Activists & Public Servants
Activist / Musician
Eudora Lyles was an advocate for fair housing, founder of the Inner City Civic Association and a member of the United Way Housing Committee. Lyles was one of Parker-Gray High School’s first graduates. A gifted musician who taught herself to play the piano and ukulele, she used her gift to entertain the military at the local USO, and once, Robert Kennedy at the prestigious Jockey Club in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Ella O. Lewis
Ella O. Lewis was one of the first women to serve on jury duty in Virginia. She served as a member of the Hopkins Settlement House Board where she developed a program to find and train Black couples to serve as foster parents. At Ebenezer Baptist Church, she was Chair of the Trustee Board and the first female Sunday school superintendent.
Native Alexandrian Dorothy Turner was an advocate for fair housing for under-represented tenants and was the first president of the Alexandria Tenants Council. This organization, of which she was a founder, was the first in the state of Virginia to defend the rights of public housing tenants.
Thomas “Pete” Jones
Thomas “Pete” Jones worked hard to rid public housing units in Alexandria of drugs. In 1990, in the utmost secrecy, President George H. W. Bush met with Jones and a group of local leaders at the Charles Houston Recreation Center to support their efforts. Jones truly cared about those living in low-income housing and made sure they had a voice.
Earl L. Cook
Alexandria Chief of Police
Earl Cook, an Alexandria native, graduated from T.C. Williams High School and was an outstanding member of the historic Titan football team. He attended Duke University. In 1979 he began his professional career as a police academy recruit. After 30 years of service, in 2009, Cook became the first African American in Alexandria’s 260-year history to serve as the Chief of Police.