January 31, 2013
For over four decades, Dr. William Matthew Brent shared his passion for community through his work at the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church. Councilwoman Jan Perry was joined by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mary Louise Matthews Brent, the late pastor’s wife, and members of the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church to posthumously honor the life and legacy of the late Dr. Brent. As part of the tribute, Perry led the effort to erect signs declaring the intersection “Dr. William M. Brent Square” adjacent to the church at 59th and Brentwood Streets.
“Dr. Brent dedicated his entire life to serving South Los Angeles. Through his commitment to community, he made a real difference in the lives of so many and changed the way people viewed their community,” said Perry. “This is a special way to remember an incredibly special man.”
Ridley-Thomas applauded Perry’s motion to erect the square in Dr. Brent’s memory. He told the congregation: “It is not a good thing to lose our sense of history and Dr. Brent is part of our history, the history of Los Angeles—a history that we all need to recall.”
Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, Dr. Brent’s wife, Mary Louise Matthews Brent thanked her family, neighbors, and the congregation for honoring her late husband: “Thank you for taking the time to come. This has been such a great day.”
Mrs. Brent then joined Perry, Ridley-Thomas; Dr. J. Roy Morrison, president of the California State United Baptist Convention; Rev. K. B. Williams, pastor of Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church; and her daughter and granddaughters to officially unveil the signs which are now on display.
Dr. Brent served the Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church from 1963 until his retirement in 2006. He passed away in October of 2012. During his tenure, Dr. Brent acted as assistant pastor, interim pastor and, on April 7, 1965, he was installed as the pastor of Evening Star Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the congregation’s commitment to community grew. He was responsible for starting a daycare center, counseling services, Golden Age Club for seniors, a radio broadcast, community food bank program, and a gang prevention and intervention program.
Perry represents the Ninth Council District, which encompasses a large portion of South Los Angeles, the Figueroa Corridor, and the Los Angeles Convention Center and Sports and Entertainment District.