November 16

Thomas Brewer

November 16, 1894 - Columbus, Fort Benning, Atlanta

The Civil Rights movement boasted many heroes; some, sadly, unsung.

Thomas Brewer was born in Alabama in 1894, and earned a medical degree at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. In 1920, Brewer moved to Columbus, Georgia, opened a practice and became a leader in the thriving black professional community. He helped establish the Columbus chapter of the NAACP.

Brewer arranged for Primus King, a Columbus barber and minister, to challenge the all-white voter Democratic primary by attempting to vote in 1944. King was turned away, but the federal case that followed was decided in his favor. Brewer backed the case financially, initiated black voter-registration drives, and lobbied successfully for the police to hire black officers.

The Ku Klux Klan routinely threatened dr. Brewer, as racial tensions mounted with school desegregation in the 1950s. In February 1956, Brewer was shot and killed in a confrontation with a local white businessman. His death outraged the black community and left long-lasting damage to race relations in the city.

The man who fought for racial equality in Columbus for 36 years was born on November 16, 1894, Today in Georgia History.