Brunson Circle Celebration in Pico Neighborhood Honors Santa Monica Native Donald Brunson

Brunson Circle

Donald Brunson, the first African American baby born in Santa Monica in 1907, was honored in a family celebration last month, steps away from the family home that he once owned.

Leana McClain, Donald’s daughter, spoke and thanked those who assisted in making sure this event and special signage honoring the Brunson Family was erected and came to fruition. She also thanked all those in attendance for sharing this special moment with her and her family.

Donald was one of the first African American letter carriers for the Santa Monica Postal Service for over 30 years, as well as a very active community member with a ong list of accomplishments. Leana shared her memories as she spoke vividly about the home she grew up in being filled with lots of joy, laughter, love, family, and friends.

Mayor Sue Himmelrich shared the City's Call to Action to improve upon and make sure residents from a variety of diverse backgrounds are treated equitably, honorably, and inclusively in the City’s narrative moving forward. The City representative spoke loud and clear by deciding to approve and erect the new “Brunson Circle” signage right next to the home that Donald Brunson owned and shared with his wife Edna and children on Euclid and Michigan Streets.

Professor Annette Kim, from USC School of Public Policy, also shared how she and her students not only documented the Brunson family stories, but are currently working to erect and share other diverse and lost stories in the community, as well as in the local high school curriculum, in the near future.

A special Brunson Circle Celebration brochure, magnet, fan, cookies, and candies were passed out to guests in the crowd as a keepsake to remember this very special day in Santa Monica history.

Community members and other notables in attendance included First AME Church Pastor Carolyn Baskin-Bell, Mayor Pro Tem McCowan, Bill and Carolyne Edwards, and Robbie Jones.

By Stacy McClendon

Descendants of the family of Donald and Edna Brunson stand beneath the sign naming Brunson Circle in front of the original family home.

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