Savannah recalls the life of Rev. Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.

Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr., pastor of St. John Baptist Church “The Mighty Fortress” for over 35 years, passed away on Sunday, November 21, 2021 at the age of 99 from natural causes.

Religious leader Reverend Matthew Southall Brown, Sr. was born July 16, 1922 in Savannah, Georgia, to Christopher Frederick Brown and Helen Robinson Brown. In 1943, Brown graduated from Cuyler-Beach High School in Savannah, Georgia and enlisted in the United States Army. He served in World War II as a non-commissioned officer and was assigned to a support unit. After his military service, he attended Georgia State College and obtained his BD from American Baptist Seminary in Nashville, Tennessee in 1961. Brown also studied at the University of Miami’s Division of Addiction Sciences with a grant from the City of Savannah.

Brown was ordained minister in 1961 in the Historic First African Baptist Church. The following year, he accepted a post of pastor at First Smyrna Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia. In 1963, Brown became a pastor at the Royal Missionary Baptist Church, then at St. John Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia in 1969, where he led his congregation throughout the renovation of the church. In 1986, Brown dedicated St. John Villa, formerly East Broad Street School, to a housing complex for the elderly and disabled. In 1988, the Matthew Southall Brown Resources and Learning Center was named in his honor. Brown then hosted a morning radio show called “Thought for the Day,” which aired on Clear Channel Radio WSOK at 12:30 pm. In 1991, Brown then published The Best of Pastor Matthew Southall Brown, Sr.’s 6:30 am Meditative Thoughts. Brown retired as pastor of St. John Baptist Church in 2004 as Pastor Emeritus. He founded the Boys’ Summit in 2010.

In 1971, Brown was appointed by Judge Alexander Lawrence as chairman of a biracial school advisory board. Brown was also president of the Emancipation Association from 2013. He was also recognized and honored for his service to his community. In 2013, Brown was recognized by the National Baptist Convention for over fifty years of service.

Brown is survived by his four children: Maxine Jones, Leonard Brown, Christa Stephens and Matthew Southall Brown, Jr.

The funeral is scheduled for Saturday November 27, 2021 at the First African Baptist Church. The Bynes-Royall Funeral Home is in charge of the services.

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