Announcing a New Collection: “J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937-1988”

We at the Lowcountry Digital Library (LCDL) are very thankful for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for affording us the opportunity to digitize the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture's most important archival collections regarding Civil Rights activism in the Charleston and surrounding Lowcountry area.

Without further ado, we would like to introduce to you to the J. Arthur Brown Papers, 1937 – 1988.

J. Arthur Brown was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1914. After graduating from the Avery Institute in 1932 he continued his education at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, SC graduating in 1937. While at SCSC, Brown met his future wife MaeDe Esperanza Myers (1918-2012), marrying in 1940. The couple had three daughters: MaeDe Joenelle Gordon, Minerva King, and Dr. Millicent Brown; and on son, Myles Gregory Brown. Mr. Brown moved back to Charleston where he became a businessman working as a real estate and insurance broker. He became affiliated with the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Brown worked his way to becoming the president of the Charleston chapter of the NAACP in 1955. As president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Brown led a concerted effort to fight segregation in the public sphere and other issues in the African American civil rights movement. Mr. Brown was also a member on the Voorhees College Board of Trustees, member of the Mu Alpha Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and a member of the South Carolina Democratic Party. In the 1970’s Mr. Brown was a co-founder and office holder of the Committee on Better Racial Assurance (COBRA).

Much of the digitized material comprising this collection are Brown’s correspondence with other individuals and organizations during his time serving as President of the NAACP. Additionally, the collection includes several photographs as well as a handful of pamphlets and periodicals.

Highlights from this collection include the “Civil Action No. 7747, Charleston Division, Millicent F. Brown et al. vs. School District No. 20 et al.," a death threat from the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP), an intimidating letter from the James Island White Citizens Council, a letter written by Septima P. Clark regarding a decision by Dr. Benner C. Turner–the President of South Carolina State College–prohibiting black students from returning to the College for the 1956-57 term, and correspondence containing a travel itinerary for Jackie Robinson during a visit to Charleston, South Carolina.

We hope you find this collection valuable in your research and look forward to bringing you the next collection in the near future.

This collection was digitized and made freely available online through the generous support of the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.