BiographyEthel B. Beck (1897-1970) was born on March 11th and reared in Morristown, Tennessee and received her education at Morristown Normal College. In the summer of 1919, the Colored Orphanage was established for the care and protection of the unfortunate children of the Negro race. The property that housed the orphanage, which was an old frame structure located at 1835 Brandau Avenue, after many years of operation, seemed headed for foreclosure. Ethel, was elected to head the Board Management, and in less than two years, the debt was liquidated and the home saved. In 1941, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to change the name to the “Ethel Beck Home,” a monument, to the faithful work of a noblewoman.
Ethel served as President of the Tennessee Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, and she was Grand Matron of the Tennessee Order of the Eastern Star. Ethel was also well known as a promoter of athletics. She sponsored and participated in several tennis tournaments, including participating in the National Tennis Meet in 1928 in Bordentown, New Jersey. She was Superintendent of the Playground at the Cal Johnson Park for many years.
Ethel was very active in social, fraternal and religious life of the city and she was a faithful and devoted member of East Vine Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church. Sadly, in August 1970, while driving her car, Ethel was pulled over by a police officer. She was falsely arrested and confined to jail while having a medical emergency. Ethel died three days later at the University Hospital of a cerebral hemorrhage, that started when she was pulled over.
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