Giving Back

Anna Easter Brown Historic Marker Unveiled at West Orange Library

Pictured from left are: Susan Anderson, Megan Brill, Mayor Robert Parisi and Anna Easter Brown Marker Initiative Chairman Tammy Williams at the Anna Easter Marker Ceremony. Credits: provided by Susan Anderson
Anna Easter Marker Ceremony held Friday. Credits: provided by Susan McCartney
The design of the marker has a QR code, which will lead people to a lot more information than is on the marker itself, according to Megan Brill, executive director of the DOA. Credits: West Orange Public Library Facebook page
Anna Easter Marker Ceremony held Friday. Credits: Susan Anderson
Joe Fagan speaks at Anna Easter Marker Ceremony. Credits: Susan Anderson
Mayor Parisi speaks at Anna Easter Marker Ceremony. Credits: Susan Anderson
Members of the crowd at the Anna Easter Marker Ceremony. Credits: Susan Anderson

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The first of a planned series of historic markers highlighting West Orange history was unveiled Feb. 5 at the West Orange Public Library. The marker highlights the accomplishments of Anna Easter Brown, an African-American woman born and raised in West Orange, who graduated from West Orange High School in 1897.

Brown went on to attend Howard University, a traditionally all black college, and in 1908, she and eight other women formed the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA). Brown served as the first treasurer of the sorority, and was internationally recognized for her efforts in promoting education.

At the ceremony, on Friday, West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi noted that Brown attained these accomplishments when, “few women, and even fewer African-American women, went to college.”

Sign Up for E-News

Statistics show only one-third of one percent of African Americans and five percent of whites of eligible age during Brown’s era attended any college, according to “Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935,” by James D. Anderson.

Parisi said he was especially glad to have Alpha Kappa Alpha and the town erect this marker, as he personally did not know her story until this initiative was launched and he became aware of her accomplishments. He later read from a town proclamation that declared, “from this day and ever more, February 5th will be known as Anna Easter Brown Day.” In addition, both houses of the New Jersey Legislature also passed a resolution honoring Brown.

With Parisi, members of the town government, a large contingent of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and members of Brown’s family looking on, speakers included the Anna Easter Brown Marker Initiative Chairman Tammy Williams, who welcomed the over 200 people that filled the library for the ceremony.

Several town officials joined her with remarks including West Orange Library Director Dave Cubie, who joked it was “so wonderful to find out she (Brown) was a librarian.” Brown was the chief evening librarian at Howard University while she studied.

Downtown West Orange Alliance Executive Director Megan Brill said the marker initiative introduced her and the Alliance to many new people and groups, and that she was grateful to the AKA for bringing this partnership to her.

She said, “The design of the marker has a QR code, which will lead people to a lot more information than is on the marker itself, so pictures, background and other information is available to everyone.”

Markers proposed by Town Historian Joe Fagan will follow the same layout as Brown’s. The goal for the project is to have a total of 10 markers erected this year.

Fagan also had a surprise for the leadership of Alpha Kappa Alpha—he brought along a register from 1879, the year Brown was born. Although he said the document had no direct connection to Brown, he invited the leadership of the regional and international chapters of AKA to touch it and “put your fingerprints on it” to connect the day’s event to something from the year of Brown's birth.

Members of the AKA sorority traveled from all over the United States for this marker unveiling in Brown’s hometown. Among them were International President of the AKA Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson, and the North Atlantic Regional Director Meredith Henderson, along with sorority members who have been with the group for more than 50 years.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority has 283,000 members and 993 chapters. Its stated goals are to address community needs with programs in five target areas: educational enrichment, health promotion, family strengthening, environmental ownership and global impact, according to the sorority site.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Turtle Back Zoo-vies to Show "The Secret Life of Pets" Wednesday, July 26

July 25, 2017

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Turtle Back Zoo's annual "Zoo-vies" continue this Wednesday, July 26, with "The Secret Life of Pets."

On Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, Turtle Back will have Family Nights with extended evening hours until 8:30 p.m., with the last admission to the Zoo at 8 p.m. 

On Wednesday evenings during ...

Fire and Blood Make Appearance on Game of Thrones

The first blood was drawn in the war for the Seven Kingdoms on HBO's "Game of Thrones" on Sunday, but not at the hands of Daenerys Targaryen.

Goodbye Flayed Man, hello Kraken. Between the Joker-esque cackle and the Ramsay-esque war tactics, Euron Greyjoy showed us that he truly is as ruthless as he promised. His warship is a monster compared to Yara’s, he collected ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, August 10, 8:00 PM

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center, West Orange

FREE Movie Night: Monster Trucks

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, August 12, 12:00 PM

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center, West Orange

3rd Annual Househead Summerfest

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, August 13, 2:00 PM

Oskar Schindler Performing Arts Center, West Orange

Gospel Summerfest

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Bipartisan or Bystander?

July 18, 2017

Bipartisan or Bystander?

Bipartisanship means active, often contentious, yet respectful  cooperation, (and ultimate compromise), between two political parties for the ultimate betterment of their constituents. It is creating productive discussion to achieve a synthesis of ideas. Thus, the welfare of the people always comes before party loyalty. 

It's also about speaking up.

Don't Miss Bar Night for Brendan Tevlin at Thatcher McGhee's Fairfield

July 26, 2017

FAIRFIELD, NJ — The fourth annual Brendan Tevlin Lacrosse Festival will receive 20 percent of the sales from the “Bar Night for Brendan” at Thatcher McGhee’s Irish Pub and Eatery in Fairfield on Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m.

Share the attached flyer with friends, family and neighbors and show it to your server to help the Brendan Tevlin Lacrosse Festival raise ...

Rutgers University Named Best Four-Year College in New Jersey

July 24, 2017

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers University-New Brunswick has been ranked the No. 1 college in New Jersey by a national online education service.

The rankings released Monday by schools.com are based on an analysis of 13 different criteria.

Thirty-three four-year schools in New Jersey were each scored on a 100-point scale using the most recent data available from government sources and ...

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Recently my dad showed me a plaque he had been awarded from his alma mater.  He graduated from a well-respected University in the Midwest after WWII.  It was where he met my mom.  

 

He is 90 now.

 

The honorific award was for his participation in the University’s “Hall of Fame” football team of 1948, on which, as I had been informed many ...

'Skeleton Crew' hits home

UNION, NJ – Premiere Stages, in its quest for new, richly layered plays, is now presenting “Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morrisseau.

The playwright had her play “Follow Me to Nellie’s” work shopped at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut several years ago. That was followed by s fine production at the Kean University ...