Oral history interview with Mildred Brown, 1971


Brown, Mildred Dee, 1905-1989 (Interviewee)
La Brie, Henry G (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Mildred Brown, 1971
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Mildred Brown : oral history, 1971; Oral history of Mildred Brown, 1971
In this 1971 interview with Henry G. La Brie III, Brown discusses her experiences in Des Moines and Sioux City Iowa, as well as the purpose of black newspapers such as the Omaha Star. Brown briefly describes her upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama and her degree in teachers training and English from Miles College. After graduating from Miles in 1932, Brown left with her husband, pharmacist S. Edward Gilbert, for Chicago, Illinois and Des Moines, Iowa. Brown recalls the difficulty of obtaining a storefront for a black-run pharmacy and speaks on the distinctions between Northern and Southern racism. Also discussed is her education at Drake University, which was supported by Harvey Ingram. Regarding her time in Sioux City, Brown describes her relationship with Robert E. O'Brian, then President of Morningside College, and her work with Reverend D.H. Harris of Malone A.M.E. Church, with whom she provided child care and opened a community center. Brown explains how Reverend Harris motivated her to start a black newspaper and his ideas as a black leader. She goes on recalling the events leading to the first Omaha Star 1938. Also discussed is Reverend John Markoe, the DePorres Club, the her role as a black employer, and the discrimination she faced throughout her career. In the last portion of the interview, Brown discusses the need of the black press, how she measures success, the circulation of the Omaha Star, and the role of white readership.
Collection Name
Black Journalists oral history collection
Journalists; African American press; African American journalists; African American women journalists; Newspaper publishing--Economic aspects--United States; African Americans--Civil rights; Advertising--Newspapers; Omaha (Neb.); United States Race relations; Brown, Mildred Dee, 1905-1989; Omaha star
oral histories
Physical Description
sound files : digital preservation master, WAV files (96kHz, 24 bit); 48 pages
Note (Biographical)
Mildred D. Brown (1905-1989) was the founder and publisher of the Omaha Star. Born in Birmingham, Alabama to a teacher and a minister, Brown graduated from Miles College in 1932. After marrying S. Edward Gilbert, a pharmacist from Howard University, B rown traveled to Chicago, Illinois and Des Moines and Sioux City Iowa, where she attended classes at Drake University and Morningside College. After moving to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1937, Brown and her husband founded the Omaha Star, the only running black newspaper in Nebraska. Brown became a community leader in Northern Omaha, creating employment opportunities and a meeting place the DePorres Club, an early civil rights organization composed of Reverend John Markoe and Creighton University and high school students. Upon Brown's death in 1989, her niece Marguerita Washington ran the Omaha Star. Brown is in the Omaha Business Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Journalists Hall of Fame.
Interviewed by Henry G. La Brie III on August 27, 1971.
Note (Provenance)
Henry G. La Brie III Gift, 1975
Library Location
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Time-Based Media
Time-Based Media
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.