Sep. 20, 2019

The Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project Remembers Founder Charles Brown

I didn't get to know Founder Charles Brown as I would've liked but I honor his memory nonetheless for his vision to assist me paving a pathway for my organization's founding, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. We both grew up as young black boys in Baltimore City, so the Baltimore City Founder Brown knew growing up was similar in many regards to the Baltimore City that I remember growing in. We both grew up in Baltimore City, a segregated city with distinct racial lines of separation and distinct ethnic communities. I also find pride in knowing that I walked the same campus grounds, visited similar haunts as Founder Charles Brown. You see Founder Brown and I are separated at most by only a decade at most in age so the Morgan State College Brown knew in the 1960s'is almost as similar as the Morgan State University I remembered in the 1970s'. You when you went to an HBCU during this time period, not much construction was occurring because all the state and federal dollars were flowing to the primarily white state institutions of higher learning. That is why I feel a close kinship to the 12 founders of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. because in many cases we shared similar obstacles to overcome the barriers of blackness.

I could've been a Founder of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity and that is what makes my membership in this honorable fraternal organization so special. Each and every black man who faced the obstacles of and barriers that institutional racism has placed before them even before their birth could've been a founding member of our fraternity. That's what made and makes Iota Phi Theta Fraternity so unique. We, the brothers of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity weren't privileged to any degree. Our privilege had to be earned by hard work and perseverance. It is so amazing that 56 years after meeting those 11 black men on the steps of Hurt Gymnasium, Charles Brown was called home. It couldn't have been a better ending to his life's story. The thing that is so special is that Founder Brown's spirit and his memories will be forever etched into the history books of our guiled gold and brown books. Much respect and love go out for a restful eternal circle of peace and brotherhood to our Founder Charles Brown.