Guy Rollingsheim Brewer was born in Georgia on Jan. 27, 1904. He moved north to Harlem in the late 1920s, entered Democratic politics and started a real estate practice.
In April 1937 he married Marie Brown, formerly of Virginia and daughter of a blacksmith. She enjoyed politics and was active in Brewer’s real estate business. It was a perfect match.
Displeased with Harlem politics, they decided to purchase a home in South Jamaica and relocate their real estate business to Queens in 1941.
Brewer held various positions in Borough President Mario Cariello’s office in the 1960s. When Assemblyman Kenneth Brown was appointed to a judgeship a slot opened up, and in November 1968 Brewer became the first African-American elected to the state Assembly. He was also the first African-American majority whip, a post in which he mixed his great debating skills with his unique wit and eloquence.
Brewer passed away in office on Oct. 31, 1978, from prostate cancer. In 1982, the city renamed the 3.9 mile New York Boulevard from Jamaica Avenue to John F. Kennedy International Airport as Guy R. Brewer Boulevard for the beloved leader.
His wife remained active in politics until her death in 1984. Both left a mark on the community they loved so much.