Doris Brown was born on July 2, 1933 in Manhattan, New York to Evelyn and John Herbert Brown. She was the fifth of six children, all of whom she survived. Doris married and that union was later annulled, she had three children. Doris came to Boston in 1953 to “seek her fortune” where she met Hugh Bunte and his mother who was her boss at Slade’s Restaurant. She married Hugh on September 1, 1954, that marriage ended in divorce. In 1957, she met Samuel Johnson who became her gentleman of long standing for the next fifty plus years. Sam passed in 2016.
Doris attended elementary and middle school in New York City public schools. She attended Boston School of Business Education and graduated on the day Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. She completed various educational advancements until she received her Master’s Degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Doris spent her life serving others. She started her public life as a resident in Orchard Park Housing Development. She became an advocate for tenant rights because of her belief that she was “here to serve a purpose” In 1968, she co-founded the Boston Public Housing Tenants Policy Council, the first tenant association in the City of Boston. 1n 1969, she became the first tenant to serve as a Commissioner on the Boston Housing Authority Board. She went on to become the first Afro-American female elected to the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1973, where she was one of the three founding members of the Massachusetts Black Caucus. She spent twelve years as a state legislator representing Roxbury, Dorchester and part of Mattapan. In 1986, she became the Administrator of the Boston Housing Authority under Mayor Raymond Flynn where she succeeded in desegregating Boston Public Housing under difficult circumstances. While she completed her public work in 1992, she continued to work at Northeastern and Boston University. Doris had received awards, honors, and accolades too numerous to mention.
Doris was a strong, but empathetic leader. She genuinely cared about people. She listened and engaged people, she was a kind and thoughtful person. She helped open new possibilities and opportunities for those in her circle of friends, family and community. She did everything in her power to help people build better lives for themselves. She will be greatly missed. Doris leaves a daughter, Yvette Johnson, a son, Harold Brown and was predeceased by her son Allen Brown, four grandchildren Bernard S. Johnson Sr., Petra Brown, Britt Brown and was predeceased by her granddaughter Alyce Johnson. She also leaves nine great grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, honorary family members and friends.
Doris believed that “the work of humanity will never be complete until we can convince society that housing rights are human rights and, more importantly, being poor is not the result of a flaw in character”
Due to current circumstances, a ZOOM memorial service will be held on
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 from 12:00 until 2:00.
If you would like to attend, please join meeting I.D. #890-6930-8209, password doris33.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Doris Bunte, please visit our floral store.