Newspapers & Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Mrs. Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star

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Newspapers & Butter Pecan Ice Cream: Mrs. Mildred Brown and the Omaha Star is a 32 page soft cover non-fiction children’s picture book retailing at $7.99. It was written by Amy Forss, chair of the history program at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, features sixteen illustrations created by educator and local artist Gina Tolstedt, and has available lesson plans designed by Marsha Senft, Curriculum Development Specialist and Educator.   

Mildred Brown, African American co-founder of the Omaha Star newspaper was a city role-model and leader. Mrs. Brown challenged racism and employment discrimination. She asked readers to spend their money at non-discriminating stores. Businesses, such as Reed’s Ice Cream with its locations throughout Omaha, had a city-wide policy of not hiring African Americans. Through the newspaper distribution efforts of young Omaha Star carriers and the De Porres Club’s picketing of Reed’s, Mrs. Brown was able to lead a successful boycott campaign. For the boys and girls selling the Star it taught them how to make change happen.  

Newspapers & Butter Pecan Ice Cream is a children’s version of the Reed’s Ice Cream company boycott in the 1950s. The book teaches elementary grade level students how to make change happen today. Every third grader in the Omaha Public School, Westside District 66 and Boys Town system will read Newspapers & Butter Pecan Ice Cream as part of their 2017-2018 school year curriculum.   

“It’s been nearly 80 years since Mrs. Mildred Brown co-founded the Omaha Star and we are still learning from her vision and wisdom. As the newspaper’s editor, Mrs. Brown shared a message of change, acceptance, and equality with her readers. She also took a special interest in North Omaha’s youth and served as their mentor and friend. Mrs Brown believed change was worth fighting for and she helped make Omaha a better city.”
Mayor Jean Stothert

About Mildred Brown

Mildred D. Brown utilized the Omaha Star as an activist tool to provide a voice for the black community and to conduct diplomatic forms of communication between the black and white residents of Omaha, especially during the city riots of 1966, ’67 and ‘69. Brown and the Star, which most citizens of Omaha saw as synonymous, uplifted the black community with positive weekly news while successfully challenging racial discrimination, unfair employment practices, restrictive housing covenants, a segregated school system, and urban renewal. Brown accomplished this impressive feat by nurturing, challenging and speaking for her black readership from the moment she co-founded the Omaha Star on July 9, 1938 until the moment she died on November 2, 1989. Her inter-generational unification of both the white and black communities made change happen in Omaha.