(Above are pictures of Dr. Gray and her students at their annual Spring Fling, An annual event that promotes quality time between students and their children)
Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Dr. Tamura Gray was raised by parents who were educators. As a result, education has always been an important part of her life. However, Dr. Gray did not always have the best experiences in school. As a black woman, she felt that she always had to prove herself.
In the town where Dr. Gray lived, there was a deep history of racism. For example, one of her classmate’s father was a well-known Klansman. She lived in an environment with seeds that had already been planted which led to the growth of racial discrimination. Her first experience of racism came from her first grade teacher – Mrs. Lippard. Dr. Gray was one of only three black students in the class.
“I remembered being one of the first person to raise my hand after I had finish reading my paragraph, but I was never called on.”
This was a recurring theme. Dr. Gray also remembered getting in trouble because she was walking too fast. Then she got in trouble again, but this time for walking too slow. It seemed like whatever she did, it was never the right thing in some of her teachers’ eyes.
“I didn’t stop trying with my grades, but I stopped trying to be accepted.”
This was a powerful statement. For many people of color and marginalized communities, no matter how assimilated we are and how much we have accomplished, we are never good enough in the eyes of our oppressor.
Because of her experiences, Dr. Gray told herself that she would not want another child to endure what she had to go through. Therefore, she decided to become an educator. She received her Bachelors in Education from North Carolina A&T State University and went on to earn her Masters in Supervision Administration. She didn’t stop there, but decided to get a Ph.D in Psychology with a focus in counseling.
Currently, Dr. Gray is the Program Coordinator for the Even Start Teen Family Literacy at Bladensburng High School in the DC metro area. She teaches a class called Adolescent Parenting. The class focuses on helping young parents stay in school, plan for their future, strengthen their career skills, and most importantly, improve parenting skills.
Dr. Gray is happily married and a mother of seven children. She loves to travel with her family as well as host dinners and barbecues for friends and family. Spending quality time together is very important for all of them. They understand that tomorrow is not promised, so they try to make the most of each day that they have with each other.