11. Dr. Thomas Brewer's Office
Dr. Thomas H. Brewer (1894 - 1956), was a medical doctor for the African American community of Columbus, a civil rights leader, and a “physician for the social ills of society”. (Brewer’s Legacy, 1989). Dr. Thomas Brewer was born in Saco, Alabama and graduated from Selma University and from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Brewer moved to Columbus, Georgia in 1920 where he set up his medical practice in downtown Columbus on 1stAvenue. During the 1920’s and up till his death in 1956, Dr. Brewer was one of Columbus’s most influential civil rights leaders and chief spokesman in the community for African Americans fight for equality and against segregation. His leadership won battle after battle with the city such as desegregating the Columbus Police Department by getting the first four black police officers in the department.
One of the most important battles he and other civil rights leader fought for and won was voting rights for African Americans in Columbus in the King v. Chapman case known also as the Primus King Case. They challenged the Democratic Party for refusing to allow Primus King the right to vote in Columbus, Georgia on July 4, 1944. The case was fought in the courts for two years. Winning this case was a huge win for the African American community, not just for Columbus, but for the entire state of Georgia. This win in court won the right for all African Americans in the state to vote.
Dr. Brewer also was one of the leaders in establishing Columbus’s first NAACP Chapter in 1938. Other accomplishments in his fight for equality for African Americans in Columbus; convinced the County Commission to build a swimming pool for blacks, The Manly Taylor Recreation Center; the establishment of the Fourth Street Library (Mildred T. Library); Brewer along with eight others persuaded the County Commission to obtain a park for blacks, Carver Park opened in 1952; petitioned to open up the Lions Club on Victory Drive to blacks. This opened the club to black golfers
These are just a few of the important things Dr. Brewer accomplished in leading the fight against segregation and inequality in Columbus, Georgia. Even after his death he is still remembered in the community for what he accomplished for the African American community. For his leadership in civil rights and contributions to the African America community in gaining equality such as the right to vote in the State of Georgia along with many other contributions. In 1989 the Mayor of Columbus, Georgia along with the Governor issued a Proclamation making November 19, 1989, as “Dr. Thomas H. Brewer Sr. Day”. This coincided with the three day memorial in remembrance of his achievements towards first citizenship rights for African Americans in the state of Georgia, and the unveiling of the Historical Marker outside his office on 1st Avenue on November 18, 1989. Dr. Brewer was also recognized as one of the “100 People to Remember” in a special edition of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer in 2000.
Submission composed by Charles Elliott, April 10, 2017
References and Further Reading
Brewer's Legacy: Concern for Human Rights: Dr. Thomas H. Brewer, Sr., November 16-1894-February 18, 1956. Columbus, Ga.: s.n., 1989.
Grant, Judith. Columbus, Georgia. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2000
100 People to Remember 2000. [Columbus, Ga.]: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer