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Former Walthourville mayor was pioneer
Funeral arrangements pending for Kent Brown
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Carrie Kent Brown - photo by Courier file photo
A black ribbon rested against the white door of the Walthourville City Hall on Thursday afternoon in honor of Liberty County’s first African-American female mayor.
Carrie Kent Brown died Wednesday, at Liberty Regional Medical Center, and friends and mentees of the icon said she will truly be missed.
“Liberty County has lost one of its best trailblazers,” said the Rev. Henry Frasier, who served at Walthourville’s mayor for nine years. “She was a strong lady in her own right. She loved the family, she loved the city and she loved her church.”
“She did her best to raise up her children and in raising up other folk’s children,” he continued. “We will certainly miss her because of her labor in Walthourville and in the county.”
Brown was known as a role model, a leader and an icon to many in the Liberty County area, but to Lyndol Anderson, the first mayor of Walthourville, she was more than that — she was a loyal friend.
“Just not knowing she is here will be terrible,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Brown first served together in 1974 when Anderson was appointed by the governor to be the first mayor of the city and Brown served as one of five members of the city’s all-female council.
“The news was all over it at the time,” Anderson said, “calling it women’s lib. Then, when the men ran against us [the media] really worked us over, but we did not give up and we were all elected.”
Anderson served four years and Brown followed in her footsteps in 1978, becoming one of only five African-American female mayors in the country.
Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, said he remembers the event like it was yesterday.
“I would never forget councilman Charles Frasier and myself having to go home and get our guns for the final count on her election night,” he added. “That gives you an idea of how volatile the situation was at that time.”
He said Brown’s strength and her tenacity helped her endure it all.
“The fact that she took what were very difficult circumstances for her personally at the time and she turned it around and basically taught herself and got involved in politics is a testament to the type of person she was,” Williams said. “She would not be convinced that that wasn’t what black women did.”
That determination, according to those who knew Brown best, was what helped her succeed.
For 24 years, Brown served as Walthourville’s mayor. As the city’s population doubled, Brown worked to improve the residents’ quality of life and to educate herself as much as possible.
“I remember her driving all the way to Atlanta by herself just to see how she could improve herself and the city,” Walthourville Councilwoman Patricia Green said. “She was a go getter. She will be missed.”
Funeral arrangements for Brown will be announced at a later date. Miller’s Funeral Home in Hinesville has charge of the arrangements.
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