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Old 03-07-2021, 01:53 AM
moe.ron moe.ron is offline
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Crystal Malone Brown, tried to integrate sorority in 1940s, dies at 94

Crystal Malone Brown, a Washington-born teacher who married the first Black graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and who, as a young woman, garnered national press coverage when she tried to integrate an all-White sorority at the University of Vermont, died Feb. 25 at a nursing home in Blue Bell, Pa. She was 94 and had moved to Blue Bell from Chevy Chase, Md., in 2018.

The cause was atherosclerosis, said a stepdaughter, Willetta Brown West.

Mrs. Brown — then known as Crystal Malone — was a junior on the Burlington campus of the University of Vermont in October 1945 when she was accepted as the first and only Black member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

“I had grown up in a segregated world,” Mrs. Brown later told the publication Vermont Quarterly. “When I was asked to join Alpha Xi Delta, I remember being pleased — the spoken emotions and feelings after the war made me think it was possible.”

But Beverly Robinson, the national sorority president, rejected Mrs. Brown’s admission into the half-century-old organization and ordered the university’s chapter closed when Mrs. Brown refused to withdraw her membership. Her advice to the pledge: “Life is selective, and maybe it’s just as well to learn it while we are young.”

White members of Alpha Xi Delta’s campus chapter came to Mrs. Brown’s defense, and the local newspaper, the Burlington Daily News, heralded them as “heroines of peace.” But the University of Vermont president, John S. Millis, announced that the college would “take no stand” in the dispute.

National media outlets began to cover the rift between the university’s administration and its students. Patricia Pringle, president of the Alpha Xi Delta chapter, told Time magazine she was “proud” to call Mrs. Brown a sorority sister and said fellow members “have no intention of revoking the original pledge.“
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Old 03-07-2021, 10:35 AM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Here is her obituary:

What an amazing and accomplished woman!
I believe in the values of friendship and fidelity to purpose

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Old 03-07-2021, 11:00 AM
carnation carnation is offline
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Props to her AZD chapter for standing with her!

I loved reading everything she did.
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Old 03-07-2021, 11:34 AM
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Was she ever initiated? With the chapter closing over this/burning their charter, I can't believe this injustice was forgotten within the organization.

Then again, maybe it was, because it is certainly featured prominently in her obituary.
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Old 03-07-2021, 03:54 PM
navane navane is offline
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Wow...her obituary is a wonderful tribute to such an accomplished woman.
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Old 03-07-2021, 04:42 PM
naraht naraht is offline
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More information can be found in "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People In Norman Rockwell’s America".

In addition to more info of what happened at the time, the book includes the following.

In 2008, the National Office of Alpha Xi Delta sought out Crystal Malone Brown, wishing to offer her a formal apology. As Deanna Detchemendy, then national president of the
sorority recounts:

When I contacted Mrs. Brown’s daughter (Carol Jackson) with the hopes of getting in touch with Mrs. Brown and arranging a meeting at which Alpha Xi Delta would formally apologize, she shared that Mrs. Brown had generally conveyed positive memories of her relationship with Alpha Xi Delta to her children, most particularly of her Upsilon Chapter sisters who were so very supportive. And that while certainly difficult, she (Mrs. Brown) perceived the incident with our then national officers as one that helped shaped her character in positive ways as an adult.

Detchemendy went on to say that:

Mrs. Brown was not in good health, and Mrs. Brown had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was experiencing (and would continue to experience) related mental deterioration. Given this information, we felt that outreach to Mrs. Brown at that point and the related dredging of negative memories could easily cause more harm than good at this stressful time for the family, and so we determined to forego “closure” on our end in order to avoid opening old wounds for Mrs. Brown or her family.

(end quote from book)
Former president Detchemendy is currently the Alpha Xi Delta representative to the NPC.
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Old 03-07-2021, 06:06 PM
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Thank you for sharing that, naraht.
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Old 03-10-2021, 03:15 PM
NinjaPoodle NinjaPoodle is offline
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Originally Posted by Sciencewoman View Post
Thank you for sharing that, naraht.
I agree.
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