The Central Virginian

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Louisa woman guided by her faith

Posted on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 5:00 am

Alice Morgan-Brown with her husband, Charlie, at their Lake Anna home.

The trauma didn’t stop when Alice Morgan-Brown left Baltimore.

An educator with a formidable resume, Morgan-Brown had risen to become an assistant superintendent in the Baltimore Public Schools. In 1997, she was a principal trying to transform one of the city’s most troubled high schools.

But the school system’s leadership had other ideas. By the end of that school year, she had been forced to resign, her long career in ruins. She had suspended 1,200 students for refusing her order to pick up their report cards, a decision that led to national media attention and didn’t sit well with administrators.

A few years later, her husband Charlie convinced her to move to his boyhood home place near what is now Lake Anna. But moving away from the city where she spent her entire career didn’t resolve her anger over what had occurred.

“It took a lot to get through all that pain,” Morgan-Brown recalled. “Then one day I was sitting in the pews at Laurel Hill Baptist Church [in Louisa], and the minister motioned for me and prayed for me. That’s when I started trusting again.”

In a book she recently self-published, Morgan-Brown describes how her faith in God helped her finally move forward. She realized she was unwilling to let go of her trauma because she focused on herself and the wrongs done to her.

“I had become complacent about the power of prayer,” she writes in the book, How to Bounce Back When Life Falls Apart. “I became so busy with the routine of being a principal, that I stopped my responsibility of praying before I got out of the car” each morning.   

Morgan-Brown began her career in Baltimore in the early 1960s as a mathematics teacher, after learning she could not teach chemistry, her first choice, because there was an unwritten policy reserving that job for a white person.

She advanced to become assistant superintendent of curriculum development, helping to revamp what the largely African American students in Baltimore learned. Her efforts to include more Afrocentric studies in the curriculum landed her on the front page of The New York Times in 1991.

This prominent role led to her first crisis, as the schools superintendent removed her from her job without an explanation.

“It was a heartbreaking situation being removed from a position without any warning,” she wrote. “Nevertheless, I expressed my feelings to no one. I knew, at that time, I had given my best … therefore, it was nothing else I could have said or done that would have made a difference  in the mindset of others.”

(Article by David Holtzman)

This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s May 30, 2019 issue.

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