When Laurel Byrd thinks of J. Murray Brooks, two words come to mind: Relentless pursuit.
It was his relentless pursuit of knowledge, both for himself and others, and a dogged pursuit of opportunities for generations of Mathews County’s black students in the days before integration, that set him apart as an educational leader deserving of the community’s admiration and respect.
And, this week, the community was on hand to provide just that.
Byrd, current principal of Thomas Hunter Middle School, was one of a crowd of people who filled the school’s multi-purpose room on Monday night to remember and honor Brooks, who served as principal of Thomas Hunter School from 1933 to 1961.
Brooks was the focus of the school’s second annual Founder’s Day observance, a program to celebrate the history of an institution that first opened its doors in 1927 as the Thomas Hunter Agriculture and Training School.
One of the highlights of an evening filled with highlights w...
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