Cora Mae Brown was a notable social worker and politician who made history as the first Black woman elected to the Michigan State Senate. The Fisk University graduate went on to become general counsel with the U.S. Post Office after her political career ended.

Brown was born April 19, 1914 in Alabama but was raised primarily in Detroit, Michigan. She attended Fisk in Nashville, Tennessee, the oldest HBCU in the state, and studied under famed Black sociologist and educator, E. Franklin Frazier.

After obtaining one of the few white-collar jobs for women as a social worker for the Detroit Police Department’s Women’s Division, Brown decided to earn a law degree. In 1948, Brown graduated from Wayne State University’s law school, then turned her eye towards public office.

In 1952, Brown was elected to the state Senate after failing two previous times before. She served two terms until 1956 and attempted a run at an office in the United States Congress as a representative for the state that fell short. Shortly after, she was appointed as special associate general counsel to the Post Office, remaining with the agency until her retirement.

Brown passed in 1972.

PHOTO: Public Domain

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