Joseph E. Brown's Support of Education
Brown was the first Georgia official
to support public education for all children which at the time did not have popular support.
"Upon his return from that school, Brown taught school in Union County and Canton, Georgia and studied law in his spare time. Without ever having read a day in a lawyer's office, he was admitted to the bar in Canton, Ga. He also worked as a tutor. Throughout his life he sought to prevent others from having to struggle as he had in order to get an education. As Georgia's governor in 1858, he advocated that schools be established so that every 'free, white child' would have the right to attend. 'Let,' he said, 'the children of the richest and the poorest parents in the state meet in the school room on terms of perfect equality of right ...' This was needed, he believed, because the State's lack of development was for want of education. While he did not get all he asked the legislature for, it did set aside money from earnings of the Western & Atlantic (W&A) to educate white children.
Brown served on the University of Georgia's board of trustees from 1857 to 1889. He served, too, as president of the Atlanta Board of Education from 1869 until 1888. His contribution to education in Atlanta was recognized after his death by the naming of a now closed high school (originally a junior high school) in his honor. When he was in the U.S. Senate, Brown said that the federal government should finance the education of children of all classes and both races. He did not agree with those who said the education of the people was not a federal responsibility because 'we do not live under the Constitution that we lived under prior to the War Between the States. This was due to the fact that its powers had been greatly expanded since then.'
He was a:
Union County School Teacher,
Trustee, University of Georgia,
President, Atlanta Board of Education,
and tireless supporter of education.