Lunch program highlights Nebraska pioneer

by Jo Giles, UNMC public relations | March 01, 2013

picture disc.
Mildred Brown with Hubert Humphrey.
A savvy businesswoman, Mildred Brown, was at the forefront of race relations in Omaha.

Brown co-founded the Omaha Star newspaper and holds the U.S. record for the longest running black newspaper founded by a black woman.

Amy Helene Forss, Ph.D., history subject coordinator at Metropolitan Community College, shared highlights of Brown's life at UNMC's annual Black History Month event - part of the Diversity Lectures and Cultural Arts Series.

According to Dr. Forss, Brown joined with Father John Markoe, a Creighton priest, who along with a group of white and black students sparked community activism. After being kicked off Creighton's campus, The DePorres Club met in the back room of the Omaha Star newspaper building and planned a "don't buy where you can't work" desegregation plan.

It included:

  • The Greyhound Bus Station
  • Reed's Ice Cream Shop
  • The Coca-Cola Bottling Co.
  • Omaha & Council Bluffs Co. (a three-year bus boycott of OC&B)

picture disc.
Mildred Brown's business card.
Brown used the newspaper to encourage other student civil liberties groups in their efforts to desegregate Peony Park. Her mission included printing positive stories to uplift the community.

In addition to the community impact, Dr. Forss said the Omaha Star had a large impact on the lives of the young newspaper boys and girls in north Omaha. Several residents shared stories that "the little money I made from the paper put groceries on the table for my family."

Dr. Forss' book on Mildred Brown, Black Print with a White Carnation, will be published in the fall of 2013.

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