The Dixon Brothers, 1898
Charles Sumner Dixon '98 and John Brown Dixon '99 of Washington, D.C. were born during the waning years of Reconstruction. During this period, the late 1860s and 1870s, newly emancipated Americans were emerging as a political and economic force. As such, the boys were named for two prominent white abolitionists and Civil War heroes: Charles Sumner, an outspoken Massachusetts congressman, and John Brown, the leader of the raid at Harper's Ferry.
In the fall of 1894, the brothers registered simultaneously as freshmen at MIT, possibly after a period of study at Howard University. In spite of this common background, however, their careers at MIT and afterwards took quite separate paths: Charles Sumner (Electrical Engineering- Course VI) became a Minister of the Gospel and John Brown (Chemistry- Course V) became a chief chemist.