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Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Immerse yourself in history at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

By meerna Jun25,2024
Immerse yourself in history at the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum

GIBSONVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — If you like tours with a history element, the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum tells the story of a descendant of enslaved people who built her own school and led it for 50 years.

In its current historic state, the Palmer Memorial Institute operated in Gibsonville from 1902 to 1971. It was founded by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown.


Dr. Brown was born in Henderson, North Carolina in 1883, but was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“She was inspired to return south to her home state of North Carolina and give back to her community in a way that was poured into her,” said Liz Torres Melendez, assistant construction manager of the Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum.

“She came here to teach. The school where she taught was going to be closed, but closing the school would mean the end of access to education for all black students here in eastern Guilford County, in this rural area, and she couldn’t accept that.”

These circumstances inspired Dr. Brown to strategically raise funds and found the Palmer Memorial Institute – named after her mentor Alice Freeman Palmer.

Guided tours are available that allow visitors to experience student life and learn about Dr. Brown’s various contributions as an educator, civil rights activist and renowned speaker.

Dr. Brown’s home, which is also on the site, explains her connection to musician Nate King Cole.

Other famous visitors to the Palmer campus included First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes.

Dr. Brown showed the world that it is possible to make some opportunities available to black students.

Now we hope that people will be encouraged by the history of Black education in North Carolina.

“We hope that visitors will come here to learn about this system and be proud of it, and leave inspired and leave with good feelings about our history, our state and our future,” Melendez said.

The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can find more information about it website.

Staff will welcome Palmer graduates back to campus for reunion in August.

By meerna

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