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Joe Ella Brown Burton Memorial Scholarship

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Organized by
Burton Family
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Our story

Our mother, Joe Ella Brown Burton, was a legendary educator and choreographer in the Monroe City Schools, hailing from Charleston, South Carolina. By the age of twenty, she had earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education at Grambling State College (now Grambling State University) and had become a faculty member at J.S. Clark Elementary School. She was the niece of the pioneering Morehouse Parish public health nurse, Harriet Henrietta Gordon Foster (honored with the community room at Monroe's Ray Oliver Wright Health Unit), and Dr. Madison Wright Foster, a pioneering Saint Francis physician (whose name graces the Foster Johnson Infirmary on Grambling State University's campus). Additionally, she was the grandniece of Professor Madison James Foster, a philanthropic pastor and educator whose namesakes include Monroe's Madison James Foster Elementary and Foster Heights housing community. Burton touched many lives throughout her career, serving as a Head Start teacher and director in Ouachita Parish, a K-12 educator in Louisiana (for 35 years) and Georgia (for 10 years), and as the choreographer for the Tantalizing Clarkettes and the Joettes. She was also the co-owner of the Burton-Lowe School of Dance, co-author of a commemorative American bicentennial book, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she served as the second president of the Monroe Alumnae Chapter (1957-1958). Furthermore, she was a member of Les Martiniques Social Club, a lyricist, poet, and orator for church and community events. Burton's achievements have been recognized in publications such as Who’s Who in America and Outstanding Elementary Teachers. She and her sister were educated by their mother's sister, Nurse Harriet Foster, as a thank you to her big sister (Mary Ellen Gordon Brown), who had sacrificed her own education to help her sister become a nurse when Mary Ellen and Harriet's mother passed away at a young age. Burton, who received academic and basketball scholarship offers, understood the importance of financial assistance for college students. The generosity exhibited in her family, as well as that of the scholarship donors, instilled a philanthropic spirit in her. Consequently, she dedicated her life to sharing her money, time, wisdom, and knowledge to jump-start the careers of countless relatives, friends, neighbors, and students.

Our goal

This fundraising initiative aims to contribute to the Joe Ella Brown Burton Scholarship, offering assistance to students within her community who are pursuing higher education.

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