From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Brown, William W.

(born: 1814  -  died: November 6, 1884) 

William Wells Brown was born in Lexington, KY. His mother, Elizabeth, was a slave; his father, George Higgins, was white. Since his mother was a slave, Brown too was a slave. He eventually escaped and made his way north, where he participated in abolitionist activities. He wrote a play, poems, songs, and books, including Clotel, the first novel published by an African American. Brown was also an historian and practiced medicine. William Wells Brown lived in several locations, he died in Chelsea, Massachusetts. For more see From Slave to Abolitionist, by W. W. Brown and L. S. Warner; Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave. Written by Himself [full-text at UNC University Library Documenting the American South]; see William Wells Brown entry in Britannica online; William Wells Brown entry at

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Brown, William W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-11-08 17:33:25