Woodrow M. Brown Jr, Virginia Pastor, Veteran, and First Black Man Elected to Newport News City Council, Dies at 77

Woodrow M. Brown Jr. (Courtesy/First Baptist Church East End)

Former Newport News city councilman, Purple Heart recipient and pastor Woodrow M. Brown Jr. died last week at age 77.

Brown was the first Black man elected to the Newport News City Council and spent years serving the First Baptist Church East End.

He was a member of the 1st Infantry Division during the Vietnam War when he was wounded in action.

Brown’s sister, Woodrena Curtis, heard from one of her brother’s fellow soldiers that Brown was believed to be dead and had been placed inside of a body bag.

“He heard movement in one of the black bags and when he unzipped the bag, it was my brother Woodrow,” Curtis said. “He told me he had to take a water hose and spray it to get the mud off — that’s when they found my brother alive.”

Brown returned home and worked at the Newport News Shipyard and sold life insurance before becoming a minister and councilman.

“From that experience and all that he went through recovering from his injuries, he felt that God brought him back and that was his reason for going into the ministry,” Curtis said.

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SOURCE: Daily Press, Jessica Nolte