African American Studies
Interviewees: Jacqueline Everette Brown
Interviewers: Mark Naison
Date: August 2020
Summarized by Trystan Edwards
Jacqueline Everette Brown was born in the Bedstuy community of Brooklyn, New York. She fondly recollects her childhood as one of three girls in her family. Her mother and father migrated to New York from Georgia during the great migration in the late thirties. Brown and her family moved back to Georgia in the early 1950’s. It is during this time that she faced more overt racism, evidenced by her having to ride in the back of the bus. Nevertheless, Brown and her family quickly adjusted. She would go on to have a wonderful high experience, graduating as valedictorian of her class. Following in her sister’s footsteps, Brown decided to attend Talladega College in 1959 – a historically black college located in Talladega, Alabama.
She joined Alpha Kappa Alpha as a sophomore at Talladega College. She was attracted to the organization because of the immense sisterhood and camaraderie she felt from the members. As a young aspiring professional, the organization's mission to give back to the surrounding community and foster social change deeply resonated with her. Brown discusses the transformative experience she had as an AKA, and credits the sorority’s strong emphasis on community service to her future career in social work. She also discusses the grassroots activism of Talladegian students, including organizing a nonviolent march downtown to protest the beating of a Talladegian professor in Anniston, Alabama. Her college experience was deeply intertwined with the national directive towards nonviolence, as part of the Civil Rights movement. After graduating from Talladega College in 1963 with a degree in psychology, she moved to New York to work for the Department of Welfare. While working for the DOW, Brown met other AKA members and Talladegians. One member, Oliver Garret, approached Brown with dreams of starting an AKA chapter in the Bronx. Brown and 11 AKAs from around the country then founded Eta Omega Omega – the first AKA chapter in Bronx, New York (commonly referred to as BronxAKA’s).
As one of the founding members of Eta Omega Omega, Brown played an integral part in the chartering process, including fundraising and recruitment. As time passed, Brown became less active in the chapter due to familial commitments. In 1969, Brown graduated from Hunter College with a degree in social work. Although Brown adored her time in New York City, especially because most of her family lived there, she was ready for something new – and the South was calling her name. In 1974, she accepted a position as the Clinical Director of a drug treatment program in Atlanta, Georgia, where she lived for the rest of her professional career. She later retired as an executive of a non-profit agency in Atlanta, Georgia. She also taught at Georgia State University part-time. It was not until recently that she reconnected with the current leaders of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Eta Omega Omega chapter via Facebook. At the time of this interview, Brown was 75 years old.
Naison, Mark, "Everette Brown, Jacqueline" (2020). Oral Histories. 346.