Fredrick “Fred” Prejean, President of Move the Mindset, passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of Thursday, January 27. He was 75 years old.
Fred founded and led Move the Mindset from its inception in 2016. Under his leadership, Move the Mindset conducted a successful campaign to remove the Jim Crow Confederate Gen. Alfred Mouton statue from downtown Lafayette. The statue was removed on July 17, 2021.
Fred’s work with Move the Mindset was recognized by leading civil rights organizations, including the Equal Justice Initiative and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Most recently, he partnered Move the Mindset with the Equal Justice Initiative to memorialize the victims of racial lynching in Lafayette Parish.
Fred was an inspiring and indefatigable civil rights leader and organizer with more than 50 years of dedication to community service. He was awarded the Lafayette Civic Cup in 2020 in recognition of his exceptional history of civic duty.
In 1963, Fred attended the historic March on Washington as a senior in high school. The experience ignited his passion for civil rights. He went on to receive training as a community organizer from notable civil rights organizations such as SCLC, SNCC, and CORE.
Fred cut his teeth as a civil rights organizer while leading a student protest movement for justice and equity at Southern University Baton Rouge in the early 1970s. He witnessed Jim Crow violence first-hand when jailed for leading a boycott of classes that culminated in two students losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement. He eventually went on to graduate from Southern University with a BS in Accounting and Business Management.
After completing his degree, Fred pursued an illustrious career in community service across more than 20 entrepreneurial, civic, governmental, and community-based organizations, including the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, LCG Planning and Zoning Commission, Louisiana State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and the Holy Rosary Institute Restoration Committee.
Fred often described himself as a “change agent.” He modeled the values for which he stood and advocated for us all to become change agents. His legacy of civil rights and social justice activism will live on in our community and in our hearts.
In 1996, Fred was interviewed by The Advocate about his role as a student protest leader at Southern University. Fred said, “I’m just an ordinary, sane, gutsy person who believes in fighting for what I believe in.” We need more people like Fred—ordinary people with the courage to fight for their convictions.
While Fred’s family and the broader Lafayette community will deeply mourn Fred’s death, we will do so in a manner that celebrates his impact and legacy. Fred is survived by his beloved wife, Ola Prejean, his daughter, Masharika Prejean Maddison, two grandsons, and six siblings. His family admired his persistence and conviction in this relentless work, and loved him for being a devoted brother, committed husband, relentless father, doting grandfather, thoughtful neighbor, and humorous friend.
Our shared hope is that Fred’s legacy of applying compassionate action wherever he went in service of fair and just treatment for all is carried on for decades and generations to come.
Move the Mindset