Blessed by her service

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

Brenda Brown blazed an important trail as the Suffolk General District Court’s first African-American clerk.

Brown was the first African-American to be hired by the court back in 1977, and she became the first to be promoted to clerk in 1997. Suffolk judges and other courts personnel celebrated her retirement on Tuesday.

“I’m honored to be the first African-American clerk, and that I’ve made ways for other African-American employees to be hired in the General District Court,” Brown said during the ceremony.

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Indeed, it is on the shoulders of many African-Americans like Brown that so many successful African-Americans in business, government and the judiciary stand today.

Brown may not have recognized the fact that she was making history — that she was providing a sound foundation for the future — when she took her position in the courthouse 40 years ago. After all, most of us, on our first day of work, are preoccupied with simply getting the job right.

Indeed, Brown said Tuesday that her mission was a simple one — “to make Suffolk General District Court the best-run court in the state of Virginia.”

Her peers seem to believe she accomplished that goal.

“This is one of the best-run courts in the commonwealth,” Chesapeake General District Court Clerk Barbara Shaw said. “Brenda has done an outstanding job.”

Suffolk is blessed to have had Brown’s faithful service for so many years.