worked with civic associations, parental and other community groups and unions to encourage increased funding for public education at the local, state and federal levels.
A former vice president on the AFT’s executive council, LaCour also served for a number of years as president of the AFT’s New Orleans affiliate, the United Teachers of New Orleans. Under LaCour’s leadership, UTNO’s membership—which came to include more than 90 percent of the teachers, paraprofessionals and clerical staff in the school district—grew significantly. In 1974, without the aid of a state public employee collective bargaining law, UTNO became the first teachers’ union in the Deep South to obtain a collective bargaining agreement with a local school district.
LaCour also was a founding member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. During the 1990s, LaCour was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.
LaCour served on a number of boards, including the Albert Shanker Institute, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. He served on the boards of the National Democratic Institute, the Learning First Alliance, the Education Quality Institute, the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.
LaCour was also actively involved in politics, serving as a member of the Louisiana State Democratic Central Committee and as a delegate to six Democratic national conventions, including the 2008 convention.
In 2006, LaCour was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his outstanding work and commitment to the trade union movement and to the field of education. This award recognizes American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their specific ethnic groups.
LaCour was a graduate of Southern University with a Bachelor of Science and master's in biology. He was married to Connie Goodly-LaCour; together they had five children and nine grandchildren.