- Mohammed Badrul Alam
the first African American secretary of commerce and the first African American chairman of a national political party. Ron Brown was born in Washington, D.C., on 1 August 1941 and was raised in the Harlem section of New York City. He attended Middlebury College, where he was the first African American member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a national men's collegiate fraternity that for a long time had accepted only white Christians. Upon graduation from Middlebury, Brown joined the U.S. Army in 1962 and served with distinction in Europe and South Korea. After being honorably discharged in 1967, he joined the National Urban League, one of the premier groups in the United States espousing equality. He also earned a law degree from St. John's University in 1970.
Because of his organizational and oratorical skills, Brown was appointed deputy campaign manager for Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts who ...
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.