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Dr. June H. Brewer

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Dr. June H. Brewer Sunrise Sept. 5, 1925 - Sunset May 28, 2010 Dr. June H. Brewer passed away peacefully at her home on Friday May 28, 2010. She was a lifetime achiever and continuously educated students throughout her entire life. Dr. Brewer was the first of five African American women to apply for admission to the University of Texas Graduate School in 1950 after the Supreme Court's ruling on Sweatt's admission. The Austin American Statesman's front page carried the lead "Negro Woman Seeks Admission to UT" since her application was the first to arrive. She was admitted during the summer of 1950. Having graduated with honors from Tillotson College in 1949, she received her Masters Degree in English from Howard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1963. Most of her summers were spent studying at various universities such as Cornell University, Indiana University, University of Minnesota, Harvard University, University of Iowa, University of Texas African Studies Seminars, Fulbright seminar in Mexico and a travel seminar to Yugoslavia and other Balkan countries. Before retiring from teaching, she worked as an English Professor at Huston-Tillotson College for 35 years where she was Chairperson of the English Department, the first Endowed Professor (Karl Downs Professor of Humanities) and Professor Emeritus on retirement. She also had visiting professorships at Cornell University, Wells College, Southern University and Morgan State College. She received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to conduct research on Black Women Writers which became her teaching specialty. While she was a graduate student at UT, she provided much leadership in establishing an undergraduate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on the University of Texas campus. She also served as Southwest Regional Director of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She later founded a nonprofit organization, Borders Learning Community, which promoted closing the racial achievement gap, especially raising standardized test scores. Her community activities included numerous AISD task forces such as Dropout Prevention. She had an unsuccessful run for AISD School Board although she was pleased to receive over 90 percent of East Austin votes. She was on the Black Alumni Advisory Council at UT and was recently honored as a UT Alumni Honoree. Other honors included Al Edwards Unsung Hero Award at the State Capitol, NOKOA Outstanding Educator, the Villager's Living Legend and the National Women of Achievement Connie Yerwood Award. Dr. Brewer was preceded in death by her parents Charleston P. Harden, Sr. and Minnie Bremond Harden, brother Charleston P. Harden, Jr. and sister-in-law Ella Harden. She is survived by her two sons Bert H. Brewer, Jr. and Charles R. Brewer (Cathy), granddaughters Amber Brewer and Arrianna Brewer, grandsons Ahmad Brewer and Charles R. Brewer II, brother Roland Harden (Wray), sister-in-law Willie Belle Harden and special nieces June and Joi Harden. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Friday June 4th at King-Tears Mortuary with a pre-ceremony lead by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at 7:00 p.m. Services will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday June 5th at St. James E.M. Franklin Chapel. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery, Austin.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on June 4, 2010
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