He Brought CAP and Head Start To Our Parish At The Risk Of His Life

Rev. Phillip Rayfield Brown, III was responsible for the organization of the Ouachita Multi-Purpose Community Action Agency in the parish during the 1960’s along with its Head Start component. Born in 1918, Brown was educated in the school systems of Orleans Parish and was graduated from McDonaugh #35 High School and Xavier University.

He later was graduated from Union Theological Seminary. In the late 50’s Brown came to Monroe and became involved in efforts of the local community to achieve social justice. He was elected pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in 1959. Several of the lay leaders of the congregation were involved with civil rights protests, among them was Anthony G. Facen, an outspoken advocate for civil rights reform in the parish.

The Reverend Brown became the spiritual leader of the movement in West Ouachita and he along with several of Calvary’s members set out to improve the plight of Blacks in the Parish. When the U.S. Congress passed President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty Program” Rev. Brown and several of his members set out to get funding for Ouachita Parish. He met considerable resistance from white leaders. Shots were fired into his home and his car was bombed, but Rev. Brown proceeded relentlessly in his efforts to get anti-poverty grants for the area.

In 1964 the first grant was received and the Ouachita Multi-Purpose Head Start Program began. Shortly after, Rev. Brown, with several others, that included B. D. Robinson, Leslie Thomas, A. G. Facen and others, obtained grants for the Head Start program.

For 20 years Brown served as the director of the CAP agency and at the same time worked to foster civil rights improvements through the parish. He retired as its head in 1984.

He served as pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in West Monroe for 29 years.