06 July 2012

The Legacy of Father Brooks

Reverend John Brooks took it upon himself to travel the Eastern United States to recruit African American students for the largely white College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. The act, inspired by the death of Martin Luther King Jr, brought together a remarkable class of students that included Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward P Jones, Attorney Theodore Wells and many others. The leadership of Fr Brooks left an indelible mark upon the college, which also happens to be my alma mater.

A new book profiles the 20 men who came to Holy Cross in the fall of 1968 and the impact they had on the school. Above, you will see a short video profiling the story of the men and Fr Brooks from the Today Show. It happens to be the last interview by Fr Books who passed away on Monday.

There is no real development angle, just a powerful story of how a priest saw that it was wrong to not take an active role in ensuring that the best and brightest, regardless of race, could access a high quality education. Holy Cross still has some work to do in terms of racial relations 40 years since the historic class, but the actions of Fr Brooks are the embodiment of what the college strives to achieve for itself and its students.