Jacinthia Perry Brown

Biographical Database of Black Women Suffragists

Biography of Jacinthia Perry Brown, 1891-1967

By Emma Hayes, Undergraduate, University of Rhode Island

Jacinthia (also spelled Jaycintha or Jacynthia) Perry Brown was an active member of the Rhode Island Union of Colored Women's Clubs. She served as General Secretary and later Assistant Secretary of the organization. She worked closely with the Union's President Mary E. Jackson to plan suffrage fundraising and social activism events in Providence. Many of Jacinthia's volunteer suffrage activities also centered around Black Baptist churches in Rhode Island.

Jacinthia (nicknamed Jay) P. Brown was born in Virginia in 1891. She most likely moved to Rhode Island as a child. In 1900, "Jay" was enrolled in elementary school and living with her parents, Henry, a cook, and Rebecca Perry, a laundress, and siblings Charles and James, on Prospect Street in Providence. According to the 1910 Federal Census, nineteen-year-old Jacinthia was a dressmaker working out of her parents' home at 132 Prospect St, which was just one block away from the Congdon St. Baptist Church. She married Edward H. Brown on June 11, 1913, in Providence. According to the New York Age, friends attended a reception for the couple at Rebecca Perry's home on Jenckes Street.

Born in the British West Indies in 1887, Edward labored as a dye maker in Providence. Jacinthia and Edward had five children: Carolyn, Eno (Eric), Rebecca, Kenneth (died in infancy), and Edith. The Brown family lived on Meeting Street and then later Pratt Street in Providence with Jacinthia Brown's widowed mother, Rebecca. Rebecca Perry died in 1933 and had a funeral at the Olney Street Baptist Church in Providence. Jacinthia's husband, Edward Brown, died in 1952, in New York City, where they had moved most likely in the 1940s.

In 1913, The Providence Journal reported that the Colored Women's Club held its annual meeting on October 13 at the Pond Street Baptist Church. Brown was the General Secretary of the club in 1913. At the conference, Club President Mary E. Jackson appointed Jacinthia Brown to work with the Northeastern Federation of Colored Women's Clubs (NFCWS) in their upcoming 1914 Good Friday plan to have all affiliated colored women's clubs observe a national season of prayer for the needs of the colored people.

The 11th Annual Conference keynote reports (October 1913) focused on "A determination to live up to the motto [ from the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs/NACWC] of 'Lifting as We Climb'". This meant "keeping up with the literary work of colored authors," stated Race-Library Committee coordinator Roberta J. Dunbar at the meeting. Women's suffrage was also a key debate at the conference. According to the Providence Journal, [White] suffragist Sara Algeo (Mrs. James W. Algeo) spoke at the meeting on "Votes for Women." Algeo notes in her memoir that after her presentation, Club members, led by Bertha Higgins, favorably discussed "Why the Rhode Island Union Should Endorse the Suffrage Movement".

In October 1916, the 13th Annual Conference of R.I. Union of Colored Women's Clubs was held at the Congdon St. Baptist Church in Providence. The theme of Black women's suffrage was discussed again at this meeting in which Jacinthia was re-elected General Secretary and

Bertha G. Higgins was elected as an organizer. Jacinthia Brown became the second signatory (below Mary Jackson) of the 1916 suffrage resolution document at the Congdon St. Baptist Church supporting women's federal suffrage rights in the United States. As a young woman of 25, she already had many years of service in her local community. It is probable she looked up to Jackson as a mentor while she was working so closely with her.

Mrs. Jacinthia Perry Brown passed away on March 12, 1967 at age 76, in Queens, New York. Her funeral service, however, was held at her family's longtime congregation, the Olney Street Baptist Church, and her burial took place at the Locust Grove (Elmwood) Cemetery in Providence. Jacinthia P. Brown's contributions to women's suffrage also demonstrate her deep commitment to her family and the Baptist faith.


Providence Journal:
(1913, October 14), p. 14. "Colored Women Hold Annual Convention."
(1933, June 24), p. 3. "Death Notices" "Perry"
(1952, June 13), p. 14. "Deaths" "Brown"
(1967, March 15), p. 34. "Death Notices" "Browne, Jacinthia (Perry)"

New York Age, October 19, 1916, pg. 7.

"United States Census, 1920," GenealogyBank
(https://genealogybank.com/#), Jacinthia Brown

Ancestry.com. Rhode Island, U.S., Marriage Index, 1851-1920.

Rhode Island State Census, 1915, 1920, 1925

U.S. Senate, Resolution of the RI Union of Colored Women's Clubs supporting the Federal Woman Suffrage Amendment, 1916. Accessible online at https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/image/RIUnionColoredWomenPetition1916.htm.

Algeo, Sara M. The Story of a Sub-Pioneer. 1925, pg. 164.

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