This mural, The Wall of Honor, depicts paramount figures that paved the way for Black citizens in Terrell, Texas, especially during the Civil Rights Movement. Those painted include (right to left):
Herman Furlough Jr. was born on October 17th, 1938 in Terrell, Texas. In graduated from Burnett High School and recieved his Bachelor of Science from Prarie View A&M University. While studying, Furlough met his wife Gwendolyn Bircher. The couple returned to Terrell, Texas, where Furlough began teaching
was a Burnett High School graduate that received his Bachelor of Science from Prarie View A&M University. There he met his wife Gwen. Herman returned home to teach and coach the children of Terrell Independent School District. He served as Head Football Coach and later Principal at Terrell High School. Terrell ISD named their Middle School Campus after him.
Gilbert Willie Sr. was a Burnett High School graduate and received his Bachelor of Science from Prairie View A&M University, where he played football and baseball. In 1967, Willie earned his Master of Education from East Texas State University. Throughout his tenure with the Terrell Independent School District, Willie was a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal. However, in 1984, Willie became the district’s first Black American assistant superintendent, serving until his retirement. Over the years, Wille earned several accolades for outstanding service, including the Administrator of the Year nomination, and was inducted into the Terrell Hall of Fame. In 2001, the Furlough-Willie Scholarship Foundation was established to assist Terrell graduates and was named in honor of Willie and his colleague, Herman Furlough, Jr. In addition to his work at Terrell Independent School District, this dynamic Texan, known to many as “Coach Willie,” taught physical education courses at Southwestern Christian College and served as a referee for collegiate games hosted at Burnett High School; Moreover, he was a deacon at Bethlehem Baptist Church and was an active member of the Terrell Jaycees and the Kiwanis Club.
Dr. Seaton Jackson graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Soon afterward, Dr. Jackson served in the military during the Second World War. However, after his deployment, Dr. Jackson returned to Terrell, Texas, and further his passion by establishing a medical office. In the 1950s, the office relocated to Rockwall Avenue, where Dr. Jackson served as the chief physical until the office closed its doors in 1983. During his tenure, Dr. Jacson also became a staff member at the Terrell Community Hospital.
B.H. Wyattwas the first African-American County Commissioner in Kaufman County. Mr. Wyatt also served as the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. Mr. Wyatt was a major influence on the city of Terrell.
E.P. Shaw served as an Educator and Assistant Principal at Terrell High School; he helped Burnett High School, an all-Black institution, integrate into Terrell High School in 1968. In addition, Shaw was a World War II Veteran and member of the Terrell Renaissance and Kiwanis Club.
Frances R. Anderson is a native of Georgetown, Guyana, known as the Garden City of the Caribbean. After relocating to the United States, Anderson earned her Bachelor’s in Education from Tuskegee University. However, she furthered her studies at Lincoln University, East Texas State University, and Texas A&M at Commerce. Throughout her 30-year teaching career, Anderson earned a lifetime certificate in elementary and secondary education, most of which were served in Terrell, Texas. In addition, Anderson was paramount to the community serving as a 17-year City Council Member City of Terrell, Mayor Pro Tem, Board member of Kaufman County Appraisal District, Vice President-Director of Terrell Economic Development Corporation, Board member of Terrell Alliance of Education and the Arts, and involved with the Southwestern Christian College in the restoration of the Robert A. Roadhouse. In 2002, Anderson became the first Black woman to serve as Mayor of the City of Terrell. Under her leadership, Anderson established more substantial Code Enforcement and development standards while improving infrastructure, water, and drainage systems. Now 95 years old, Anderson continuously inspires Terrell citizens through her decades of educational, elected official, and volunteer services.
Mr. J. L. Brooks was an entrepreneur in the early days in the Black Terrell Community. He owned a large partial of land in the Breezy Hill location. He named the streets after the Black Churches such as Mt. Olive, St. Luke, New Hope, Bethlehem, St. James and one street after his only daughter, Ruby AKA Ruby P. Brooks who was also a businesswoman and educator in the Terrell School District (W. H. Burnett). until she retired. Mr. J. L. Brooks was the Owner, Mortician and Funeral Director of the first Funeral Home in the early years (beginning dates are being researched). This It is believed that his community contribution in serving his community begin in the nineteen twenties. His daughter continued the family business until her death. His son owned and operated a Funeral Home in Tyler, Texas. His land ownership encompassed much of which is known as the Breezy Hill Addition. As a man of influence, he was instrumental in naming most of the streets in the area what we know now as Breezy Hill Park. Mr. J. L. Brooks and Family Contributions were important to our city.
Tommy Spencer was born on July 28th, 1946, in Wills Point, Texas. In 1964, Spencer graduated from Burnett High School and enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served in the Vietnam War. Upon returning to Texas, Spencer served as a United States Postal Carrier (30 years) and Terrell Councilman (36 years). The newly renovated City of Terrell Professional Development Room is named in his honor. As a councilman, Spencer accomplished major street renovations by enhancing all dirt roadways “Up One Level” to asphalt surfaces. Furthermore, Spencer encouraged the implementation of the City of Terrell’s involvement with youth and adult training programs, employing students from the Terrell Independent School District to Work Programs. During his downtime, Spencer cultivated his passion for children and athletic activities by creating the TARA program, Youth Summer Recreational Program, and the Pee Wee Football League. As a result of his dedication and passion for Terrell, the previous Mayor, D.J Ory, proclaimed August 17th as “Tommy Spencer Day,” urging citizens to appreciate his service and hard work.
Dr. Jack Evans was appointed president of Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, making him the first African American to hold the position. Under his leadership, the College earned its full accreditation. After 50 years of service, Evans retired in 2016, making him the longest-serving president in the United States.
Johnnie C. Holmes was born on July 31st, 1932, in Egypt, Texas. During his lifetime, Holmes significantly contributed to Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, serving as Sunday School Superintendent for over 50 years and Deacon for over 30 years. In the 1960s, Holmes worked for Heritage Company Building in Dallas, Texas, as a hired laborer, where he quickly advanced to the Foreman position. However, in 1972, Holmes had a vision that inspired him to open J.C. Holmes Construction, which provided affordable housing to many families in Terrell, Texas. In addition to his construction company, Holmes and his wife opened Holmes Taxicab Service, which became a reliable source of transportation for Terrell residents. Holmes’s positive impact will remain throughout Terrell for years to come.