Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Minnie Miller Brown: A Legacy of Leadership, Advocacy, and Action

Published in the Feb. 1996 issue of The Rural Sociologist:
“After four years as a home economics teacher in a Black high school, Minnie joined the Extension Service staff. During the first 20 years, she had to work in a segregated system at the county, district, and state levels. For ten years at North Carolina A&T State University, she had statewide leadership for what was called ‘Negro’ Home Demonstration Work. When the Extension Service was integrated, she was moved to North Carolina State University at Raleigh in 1967 to be on the administrative staff . . . and joined C. Paul Marsh in research on Black homemakers and the disadvantaged. Paul recalls that the work with Minnie on two large field studies in Eastern North Carolina put a face on the reality of segregation in those days; she often had to spend much energy in calling ahead to find lodging and food, no easy task in those rural areas . . . . Minnie Brown’s warmth, integrity, high standards, and dedication won her the love and respect of her colleagues, her students, and her diverse constituencies.” (p. 26)
In addition, March expressed in a final tribute (personal communication, May 20, 1996), “Traveling with Minnie in Eastern North Carolina, I saw her constant struggle to find a place to stay and to eat. This turned my longtime intellectual opposition to segregation to a profound anger. How could a system do this to someone like Minnie!”
This excerpt from Minnie Miller Brown: A Legacy of Leadership, Advocacy, and Action, published in Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society’s Forum. The article was written by Gladys G. Shelton and Sherman N. Shelton. To read the entire article, which is on pages 30 to 39, go to
Minnie Miller Brown was born May 17, 1922, in Salisbury, N.C., and died Dec. 2, 1995, in Raleigh, N.C. On Wednesday (May 25, 2011), she was inducted into the Dr. Jane S. McKimmon Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame at N.C. State University. Her tribute read:
“Minnie Miller Brown began her career serving as a home economics teacher. She then worked with the N.C. Agricultural Extension Service and in 1969, she became the first State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) Coordinator in North Carolina. She later served as Acting Assistant Director and Assistant State Home Economics Leader. Throughout her career, she was known for her advocacy for social justice, especially for the poor, minorities and women. She also played an important role . . . during the period of integration.”
The McKimmon Hall of Fame is named after Jane S. McKimmon, who was named the first State Home Demonstration Agent for the N.C. Agricultural Extension Service in 1911. She started girls’ tomato club work in North Carolina. Under McKimmon’s leadership, the first home demonstration clubs were founded in 1913. During her tenure, she saw county programs expand from the original 14 to all 100 counties.
In the Charter Class of inductees with Minnie Miller Brown were:
Helen Wade Branford, Dr. Eloise Cofer, Jo Costello, Ruth Current, Ada Braswell Dalla-Pozza, Helen Dockery, Dr. Thelma Feaster, Dinah Gore, Genevieve Kyer Greenlee, Juanita Hudson, Dr. Martha Johnson, Wilhemina R. Laws, Dazelle Foster Lowe, Edith Barrier McGlamery, Dr. Judieth Mock, Sarah Nixon, Josephine Patterson, Bertha Perry, Rosalind M. Redfearn, Mozelle Parker, Elisabeth Allen Watson, Frances Voliva, and Dr. Sandra Zaslow.

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