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Charlotte Hawkins Brown: One Woman's Dream

Diane Silcox-Jarrett

Bandit Books
$32.50 hardcover
6 x 9  
253 pages

Eighteen-year-old Charlotte Hawkins arrived in North Carolina in 1901 to teach in a rural black school. When ordered to close the school and move on, she responded by opening Palmer Memorial Institute. Despite a lack of materials, facilities, and funding, the school thrived for seventy years, educating and motivating young people. Charlotte Hawkins Brown believed every person is special, and she spread this belief while overcoming prejudice and mistrust. This creative biography captures her inspiring story.


“My students (I teach African-American studies) found this book very inspiring. This is essentially the story of Ms. Hawkins-Brown and her efforts to bring a school to the impoverished blacks of North Carolina, and how she succeeded in the darkest days of Jim Crow and lynching. It is an interesting added tidbit to consider that she is an ancestor of the singer Natalie Cole.

This story is similar to those of Booker T. Washington, Mary Mcleod Bethune, Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins, Mary F. Wright, and many other founders of Black southern schools at the time. It is a shame that stories of this kind have not been passed down to inspire the youth as they were prior to the 1960s. Books like this may hopefully rekindle these traditions at a time when such role models are so strongly needed.” —Amazon.com reviewer