Like the school named after the historic astronomer and surveyor of Washington, D.C., Benjamin Banneker, where Pearl Davidson served as Co-Principal, her natural thirst for sharing knowledge with students, staff, friends and family was acknowledged at a recent library/media center dedication in her name.
The Pearl Davidson Library/Media Center hosted a ceremony where former colleagues, family and friends had an opportunity to share memories of their relationship with Pearl.
Prior to working as Assistant Principal in 1992, Pearl was an English teacher at Jackie Robinson Intermediate School 320. Here Pearl bonded with a unique school staff, and many of these relationships were to last until her untimely passing.
Banneker Assistant Principal who choose Pearl from a list of other employees, said, “While not knowing her, I felt her spirit – her spirit is throughout the building.” Several names were under consideration, but Thompson went back to one of the teachers who helped to lay the foundation to make Banneker an institution of excellence by honoring Pearl, and naming the library/media center after her.
Eric Adam’s assistant presented a Proclamation naming March 23, 2018 as Pearl Hilary McLeod Davidson’s Day in Brooklyn, USA. Pearl made outstanding contributions to the field of public school education.
New York City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo reflected on the period of her life when she spent time in Pearl’s home. Michelle Davidson, Guidance Counselor at Banneker and Pearl’s daughter, are friends. Laurie remembers growing up with “it takes a village to raise a child” philosophy Pearl practiced. She encouraged her to stay on top of work and stay the course. She knew her to be a beautiful woman.
Another comment came from Ms. Celeste, Deputy Superintendent in District 17, “Pearl did Wakanda long before the movie.”
A teacher at Banneker, Ms. Charles, was a student when Pearl was Assistant Principal. “Pearl was always available and had a sweet spirit. I never remember her being upset…always calm, cool, collected and organized.”
Ms. Karen Woods, retired 18 years ago, had this to say, “Always the ‘go to’ person. Her office was home away from home. She loved the school – we were a family and a better person could not have been chosen.”
And, from Valerie Murray Tuggle, “Pearl hired me at Benjamin Banneker as the Guidance Counselor, and I then became Assistant Principal at Banneker. She was a Pearl.”
The revamped library was made possible by a generous donation from the office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The walls now adorn students’ Afrocentric art worthy of museum display, and numerous desktop computers. A student at Banneker spoke and requested “all students to remember Mrs. Davidson every time they log on to their computers.” Guests snacked on hot hors d’oeuvres, fruit cups and soft drinks.
Ms. Thompson said this project would not have been possible without the funds used to revamp the library. The library is a shining example of what is possible with funding.
There couldn’t be a more appropriate dedication for a teacher who touched so many with her wisdom, encouragement, warmth, mentoring and genuine concern. Present and future generations can now share this spirit in a loving educational environment.