Anna Easter Brown
|Anna Easter Brown|
|Born||April 13, 1879
West Orange, New Jersey, United States
|Died||March 5, 1957 (aged 78)
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, U.S.
|Occupation||original founder of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; History teacher|
|Parent(s)||Beverly Brown and Lawrie Brown|
Anna Easter Brown (April 13, 1879 – March 5, 1957) was a part of the original nine group of twenty founders in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. It was the first sorority founded by African-American women students. It has had a continuing legacy of generating social capital for over 100 years.
Brown also completed graduate work at Columbia University. As an educator at the high school level in North Carolina for nearly 40 years, she had a critical role in teaching the next generations. With her outstanding qualifications, she maintained a high academic standard. Brown also developed exhibits to teach the community about African-American history. She helped found the YWCA in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and expanded Alpha Kappa Alpha by founding a local chapter. These institutions created social capital.
Born on Easter in New Jersey, Anna Brown was the daughter of Beverly and Lawrie Brown. Anna Brown graduated from West Orange High School with honors. She was well-prepared for Howard University, the top historically black college in the nation. It was a time when only 1/3 of 1% of African Americans and 5% of whites of eligible age attended any college.
Founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha
At Howard University, Brown worked as the chief evening librarian while she completed classes at the Teachers College Department. On January 15, 1908, Brown along with eight other women helped to found Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Brown served as the first treasurer of the sorority. She also composed a sorority song. She helped write the final draft of the sorority's constitution and bylaws. During the planning sessions, she documented the sorority's history for the future. Brown graduated in 1909 with a B.Ed.
Teaching and later life
|“||She would teach American history down to about Christmas, and then she'd put the book down, and go into teaching us all Black history. Now if that appeared to be anyone coming in that, would uh, have something to say about her teaching Black history, she'd just pick up her American history book and start talking. — R. Kelly, former student||”|
Brown completed further graduate study at Columbia University. After graduation, Brown worked at Bricks School in Bricks, North Carolina, from 1909 to 1926. During her time in Bricks, she also traveled nationally and wrote articles for the National Urban League's magazine Opportunity.
In 1925 Brown moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina and continued her career in education. She worked as a history teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount for nearly 30 years, from 1926 until 1952.
Brown promoted community learning about Negro History by developing local exhibits, which she arranged annually. Her twenty-fifth exhibit received national coverage. Brown died on March 5, 1957.
- McNealey, Earnestine G. (2006). Pearls of Service: The Legacy of America’s First Black Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Chicago: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. p. 31.
- "Anna Easter Brown". Theta Rho Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
- James D. Brown, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988, p. 245.
- "Alpha Kappa Alpha Centennial: Founders" (PDF). Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. April 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
- McNealey 2006, p. 30.