Hidden History: Brenda Brown’s Story

Local News

ENDWELL, NY – As Greater Binghamton prepares to celebrate Black History month, one Endwell woman will again be leading the charge.

Brenda Brown has been staging exhibits, organizing events and teaching about the journey of African-Americans for over a decade.

“I’m Brenda Brown. I’m a licensed clinical social worker, retired. And I’m a lover of Black History.

I was introduced to Black History in 1965.

I moved to Oakland, California where I attended college and I met some of the best university professors.

And I learned that I am somebody.

So, Black History is the road that I took. And, I’ve been on that road since that time up until now.

I have never been a popular person. ‘Oh, I want to be with Brenda, I want to be with Brenda!’ No. That’s because I’m a radical person. If I see something, I’m going to ask questions. If I see something, I want some solutions.

I moved to Binghamton with my partner Julius Brown. He was employed for IBM.

I had never experienced living with so few people of color.

Trinity AME Zion Church was the center point for blacks in this community.

Once I went to Trinity, I was able to find all the aunties I ever wanted, all the grandmothers I ever wanted for my children.

We celebrate Christmas, but we started celebrating Kwanzaa in the late 60’s because of the principles.

Unity, self-determination, creativity, purpose, faith, cooperative economics. Those are principles that if you teach your children, they have something to look forward to.

Here in Broome County, I started doing Black History at the local churches, school districts that I worked for, community outings, in my home. I will not let Black History die.

We know what it’s like to be denied opportunities based on your skin color. We know what denied opportunities are when it comes to housing, when it comes to voting rights. We know this.

I do this because I want to see young kids at the Black History celebration, I want our elders there to share with those younger kids, and I want our men there.

I so look forward for that young person to knock on my door or call me to say, ‘Oh, Miss Brown, I would like to do it.’ And I would love to mentor them, to help them. Because you’re going to need someone to take it on. At 72, how much longer can I do this?”

Brown’s annual Black History exhibition and celebration will take place on Saturday February 8th at the Jeffrey P Kraham Broome County Public Library on Court Street in Binghamton.

It begins with a Youth Summit from 1 to 2 PM sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta Appalachin Alumnae chapter.

The main program runs from two until 4:30 and features Reverend Kellie Wofford, Pastor of Trinity AME Zion Church in Binghamton and Doctor Kimberly Peabody, Director of Health Promotion and Prevention Services at Binghamton University.

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