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*Odessa Brown was born on this date in 1920. She was a Black cosmetologist and health activist.
She was born in Des Arc, Arkansas, and received training as a licensed beautician at the C. J. Walker Beauty School in Chicago. She moved to Seattle, WA in 1963. A mother of four, beginning in 1965, she supported her family by working as a Community Organizer for the Central Area Motivation Program and as a beautician. Brown was a supporter of a health care facility for children in the Central Area of Seattle.
She worked to make residents aware of the health needs of the area. She expressed their needs to the planners at Seattle Model Cities, a federally funded anti-poverty agency. Brown was a quiet, private person but when she spoke people listened, particularly when it concerned health care for children. Her efforts persuaded Seattle Model Cities to develop a children’s clinic to serve the city’s Central District. During her campaign for the clinic, few friends or associates were aware of her battle with leukemia, which she had fought during her years as a CAMP community organizer. Odessa Brown died on October 15, 1969.
When the time came to name the children’s clinic after it opened its doors in 1970, there was never a question but that it is named the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.