Born March 18, 1851, in Charleston, South Carolina. Brawley began his education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., but later transferred to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, becoming Bucknell's first African American student. Upon his graduation in 1875, Brawley became an ordained minister of the Baptist church. From 1912 to 1920, Brawley pastored the White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
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