Academic journal article Education

Hallie Quinn Brown (1845-Or 1850-1949): Educator, Author, Lecturer, Founder, and Reformer

Academic journal article Education

Hallie Quinn Brown (1845-Or 1850-1949): Educator, Author, Lecturer, Founder, and Reformer

Article excerpt

Most black educators are aware of black pioneers, such as Frederick Douglass, Phillis Wheatley, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. DuBois, George Washington Carver, Mary McLeod Bethune, and others, Few are, however, aware of Hallie Quinn Brown (1845-or 1850-1949) educator, author, lecture, founder, and reformer, who wrote one of the first biographies on black women (Hallie Berry is an actress who is also a pioneer in drama.)

Hallie Q. Brown; Background

Hallie Q. Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1845 or 1850 of former slaves, Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances Jane Scroggins, who were well educated, according to Voices from the Gap. Allowed to purchase his freedom, Thomas was the son of a Scottish woman who owned a Maryland plantation and the plantation's black overseer. Frances was freed by one of her grandfathers, a white Revolutionary War officer and plantation owner (Lyman, 1999, p. 30) Both were actively involved in the Underground Railroad. Their commitment to the cause of freedom for black people perhaps influenced the work of Hallie Brown.

The Brown Family moved from Pittsburgh to Ontario, Canada in 1864 and then to Wilberforce, Ohio in 1870. Hallie Q. Brown attended Wilberforce College, a private, coeducational, liberal arts college, and graduated from there in 1873, with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduation, she taught on the Senora Plantation in Mississippi, several other plantation, and Columbia city schools, before she taught at Allen University in Columbia. From 1875 to 1887 she served as Dean at Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina. At Tuskegee Institute now Tuskegee University, she served as lady principal or Dean of Women, 1892-1893, where she worked with Booker T. Washington. Returning to Ohio, Brown taught in the Dayton Public Schools for four years and established an adult class for migrant workers.

Hallie Q. Brown; Contributions

Interested in public speaking, Brown enrolled in summer school at Chautauqua Lecture School and graduated in 1866. She was influenced by Professor Robertson of the Boston School of Oratory whom she met while she was lecturing in Dayton (Lyman, 1999, p. 31). From 1894 to 1899, Brown traveled as a lecturer and public speaker for African American culture and temperance. During her travel, she spoke before Queen Victoria (Alexandria 1819-1901 Queen of Great Britain 1837-1901), the 1895 Convention of the World's Women Christian Temperance Union in London, and the 1899 International Congress of Women, as a representative of the United States.

Attempting to change the subservient position of black women through education, Brown made numerous speeches and wrote several books. Susan Kates wrote that Brown recognized that social change could only come through an educational venture (Kates 59).

According to Voices from the Gap (p. 3), Brown penned a number of works:

Pen Pictures of Pioneers of Wilberforce, 1937

Homespun Heroines and Other

Women of Distinction, 1926

Our Women, Past, Present and Future, 1925

Tales My Father Told, 1925

The Beautiful: A True Story of Slavery 1924

First Lessons in Public Speaking, 1920

Elocution and Physical Culture, 1910

Bits and Odds: A Choice Selection of Recitations, 1880

Machilo--The African

A gist of some of her works follows:

Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinct, edited in 1926 by Brown, includes biographical sketches of more than 60 black women. The book having a number of women writers was published by Aldine Publishing Company and dedicated to the National Association of Colored Women of America and Council which was founded by Brown, who wrote in the book: "This book is presented as an evidence of appreciation and as an token of regard for the history making women of our race" (Voices from the Gap, p. 2).

Printed in 1925, Tales My Father Told is an attempt to preserve family history and to present a particular moral viewpoint. …

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