Hallie Quinn Brown was an educator, author, and prominent moment of the women’s suffrage in the early 20th Century. Ms. Brown was also a notable orator and author, publishing a book focusing on the achievements of Black women of her era.
Brown was born on this day in 1849 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her parents, educated former slaves, emigrated to Canada before settling in Wilberforce, Ohio. Brown’s father was known as the “walking encyclopedia” according to some accounts and her mother was a special adviser to local HBCU Wilberforce University students. Brown graduated from the university and began a teaching career across the deep South.
While in South Carolina, Brown taught mainly at plantations in an effort to raise the literacy level of Black residents in Columbia. She eventually became the Dean of Allen University and later a Dean of Women at the Tuskegee Institute. During her time at Allen, Brown developed a reputation as a forceful speaker, and in 1893 she used her gifts to organize the Colored Women ‘s League of Washington, D.C.
The CWL became one of the organizations that would join and form the National Association of Colored Women, which Brown served for as president between 1920 and 1924 and was its honorary president until her passing at age 100 in 1949.
Of Brown’s four books, her best known work is Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, published in 1926. In Wilberforce, there is a library named after her along with the city’s community center.
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