Canton residents would be hard-pressed to find a student that was not taught social studies, economics, or government by Brown.
Brown was recently recognized and praised for her many years of service by the Canton Board of Aldermen with two plaques.
“Forty-seven years is a long time, but I enjoy doing what I was doing. People ask me why I stayed so long, but basically because I enjoyed it. I want to think I made a difference in the lives of African American students and students in general. I wanted to help them with the real world,” said Brown.
A resident of Canton and a graduate of the Canton Public School District, Brown was inspired by one of her own teachers to become an educator.
“In the eleventh grade, Mr. Porter told me ‘Brown, you seem good at remembering dates. You should become a social studies teacher,’ so that’s what I did. I graduated at eighteen and started teaching at twenty-one, and I’ve been on the road ever since,” she said.
Beginning her teaching career in August of 1974, fresh from college, Brown returned to her hometown to educate in the very halls she graduated from.
“I tried to make a difference in the lives of the students and help them become young men and young ladies, because I wanted them to productive members of society. You never know what type of ball life will throw, but you need to be prepared; because, if you’re not prepared, you’re going to have some rain in your life, and we all want to be productive citizens,” she said.
Brown stressed that she enjoyed teaching for so long, especially in her hometown.
“I knew everybody. If I didn’t know you, I knew of you and knew your parents. Because of this, I wanted them to be a part of the community and community activities,” said Brown.
With a love for her community and educating her students, Brown created a voter drive in which she ensured all of her students of legal age were registered to vote.
“Mr. Cleveland Anderson said we needed to start taking them to the polls, so we did. We took them that first time, and then the next year, they’d be able to take themselves in as an adult,” she said.
Aldermen Tim Taylor said, “If it were not for people like Mrs. Brown in my life, I would not be in this seat. When I was fourteen years old, this young lady came into my life. Many people that choose to teach can choose other occupations. They don’t have to worry with other parents’ kids, but she chose to do that with her life.”
Taylor added, “A lot of time we go on in life, and we don’t thank those who make things possible. You made it possible for a lot of people in forty-seven years. As we continue to talk about her accolades today, Emily Dickson wrote ‘you never know how tall you are until you are asked to stand’ - and, for forty-seven years, you stood. We say thank you, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Mayor William Truly said, “On behalf of the mayor and the City of Canton and all of its alderman, having been in the world of education for forty-seven years is a long time. Right after Nixon resigned. All of the presidents, including Ford and Reagan, that you passed through. You’ve seen a lot. You’ve learned a lot, and you had a lot to teach. You are a daily treasure of data and information.”
Brown was met with a standing ovation by the board and those in attendance of the meeting. Those watching virtually also gave their thanks and appreciation to Brown for dedicating so many decades to the education of the community.