According to the 1914 Howard University yearbook, Founder Charles I. Brown is documented as Finished Howard Academy, 1910; Class Chaplain, 1913; Chaplain Classical Club, 1912-1913; President Classical Club, 1914; Vice-President Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, 1914; will do post-graduate work in Latin. In addition, Founder Brown was chosen “The Most To Be Admired” for the Class of 1914.
Founder Brown is said to have been born in Topeka, Kansas in 1890. Census records show that his father was Rev. John M. Brown and that his mother was Maggie M. Brown. However, records at Howard University from 1910 have Founder Brown living at 1813 Titan Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He was very cordial and very popular with the student body and Howard University administration. He is credited with choosing the nine charter members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Founder Brown founded the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, on April 9, 1917 and was a teacher at the Kansas Industrial School for Negroes in Topeka, Kansas.
Census records and oral interviews have showed us that Founder Brown was alive in the Topeka, Kansas area until 1931. In the spring of 1949, Founder Leonard F. Morse wrote “We live in daily hope that we shall one day learn the fate of our beloved Brother and Founder”.
In the 1914 Howard University yearbook, under the Personals and Applied Quotations section, Founder Brown left us with this, “No legacy is so rich as honesty”. Founder Brown graduated from Howard University on June 3, 1914. The last correspondence that the fraternity received from him was a letter to Founder Taylor in 1924, in which Founder Brown indicated that he was teaching in Kansas.
Although we may never find out the fate of our beloved Founder, always remember, “March on, March on, Ye mighty host” for Founder Charles I. Brown will remain in our hearts.
Founder Charles I. Brown