Nancy Corbett Brown James Wiley Brown, Jr.
(February 16, 1920-) (May 12, 1909-November 7, 1983)
James Wiley Brown, Jr. (1909-1983)
James Wiley Brown wan born May 12, 1909, in Laurel, Mississippi, to the late James Wiley (b. Ohio 1864- d. Pelahatcchie, MS, 1936) and Emma C. White (b. Okolona, Chickasaw, MS, October 26, 1876- d June 6, 1959) Brown; both of whom were college graduates and teachers in the public schools of Mississippi for more than half a century. He was the only son in a family of four children. Two of his sisters, Annie Mae McGhee (1901-83) and Frenchie Leotine Porter (1912-79) preceded him in death. His remaining sister, Geneva Brown White (1907-89) died six years after James Wiley. James Wiley’s paternal grandparents were Gus (b. SC 1843-?) and Mary (b. MS 1846-?). (Need to verify this.)
He received his early education in the public schools of Jackson, Mississippi, and in the high school of the then Jackson College. He continued his academic training in higher education at Clark College, Atlanta, Georgia, where he received his A.B. degree; his B. D. degrees from Gammon Theological Seminary at Clark College and the Chicago Theological Seminary; and his M.A. degree from the University of Chicago in the field of Ethics and Society. He did further study in experimental psychology, sociology, social sciences, and religious education at Fisk University, Union College Laboratory in Schenectady, New York and Oxford in England, respectively.
He distinguished himself both in the teaching and ministerial fields. He began hie career as teacher-counselor at Fisk University; followed by home missionary pastorates at Selma, Alabama and Corpus Christi, Texas; a college minister and professor of religion and philosophy at Huston-Tillotson College, Austin, Texas and Jackson State University in Mississippi; and the Lincoln Memorial Congregational Church in Chicago, Illinois. At right is a photo of James Wiley from December 16, 1939 issue of The Pittsburgh Courier, (Pittsburgh, PA).
On many occasion he was staff counselor and resource person for the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. and the United Church of Christ. Among his other activities were advisor on the board of Moton College Service Bureau, a program sponsored by the Moton Memorial Institute Incorporated and supported by a grant from the US Office of Education which provided technical assistance to 83 predominately Black institutions in the related areas of proposal stimulation and preparation and Federal agency advocacy. He was active in the N.A.A.C.P., Capital City Lions Club, the Community Workshop Market and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was an active member of the Congregational Church of Austin.
In 1941, he married Nancy Corbett. Nancy was born in Union Ridge, Burlington, NC to Miles and Agnes Corbett. She met James at a summer church camp in North Carolina. She attended Tillotson College in Austin, Texas and became a teacher. James died on Monday, November 7, 1983 at 12:20 a.m. in Austin, Texas.
Besides his wife, Nancy, he leaves to mourn his passing; his sister, Mrs. Geneva Brown White; three nephews, Robert W. and Dr. Brown O. McGhee of Memphis, Tennessee and John R. Blalock, Washington, D. C.; two nieces; Mrs. Johnnie P. Hamilton of Springfield, Virginia and Mrs. Annie C. Mathews of Memphis, Tennessee; other: relatives and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by sisters Annie Mae McGhee (1901-83), Frenchie Leotine Porter (1912-79).
“So live that when thy summons to join
The innumerable caravan which moves to that mysterious realm
where each shall take hie chamber in the silent halls of death;
Thou go not like a quarry slave at night
Scourged to his dungeon
But sustained and soothed by an unflattering trust,
Approach thy grave like one who wraps the drapery of hie couch about him
And lies down to pleasant dreams.”
–William Cullen Bryant
Reverend Brown wrote at least two books. The first was “A Reading Seminar on Great Issues” was published by McCutchan Press in Berkeley, CA, in 1966. His second was a philosophical book, “Nature and Meaning: An Introduction to Philosophy: Handbook and Syllabus” also published by McCutchan Press in Berkeley, CA, a year later in 1967.
Dr. Brown was field coordinator of the Moton College Service Bureau, 2001 S. Street, N.W., Suite 601, Washington, D.C. in 1972 when they published “Black Colleges and Federal Relations, A Handbook for Administrators.” James wrote the section on “Federal Relations Office Management and Records.” Excerpts from the report are shown below.
Here is his entry under the section entitled, “Contributors.”
Below is another of Dr. Brown’s reports.
Below are several entries from the Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, PA). (The paper appears to have had a section dedicated to news of prominent Black individuals and families across the country.) The first from July 31, 1948, noting the Dr. Brown, then a Chaplain and Professor at Tillotson College in Austin, would be participating in a research project in Schenectady, NY. The second from October 25, 1952, is a very detailed and warm current biography of Dr. Brown by Carolyn Mitchell, at the time she was an instructor at Tillotson College and married to Lewis M. Mitchell, a local dentist. Dr. Mitchell, died in 1954 of a cerebral stroke. Here is a bit of history related to the Mitchells from the book, Before Brown: Herman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice (Jess and Betty Jo Hay Series), 2011, University of Texas Press, by Gary M. Lavergne.
The people Marshall selected to receive copies of the printed record of the Sweet: case illustrated whom he considered key to victory. Besides Heman Sweatt, Marshall sent a copy to Dr. Robert Redﬁeld of the University of Chicago, the anchor witness supporting the sociological approach, and Dr. Lewis M. Mitchell and his wife Carolyn, writing to the latter: “As you know, both of you played a most important part in this case and I believe that you should have the record for whatever use you care to make of it other than throw it away.
“To Thurgood Marshall, who was doing a job that required 50,000 miles of travel each year to areas that had no acceptable accommodations for a professional black man (or no accommodations at all), and Carolyn represented something as important as a well-written brief or a cogent legal argument: they reminded him and his lawyers that the people they were representing deserved the investment, sacrifice, and pain they endured. Carolyn, who was on the faculty of both Samuel Huston and Tillotson Colleges, would have had to leave Texas to earn a doctorate if she decided to study for one. To improve his skills as a dentist, Lewis had to travel to Tuskegee, Alabama, for professional development. But perhaps even more important was the fact that the Mitchells made Marshall as comfortable as he could be made in a state that did not want him; they made him laugh during a time where almost nothing was funny. He sipped their whiskey, ate their food, and sang songs with them. For Marshall, man who often seemed on the verge of physical exhaustion and who had fainted three times over the past ten years from overwork and a lack of sleep, the Mitchells were more than just gracious hosts. Before the end of the Sweat case, Ma
rshall was calling Carolyn his “Mama.” Above is a picture of Lewis Mitchell.