Editor’s note: The following bio was written by the family of Ms. Henrietta P. Brown
Mrs. Henrietta P. Brown was born July 29, 1904, in Blackstock, S.C., in Chester County. The fifth of 14 children, she still has a sister living in Baltimore, Mrs. Bertha Young, age 95. She attended public school in Chester. At an early age she joined New Zion Baptist Church, Fairfield County, S.C., which she still calls her home church and visits at least six times a year—the church’s oldest member.
She moved to Charlotte in 1925 at the age of 21, where she joined St. Paul Baptist Church and served in a variety of offices for 49 years. During this time she witnessed the Charlotte community change from a small rural town to the urban giant it is today. She recalls buying hot dogs for 10 cents, potatoes 3 cents a pound, oranges 29 cents a dozen and bananas five pounds for 50 cents. She vividly remembers “Good Samaritan Hospital (Good Sam)” where Bank of America Stadium now stands; thriving black communities called Brooklyn, Second Ward and Third Ward, where now stand numerous downtown hotels, office buildings and the John Belk/Brookshire Expressway. She also remembers the original Queen City Classic — an annual high school football rivalry between the Second Ward Tigers and West Charlotte Lions from 1947-1968 and how many well-established black businesses and communities disappeared to a new movement called Urban Renewal.
In 1974 she helped organize and establish the First Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church, where she served as a Pastor Aide and sang in the choir. A veteran of the gospel, she remains active and serves as the “Church Mother,” a Deaconess, a Missionary and a member of the Young at Heart Senior Group. One of her favorite sayings is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” She never drank alcoholic beverages or smoked. She says her body is the Temple of Christ and she has kept it pure and has done this for 105 years.
She met William E. Brown in the early 1930s. Shortly after thy married, they had one son, adopted two daughters and helped raise several nieces and nephews. She had a granddaughter who is a major in the Mecklenburg County Sheriff Department and a grandson who is the senior pastor of In His Presence Ministry, Lancaster, S.C. She has 10 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren. Mrs. Brown enjoyed 28 years of marriage before her husband departed to be with the Lord. Thirty-five years later her only son also departed to be with the Lord.
Mrs. Henrietta P. Brown worked as a domestic for many years, but first priority has always been church and family. She is well known for her cakes and pies made from scratch. An ambassador of good will, she is well respected and often sought for her advice and wisdom. Her motto is “Trusting and Believing in the Lord.”