Born April 14, 1934, Naomi Lewis Brooks was “The Natural” as she led a truly charmed life from very humble beginnings in “seminary mudtown” to an 85-year-old dynamic matriarch of one of this country’s most famous families.
After attending the Seminary School for Colored Children, on the site where Alexandria City High School stands, she rode the city bus to Lyles-Crouch Elementary School and Parker-Gray High School (PGHS). Brooks graduated second in her class from the segregated all-Black PGHS in 1951. Not only was she a strong student, graduating with honors from PGHS, she was also a star athlete. She was a starting forward on the girls’ basketball team and earned the school record for the most points scored in a season and the most points scored in a single game.
After high school, Ms. Lewis Brooks earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Virginia State College (now Virginia State University), charting her course as an educator. She accepted a teaching position at Charles Houston Elementary School in 1955 and would go on to earn an M.E. in Elementary Education from Virginia State University. She later also taught at Cora Kelly Elementary School. Her elementary and adult teaching career spanned 25 years.
Brooks always “bloomed where planted,” having moved frequently as a military family, and made a difference in every location by educating her own children, students and even soldiers.
On May 21, 2020, the wife, mother, educator and leader died. Her legacy continues to live on in all of the lives she touched along her journey that began and ended in Alexandria. As part of the Identity Project, Matthew Maury Elementary School was renamed Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School on July 1, 2021. More information is available online at The Identity Project.