Brown, Ron(Ronald Harmon Brown), 1941–96, American politician, b. Washington, D.C. Raised in New York City's Harlem, he attended Middlebury College (grad. 1962) and St. John's Law School (grad. 1970). A lifelong Democrat, he worked at the National Urban LeagueUrban League, National,
voluntary nonpartisan community service agency, founded in 1910, whose goal is to help end racial segregation and discrimination in the United States, especially toward African Americans, and to help economically and socially disadvantaged groups to share
..... Click the link for more information. (1966–78) before becoming a top aide to Senator Edward KennedyKennedy, Ted
(Edward Moore Kennedy), 1932–2009, U.S. senator from Massachusetts (1962–2009), b. Boston, Mass., youngest son of Joseph P. Kennedy and the last survivor of brothers Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.
..... Click the link for more information. (1979–81). After a stint as a partner in a private law and lobbying firm in Washington (1985–88), he managed the presidential bid of Jesse JacksonJackson, Jesse Louis,
1941–, African-American political leader, clergyman, and civil-rights activist, b. Greenville, S.C. Raised in poverty, he attended the Chicago Theological Seminary (1963–65) and was ordained a Baptist minister in 1968.
..... Click the link for more information. (1988) and was the first African American to serve as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1989–92), where he successfully charted a centrist course. A skilled political operative and deal maker with an engagingly suave personal style, Brown had an ideology that mixed liberal concerns with capitalist savvy and was a classic Washington insider. He played a key role in unifying Democrats behind the presidential candidacy of Bill ClintonClinton, Bill
(William Jefferson Clinton), 1946–, 42d President of the United States (1993–2001), b. Hope, Ark. His father died before he was born, and he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 4th, but after his mother remarried, he assumed the surname of his
..... Click the link for more information. (1992) and made an effective secretary of commerce (1993–96) in Clinton's administration. Brown was killed in an airplane crash while on a trade mission to Croatia.
See biography by S. A. Holmes (2000).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Brown, (Ronald Harmon) Ron(1941– ) cabinet officer, lawyer; born in Washington, D.C. Son of Howard University graduates, he grew up in Harlem. After graduating from Middlebury College (1962) and service with the U.S. Army (1962–66), he earned his law degree at St. John's University School of Law (1970). While working for the National Urban League (NUL) in New York, he was elected district leader of the Democratic Party in Mount Vernon, N.Y. (1971). He was with the Washington, D.C., office of the NUL (1973–79), and he then held a series of positions under Senator Edward Kennedy; he worked for the Democratic National Committee (1981–85). In 1981 he had joined the Washington, D.C., law firm of Patton, Boggs & Blow, thereby becoming its first African-American partner, and for several years he made his name as a corporate lobbyist. By 1988 he was serving as a strategist to Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign, and his role as a unifier at the Democratic Convention led to his being chosen in 1989 to head the Democratic National Committee. Successful handling of the Democratic Party's own factions and of Bill Clinton's campaign in 1992 led to Brown's being appointed secretary of commerce in 1993.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.