Dorothy Brower, in her words, is a Southern Pines girl, born here in 1951 in St. Joseph of the Pines Hospital.
Although 4 years in college at North Carolina Central University and a career at Durham Technical Community College in Durham took her away from Moore County for a time, “Dot” was eventually able to come back to her Moore roots and finally settle in the area that not only instilled in her the initiative to become successful in her career , but also to become proactively involved in the place she truly calls home. She retired in 2009 and is currently a key leader in the African-American community.
“I came back in my retirement to live here to be closer to Dad's and Mom's families in the Robbins and Cameron communities,” says Brower, who currently lives in the home her parents, now gone, raised her and her brother in.
Although her career path took her to Durham to teach, she’ll tell you that she never really ‘left’ Southern Pines because she always traveled home at least twice a month while living in Durham.
“I started at Durham Tech in 1974 as a part-time instructor teaching teenage dropouts who were pursuing their high school diploma,” she says. “I became full-time a couple of years later. My early career was spent in Adult and Continuing Education.”
From there, she rose through the ranks in several different capacities. Her last position was as the director of one of the school’s satellite campuses in Orange County. She also served as the overall college’s affirmative action officer.
When she retired, the school’s President established a scholarship in her honor and Brower requested that Durham, Orange and Moore County high school graduates be eligible to receive it.
So what was it exactly that lured her back home to Moore County? Her favorite eating spots – Soup and More, The House of Fish and Famous Toastery – all played a role, but also that her community needed and still needs “more folks like me who are active in helping to revive the sense of ‘community’ that I grew up with,” she says. “I live in West Southern Pines, the historically African American neighborhood of Southern Pines. I was in the last graduation class of the all Black West Southern Pines High School.”
These days, Brower supports her sorority’s (Delta Sigma Theta) dual mission of community service and scholarship here in the Sandhills. Her vast list of involvements include the West Southern Pines Citizens for Change, the Moore County Board of Education Foundation, the Moore County African American Historical Committee, the Auxiliary of the American Legion Post 177 and the Moore County Schools’ African American Advocacy.
Not surprisingly, Dot has tons of friends in the area in addition to her family. She routinely stays in touch with her high school classmates and enjoys meeting “some interesting and engaging transplants” around town.
“The four lanes of highway going north and the region of the state that Moore County is located make it easy to travel to see friends,” she adds. “I enjoy patronizing the small shops and restaurants here that really give you the ‘hometown feeling.’ I recently took Amtrak to Richmond to visit with my brother and his family. Boy, I had not been on a train since 1969! Though there is no station manager here as it was in the past, it's a credit to the area that the train still stops here. One of my greatest joys is visiting the public schools, interacting with the children and staff. I also enjoy the various cultural activities and the street fairs. I love seeing the men and women in uniform who have made homes here and are raising their children here.”
“I actually love hearing the artillery fire from Fort Bragg, which I grew accustomed to as a child,” she concludes. “It reminds me of the dedication of those who fight and work day and night to preserve our freedom. I am also reminded of how much Ft. Bragg has contributed to the economy of this area and the number of civilians from here who have had lifetime jobs on Post.”