This Day in History: 1849-03-10

Educator, writer, and activist Hallie Quinn Brown is born to parents who had been enslaved. Brown’s family moved to Canada in 1864 and then to Ohio in 1870. She graduated from Wilberforce University, Ohio, with the degree of Bachelor of Science in 1873 and a Master of Science degree in 1887, being the first woman to do so. Brown taught in schools in South Carolina, Mississippi, and Dayton, Ohio, and later at the Tuskegee Institute.

In 1893, Brown presented a paper at the World’s Congress of Representative Women in Chicago. Four other African American women also presented at the conference: Anna Julia Cooper, Fannie Barrier Williams, Fanny Jackson Coppin, and Sarah Jane Woodson Early. Brown was a founder of the Colored Woman’s League of Washington, D.C., which in 1894 merged into the National Association of Colored Women. She was president of the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs from 1905 until 1912, and of the National Association of Colored Women from 1920 until 1924. She spoke at the Republican National Convention in 1924 and later directed campaign work among African-American women for President Calvin Coolidge. Brown was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta.