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The 2004 crop of honorees added to the Fredericksburg Wall of Honor made lifelong contributions to the community.
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In 1949 Hattie Brown headed a team that raised hundreds of dollars for the new Mary Washington Hospital on Fall Hill Avenue. She collaborated with local businessman Benjamin Pitts to provide shoes to area needy families, free movie passes to those who did well in school and goodie bags at Christmas.
Hattie Brown also was a volunteer with the Fredericksburg Welfare Department, distributing food and clothing to those in need. She was active in the Tuberculosis Association and was president of the Walker-Grant Parent-Teacher Association.
She was a charter member of Venus Temple, Daughter Elks, and a member of the Celesta Chapter, Order of Eastern Star.
The audience heard how the daughter of Essex and Amanda Howard began her teaching career following graduation from Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute, now Virginia State University. Until her death she was an active member of her alma mater's alumnae association.
She taught at Brooke and Hill Town schools in Stafford County and later became the first black female teacher in the Fredericksburg public school system.
Her husband, Arthur Brown Jr., and their five children, three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter listened with pride. One grandchild was Carole Johnson Hamm, who nominated her beloved grandmother to the Wall of Honor and described her as a pioneer feminist.
They and the rest of the audience recalled her devotion to Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site), where she was deaconess, superintendent of Sunday school, president of the Missionary Society and founder of the Young Women's Club. She was a frequent delegate to several state church conventions and a secretary of the Rappahannock Sunday School Union, which included many area churches.
Hattie Howard Brown died on April 16, 1976, at the age of 83.
Her funeral at Shiloh (New Site) was another time to pay tribute to her remarkable life. She was buried in Beulah Baptist Church Cemetery.
Today her memory is kept alive by her large and loving family, who, with one exception, all reside in the Fredericksburg area. Hattie Brown's descendants include five living grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; 14 great-great-grandchildren, and four great-great-great grandchildren.