Guest Speaker Mr. Brown Motivates Juniors


Giselle Enriquez and Mekayla Phan

Friday, April 7th – The brightly blue-eyed 75-year-old guest speaker George E. Brown visited Ms. Lange’s junior English class to share the valuable experiences and lessons he has learned throughout his life. Mr. Brown has countless achievements in the military, in his education, and various careers – as a Vietnam veteran, a teacher, and traveler.

Mr. Brown was born in the city with, “the best barbecue in the world,” known as Memphis, Tennessee in 1942. He and his brothers had been born exactly four years apart, but on the exact same day – the 24th of October. He has been puzzled his whole life at how his parents managed to do that, knowing his father always stated he didn’t want him and his brothers in college at the same time. In the 1950’s he attended the largest all-black high school in the south, with 5,000 kids and zero police officers or monitors. Here is where he learned to value the adage, “Don’t mess with my name,” as all the students learned to get along and stay together.

Although Mr. Brown grew up in times where segregation and racism were a prominent factor in the life of black children, he managed to take full advantage of his intelligence and athleticism from the very beginning. As a talented athlete, Mr. Brown was heavily involved in basketball, baseball, golf, and Boy Scouts, and was remarkably known as having the best curve ball in the city. Still, he faced the prejudices of society in his day. As a golfer, there were no golf courses for colored people in town, so at 11 years old, he had to jump the fence early in the morning to play. Even when he traveled across the country over the summer as a Boy Scout, he always remembered to wear his uniform out of worry that white people would stop him from coming into their towns.

Through all the disadvantages black Americans faced in the 50’s, Mr. Brown stated that one day he looked in the mirror and said, “Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all?” And it told him,” You, George.” This is when he realized that he was just as good as everyone else. “We have to think of ourselves as equal.”

However, the most important learning experience for him was being in the military. “The military made me grow up. It made me become a man, and learn what a man is supposed to do.”  Mr. Brown likes to say he served in the Air Force for 20 years, 8 days, and 4 hours. He had the honor of working his way up to the title of Chief Sergeant. He worked everywhere from the Pentagon to working in Linguistics. He served 3 tours in Vietnam, an experience he never cared much to talk about.  He was stationed in Misawa, Japan, and countless of other places. Mr. Brown went from Tucson to Madrid to France to Egypt to England to Italy. He valued this all-over-the-world learning experience more than anything. “There are only seven places in the entire world that I haven’t been to,” Mr. Brown smiled.

Mr. Brown was overseas most of the time in the 60’s, but at home, his family was involved with the Civil Rights movement. His mother attended marches and was one of many who witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “I did my Civil Rights from afar,” Mr. Brown said, remembering reading about it in the newspapers. “When you have turmoil, that’s a sign for change.” He says that a lesson he learned is that there is a time and place for everything. “There’s a lot of things in life, but if we put it down, it will come out one way or not.”

Being in the military led him to the golden opportunities in life, one of them was education. Mr. Brown went to several universities – Pima, University of Arizona, University of San Diego, Stanford, and more. Education made him open his eyes wide to the world. He got a business degree that taught him to manage his money. “Go to school to have some money in your pocket.”

He has now been working for TUSD for the past twenty-three years, starting as a teacher at University High School for 10 years, and later working at many local schools and teaching a little math at Catalina. As a teacher, he has seen students who have been indecisive of what they want to do in the future. “Don’t let people tell you what to do. Find what you want to do.”

Due to an incident in the past, Mr. Brown has a metal piece in his leg. The doctor told him that he wouldn’t be able to run or jump again. However, that didn’t defeat Mr. Brown. “But I’m here just like you,” he said standing tall. “Don’t say I can’t try. That is all.”


Mr. Brown talking to Junior Kalena Tyo about him being at the same Air Force her father was stationed in Japan