Harriet Elizabeth Brown was a Calvert County (MD) school teacher in the 1930s. In 1937, she became aware that white teachers were making almost twice the salary of black teachers who had the same level of education and experience. She contacted NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall who worked with her to sue the county based on a violation of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On December 27, 1937, the case was settled. The result was that the Calvert County Board of Education agreed to equalize the salaries of white and black teachers. The case helped pave the way for the Maryland Teachers Pay Equalization Law and eventually changes in the state and country.
Harriet Elizabeth Brown (February 10, 1907 — January 1, 2009) is a member of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.
Photo of Harriet Elizabeth Brown courtesy of the Maryland State Archives.