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Former ODU Professor Honored Posthumously for Social Activism

Martha Hursey Brown, former Old Dominion University associate professor of history, was inducted posthumously to the Cumberland County Black Hall of Fame on May 24 for her social activism in civil rights causes throughout her life.

Sponsored by Tri-County Community Action Agency, the 22nd annual ceremony in Bridgeton, N.J., honors county residents for significant contributions to the community. Brown, a writer and teacher, was active in civil rights causes in her hometown of Bridgeton throughout her life, according to an article in The Daily Journal.

Brown came to ODU in 1989, where she taught classes in American history with special emphasis on black women's experiences, until her untimely death of pancreatic cancer in 1997.

In 1991, she received a national Endowment for the Humanities grant to conduct a five-week summer seminar, titled "African-American Women's Autobiography," which provided a historical overview of five black women and their experiences through their autobiographies. The authors selected included Linda Brent, Charlotte L. Forten, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells and Zora Neale Hurston.

"We can offer a wider interpretation of American history, black history and women's history by including these women, who are very often invisible," Brown said in a 1991 interview for The Virginian-Pilot.

Click here to read a biography of Brown's life from The Daily Journal.

This article was posted on: May 27, 2009

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