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Rachel Brown

Lifelong educator Rachel Hall Brown was born on November 16, 1912, in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Brown’s mother was a homemaker, and her father sold produce that he grew on their farm. She grew up the fourth of fourteen children. As she grew older, she was sent to live with relatives in nearby Baltimore because Glen Burnie did not have a high school for blacks to attend. Brown attended and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore in 1928. Douglass was also the alma mater of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and entertainers Cab Callaway and Anne Brown.

Upon graduation, Brown planned to attend Morgan State University, but was unable due to financial reasons. Instead she attended Coppin State University where she earned her degree and graduated in 1930. She received her first teaching assignment upon graduation at Skidmore School in Anne Arundel County, where she taught first, second and third grades. In 1932, Brown was reassigned to Jones School, where she met and married her husband, Philip Brown, who was the principal of the two-room school where they both worked. Shortly after her marriage, she and her husband attended classes at Morgan State University where both earned their bachelor’s degrees in education. In 1938, her husband led the effort to sue the Anne Arundel Board of Education for equal pay for African American teachers. The teachers were represented by former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. In 1955, Brown earned her master’s degree in education from New York University.

In 1966, Brown helped to integrate Anne Arundel County public schools when she was one of the first black teachers assigned to teach at Tyler Heights School. In 1970, Brown was appointed to the White House Conference on Children and Youth, an organization that promoted understanding of child development and fostering children’s mental and emotional health. Brown retired from the school system in 1973.

Brown passed away on April 12, 2012 at age 99.

Accession Number




Archival Photo 1
Interview Date


Last Name


Maker Category
Marital Status


Middle Name



Marley Neck School

Frederick Douglass High School

Coppin State University

Morgan State University

New York University

Archival Photo 2
First Name


Birth City, State, Country

Glen Burnie



Favorite Season

Summer, Winter



Favorite Vacation Destination

Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Thank you, God.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date


Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City




Favorite Food

Hen (Cornish), Crabcakes

Death Date


Short Description

Elementary school teacher and high school teacher Rachel Brown (1912 - 2012 ) was an educator for over four decades, and was instrumental in integrating Anne Arundel County in Maryland. In 1970, Brown was appointed to the White House Conference on Children and Youth.


Skidmore School

Jones Elementary School

Stanton School

Tyler Heights School

Favorite Color

Blue, Pink

Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Slating of Rachel Brown interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown lists her favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown recalls her mother</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown relates how her parents met</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown remembers her father</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown discusses her family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown shares childhood memories</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Rachel Brown describes her siblings</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown describes her childhood community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown recalls her elementary school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown discusses the intersection of school and church life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown recounts her high school years</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown remembers her college aspirations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown reflects on her college experience</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Rachel Brown recalls her first teaching job</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Rachel Brown recalls teaching at Skidmore School</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Rachel Brown details the effects of 'Brown vs. Board of Education' on school integration in Maryland</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Rachel Brown describes her teaching career after integration</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Rachel Brown shares her thoughts on integration</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Rachel Brown discusses the changes needed in elementary school education</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown remembers the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1970</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown discusses contemporary education issues</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown discusses the need for mothers to be in the home</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown reflects on her life and career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown offers her advice to educators</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Rachel Brown reflects on her career and family life</a>







Rachel Brown describes her teaching career after integration
Rachel Brown remembers the White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1970
And don't you know in the spring of '66 [1966], before that material had started to come in and that's when they said we've got to integrate in Anne Arundel County [Maryland]. And they had to integrate because they were not going to send them that money in the fall. And so they came in the school [James A. Adams Park Elementary School, Annapolis, Maryland] and told us where we were going. Now Philip [husband, Philip Brown], they allowed Philip to say that he wanted to stay in his school. But now remember, Philip was in the only black high school [Wiley H. Bates High School, Annapolis, Maryland]. I was in an elementary school with a plenty of elementary teachers. I was the assistant principal. And so when they brought me in there and said, "Well, where--where do--what--either Mr. Nowell (ph.) will have to go or you have to go. 'Cause they're not gone have two black and white, blacks." So Nowell looked at me and I looked at Nowell. Now he was the Principal. So he said, "Well I'm gonna stay." Well I said, "Well I'm not going anyplace unless I go down to Tyler Heights [Elementary School, Annapolis, Maryland]." And that was down this way, next school to this. Not the Hillsmere [Elementary School, Annapolis, Maryland] was not built. And Georgetown East [Elementary School, Annapolis, Maryland] was not built. But Tyler Heights did this whole area, all the white children. And it was a Blue Ribbon School [U.S. Department of Education's award for academic excellence] because it had all the [U.S.] Navy people. And they wanted to go to that school. And so I went down. They told me what day to go down to interview the principal--or the Principal interviewed me. He interviewed me like I was a brand new teacher. And he did not want a white--a black Assistant Principal. And you could see it on his face.$$What was it like for the parents and the students?$$Well as I told you, most of those people were Navy people. And most of them were educated. And really in the schools, my first job there was to get books for them to tutor their own children at home. These were white children. And our poor black children. Oh Lord! You talking about walking the road. We were still walking the road. And that was '66 [1966] after that.$$How were the black children faring?$$Well everybody was told that they couldn't do. They'd keep telling us--if they tell anybody else on TV, "I'm going through the TV. I don't want them to tell our children they can't learn. I don't want anybody." And I've told them that. And I've been on the TV. I've been to the schools. And I've been everywhere and told them. Been up to Jones [Elementary School, Severna Park, Maryland]. Jones is all--mostly white now. And they got a blue ribbon. And I told them it was blue ribbon when I went into the school. And they told them it always was a Blue Ribbon School. And they got our books and my pictures up there, on the wall. (laughs)$So tell me about the White House Conference on Children and Youth initiative in 1970?$$Well you see the [U.S.] President's [Richard Milhous Nixon] aide came to the school [Tyler Heights Elementary School, Annapolis, Maryland] with my invitation because I wasn't on the list when they mailed them out. And oh my--but that limousine and him coming in there. And oh they ran to get me. "Mrs. Brown, it's the President's aide is in here for you." So I went there. And I didn't know that Dr. Allen was going to get it to--worked out. And I was suppose to go. Of course, my principal, he had to get permission from the [Maryland] Board of Education. So I called the--our board of education person who was in charge of the black school. "Oh yes indeed, Mrs. Brown. You can go." And I didn't ask her to pay my way. I had to pay my own hotel. And we went over there [Washington, D.C.] for that week. And we were promised--oh we were promised so much. And get back to the integration. If I could get for all of our children, what they promised us at that conference, oh I wish you could have been--,$$(Simultaneously) What kinds of thing did they--,$$--to those lectures.$$--promise?$$Oh they promised us that they were going to put the money into it. They were going to put the schools in shape. They were going to teach every child--that was what it was, the right to read. And every child has a right to read. And that when they tell us that all of our children can't read, you know right well that that's a lie right there. Because if you get so many thousand, even with this dyslexia that they're talking about--I didn't know anything about it. But we sat there and we got those children doing something. Even Benjamin [learning disabled student in her first grade class at Skidmore School, Skidmore, Maryland] got to do something. And he--oh he'd love to tell everybody. "What class you in?" "I'm in the opportunity class. Mrs. Brown is going to give me the opportunity to learn all the stuff." And that's what they promised. They promised us that at that White House conference. And I got the tapes in there, the story.$$Do you feel like the promises were fulfilled?$$No. And they haven't--they really didn't fulfill what they really promised to give us because, you see, when they say, "With all deliberate speed," that was just like saying, "Take your time. Don't do it." And some of them took that, took that.