Tue July 9, 2013
Blair T. Hunt
Blair T. Hunt (1888-1978) is a name every Memphian should know. Many may remember Hunt as the principal of Booker T. Washington High School, a job he held for 24 years, or, as the pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, a position he maintained from 1921-1973, but what many people do not know about are his efforts behind the scenes in search of equality in Memphis.
For the early twentieth century, Hunt was an anomaly: he had a college education. He spent time at LeMoyne-Owen Institute, Morehouse College, Tennessee State, and Harvard.
He returned to Memphis in 1913 and took a position with the Memphis Public Schools. He was one of only three African-Americans to have a degree in education.
Hunt was a veteran of World War I, and, after experiencing the treatment of black soldiers, he became a champion for the cause of equality. He worked hard to educate the poor, young black students in his charge in hopes of a brighter future.
Hunt also worked behind the scenes as the liaison between the black community of Memphis and the Crump administration. Many in the black community criticized him for trading support for favors, but, in the political realities of the time, he kept the voices of the Memphis African-American community alive.
Hunt spent his life trying to improve Memphis and was a founding member of the Memphis Urban League and the “Negro YMCA.”
Hunt's life deserves recognition as one who sought to build bridges and tear down walls.