- Post 10 December 2011
- By Special to the Daily World
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thousands of people have had their lives significantly improved.
Among fellow workers, he is remembered for his uncommon diplomatic skill, personal charm and political tact. Kalamu ya Salaam, who served with him on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage commission recalls, "What I most remember is that the respect he commanded coupled with a delightful sense of humor enabled him to soothe the most outrageous egos, resolve conflicts and bring apparently irreconcilable warring factions together."
In 1965 as a staffer at the Citizen's Crusade Against Poverty in Washington, D.C., Brown developed information networks among community-based organizations to support anti-poverty legislation. In 1967, he organized efforts to improve the political and economic conditions of Blacks in the Mississippi Delta as the executive director and founder of the Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE) and The Delta Foundation in Greenville, Miss., At MACE, he developed community-based enterprises, producing Fine Vines blue jeans and establishing catfish farms in the Delta. He was the first executive director of the Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival. In 1974, he raised funds and helped organize the Sixth Pan African Congress held at the University of Tanzania at Dar-es-Salaam's Nkrumah Hall with delegates representing 52 independent states and/or liberation movements in Africa, the Caribbean and other people of African descent.
As executive director of the New Orleans Area Development Project in 1976, Brown organized advocacy groups to work for reform by organizing communities to fight police brutality and creating parent-teacher committees for education reform. Brown went on to serve as president and CEO of the Southern Agriculture Corporation in the 1980s where he worked to organize and gain capital funding for small Black southern farmers. In the 1990s as executive director of the Voter Education Project in Atlanta, Brown continued his tireless efforts to register Blacks and poor people to vote and to fight legislation restricting poor and disenfranchised people of all color from voting.
From the 1990s through 2006, the deceased took his "asbestos gloves" to nations outside the United States. As a senior consultant to the National Democratic Institute, he designed and implemented civic and voter education programs to prepare for national elections in Ethiopia, Namibia, Zambia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. He was especially involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, which resulted in the freeing of Nelson Mandela. As an international election observer for The Jimmy Carter Center, Brown worked in Ghana, Zambia and The Dominican Republic. As a human rights activist in corporate boardrooms, he served on the World Council of Churches and Emergency Fund for Southern Africa raising funds for humanitarian relief; at the Center for National Security Studies monitoring American defense policies and budgets; and with the American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Department of Agriculture Citizens Advisory Committee Equal Opportunity and Atlanta Council for International Cooperation. Brown also consulted with the