Daniel Brooks hosts first reunion

Aug. 10, 2013 @ 06:21 PM

For the first time, Daniel Brooks residents held a reunion for a chance for residents and former residents to celebrate where they came from.
A classic cookout, with chicken, potato and pasta salad, fried fish, and hot dogs, residents came together at City Lake Park in Jamestown on Saturday.
Terry Wright, president of the Daniels Brooks Reunion Committee, said the public housing community has a rich history that its residents and former residents, including him, want to celebrate.
“Daniel Brooks was the first public housing for black people,” Wright said. “We all grew up there, and we wanted to be able to put something together so we could all come back and enjoy fellowship.”
At the reunion, the committee honored Phyllis Terry with the Longevity Award.
“I’ve lived in Daniel Brooks for 44 years,” she said. “I started out in a four-(bed)room, then moved to a five, and I’m in a three (bed)room now.”
Terry raised her three children, Debra, Ben and Carla, in Daniel Brooks. They came from Virginia, Maryland and Texas to celebrate their childhood home and their mother.
The committee also honored Daniel Brooks’ oldest resident, Ray Armstrong. Armstrong, 90, wasn’t able to come to the event, but his daughter, Cynthia Walden said he lived in Daniel Brooks as long as she can remember.
“We moved there when I was little, so I think he’s been there since the 50s,” Walden said. “He loved watching the children play outside, and he called all of them his. ‘My boy,’ he’d say.”
Walden said if her dad walked to the park just then, no one would know he was 90.
“He loves to walk, he loves to go to Becky and Mary’s, he’s a neat dresser, and he loves chewing gum,” she said with a chuckle.
Wright, a pastor, said he also wanted to do something special for the next generation of Daniel Brooks residents.
“God put it on my heart to be one of the first public housing community to offer scholarships,” he said. “Three students from the graduating class of 2014 will be the first to receive the one-time scholarships.”
Wright said the amount of the scholarships is to be determined, but he hopes to be able to offer a minimum of $250 to each student.
“Public housing was a stepping stone,” Wright said. “People at that time helped us out. Now we want to help out the next generation.”
jhowse@hpe.com | 888-3617