Ms. Brown graduated from FAMC in 1939
By Artisha R. Polk
The Florida A&M University community mourns the loss of distinguished Rattler, Charlie E. Brown, FAMC Class of 1939.
Ms. Brown was a life member of the FAMU National Alumni Association, Inc. (FAMU NAA). She faithfully served as the first female Regional Vice President of the FAMU NAA Northeast Region, the first established region within the national alumni association. And, she served as the first female President of the FAMU NAA New York Chapter. Ms. Brown passed away in New York City on Friday evening, April 17, 2020. She was 105.
Charlie E. Brown was born on March 10, 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida, to the late Charles Henry and Minnie Elizabeth Brown. Prior to attending what was then Florida A&M College, she was educated at a private school in Jacksonville.
Ms. Brown earned a two-year degree from FAMC in 1939. She moved to New York in 1942 and lived there until her passing. She earned a bachelor’s in business administration and real estate management from New York University.
For several decades, Ms. Brown worked for the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD). She received the Distinguished Service Award for her outstanding contributions. After she retired from HUD in 1974, Ms. Brown managed several residential properties in New York.
Ms. Brown was a dedicated member of the historic Mother African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (also known as “Mother Zion”), the oldest African American church in New York City. Mother Zion was founded in 1796. More than a decade ago, Mother Zion honored Ms. Brown as a 50-year member. She actively served her church in several leadership roles, including serving as a member of the board of directors for the James L. Varick Community Center.
Rattlers recall Ms. Brown’s enthusiasm and fervor for FAMU and the FAMU National Alumni Association. She attended many alumni association conferences, meetings, and conventions. She was an avid fundraiser for FAMU.
Ms. Brown encouraged alumni, as well as those who had not attended FAMU, to give generously to the University. She was successful in all of her efforts. She was also known for her sharp attire and for changing her outfits in between events and sessions during the national meetings of the alumni association. It is said that alumni looked forward to seeing what she and several of her
friends, to include Annye P. Holley, Annie Ruth Bryant, and Alice Bacon, would be wearing for the next event.
Ms. Brown was loved by many. She contributed her time and talents in her community, her church, and with the FAMU National Alumni Association. Ms. Brown touched the lives of generations of Rattlers. At the 55th Northeast Regional Conference, held in New York City in August 2019, the alumni dedicated the conference to Ms. Brown and they honored her legacy. FAMU alumni from New York and other areas within the Northeast Region have maintained contact with Ms. Brown up until per passing.
Alumni visited her to spend time talking with her and decorated her room. For Christmas 2019, alumni gave to her a commemorative book well wishes and greetings. Alumni also visited Ms. Brown on her 105th birthday last month.
Charlie E. Brown had two brothers and two sisters. She is survived by several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. Not having children of her own, Ms. Brown “adopted” several children and formed very close “family” relationships with all of them.
She had two “daughters,” Beatrice Hall of New York and Joan Pratt of Rhode Island. Her three “sons” were the late Dr. Willie L. Bryant (wife Goldie) of New York, Mr. Carter Wesley (wife Delores) of New York and Dr. Edward Addison (wife Vicky) of New Jersey.