August 1

August 1, 1941 – U.S. Secretary Of Commerce Ron Brown Born

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Ronald Harmon Brown

On August 1, 1941 the United States first African American Secretary of Commerce, Ronald Harmon Brown was born in Washington, DC. Brown graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. He entered the United States Army in 1962 after graduation and served until he was discharged in 1967. He later entered St. John’s University Law School and graduated in 1970. Brown’s political career skyrocketed later in life, serving as Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Governmental Affairs for the National Urban League, in 1979 Deputy Campaign Manager for Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s presidential nomination, in 1988 leading Reverend Jesse Jackson’s convention team at the Democratic National Convention and in 1989 Brown was elected Chairman of the Democratic National Convention.

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U.S. Commerce Secretary Ronald Harmon Brown

In 1992 President Bill Clinton appointed Brown to be the country’s first African American Secretary of Commerce. The nation was shocked and saddened when Ron Brown was killed along with 34 others in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia at age 54.