About Mildred D. Brown
The Study Center is named in honor of Mildred D. Brown, founder of the Omaha Star Newspaper in 1938. The Omaha Star is Nebraska’s only Black owned newspaper.
Mildred Brown was born in Bessemer, Alabama, in 1915 to Rev. and Mrs. Bennie J. Brown, a prominent African-American family. Her mother was a teacher. They encouraged her education. In 1931 Mildred graduated from Miles College, an historically black college founded in Birmingham, Alabama by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
Mildred worked as a teacher in Birmingham, where she met and married S. Edward Gilbert, a pharmacy graduate of Howard University. They moved to Chicago, where Mildred studied at Chicago Normal College, and then to Des Moines, Iowa, where she took journalism at Drake University.
The Omaha Star “Dedicated to the service of the people that no good cause shall lack a champion and that evil shall not go unopposed”
In an introduction to the newspaper, Mildred Wrote:
To the Citizens of Omaha, it is with profound pleasure that the Omaha Star Publishing Cop., and organization of energetic, well trained journalistic minds, give to you this day a paper of the people, but the people and for the people. We here and now wish to have you know that the Omaha Star dedicates its existence to the task of serving the general public in every way humanly possible. It shall be our policy to move in an unerring path of duty in the behalf of Black America in Omaha, bringing to you the local news of the city as we find it, as well as the national highlights. Promoting and backing for the welfare of the citizens of Omaha and Black America in general.
Mildred D. Brown Accomplishments
As a journalist and publisher, Mildred’s circle of friends was wide taking her on many travels for business, conventions, social events, and meetings with other publishers of black and white papers.In the 1960′s, President Johnson commended Brown for her balanced coverage of civil rights efforts and riots, and appointed her as a goodwill ambassador to travel to East Germany.
A testimony to her accomplishments is easy to see in Omaha today. Mildred Brown was the first African American and one of only three women to be inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame.
- Brown was the first African American and one of only three women inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame.
- The National Newspaper Publishers Association, with 200 member owners of black newspapers, one year recognized the Omaha Star as having the “Best Church Page”.
- In 2007 the Omaha Star Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places because of the newspaper’s significance in the history of Omaha, journalism, and the civil rights movement.
- In 2007 Mildred Brown was posthumously inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame.
- May 2008 – Mildred Brown was posthumously inducted into the first class of the Omaha Press Club Journalists of Excellence Hall of Fame.
- The Mildred Brown Memorial Strolling Park was dedicated in her honor in May 2008 next to the Omaha Star building.
- Her niece Dr. Marguerita Washington, now the owner and publisher of the weekly paper, has founded the non-profit Mildred D. Brown Study Center to provide scholarships for journalism students and encourage students to explore communication fields.