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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Brown Center

1249 28th Street ~ c. 1937

 
 
The Brown Center Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. The Brown Center Marker
Inscription.  
The Browns
In the 1940s, newlyweds Cornelius and Carrie Riggins Brown were graciously welcomed to East End by the Newsomes who lived two doors away. Mr. Brown was a well-known local postman. Mrs. brown, a Georgia native who had attended Hampton Institute, adopted Newport News as her home and quickly became active in the community.

As an educator in the city public school system for 41 years, Mrs. Brown knew that young people must have positive role models. In 1977, the Browns organized Newsome House, Inc. It was their fervent wish to pay tribute to the accomplishments of J. Thomas Newsome by creation of a complex called Newsome Square, incorporating historic Newsome house, an archives/education center and an interpretive center within a park setting.

In pursuit of this, Mrs. Brown served as foundation president from 1978-1997, purchased the Newsome residence from the last heir and lobbied the City of Newport News to preserved it. In March 1977 Mrs. Brown died. Her Last Will & Testament made provision for the continuation of her vision by bestowing her entire estate to the administration of the foundation's

The Brown Center image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. The Brown Center
board of directors. Her home was left to be used as an education center. On June 12, 2002, the Cornelius & Carrie R. Educational Center was dedicated, making this part of their dream a reality.

Minimal Traditional Architecture 1925-1950
Typical of pre and post WW II vernacular, modest houses with little ornamentation replaced the Craftsman style bungalows of the previous era, which were considered old-fashioned. These Plain Jane one-story residences are sometimes referred to as Minimalist or Modern American if any descriptor is used. Such homes were basically four walls with some windows, a gable roof and small covered porch. Common sheathing included asbestos shingles, wood or aluminum siding and brick. Streamlined houses were often desirable for small working class families as a cost effective way of living. Although cosy in scale, they were usually built of quality materials. Their rectangular footprint was well suited to the elderly because all living areas were on a single level.

The browns enhanced the appearance of their simple dwelling by placing striped awnings over the front windows and porch. At the rear of the lot, Mr. Brown had a detached cinderblock single car garage, a shed, vegetable-flower garden and concrete platform where he taught crafts to neighborhood youth.

The house was refurbished by the Peninsula Leadership Institute

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in 2001 at which time the handicapped ramp was added and outbuildings taken down.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansArchitectureCommunicationsEducation. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities 🎓 series list.
 
Location. 36° 59.405′ N, 76° 24.337′ W. Marker is in South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is on 28th Street (Virginia Route 143) just west of Oak Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1249 28th St, Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Winfield-Jones House (a few steps from this marker); Newsome House (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Newsome House (within shouting distance of this marker); Pearl Bailey (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Annie Belle Daniels (about 700 feet away); Greenlawn Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Confederate Dead (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Newport News.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 25 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 7, 2021