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Dr. Rose Butler Browne Fund for Education

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Dr. Rose Butler Browne Fund for Education


In 1987, in response to a recommendation brought before the church by Dr. H. Lincoln Oliver, Pastor, the Dr. Rose Butler Browne Scholarship Fund was established at Olney Street Baptist Church to help our graduating seniors to achieve their goals of higher education. As young people of the Olney Street pursued their desire in furthering their education, the fund has been utilized in supporting financial aid. The Fund, named in honor of Dr. Rose Butler Browne, is a lasting tribute to this woman of vision with passion for education.


Dr. Rose Butler Browne ~ 1897—1986


While a champion of educational progress for African American women and children, Dr. Rose Butler Browne was known as one of the most influential educators of our time. Dr. Browne received her early education in Boston and later moved to Newport, RI.  She received her Bachelor’s degree and her Masters of Science degree from Rhode Island College. In September 1921 Dr. Browne joined the teaching faculty of Virginia State College, Petersburg, VA. In the summer of 1930, just after her appointment as head of the Department of Education at Virginia State College, she entered Harvard University. She became the first African American woman to receive the Doctorate of Education degree from Harvard University in June 1937.


Dr. Browne held positions at West Virginia State College, and Bluefield State College before joining the faculty at North Carolina College where she was appointed chairman of the Department of Education. It was during this period that the three-story education building, Taylor Hall was completed. Under her leadership, the Department of Education achieved national recognition. She directed an Institute for Training Special Education Teachers.

Her influence and involvement extended beyond the campus. During the sit-ins and demonstrations in the 1960’s, she provided transportation for students and personally drove them to various demonstration sites. In addition, she encouraged members of her department to join her in providing food and transportation for the participants that were under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Her community volunteer efforts include the YWCA, president of Girl Scouts and membership in the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women and other civic organizations. She was a lifetime member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and mentored hundreds of black women under the “service to all mankind” motto.


A highlight of her career was the building of the E.T. Browne Education Building, still located at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Durham, NC, where her husband, the Reverend E.T. Browne was pastor.


In 1968, the Dr. Rose Butler Brown Residence Hall was established at the Rhode Island College campus in Providence to honor her as a distinguished graduate. In 1969, she co-authored with James W. English her well-acclaimed autobiography, “Love My Children – The Education of a Teacher”.


For more than fifty years, Dr. Browne was a role model, mentor, professor, colleague and national leader. Upon her retirement, she returned to Providence, RI where she continued to work with young people. She was head of the Board of Christian Education here at Olney Street Baptist Church for many years. She also traveled throughout the United States and other countries, including Africa, as a speaker and lecturer.