From Roll Call:
It took Jason Broughton more than a dozen years to find his calling.
The then-Florida biology teacher left his job in 2008 to return to South Carolina to care for his ailing mother. He eventually got a job as a workforce trainer for Charleston’s government, giving talks across the city.
Sometimes he would present at the library managed by Cynthia Hurd, a respected longtime resident. One day she pulled him aside, saying: “I’ve got to tell you something.”
When a branch manager demands your attention, that’s not typically a good thing. “I was like, oh my goodness I must have done something wrong,” Broughton said.
But instead of a reprimand, she handed him a piece of paper.
“I found a job, and I think you’d be perfect for it,” he recalled Hurd saying, as she shared a listing for a trainer at the South Carolina State Library. In previous encounters, Hurd had told Broughton she thought he’d make a great librarian.
Hurd never got to see Broughton rise through the field to become the state librarian of Vermont, and now the new director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, part of the Library of Congress.
She was one of nine people murdered by a white supremacist who opened fire on a Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church. Today, the library Hurd managed bears her name, and her influence has stayed with Broughton too.