Asian Council of Churches and participated in the Consultation of Minority Peoples of Japan in Tokyo.
In addition to his international work during this time, from 1994 until 2003, Brown moved into the arena of municipal and city planning as southeastern marketing director for Sidney B. Bowne Engineering. He served as the strategic planner developing relationships between the company and city and state officials in the company’s negotiation and establishment of Geography Information Systems. He worked on transition teams for the mayors of Macon and Albany, Ga., in 2003 as a consultant with ABC Management where he evaluated and recommended management of staff for city departments and developed strategic plans for incoming mayoral administrations.
Brown developed an early appreciation and love of art while studying at Howard University under Professor Sterling Brown. He became especially interested in the history of African art and cultures. During his later journeys throughout the continent, he began collecting African sculptures and masks which he and his wife, Valinda, expanded with African and African-American art. He became a co-owner of Boston’s Harris/Brown Art Gallery, which exhibited major African-American artists. He is widely known for furthering dialogue regarding the importance of nurturing artists of African-American and African descent. As a board member of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, he was especially proud of being instrumental in helping to establish the annual David Driskell Young Artist Award. He also served on the board of the Atlanta Photography Group where he chaired the Youth Education Program and as chairman of the Funding Committee of the Academy Theater. Brown’s many years of advocating the ascension of African-American artists has resulted in their inclusion in successful exhibitions at various art venues.
Brown’s love and dedication to Black culture embraced music of all kind. He established and promoted the Mississippi Delta Blues Festival while at MACE. He especially enjoyed jazz and gospel and he and his wife made annual pilgrimages to New Orleans for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. But Ed’s most enjoyable times at his home with Valinda were preparing deliciously wonderful New Orleans cuisines and sharing those absolutely satisfying meals with friends and family who prized the opportunity to get a cup of Ed’s Gumbo. Ed was a master New Orleans chef who was admired for his seafood, duck, or pheasant gumbos; quail in rich brown sauce; and turtle soup with sherry and crawfish bisque; fried catfish; spinach shrimp dressing; and sweet potato pone. His demonstrations of affection for food and sharing led to his wife’s publication of a loving cookbook. Brown was an elaborate storyteller, so with each meal came colorful adventures with Ed Brown. He was a passionate historian of African culture and he accumulated a large library of African history. He spent many rewarding years studying Yoruba culture and was initiated into the ruling Ogboni Society of Yoruba manhood.
Ed is survived by his loving wife, Valinda; three sons, Michael Johnson, Kevin George and Keith George; two sisters, Pat Brown Leak (Alex) and Cheryl Brown Hill (Donald); brothers, Jamil Al-Amin (Karima) and Lance Brown (Pat); grandchildren Alexis Johnson, Aliyah Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Kristin George, Christopher George, Brandon George and nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of other family and friends.