A Grambling History synopsis narrated by Grambling College graduate, Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown, R.C.
Greetings to all,
It is my honor and a distinct pleasure to come before you with several historical facts about the village and city of Grambling, Louisiana.
What the present Grambling Louisiana citizens and student as well the world needs to know about Grambling village and the institutions. Before Grambling village became a city, it was a great and most faithful Christian community of striving Black People. Before I was drafted in World War II, a white man was married to a black woman. That was the only white person who lived in Grambling in the 1940s. The great and most important facts one had about the Grambling village was first that it was a God fearing people who knew one another by families.
Grambling Louisiana Village was owned and operated by black people businesses and institution (such as Elementary, high school and college – as it was presently known as the Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute and was located WEST of the present city of Grambling (Alen Green as its location). The following businesses, churches (Methodist and Baptist) and institutions were owned by the following people:
The first hotel was owned and operated by D. Hollis and Abbie Lee Hollis.
The village grocery stores were operated and owned by the Givens family on the north side of the rail road track. The south side of the rail road track was owned by the Williams Family.
The first restaurant and barber shop was owned and operated by the Mike Osmond Family.
The first café shop was owned and operated by the Bob Moore Family.
The first tailor and pressing shop was owned and operated by Bennie Woodard Family.
The first post master was operated by the Boldens Family.
The Good Hope CME Church and the Baptist Church was owned and organized by members of the CME and Baptist Church. The CME Church is a connectional church.
The schools were owned and operated by the people of the village.
It was my great and most eye opening and historical moment to have known Mr. Charles P. Adams. President Charles P. Adams was not only the founder but a land owner in the village. It was my great experience as a young boy who knew a cousin (Wesley Johnson) as we both worked for Mr. Adams. We made money ($5.00 back then was a lot to purchase a coke, hot dogs, popcorn and baby ruth candy bar) Aaaah! We had a grand time…. and a little extra money to dance around at the juke box (sea bird) at Bob Moore’s café was a great time of ours. The most memorable act when working for President Adams was to observe that he was a great man of power and back then could “write out a check”. I had to say to myself back then I too one day will be able to write a check. I am smiling today that I have written millions of checks and I pray that I write many more in the communities in which I serve and have served.
After moving to Grambling to live with my grandmother (Abbie Lee Hollis), I encountered an wonderful relationship with my coach and mentors, Coach Eddie G. Robinson, W. L. Garner and Vidilla Adams Johnson (daughter of Charles P. Adams). They were my mentors and coaches for life. It was their coaching and mentoring that gave me an opportunity to become a successful man to strive for excellence in serving in the various communities. This path lead me to be a blessed professional educator and clergy and has allowed me to be a blessing to many others!
It is such a great feeling to live to see the village of black people develop the city of Grambling, Louisiana and Grambling State University. It was a pleasure to be a part of a growing village that developed me in assisting in the following: choir, band, basketball, football, speech and drama/theatre, tutoring, curriculum lab, work with the Gramblingnite newspaper team, help start the Catholic church and home economics.
Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown, RC
Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown is a proud 1949 college graduate of Grambling College. He holds a Bachelor Degree in Science from Grambling College (presently Grambling State University) and a Masters Degree in Administration Education from Texas Southern in Houston, Texas. As well as master’s degree of Divinity and additional theological studies received at Howard University School of religion. Also, an honorary doctorate in Divinity from Universal Life Church.
Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown currently resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area of North Capitol N.W. He is also a retired clergy member of the United Methodist Church. He retired in 1970 from the Public School System in the proud and mighty state of Louisiana.
Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown was recently a panelist for GUNAA "Bridging the Gap" forum during the 2021 GUNAA Convention. You can watch a recap on GUNAA YouTube page. Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown just turned 97 years old in 2021. Thank you Rev. Dr. Arlester Brown for your outstanding contributions to GUNAA, sharing Grambling history, our community and beyond.