Important Past Residents: Dr. Roscoe C. Brown (1884-1963)

Dr. Roscoe C. Brown

In the course of digging around in neighborhood history over the Presidents’ Day weekend, I stumbled upon a notation about a Dr. Roscoe Conkling Brown living at 3024 Park Place, NW. While I still have to do more digging, I was able to confirm that Dr. Brown lived at that address from at least 1954 until his death in 1963. I was also able to discover that after a lifetime of accomplishments, he was considered one of D.C.’s most distinguished citizens and a pioneer in public health generally and dental public health specifically.

There is a good general biography of Dr. Brown by Clifton O. Dummett that can be found here, the highlights of which I’ll include below.

Roscoe Conkling Brown was born in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1884, the son of John Robert and Blanche Maguire Brown. He was a graduate of M Street (later Dunbar) High School and received his degree from the College of Dentistry, Howard University, in 1906. He was one of the early dentists showing an interest in the social and public health aspects of dentistry, leading to Brown furthering his
knowledge in these areas by attending Columbia and Harvard universities for additional work in statistics, population, and health problems. Dr. Brown received certificates in special studies from these institutions.

From 1907 to 1915 Brown practiced dentistry in Richmond, Va., where he also was an instructor in hygiene and sanitation at the Richmond Hospital Training School for Nurses. Dr. Brown retired from private practice in 1915 for a career in public health after travel in the United States and South America for orientation of population groups and health problems. According to a 1961 article in the Baltimore Afro-American, Brown entered the “United States Public Health Service in 1919 and was successively Lecturer and Director of Colored Work, Health Education Specialist and Health Consultant, Chief of the Office of Colored Health Work, Public Health Adviser, and Chief of the Special Programs Branch.”

Dr. Brown played a major role in transferring the Office of Negro Health Work to the Special Programs Branch, Division of Health Education of the Public Health Service in 1950. He became the first chief of this new division and continued to give consultative services to black groups in their communities, He retired in 1954 at the age of 70.

Following retirement, Dr. Brown was an active lecturer, conferee, and consultant until his death in 1963.

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2 Comments on “Important Past Residents: Dr. Roscoe C. Brown (1884-1963)”

  1. Diane McDougall Says:

    I am so glad you posted this. Yes he did live at 3024 Park Place NW and he is my grandfather! I used to visit him there as a child. He is also the father of Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr. who is one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen and was a consultant on the movie Red Tails. I live in NW DC and pass by his house a few times a month. Thanks for sharing the info about him.

    • Kent Says:

      You may be interested, then, that I will be submitting a nomination to include this house and your grandfather on the African American Heritage Trail. I’d love to ask you more questions. Can you contact me directly? parkviewblog (at) gmail (dot) com


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