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Tamar Brown

Tamar Brown Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Tamar Brown

Tamar Brown was an African-American freedwoman who is credited with establishing the first school for black children in Frostburg. This later became known as the Lincoln School. Identified in the census as a laundress, Tamar established this school in 1867 on a quarter-acre lot at the intersection of Park Avenue and Maple Street, roughly on a spot now occupied by the Compton Science Center on the campus of Frostburg State University.

She also established an early African-American church in that area, which along with the school helped establish an African-American community and neighborhood named, appropriately enough, "Brownsville". Brownsville was established sometime just after the Civil War and consisted of numerous homes and gardens in an extended area behind the university's "Old Main". By the 1920s, Brownsville consisted of about 125 families.

With the coming of the college in 1898, and its continuing expansion from the 1930s onward, much of the land which comprised Brownsville was purchased from the white owners. The black community found itself unable to rent or buy other homes in Frostburg and to a great extent relocated away from the area.

Tamar Brown had been brought to Frostburg in 1831 as a slave to the family of Maryland's first elected Governor, Thomas Johnson (1732-1819). As a freed black in 1866 she made her living as a laundress. Brown bought a town lot in Frostburg from Nelson Beall, and the area was thought of as the Negro addition. It was given the name Brownsville in her honor.


Text: From an article by James Limbaugh appearing in, A Century of Commitment - Frostburg State University, 1898-1998 and Frostburg State College: A Monument to Miners, by Betty Van Newkirk, 1996.

The two circa 1930s aerial photographs, taken by Cutlass Flying Service, depict the campus looking south and east and the Brownsville community site generally situated behind Old Main. They are from Special Collections, Lewis J. Ort Library, Frostburg State University.

For more history of Brownsville, see Brownsville of Frostburg

Collection Location:
Allegany County

Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.

Allegany County, (Md.)

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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