2020 Charlie Brown Initiative Essay Contest underway

In Brazoria County, Manvel, Pearland by Reporter NewsLeave a Comment

By Karolyn Gephart

The Manvel Library is offering area youth information about the 2020 Charlie Brown Youth Essay Competition underway now through October 25, 2020.

The competition is open to all Brazoria County students in grades 6-9.

The event offers an Outstanding Historical Research Award.

In the Junior Division Papers category, first place is $60, second place $40, and third place $25.

In the Senior Division Papers category, first place is $120, second place is $75 and third place $50.

There is no entry fee for student submissions.

Brown, an ex-slave, became the largest landowner in Brazoria County. He had a State Historical Marker placed in his honor in West Columbia in 2015.  Located at the corner of Brown Street and W. Brazos Ave., his Texas marker honors the early West Columbia resident who was once the wealthiest African American in the State of Texas.

Marker text is as follows:
Charlie Brown, born a slave in the late 1820s, came to the Brazoria County area from Virginia before the Civil War. Despite being illiterate and using an “X” for his mark beside his name on legal transactions, Brown acquired a vast amount of land. According to the Brazoria County tax records, between 1889 and 1910, he owned approximately 3,000 acres, including much of the land in West Columbia. He donated some parcels for area churches and schools. In 1896, Brown deeded land in School District Sixteen (Colored) within the city limits of West Columbia. This school at West Bernard and Brown Street, was the first in the community to serve African American students and was later named Charlie Brown School in his honor. Brown married Isabella, a former slave from the Dance Plantation. When he died at his home in 1920, he owned several businesses, including grist, sugar and saw mills and the county’s first cotton gin. A Houston Post article identified him as a millionaire and the wealthiest African American in the state. Brown was the single largest landowner and taxpayer in Brazoria County and was appreciated by a diverse citizenship of West Columbia. He was buried in the Brown Family Cemetery at Danciger. The City of West Columbia formally honored Brown at least twice. At a special session of the City Council on February 28, 1955, Brown Street was named for him. The city also proclaimed August 30, 2014, to be observed as Charlie Brown Day. On February 24, 2015, the State of Texas recognized Brown when the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution 58 for this man whose “life and legacy are indeed worthy of tribute.” His impact on his neighbors and his community continues to be felt today. Marker Property of the State of Texas (2015)

For official guidelines for the essay contest, interested students should email [email protected].

The Charlie Brown Initiative recognized its 2019 essay winners at a presentation in November 2019 at the Brazoria Heritage Foundation Conference Room in Brazoria.

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