Your Williamsburg real estate Hyper local expert

Marlon Thomas Jr.

“Who’s that guy in the hat?” 

“That guy” is me, Marlon Thomas Jr.

When people ask a real estate agent, “why did you pick this career?” the generic answers are, “I love helping people.” Or, “I want to create my own schedule.” None of them will tell the truth, which is: no one would hire them. All jokes aside, my reasoning is a little deeper than that. 

In historical years, it wasn’t so long ago when…


Many predominantly black neighborhoods were considered danger zones. In other words, those communities were often rezoned. This is where the real estate term “redlining” comes from. Almost sixty years ago, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by 36th President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

36th President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on October 2nd. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is standing behind President Johnson’s left shoulder. (from your perspective, look to the right) Image source: Wikipedia 

When it comes to historical events, sixty years isn’t too long ago. As a black Realtor® in today’s world, I can help anyone in any neighborhood buy or sell a home if there were the 1960s and earlier, no way. 

freedom and flexibility...

I never liked the idea of someone else limiting my true potential. In the 8th grade, we were almost out for summer break when I had an epiphany. I told myself, “if having a boss is like listening to my teachers all day, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” When I was a kid, I would often draw pictures of custom trucks without tracing an image. From an early age, I’ve always enjoyed creative control and challenging myself with the next drawing. The same applies to real estate. 

The early days...

I was born in Newport News, Virginia, and lived close to Fort Eustis for a short period. Then in September 1999, we moved to Williamsburg. I have always said, “since I came out of the womb, I’ve always loved big trucks.” Still to this day, I don’t know why I love them so much. When I was fourteen, my dad took me to my first drag race at Virginia Motorsports Park in Dinwiddie, just outside of Richmond. It was called The Super Chevy Show. Ever since that day, May 18, 2012, I’ve been hooked to drag racing and hot rods. I also love high-performance powerboats and exotic cars. I’m fascinated by various kinds of engineering like aerospace, aviation, megastructures, etc.

my very first best friend...

I spent at least one-third of my childhood an hour-and-a-half away in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, with my beloved grandmother Shirley Beale. I consider her as my very first best friend. At the ripe old age of 81, she peacefully passed away in her home on March 11, 2020. That is the same house five of her six children were born in, which includes my mother. My grandmother was essentially poor all her life. However, I never saw her angry or sad. Always happy. She married at fifteen and her husband, James Beale, was an alcoholic. After he died in 1993, my grandma never remarried and was delighted to have peace of mind finally. 

Remembering my beloved cousin dr. La' Tonya cooper...

About a year-and-a-half earlier, on September 15, 2020, my cousin La’Tonya Cooper passed away from breast cancer. She got her first name from Uncle Rickey, and grandma Shirley nicknamed her Missy. 

La’ Tonya was brilliant and was all for continuing education. In 1998, she graduated from North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electronics and Computer Technology. Then she earned her master’s at George Mason University, but I’m unsure of her major and graduation year. On May 21, 2015, she earned a P.h.D. in Cybersecurity from Capitol Technology University. She was one of the very few black women to hold a Ph.D. in such and work for the CISA. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency. 

“Like a comet blazing across the evening sky, gone too soon.” – Michael Jackson

Dr. La’ Tonya “Missy” Cooper

Murfreesboro, North Carolina, December 10, 1975 – Laurel, Maryland, September 15, 2018 (43)

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