GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was a prominent American author and educator. Several of his books were considered standard college texts, including The Negro in Literature and Art in the United States (1918) and New Survey of English Literature (1925). Today in our History – April 22, 1882 – Benjamin Griffith Brawley (April 22, 1882 – February 1, 1939) was born.Born in 1882 in Columbia, South Carolina, Brawley was the second son of Edward McKnight Brawley and Margaret Dickerson Brawley. He studied at Atlanta Baptist College (renamed Morehouse College), graduating in 1901, earned his second BA in 1906 from the University of Chicago, and received his master’s degree from Harvard University in 1908. Brawley taught in the English departments at Atlanta Baptist College, Howard University, and Shaw University.He served as the first Dean of Morehouse College from 1912 to 1920 before returning to Howard University in 1937 where he served as chair of the English department. He wrote a good deal of poetry, but is best known for his prose work including: History of Morehouse College (1917); The Negro Literature and Art (1918); A Short History of the American Negro (1919); A Short History of the English Drama (1921); A Social History of the American Negro (1921); A New Survey of English Literature (1925). In 1927, Brawley declined Second award and Bronze medal awarded to him by the William E. Harmon Foundation Award for Distinguished Achievement Among Negroes: “… a well-known educator and writer, Brawley declined the second-place award because, he said, he had never done anything but first-class work.As a child, Benjamin Brawley learned that all men come from clay and that none of them should look up or down at each other, which kept him from approaching life with a pretentious attitude despite coming from a well-off family. Brawley started developing a deep concern for people as a result of his interactions with children who were less privileged than he was, and his interest in people’s life conditions is believed to have been consequential in his career as a teacher and a scholar. Brawley’s father was an educated man, and Brawley was one of nine children in the family.Because of his father’s position as a church minister, Brawley’s family has had to relocate on many occasions in when he was a child. Brawley’s education started in his home where his mother served as his teacher until his family moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he was admitted into third grade. During his time in Nashville, despite going to a normal school, Brawley’s mother still read Bible stories and verses with him on Sundays. As the son of a minister, Brawley studied Latin when he was twelve years old at Peabody Public School in Petersburg, Virginia, and he learned Greek when he was 14 years old with his father. Brawley’s father introduced him to the story of The Merchant of Venice, and he moved on to read stories, such as, Sanford and Merton and The pilgrim’s Progress in addition to romantic stories that he read outside his family’s library. In his adolescence, Brawley spent most of his summers earning from different jobs; he spent one summer working on a Connecticut tobacco farm, two summers at a printing office in Boston, and he spent some time as a driver for a white physician; besides his working summers, he spent the other half of his free time studying privately to get ahead at school. Brawley entered the Atlanta Baptist Seminary (Morehouse College), where he became aware of the educational discrepancies in the community, at the age of thirteen — most of his older classmates did not know much about classical literature or languages, such as Greek and Latin, which he knew plenty about. During his time at Morehouse, Brawley not only excelled in his studies but he also assisted his fellow classmates by revising their written assignments before they submitted them to their professors. Besides his academic excellence, Brawley displayed significant leadership qualities; he managed Morehouse’s baseball team; he served as quarterback for the football team and as a foreman for the College Printing Office. Additionally, he and another student founded The Atheneum, a student journal that later became Maroon Tiger, in 1898, and this journal featured A Prayer, which Brawley wrote as a response to a lynching that happened in Georgia. Brawley graduated from The Atlanta Baptist Seminary with honors in 1901, and soon after, he launched his teaching career at Georgetown in a one-room school a few miles from Palatka, Florida where he cared for about fourteen children from first to eighth grade. At that school, the term was limited to five months and his salary to no more than thirty dollars a month. While Brawley received a more lucrative job offer right after signing with Georgetown, because he did not want to break a contract at the start of his career, he decided to honor his contract with Georgetown and turned down a contract that would allow him to work for longer school terms and that would significantly increase his monthly pay. After the end of the school term and a year since he began his contract, Brawley headed to Atlanta for a teaching position at his former school, The Atlanta Baptist Seminary, where he continued to teach English for about eight years. While teaching at The Atlanta Baptist Seminary, Brawley pursued a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree, for which he completed most of the classes during summer sessions. In 1806, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago, and in 1808, he received his Master of Arts from Harvard University. In 1910, Brawley accepted an invitation to become a part of the faculty at Howard University in Washington D.C. where he met a Jamaican lady from Kingston with the name Hilda Damaris Prowd who would later become his wife. In response to their first meeting, Brawley wrote the sonnet First Sight. Prowd and Brawley shared common interests in travels, operas, reading. and hosting friends. Brawley and Prowd left Washington to move back to Atlanta where Brawley was returning to teach English at The Atlanta Baptist Seminary (Morehouse College) and serve as the first dean of the institution. During his first year there since returning, he taught six classes every day in addition to other teaching tasks. Brawley went to the Republic of Liberia in Africa to conduct an educational survey in 1920. Sometime after his trip, Brawley decided to become a minister just like his father in early 1921. Thus, he moved on to serve as a Baptist minister for The Messiah Congregation in Boston, Massachusetts. A year later, he resigned from his position as a minister and returned to teaching because of incompatibility issues with the congregation’s Christianity. After quitting his ministerial position, Brawley went to teach at Shaw University in North Carolina, and a few years later, in 1931, he accepted a teaching position at Howard University in Washington DC where he resided until his death in 1939. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!