Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Black History Salute to Ron Brown

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to remember Ron Brown who was the first African-American to be appointed to the Cabinet post of Secretary of Commerce. As well, he was the first black to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

He was born in Washington D.C. but his family relocated to Harlem, New York. He was well educated having attended Hunter College Elementary School, Rhodes Preparatory School and Middlebury College in Vermont.

He later joined the Army in 1962 serving in South Korea and Germany. He married his sweetheart, Alma Arrington. After his honorable discharge from the service, he joined the National Urban League and enrolled in Law School at St. John's University where he received his degree in 1970. He spent twelve years with the Urban League as Deputy Executive Director, General Counsel, and Vice President of the Washington bureau.

He concurrently became involved in politics and worked on Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980. He was appointed chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of the Senator.

In 1981 Mr. Brown joined Patton, Boggs & Blow, becoming the first African-American partner at this prestigious firm in the nation’s capital.

He died on April 3, 1996, while on an official trade mission, the Air Force CT43 with 34 other people when the plane crased into a mountainside in Croatia.

He was a true African American Hero so in honor of Black History Month, I am paying tribute to Ron Brown.

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