I appreciate that so many have contacted me asking that I continue to write about Trailblazers of the BMA. I have been blessed to have known each of these about whom I have written. With this resuming article, I am writing about one of my very favorite instructors when I was a student at Central Baptist College in the 1960s.
Kenneth Ray Brown was a trailblazer in Christian education in several ways. To begin with, he was the very first student to enroll at Central Baptist College in Conway in 1952. Then the school was known as Conway Baptist College. He was born in Caldwell in 1929 and graduated from Forrest City High School in 1947. He then graduated from Capital City Business School in Little Rock.
Bro. Brown had answered God’s call to ministry and was drawn to CBC. I am so glad he was! He later returned to the college, becoming a member of the faculty and later becoming the chair of the History Department. I must add, he was the much-loved instructor of history at CBC for four decades.
I enrolled there in the fall of 1964 and was blessed to not only have Bro. Brown as my instructor, but as my friend for many years. When I say he was a trailblazer, I don’t mean in the manner of an associational leader, but as one who led many young men and women to consider Christian education as their career. Many of Bro. Brown’s former students were and still are members of the faculty, staff and administration of Central Baptist College or other educational institutions in the BMAA.
Bro. Brown was not a mediocre instructor. He captured the attention of his students. He had a tremendous sense of humor and was a masterful storyteller. So often I heard various students say, “I never liked history — that is, until I got in Bro. Brown’s class.”
One of the favorite occasions that has stood the test of time had to do with one of the students and the end of semester, pre-Christmas break tests. By the way, I was a student in that class and know the story to be true. As the student handed in his test paper he wrote, “Dear Bro. Brown: Only God knows the answers to these questions. Merry Christmas” (Student’s signature.)
After the break and once again in class, Bro. Brown handed out the test papers and scores. On that student’s paper were these words: Student’s name; “God gets an A; you get an F. Happy New Year! Bro. Brown.”
Bro. Kenneth Brown taught at the college, but like so many of the professors, he also pastored churches in the local area. Among those were the former Irvin Memorial (now Grace) of Russellville, Antioch in Conway, Needs Creek in Greenbrier and Pleasant Valley, also in Greenbrier.
In 1997, Bro. Brown retired from the faculty of CBC and he enjoyed retirement for more than a decade. He passed away on Dec. 12, 2013, at the age of 84. At the time of his death, Bro. Brown had been married to his wife, Marie for 63 years. Right up to the time of his heavenly promotion, Bro. Brown was a supporter of Central Baptist College. From the time he enrolled as the college’s first student he never lost his love for CBC or for Christian education. And, like his many memorable stories left behind, he also has left a legacy for both former and current students.
May God continue to give our associated work many more “Bro. Browns.” May their impact and teaching emulate that of one of the great trailblazers of the BMA.