Alexander High School Legacy Hall of Honor

Published 9:27pm Saturday, July 26, 2014

Twenty-four Alexander graduates were inducted into the 2014 Hall of Honor Friday morning during the AHS reunion festivities.

This year’s inductees have distinguished themselves and made significant achievements and contributions to their respective field of endeavor, as well as contributions to society. The hall was established in 2006 to educate and document the history of the school and its graduates.


Class of 1961

John Bell, the son of Joseph and Lenora Bell, graduated from AHS in 1961. He received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Alcorn State University in 1964. Bell earned his master’s degree at Wayne State University in analytical chemistry in 1966. He received a second master’s degree at the University of San Francisco in environmental management. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Bell worked as a chemist in the scientific division of Ford Motor Company, where he developed a chemical later patented by Ford. Bell went on to implement several energy saving initiatives and was named the Energy Person of the Year by Ford Aerospace.

In 1992, Bell entered city government. He served as the director of sanitation in New Orleans, where he revamped the sanitation department and began a recycling program. In 1994, he became the first black executive director of public services in Mobile. He was then promoted to executive director of public works where he managed five departments. Bell became the city’s FEMA liaison, and he developed Mobile’s first recycling station.

He is married to the former Jeanette Jenkins. They have two children and one grandchild.


Class of 1960

Isiah Bracy, the son of Tyree McBeth and Mary Bracy McGee, graduated from AHS in 1960. He played football on the Big 8 team under the coaching of both C.O. Tanner and C.N. Buchanan. After high school, he attended Utica Junior College.

He served two years in the United States Army as a communication specialist. Bracy was the first trained and state certified swimming instructor and lifeguard in the Brookhaven black community.

Bracy attended the American National Training School and earned an AA degree in lithography and printing operations. He was then employed at the American National Can Company where he was a lithographer until his retirement in 1994.

Bracy founded and served as president of the Brookhaven Mississippi Association Inc. of Chicago, which gives scholarships to students who graduate from Brookhaven High School and the surrounding area.

He is married to the former Maggie Gipson. They have one son. They reside in Chicago.


Class of 1959

Maggie Gipson Bracy, the daughter of Elvada “EG” Gibson and Connie Mae Truvillion Gipson, is a 1959 graduate of AHS. She received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Jackson State College. She obtained a Master of Art in special education from Roosevelt University and did further study at Chicago State University.

Bracy started her teaching career at Carver Elementary School in Indianola and Oakley Training School in Raymond. In 1966, started teaching in the Chicago Public School system, where she was also a consultant, Golden Teacher Writer, special education coordinator, I.B. program coordinator, coordinator for Chicago schools’ scholar program, mentoring teacher coordinator and administrator. She retired in 2003. Maggie is now a consultant to first-year principals for specialized services with the Chicago Public School System.

Bracy is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Delta Kappa Gamma, Council for Exceptional Children, National Council of Negro Women and charter member of the Brookhaven Mississippi Association Inc. of Chicago. She has also served as the president of the Eta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

She married her high school sweetheart, Isiah Bracy. They have one son. They reside in Chicago.


Class of 1960

Dan Brown Jr graduated from AHS in 1960. Brown received a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State College and a master’s degree from Delta State University.

Brown began his career in the Amite County School District. He then became assistant principal of Gentry High School in the Indianola School District. Always having a desire to return home and contribute to his hometown and community, Brown accepted the principal position at Alexander in 1982. He retired in 1994.

Brown was a member of St. James M.B. Church in Brookhaven, where he served as church administrator, a deacon and Sunday school superintendent for many years. St. James implemented the Dan Brown Jr. Award for outstanding service in his honor.

Brown sat as president of the Brookhaven School Board for several years. He was a charter member of Reaching Out To Another Person, an organization of Christian-minded men serving as mentors to young males. Brown was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.

Brown was married to the former Ivey Spates, and he had one son and two grandchildren. Brown died June 7, 2013.



Leatrice Collins Buie, the daughter of Fred and Lucretia Collins, graduated from AHS in 1944 and Alcorn A & M College in 1948. She is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc.

Buie returned to teach at AHS, and then spent her last five years of her teaching career in the Clarksdale Separate School District as a teacher. Upon her retirement, Buie returned to Brookhaven.

She has been active in the community as an election poll watcher, served on the executive board of the NAACP, member of the Lincoln County Alcorn State University Alumni Association and Booster Club, holds alumni status with the Natchez Chapter of Links Inc., and life member of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association.

She is an active member of Bethel AME Church, has been the president of the local Julia Heywood Missionary Society, and she also has served as area president of AME Church Women Missionary Society.

Leatrice was married to Jesse Buie, and they have six children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Class of 1947

Joe L. Cain, Ed.D. Cain, the son of Joe Cain and Mary Holmes Cain, graduated from AHS in 1947 and received his Bachelor of Science in 1951 from Jackson State College. He received his Master of Science in education at Indiana University and his Education Specialist degree in guidance and counseling University of Illinois. He received his doctorate in counseling from the University of Tulsa and did his postdoctoral work at The Ohio State University

He served two years in the U.S. Army during WWII in Tokyo, Japan.

Cain’s professional resume began in Corinth. Cain was employed as Dean of Men and later as Dean of Students at Jackson State College. He continued his professional work in Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington, D.C. He served as special assistant to the vice president of Chicago State University.

His professional memberships included The National Association of Counseling and Psychology, the graduate chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and NAACP.

Cain was married to the former Nina Smoot. They have five children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Cain died Jan. 14, 2011 in Chicago.



Maxine Dillon-Dillon graduated from AHS in 1968. Dillon, the daughter of and Felo Dillon, graduated from Utica Junior College and Jackson State University.

After completing banking and computer science courses at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, she entered the banking world. She joined Trustmark National Bank where she has worked for 34 years.

Having a strong Christian background, she also studied at New Life Fellowship School of Ministry where she graduated salutatorian. She now is a licensed and ordained gospel evangelist.

Dillon has served as a Brookhaven Outreach Ministry Board member for 20 years. She also is the founder and director of Agape II Ministry.

Other awards and accolades include Girl Scout Great Lady Award in 1996 and Brookhaven Humanitarian Auxiliary Citizenship Award in 2001.

Dillon serves as president of Mile-to-Mile Ministerial Alliance of Brookhaven. She is married to Donnie Ray, and they have three children and six grandchildren.


Class of 1965

Patricia “Pat” Dow, the daughter of John and Leona Allen Dow, graduated from AHS in 1965 as valedictorian. She attended Michigan State University from 1965 to 1968 before transferring to Arkansas A. M. & N. College earning a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry. She received her Master of Science degree in biochemistry at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Dow became a research associate studying and developing diagnostic tools for identifying abnormal hemoglobin and the AIDS/HIV virus.

After 29 years in medical science research, Dow returned home. Her second career was so rewarding that she did long-term substituting and in-school math tutoring in Brookhaven Schools for 10 years.

Having received numerous recognitions, she is most proud of employee of the month at UTMB, President’s Scholar in 1970 and Who’s Who in American Careers. She also is a team-author of a medical technology textbook and many scientific articles.

Dow volunteers with many organizations throughout the community. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has held several offices and chaired many committees. She is an active member of St. James M.B. Church.


Class of 1970

The Reverend Dr. Jerry Durr graduated from AHS in 1970 and attended Utica Junior College.

In 1986, he was licensed to preach by Greenwood M.B. Church. Two years later, he founded the Brookhaven Outreach Ministry, which helps thousands families in need of clothing, food, household items, money, hygiene supplies and shelter. He was ordained by the Ministerial Alliance of Brookhaven in 1990. In 2012, he received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from the United States Mingo Bible Institute.

Durr became the pastor of Norfield M.B. Church in 1992. He held that position until 1994. He founded and became the pastor of Outreach Ministries Christian Fellowship Center in 1994. Durr founded the South Central Mississippi Food Bank and has served on several different boards throughout the community.

He is a volunteer chaplain for the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He participated in the Lincoln County Competitive Community Program. He also teaches classes on the radio, Franklin County Eight Habits of a Successful Marriage and Counseling and for the Institute in Basic Life Principles-Bill Gothard Seminars.

He has been married to Francis Durr for 40 years, and they have three children.


Class of 1968

Barbara Brock Estavan, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas James Brock Sr., graduated from AHS in 1968. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Dillard University. She received a Master of Science in nursing and advanced practice in nursing from the University of South Alabama.

She began her career as an RN at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1974 where she has served in the many positions to provide care to veterans. Her positions have included head nurse of a the Cardiac/Telemetry Unit, assistant chief nurse for Recruitment and Retention Nursing Service, head nurse/clinical coordinator for Long Term Care Unit, RN Manager Specialty Care for Outpatients and Outpatient Clinic Chief.

Active in various community activities, Estavan served as president of the Health Incorporate Professional Organization, a service and social organization that gives scholarships to students and service to the community, Dillard University Professional organization of Nurses, Greater Saint Stephens Health Ministry and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

Estavan has been awarded numerous awards, including the 2005 Who’s Who in Nursing, Great 100 Nurses of New Orleans and Outstanding VA Service Award.

She is married to Larry A. Estavan and has two children and four grandchildren.


Class of 1968

Eugene Humphrey graduated from AHS in 1968. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Alcorn State University and a Master of Arts from VanderCook College of Music. Humphrey completed his education administration certification at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and did further post-graduate study at Concordia University, with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction.

Humphrey spent 13 years in the classroom teaching band, orchestra and choral music at the secondary level. He was selected to conduct the All-City Festival band in in two consecutive Milwaukee Public Schools Biennial Music Festival Years. In 1988, Humphrey was selected to direct the Milwaukee Public School’s Middle School Festival Chorus at the 23rd Biennial Music Festival. That same year, he was promoted to assistant principal.

Humphrey was an education administrator for over 20 years. He served as principal of John Muir Middle School and principal of Milwaukee High School of the Arts. He also served as high school leadership specialist for Milwaukee Public Schools. In 2002, Humphrey was promoted to the position of chief academic officer for Milwaukee Public Schools.

Humphrey is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He and his wife, Doris, live in Milwaukee.



Ida Robinson Jenkins, the daughter of N. Z. and Ada Robinson, graduated from AHS in 1970. She graduated from Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science in special education and elementary education. She holds a Master of Science in special education and administration/principleship also from JSU.

Jenkins spent 29 years in the classroom and two years as director of Special Services.

Jenkins was a seasoned member of Brookhaven Band Boosters Club and local PTA chapters as a parent as well as a teacher. Jenkins is a lifetime member of the Retired Teachers Association. She also is an active member of the Ebony Women Society.

Jenkins is a member of Ebenezer AME Church, where she is an usher, financial secretary, Sunday school teacher, trustee and steward, YPD director and holds membership in Florence Smith Missionary Society.

Jenkins and her late husband, John II, have three children and two grandchildren.


Class of 1946

Robert A. Johnson, the son of Archie and Clara Johnson, graduated from AHS in 1946.

Johnson worked as field coordinator for displaced educators, a school teacher, principal of East Park Junior High School and as an investigator with the Federal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Following his years of outstanding performance on the gridiron at AHS, he officiated in the Mississippi High School Athletic Association for forty-five years.

Johnson was a member of Columbia Valley United Methodist Church, where he served in many capacities, among them being former president of the United Methodist men unit, chairperson of the outreach ministry of church and society and president of Columbia Valley’s administrative board.

Johnson is a life member of the Jackson State University Alumni Association. He also is a member of the Mississippi Education Association, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., High School Athletic Officials Association/Football, Basketball and Baseball, Veteran of World War II, Marion County Civic Club, president of JSU Alumni Association and Ward 3 Alderman in Columbia.

Johnson has received numerous achievements, awards and honors including being inducted into the Jackson State University Hall of Fame. He is married to Olivette “Trixie” Kurkendall Johnson. They have one daughter and two sons.



Robert Markham, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Houston Markham, graduated from AHS in 1963. He was an outstanding football athlete while at Alexander. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in science education in 1967 from Mississippi Valley State University. In 1974 he received a Master of Science degree in Secondary School Administration, and in 1982 he received an AAA Specialist license in science education secondary school administration, both from Mississippi State University.

The majority of his career has been in Meridian Public Schools. He has spent 17 years in the classroom, 19 years as a principal and four years as deputy superintendent of operations. After retirement, he became an education consultant for Mississippi Head Start Male Initiative Program.

His awards include Outstanding Leadership in Education, Meridian’s Educational Administrator of the Year, Meridian Star’s Man of the Year, Man of the Year by NAACP and WALT’s Martin Luther King Award (1993).

He is married to Annie C. Smith. The Markhams are members of First Union Baptist Church, where he is deacon, member of the trustee board and chairman of the finance committee. They have two sons.


Class of 1950

J. W. Morgan, the son of Jim Morgan and Bertha Hooker Morgan, graduate graduated from AHS in 1950. Immediately after graduating, he decided that he had to do something positive to improve life for his race living in Brookhaven.

Morgan worked as a bank courier at State Bank & Trust Company for 32 years. He also was a gospel music radio announcer.

Morgan served as Ward 1 Alderman for 20 years. During his tenure, he became the first black mayor pro tempore of Brookhaven.

He is a member of the NAACP, Mason Keystone Lodge No. 73, Brookhaven Housing Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Breakfast Club and has served as AJH PTA president.

Morgan’s honors and awards include lifetime membership and Dedicated Service Award from St. Paul M.B. Church, a permanent street renaming in his honor, first black in Mississippi to receive a radio license, Public Service Announcer of the year in 2001, grand marshal of Martin Luther King Parade and recognition by President Barack Obama as a dedicated supporter.

Morgan is married to Mary Kelly Morgan. They have four children and five grandchildren.



Rose Mary Pickett-Williams, the daughter of Thomas James Pickett and Rosie Pickett, graduated from AHS in 1963. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education and graduated cum laude from Jackson State University in 1973. In 1975 and 1976 she earned Master of Science in education and Master of Science in Psychology, respectively, from JSU. She earned a Master of Science in vocational counseling in 1990 from Alcorn State University.

Pickett spent nine years in the classroom and 23 years as a guidance counselor.

Pickett’s significant awards include Gloucester Township Public Schools Committed to Excellence Award in 2008 and Burlington County College RSVP Volunteer Appreciation Award in 2013.

Pickett is a member of Bethany Baptist Church, where she has helped organize scholarship fundraisers, serves as a mentor to a middle school student, worked as a heavy campaigner for President Barack Obama and outreach services volunteer.

She is an active member of Jackson State National Alumni Association, AARP money management program board member, Continental Societies Inc., education committee chair and corresponding secretary.

Pickett has two daughters and one granddaughter.


Class of 1943

Lawrence Lee Prater died May 3, 1982. The son of Henry and Florence Thompson Prater, he graduated from AHS in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He graduated from Alcorn A. & M. College with a Bachelor of Science in social studies in 1949. He received his advanced degree from Southern Illinois University.

Prater served as an educator for 33 years. He was principal of Friendship school from 1956 to 1960, and assistant principal and teacher at Eva Harris High School from 1960 to 1965.

Because of integration, Prater joined the staff of Brookhaven High School as the guidance counselor and assistant principal in 1971. He was promoted to director of guidance and vocational counselor for the school system.

He was an active member of St. Luke Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. As part of giving back to the community, Prater was a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Boy Scouts of America, March of Dimes and the Lincoln County Alcorn State University Alumni Association and Booster Club.

He was married to the former LaMildred Longmire.


Class of 1945

Thomas J. Reed, the son of Elijah and Mallie Reed, graduated from AHS in 1945. He earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in economics from Tuskegee University. He also received several certifications from the FBI.

He was one of the first blacks to serve in the Alabama legislature. Reed blazed the trail for blacks to become state troopers and corrections officers and led the fight to remove the Confederate Flag from atop Alabama’s State Capitol.

Reed taught on all educational levels and served as a high school principal. He was an entrepreneur in Tuskegee, where he operated Thomas Reed Enterprises. His enterprises included Thomas Reed Chicken Coops, which became one of the first black-owned businesses to locate on the downtown square.

He was active in many organizations including Elks Club, Booker T. Washington Consistory No. 115, Mizraim Temple No. 119, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Washington Chapel AME Church, board of trustees of Tuskegee University, chairman of Black Elected and Appointed Officials of Alabama.

Reed died Oct. 27, 1997. He married the former Sereetta Hymes. They had three children and five grandchildren.


Class of 1955

Angeline Smith Roberson, the daughter of James Swinney and Elease Edwards Smith, graduated from AHS in 1955. She graduated from Alcorn A&M College with a Bachelor of Science in elementary education in 1961. She obtained a Master of Science from the University of Illinois.

She spent 35 years as an educator in both Laurel and Chicago.

She served on many committees of the Alcorn State University National Alumni Association and was executive secretary for the organization. One of her proudest memory is receiving her 50th Anniversary Golden Diploma from Alcorn State University in 2011.

After moving back to Brookhaven, Roberson became reactivated with Bethel AME Church. She served as the vice president of the Gamma Beta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and president of the local AARP Chapter.

She was a member of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln County ASU Alumni Association and Booster Club, Lincoln County TRIAD and the Jolly Giants.

She received the Distinguished Alumni Association Award from the National for Equal Opportunity Award in Higher Education in 1997. She was honored as the Woman of the Year by the Gamma Beta Zeta Chapter.

Roberson died Nov. 3, 2012.


Class of 1965

Eric Sanders, the son of John Calvin “J.C.” and Mary Christine Sanders, graduated from AHS in 1965. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the U.S. Army. On Oct. 25, 1967, he was injured while serving his second tour, as an RTO with the Recondos in the 2/502 Infantry Division, First Brigade of the 101st Airborne, when he was injured.

Sanders received a degree in drafting from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College. While confined to a wheelchair with limited mobility on crutches, Sanders obtained a degree in architectural drafting from Memphis State University.

An active member of the community, he served as a coach in the C.O. Tanner Baseball League and played basketball for the “Freewheelers” basketball team. He was a member of Bethel AME Church, the VFW Post No. 4806 and Friendship Lodge No. 923 I.B.P.O.E. of the Elks Lodge, where he was the past grand exalter, past lecturing knight and major antler guard. Sanders was also the command sergeant, where he presided over the nine Southern states. He also served as District 4 Commander of the VFW.

Sanders died July 17, 2008. He was survived by his parents, one daughter and two grandchildren.


Class of 1955

John Alton Sartin, the son of Genoa and Lavola McDaniel Sartin, graduated from AHS in 1955 and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern University and A. & M. College. He also received a Master of Business Administration degree from Jackson State University.

His employment began as a business teacher at Parish High School and later as a representative of MetLife Insurance Company. He was an entrepreneur and served as president of Sartin’s Apartments and other rental properties in Brookhaven.

He served as financial secretary and trustee at St. Paul M.B. Church. He supported the Brookhaven Recreation Little League and baseball through sponsorship of teams. He was a U.S. army veteran and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He was a charter member of the Mu Pi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., where he served as the treasurer and chair of many committees. He was also a member of AARP and the Friendship Lodge No. 923 I.B.P.O.E. of the Elks Lodge. He served as the Brookhaven Housing Authority commissioner.

Sartin died Dec. 27, 2002. He is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn Sanders Sartin. He had two sons, three daughters and 13 grandchildren.


Class of 1960

Bernice Haynes Smith, the daughter of Ralph and Alma Blount Haynes, graduated from AHS in 1960. She received an Associate of Arts degree from Prentiss Junior College in 1971. Smith graduated from Tougaloo College in 1973 with a degree in elementary education. She received her master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1974.

In October 1978, Smith returned to Tougaloo as reference librarian at the L. Zenobia Coleman Library and later became the college’s public service librarian and a tenured associate professor of education.

Smith has achieved the highest level of education in her field. Since beginning her career, she has been a member of the Mississippi Library Association, the American Library Association and the Central Mississippi Library Council of which she has served as chairperson and vice-chairperson. She chaired National Library Week activities at the college on a rotating basis. Smith is a life member of the Tougaloo College Alumni Association, where she has served as president, secretary and is currently chairperson of fundraising with the Tougaloo Alumni Community Chapter.

Smith is an active member of Tougaloo College Union United Church of Christ. She has one daughter and one grandchild.


Class of 1966

Eddie Smith, the son of Fred and Thelma “Honey” Smith, graduated from AHS in 1966. While there, he was named high school football All-American two consecutive years, thereby earning him a full scholarship to Mississippi Valley State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree there.

He spent 35 years in education, which included physical education teacher, sports director, librarian, coach, promotional speaker and drug education coordinator.

He is an active member of the True Believers Church, where he serves on the security team, committee on security team bylaws as secretary and the Men’s Ministry Committee for men’s bylaws.

He also holds membership in Illinois Association for Health & Physical Education, Illinois Sheriffs Association, Agricultural Association and USBC Bowling Association.

Smith has received several awards, including the Coach Smith Appreciation Award in 1999, Chicago Public School – UNCF Special Recognition for 2004-2005, Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006 and has been nominated twice for teacher of the year.

Smith is married to Ann. They have three children and two grandchildren.



Frankie Weathersby-Jones, the daughter of Dan and Jenniel Weathersby, graduated from AHS in 1947.

Jones matriculated at and received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Jackson State University. She has also completed graduate professional studies in elementary education at Washington University.

As an educator, Jones has taught in the Scale Street School and Easom High School in Corinth. She has served several years as public housing manager for the Corinth Housing.

She is the co-founder and co_organizer of the Corinth Black History Museum. She has been honored with an achievement award in association with The Children’s Book Council and a Certificate of Training from the Corinth Police Department on Cults and Gangs Seminar.

Jones is also very active in the local NAACP chapter.

She was married to Robert. She has to eight children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Her brother Walter was in the first Legacy Hall of Honor Induction class.