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*Hazel Browne Williams was born on this date in 1907. She was an African American educator.
Williams, a native of Kansas City, MO., was the only child of John and Effie Moten Browne. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1923. She chose to pursue a career in education because it was one of the few professions open to Black women in the 1920s. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1927, she remained there and earned a master's degree in English in 1929. She began her teaching career in 1932 at Louisville Municipal College, a black liberal arts school and branch of the University of Louisville.
She was an assistant professor of English but later taught German and established a German Studies department at the school. Browne married Claude Williams, a principal at Leeds Junior High School, who died in 1937. Williams was also honored as a Fulbright exchange teacher in 1956 and taught English in Vienna, Austria.
Williams became an associate professor at the UMKC School of Education in 1958. She was a full professor in secondary education in 1960, the first African American full-time professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 1976, she retired after serving on the faculty for 18 years and was granted emeritus status, the first black person given this honor at UMKC.
Her community and professional affiliations included the National Council of Teachers of English, the Carver Neighborhood Center, the Mattie Rhodes Center, the YWCA, and the NAACP. She died on July 7, 1986.
University of Missouri Kansas City
Kansas City, MO 64110