John Mason Brewer
(March 14, 1896 - January 24, 1975)
Marker Text: Distinguished African American scholar and writer, John Mason Brewer, preserved African American culture with his literary and historical work in the 20th century. Born on March 24, 1896, in Goliad, Brewer's parents, J.H. and Minnie T. Brewer, inspired his appreciation for scholarship and African American history.
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in English from Wiley College in 1917, he taught at various high schools and colleges. Later, Brewer published his writings in The Negro American, an African American periodical. After receiving his Master's Degree in 1933, Brewer published several history and poetry books, including Negrito and The Negro in Texas History. Brewer also published an anthology of poetry, Heralding Dawn: An Anthology of Verse, focusing on Texans with African heritage.
Brewer's dedication to sharing black stories continued throughout his life. After a suggestion from his colleague, J. Frank Dobie, Brewer began working on collecting and publishing black folklore. Sometimes compared to Zora Neale Hurston, a prominent Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist, Brewer published five collections of folklore in the 1950s and 1960s. His most significant work, American Negro Folklore won the Chicago Book Fair award in 1968 and the 21st annual Writers Roundup Award in 1969. Brewer became the first African American member of the Texas Folklore Society and the Texas Institute of Letters. He was also the first African American to hold office in the American Folklore Society. After the success of American Negro Folklore, Brewer returned to teach at Texas A&M University-Commerce until his death in 1975. As a poet, historian and folklorist, John Mason Brewer played an essential role in recording and preserving black culture in the United States. (2017)
Marker No: 20155
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 28° 39.922′ N, 97° 23.564′ W
Location: 320 South Commercial Street, Goliad