Ron Brown (U.S. politician)
Infobox US Cabinet official
name=Ronald Harmon Brown
United States Secretary of Commerce
January 22, 1993
April 3, 1996
Barbara Hackman Franklin
death_date=death date and age|1996|4|3|1941|8|1|mf=y
Ronald Harmon Brown (
August 1, 1941– April 3, 1996), was the United States Secretary of Commerce, serving during the first term of President Bill Clinton. He was the first African Americanto hold this position.
Early life and political career
Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, Ron Brown became the first African-American member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, a national men's collegiate fraternity. Brown joined the army in 1962, after graduating from Middlebury Collegein Vermont, and served in South Koreaand Europe, the same year he married Alma Arrington. After being discharged in 1967, Brown joined the National Urban League, a leading economic equality group in the United States. Meanwhile, Brown enrolled in law schoolat St. John's University and obtained a degree in 1970.
Rising star in the Democratic Party
By 1976, Brown had been promoted to Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Governmental Affairs of the National Urban League. However, he resigned in 1979 to work as a deputy campaign manager for Senator
Edward M. Kennedy, who sought the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
Brown was hired in 1981 by the Washington, D.C., law firm Patton, Boggs & Blow as a
lawyerand a lobbyist.
In May, 1988, Brown was named by Jesse L. Jackson to head Jackson's convention team at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta. Brown was named along with several other experienced party insiders to Jackson's convention operation. By June, it was apparent that Brown was also running Jackson's campaign.
Brown was elected chairman of the
Democratic National Committeein 1989, and played an integral role in running a successful 1992 Democratic National Conventionand in Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential run. President Clinton then appointed Brown to the position of Secretary of Commerce in 1993.
April 3, 1996, while on an official trade mission, the Air Force CT-43 (a modified Boeing 737) carrying Brown and 34 other people, including "New York Times" Frankfurt Bureau chief Nathaniel C. Nash, crashed in Croatia. While attempting an instrument approach to Čilipi airport, the airplane crashed into a mountainside. Everyone aboard was killed in the crash except for a single survivor in the tail section, who died while being transported to a hospital. [ [http://www.cnn.com/US/9606/07/brown.crash/ Pilot error, poor equipment blamed for Brown plane crash] , from CNN.com. Published 7 June 1996; accessed 12 September 2008.] The final Air Force investigation attributed this to pilot error and a poorly designed landing approach. [ [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=40796 Department of Defense news article] ]
President Clinton established the
Ron Brown Awardfor corporate leadership and responsibility. The Conference Boardadministers the privately funded award. S. C. Johnson & Son, Bayer Corporation, and Johnson & Johnsonreceived the 2006 awards.
U.S. Department of Commercealso gives out the annual Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Awardin his honor.
The largest ship in the
NOAAfleet, the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, was named in honor of his public service not long after his death.
The [http://www.calbcc.org/ California Black Chamber of Commerce] , every August, holds the Ron Brown Business Economic Summit.
* [http://www.ron-brown-award.org/ The Ron Brown Award]
* [http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=40796 Details from the USAF accident report]
*Clinton, Bill (2005). "My Life". Vintage. ISBN 1-4000-3003-X.
*Jack Cashill, "Ron Brown's Body" (WND Books, 2004) ISBN 0-7852-6237-7
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