Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, 270 North Kent Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

Hallie Q. Brown/Martin Luther King Community Center
Hallie Q. Brown Community Center at 553 Aurora
Address: 270 Kent Street N
Neighborhood/s: Summit-University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Selby Dale, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1970
Primary Style: Modern
Historic Function: Organizational
Current Function: Organizational

Summit-University, Selby Dale Saint Paul Ramsey



Founded in 1929, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, Inc. is an African American, nonprofit social service agency. In January 1929, an advisory committee of the St. Paul Urban League met to formulate new plans for a community center. An essay contest was held to select the new name for the Center.

Herbert Howell, a student at Hamline University, won the contest with his essay about the African American educator, elocutionist, women’s suffrage leader, and author, Hallie Quinn Brown.

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center was originally located in Masonic Hall at Aurora and Mackubin. in 1972 they moved to the Martin Luther King Center at 270 North Kent Street.

The organization has evolved from an independent human services provider to a multi-service center and is the administrative body of the Martin Luther King Center. Its primary service area is the Summit-University community. Some of their partner organizations which are located in the same building are the Penumbra Theatre Company.Penumbra [1]

Hallie Quinn Brown was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1845, the daughter of two former slaves, Thomas Arthur Brown and Frances Jane Scroggins.

Both were well educated, her father became known as “Mr. Brown, the walking encyclopedia”, and her mother was an unofficial advisor and counselor to the students of Wilberforce University, a private, coeducational, historically black liberal arts college. Both Thomas and Frances were actively involved with the Underground Railroad.

Her parents’ commitment to the cause would later influence the organizations Brown founded and participated in. The Brown Family moved from Pittsburgh to Ontario, Canada in 1864 and then to Wilberforce, Ohio in 1870. Brown attended Wilberforce University, and graduated from there in 1873, with a Bachelor of Science degree.

After graduation, she began teaching on the Senora Plantation in Mississippi and went on to teach on several plantations during her life. Her efforts focused on improving the literacy levels of black children who had been denied the chance during slavery. Several years later she moved onto Columbia City Schools and then to Allen University in Columbia. Brown served as the Dean at Allen University from 1885 to 1887.

From 1887 to 1891, she taught night school for African Americans in Dayton, Ohio. And in 1892 was appointed principal (Dean of Women) of Tuskegee Institutes in Alabama from 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.

In 1893, Brown was the principle promoter of the organization of the Colored Women’s League of Washington, D.C. She also helped found the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). Brown began traveling in 1894 as a lecturer and public speaker for African American culture and temperance.

She became the 7th National President of the NACW from 1920 to 1924 and acted as its honorary President until her death in 1949. During the time she served as the President of the N.A.C.W., she pursued two major projects: one was dedicated to the maintenance of Fredrick Douglass’ home as a memorial in Washington, D.C., and the other was the establishment of the Hallie Q. Brown Scholarship Fund for the education of women.

Brown published several books including: Bits and Odds: A Choice Selection of Recitations, published in 1880; First Lessons in Public Speaking, published in 1920; The Beautiful: A Story of Slavery, published in 1924 Tales My Father Told. Published in 1925 Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, published in 1926.

Hallie Q. Brown died on September 16, 1949, in Wilberforce, Ohio. Two buildings are named in her honor: the Hallie Q. Brown Memorial Library in Wilberforce, Ohio, and The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.[1]

Memories and stories

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    [http://discussions.mnhs.org/HP/oneonone.cfm snubnosed]