WWII hero & former St. John Baptist Pastor Matthew Southall Brown Sr. dies

Rev. Brown was 99 years old
Published: Nov. 21, 2021 at 8:38 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:26 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - According to family, Reverend Matthew Southall Brown Sr, who spent 35 years leading St. John Baptist Church passed away Sunday.

Rev. Brown was much more than a pastor, he was also a true American hero as he became one of the first black soldiers to fight in World War II.

One of many victories Brown won. He also earned many awards and commendations for his service including: WW II Victory Medal, American Theater Ribbon, EAMET Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.

When Brown came home from the war, he proudly joined another army - fighting for equal rights during the Civil Rights movement. He followed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then, a federal judge appointed him to lead an integration committee that worked to integrate schools.

“We’re here to really be grateful for what we had but remember what we’ve lost. Pastor Brown was an absolute legend in our community,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

“He came from a solid family of educators, of activists, of people who want to be something,” said his son Leonard Brown.

“He was in the regimen 2,221 which was a designated regiment of Black African-American soldiers who were called up to help with the Battle of the Bulge so there was great history there. Their ranks were taken away from them because they could not outrank white soldiers so all of that had a particular, pinnacle in his desire to make sure that wrongs were corrected and that justice prevailed,” said his son Matthew S. Brown, Jr.

Brown passed away at the age of 99.

He lived through 18 presidents and was honored by Former President Bill Clinton for his service to our country.

Funeral arrangements for Reverend Brown have been set for Saturday, Dec. 4. The funeral services are only open for invited guests and family.

A public event to honor the life and memory of Pastor Brown will be held in the Johnny Mercer Theater at the Savannah Civic Center on Friday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. All guests attending the public service can park in the Civic Center parking lot. They will be required to be masked and temperature checked.

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