Promoted education and civic improvements


Van Brass, Sr. Served as member of the Monroe City School Board through 1986. A 1974 graduate of the Southern University School of Law, Brass worked to cause one major change in the City School System that changed the face of the board for generations.

Using his legal skills Brass devised a reapportionment plan that provided for seven members. The plan was designed to insure a Black majority on the board and at the same time insure approval by the federal courts. In addition, Brass was also responsible for the board’s current policy of honoring Martin Luther King’s birthday as a holiday and the implementation of a minority business set aside program. During his six years on the board Brass developed an image of being a strong voice for Blacks in the educational system.

Despite his image however, Brass drew considerable criticism in 1985 when he broke a 3-3 deadlock on the board and voted for a white applicant for the Superintendent’s post. The move was criticized because it was viewed as a “sell out” vote.

Unable to recover from the negative reactions to his support of James Stafford as superintendent Brass was defeated in his re-election bid.

In 1990 Brass staged a successful comeback after waging what became known as a “humble pie” campaign.

During that term he announced his calling as gospel minister. He did not seek re-election in 1994 but made an unsuccessful bid for Monroe City Judge.

In 1996 he served as assistant pastor of the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Monroe, where his father, The Reverend Van Major Brass was pastor until he was elected pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Rayville in 1997.