Ron Brown was the first African American appointed to the Cabinet
post of Secretary of Commerce and the first to serve as Chairman
of the Democratic National Committee. By the mid-1990s, he was a
figure of global prominence, respected for his intelligence, political
savvy and leadership.
Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in New York City, Mr. Brown
attended Middlebury College in Vermont. He served for four years
in the U.S. Army, posted to Germany and Korea. He earned a law degree
from St. John’s University. He spent 12 years with the Urban
League as Deputy Executive Director, General Counsel, and Vice President
of the Washington bureau.
Brown used his skills as a negotiator and pragmatic bridge builder
in his successful tenure as Chairman of the Democratic National
Committee from 1989 to 1992, reuniting the Party after its defeat
in the 1988 presidential election and leading it to victory in 1992.
Having earned a cabinet-level appointment in President Clinton’s
administration, he was named Secretary of Commerce.
Ron Brown was a tireless advocate for American business both at
home and overseas. The Secretary circled the globe, spreading good
will and cultivating opportunities and markets for American products.