Emotional reunion leads to renaming Port Arthur buildings for community leaders
Posted at 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, September 3, 2022
Few eyes were dry – both among the public and city officials – this week when Port Arthur City Council held two public hearings to rename two buildings in the city after influential residents.
The first was a request by Councilman Cal Jones to rename the Department of Developmental Services after Inell Ross Moore, who worked for the city from 1972 until her death in May 2020. According to city documents, Ross has also was the first African-American teacher at Sam Elementary School in Houston.
When city prosecutor Valecia Tizeno explained to the public the purpose of the public hearing, she too became emotional.
“I want to thank the city staff for putting on a great presentation that you’ll see here,” she said. “My voice is shaking since Mrs. Moore is someone I’ve probably known since before I was born, if you can’t someone for that long. And I just think everything that we’re doing tonight, council and mayor, on behalf of the four people, is fine. »
Moore’s granddaughter, Brianna King, thanked the council for the recommendation.
“It’s a pleasure to stand in front of you and represent Inell and the rest of our family,” King said. “It’s an honor for all of you to even consider my grandmother for this, just to name something after her. She was in that community and did a lot of things. She taught a lot of you. She helped many of you. She helped this city. And we just thank you for considering her and continuing her legacy.
Moore’s daughter, Beverly Moore King, also spoke.
“My mother loved the town of Port Arthur. She came here from the big city of Houston and mom and dad wanted her to come home and she said, ‘I have to get married,'” she said. “When Val talks about my mom, I can say the same about her mom because they were best friends. Please consider this honor for my mom because she’s really turning around right now and screaming. She loves this city and she loved each of you.
Councilor Charlotte Moses also spoke about Moore.
“When we all reflected on this a few months ago, my heart was filled because of his service to the City of Port Arthur,” she said. “I pray that one day I can be as much of a woman as she was.”
And City Manager Ron Burton called her a strong woman of faith and dignity.
“I know his legacy will live on,” he said.
The second public hearing was to rename the Port Arthur City Court in honor of the late Judge Kermit Morrison Jr.
Morrison, who served the court for nearly 40 years, died on July 11 at the age of 74.
Tizeno said that years ago anyone who wanted to become a lawyer knew to first go to Gulfway Drive and speak with Judge Kermit, his wife Judge Stella Morrison and Judge Donald Floyd before making a decision.
Stella Morrison also spoke to the council.
“We are grateful that you considered this mainly because I know my husband is watching us today and I know he has a beautiful smile on his face. And he says ‘thank you,'” she said. declared. “Kermit was a man of dignity and integrity. He was a man who believed in fairness and justice. I am grateful to have been married to a man with this type of integrity and dignity.
Mark Martin also spoke, echoing Stella Morrison’s statements while adding his own.
“I just wanted to stand up and express my gratitude to the citizens’ council for considering Kermit,” he said. “He has always shown integrity. He was a brother in Christ. He was my mentor. But the most important thing was my friend.
Councilor Cal Jones, who suggested the name change, spoke about a longtime friend and told a joke about once he got a speeding ticket.
“He said, ‘Look at me Monday morning. Councilor Jones, you were driving too fast. You were wrong,’ Jones said. “I’m proud of what I’m doing for him. have never had a crossword in the 47 years we have been friends. I love him and miss him.”