Keeping the Memories Alive

Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

  If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living will not be in vain.

–  Alma Bazel Androzzo

2022 began with bad news of former Ohio Senator Edna Brown’s passing. A local icon and trailblazer, Brown leaves a rich and profound legacy when educational suppression bills such as Ohio HB 322 and 327 attempt to erase those who have contributed to the Black struggle for justice and equity.

The Black community is losing pillars of inspiration and sources of strength like Brown, who was most proud of her drive to “serve” the community and the people of the State of Ohio. Her passion was rooted in her modest upbringing and experiences, which led to empathy with others who had fallen on hard times or faced unmet needs.

Characteristically, Brown was not interested in “feathering her own nest” like so many other politicians. Instead, she considered her calling to “reach out and help others, looking out for the well-being of all.”

Randall Parker III

Brown’s death leaves a significant void and reveals a need for education, awareness, and commemoration of Black leaders and historical trailblazers. Sadly, there is a widespread lack of historical literacy.

However, the Toledo Public School Board can help keep these memories alive.

This week the TPS Board will select a new member on January 4 to replace Stephanie Eichenberg, who recently resigned. TPS currently faces the threat of mass exodus of teachers and white families due to rampant student unruliness and gun violence. Therefore, the District, whose students are primarily Black and brown, will be wise to reflect the district’s demographics in their pick.

Some on the Board prioritize a candidate with previous school board experience who can hit the ground running. Others would like to choose someone who possesses community service experience.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 and widespread food insecurity throughout the district make Bishop Randall Parker III or Elgin Rogers, a Lucas County administrator, favorites to get the nod. Either candidate, in the words of Edna Brown, “can look at [their] own upbringing, background, and experiences and empathize with others and find [themselves] reaching out to help.”

Elgin Rogers

Parker and Rogers are both members of the Lucas County Democrats’ Executive Committee. Parker is also a member of The Movement. Rogers, who may possess a stronger resume, founded the African American Leadership Caucus in 2012.

Although the Democratic Party is not formally a part of the selection process, powerful Democrats lobby TPS Board members on behalf of both candidates.

Who should TPS choose?

Board members aren’t commenting, but anything can happen behind closed doors. It will undoubtedly come down to which candidate can garner three votes. If any aspirant fails to gain a majority, Probate Judge Jack Puffenberger will make the final choice.

My prediction is that the new TPS Board member will be Rev. Randall Parker, III.

Yet, I applaud a selection that keeps alive memories of community icons. And, I celebrate the choice that continues Brown’s legacy of “If I can help somebody, then my living will not be in vain.”

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at