|30th United States Secretary of Commerce|
January 22, 1993 –April 3, 1996
|Preceded by||Barbara Franklin|
|Succeeded by||Mickey Kantor|
|Chair of the Democratic National Committee|
February 11, 1989 –January 21, 1993
|Preceded by||Paul G. Kirk|
|Succeeded by||David Wilhelm|
Ronald Harmon Brown
August 1, 1941
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Died||April 3, 1996 54) (aged|
near Dubrovnik, Croatia
|Resting place||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Education|| Middlebury College (BA)|
St. John's University, New York (JD)
|Years of service||1962–1967|
Ronald Harmon Brown (August 1, 1941 – April 3, 1996) was an American politician. He served as the United States Secretary of Commerce during the first term of President Bill Clinton. Prior to this he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He was the first African American to hold these positions. He was killed, along with 34 others, in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia.
Ron Brown was born in Washington, D.C., and was raised in Harlem, New York, in a middle-class family. He was a member of an African-American social and philanthropic organization, Jack and Jill of America. Brown attended Hunter College Elementary School and Rhodes Preparatory School. His father managed the Theresa Hotel in Harlem, where Brown lived growing up. His best friend John R. Nailor moved into the penthouse while a student at Rhodes. Nailor was one of the other few black students who attended Rhodes Prep. As a child, Brown appeared in an advertisement for Pepsi-Cola, one of the first to be targeted specifically towards the African-American community.
While at Middlebury College, Ron Brown became the first African-American member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, collegiate fraternity. Brown joined the United States Army in 1962, after graduating from Middlebury, and served in South Korea and 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 school at St. John's University and obtained a degree in 1970.[ citation needed ]
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 as a lawyer and a lobbyist.[ citation needed ]
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.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(January 2017)
Brown was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee on February 10, 1989, and played an integral role in running a successful 1992 Democratic National Convention and in Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential run.
President Clinton then appointed Brown to the position of Secretary of Commerce in 1993. Clinton's highest priority was bolstering the economy, not diplomacy, and Brown produced results. He led delegations of entrepreneurs, businessmen and financiers to South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Ireland India and Senegal. He was leading a trade mission en route to Yugoslavia when all passengers died in a plane crash.
During his tenure Brown was involved in the Commerce Department trade mission controversy.
On April 3, 1996, when Brown on an official trade mission, a U.S. 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 Dubrovnik's Čilipi airport, the airplane crashed into a mountainside. Everyone aboard was killed instantly except Air Force Tech. Sgt. Shelly Kelly, a flight attendant, who died while being transported to a hospital.The final Air Force investigation attributed the crash to pilot error and a poorly designed landing approach. Speculations as to the circumstances surrounding the plane crash that caused Brown's death include many government cover-up and conspiracy theories, largely based on Brown having been under investigation by independent counsel for corruption. Of specific concern was a trip Brown had made to Vietnam on behalf of the Clinton Administration. Brown carried an offer for normalizing relations between the United States and the former communist enemy.
Some people, including Kweisi Mfume - head of the NAACP at the time - and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, had written federal officials to ask for more data on the suspicious circumstances of Brown's death. "Responding to homicide allegations, an official of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology acknowledged that doctors initially were puzzled by a circular wound on the top of Brown's head when his remains were recovered at the crash scene. The forensic pathologist then consulted with others and took extensive X-rays. As a result of these consultations and full-body X-rays, we absolutely ruled out anything beyond a blunt-force injury to the head."
Brown was buried with full state honors in his hometown.[ citation needed ]
On January 8, 2001, Brown was presented, posthumously, with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton, twelve days before George W. Bush took office. The award was accepted by Brown's widow, Alma Brown. President Clinton also established the Ron Brown Award for corporate leadership and responsibility. The Conference Board administers the privately funded award. The U.S. Department of Commerce also gives out the annual Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award in his honor.[ citation needed ]
Many academic scholarships and programs have been established to honor Brown. St. John's University School of Law established the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development in memorial.The Ronald H. Brown fellowship is awarded annually to many students at Middlebury College to pursue research internships in science and technology, and the Ron Brown Scholar Program was established in Brown's honor in 1996 to provide academic scholarships, service opportunities and leadership experiences for young African Americans of outstanding promise.
A memorial room has been installed in the Ronald Brown memorial house in the old city of Dubrovnik. It features portraits of the crash victims as well as a guest book.
The largest ship in the NOAA fleet, the NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown, was named in honor of his public service not long after his death. The section of 14th Street between Pennsylvania and Constitution Avenue was renamed Ron Brown Way.
In March 2011, the new United States Mission to the United Nations building in New York City was named in Brown's honor and dedicated at a ceremony in which President Obama, former President Clinton and the United States representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice, spoke.
In 1997, The Daniel C. Roper Middle School in Washington, DC was renamed the Ronald H. Brown Middle School in his honor.That school was closed in 2013 and the building reopened as the Ronald Brown College Preparatory High School in 2016.
His son Michael Brown was elected to the Council of the District of Columbia in 2008.He lost his re-election campaign in 2012 and later pleaded guilty to the charge of accepting a bribe from undercover agents. He was sentenced to 39 months in prison.
The 1996 United States presidential election was the 53rd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 5, 1996. Incumbent Democratic President Bill Clinton defeated former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, the Republican nominee, and Ross Perot, the Reform Party nominee.
The 1992 United States presidential election was the 52nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 3, 1992. Democratic Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas defeated incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush, independent businessman Ross Perot of Texas, and a number of minor candidates.
The 1976 United States presidential election was the 48th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 1976. Democrat Jimmy Carter of Georgia defeated incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford from Michigan. Carter's win represented the lone Democratic victory in a presidential election held between 1968 and 1992.
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American politician, diplomat and lawyer who served as the 42nd vice president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A United States senator from Minnesota (1964–1976), he was the Democratic Party's nominee in the 1984 United States presidential election, but lost to Ronald Reagan in an Electoral College landslide. Reagan won 49 states while Mondale carried his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. In October 2002, Mondale became the last-minute choice of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party to run for Senate after the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, but was defeated by Saint Paul Mayor Norm Coleman. Mondale became the oldest living former U.S. vice president after the death of George H. W. Bush in 2018.
Alexis Margaret Herman is an American politician who served as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. Herman was the first African-American to hold the position. Prior to serving as Secretary, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Lloyd Millard Bentsen Jr. was an American politician who was a four-term United States Senator (1971–1993) from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for vice president in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served as the 69th United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Bill Clinton.
William Harris Crawford was an American politician and judge during the early 19th century. He served as United States Secretary of War and United States Secretary of the Treasury before running for president in the 1824 election.
The 1992 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 1992 U.S. presidential election. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the nominee through a series of primary elections and caucuses culminating in the 1992 Democratic National Convention held from July 13 to July 16, 1992, in New York City.
This section of the Timeline of United States history includes major events from 1990 to 2009.
Silas Wright Jr. was an American attorney and Democratic politician. A member of the Albany Regency, he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, New York State Comptroller, United States Senator, and Governor of New York.
The 1992 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party nominated Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas for president and Senator Al Gore from Tennessee for vice president; Clinton announced Gore as his running-mate on July 9, 1992. The convention was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York from July 13 to July 16, 1992. The Clinton-Gore ticket then faced and defeated their Republican opponents, President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle as well as the independent ticket of Ross Perot and James Stockdale in the 1992 presidential election.
Donald Milford Payne was an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 10th congressional district from 1989 to 2012. He was a member of the Democratic Party. The district encompasses most of the city of Newark, parts of Jersey City and Elizabeth, and some suburban communities in Essex and Union counties. He was the first African American to represent New Jersey in Congress.
Edward Peter Djerejian is a former United States diplomat who served in eight administrations from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton (1962–94.) He served as the United States Ambassador to Syria (1988–91) and Israel (1993–94), Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Press Secretary of Foreign Affairs (1985–1986), and was Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1991–1993.) He is the director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and on the board of trustees of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Djerejian was elected chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s board of directors (2013–2015). He is managing partner of Djerejian Global Consultancies, LLP. Djerejian is the author of the book Danger and Opportunity: An American Ambassador's Journey Through the Middle East
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade. Reagan was the first former U.S. president to die since Richard Nixon in 1994. At the age of 93 years and 120 days, Reagan was the longest-lived U.S. president in history until November 12, 2006, when his record was then surpassed by Gerald Ford. His seven-day state funeral followed. After Reagan's death, his body was taken from his Bel Air, Los Angeles home to the Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California to prepare the body for burial. On June 7, Reagan's casket was transported by hearse and displayed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, then flown to Washington, D.C. on June 9 for a service, public viewing and tributes at the U.S. Capitol.
In political studies, surveys have been conducted in order to construct historical rankings of the success of individuals who have served as the president of the United States. Ranking systems are usually based on surveys of academic historians and political scientists or popular opinion. The rankings focus on presidential achievements, leadership qualities, failures, and faults.
Ronald A. Klain is an American political consultant, civil servant, and attorney. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as chief of staff to two U.S. vice presidents: Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joe Biden (2009–2011). He was appointed by Barack Obama to serve as the White House Ebola response coordinator in late-2014 into early-2015.
The Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership is a U.S. presidential honor to recognize companies "for the exemplary quality of their relationships with employees and communities". It is presented to companies that "have demonstrated a deep commitment to innovative initiatives that not only empower employees and communities but also advance strategic business interests".
The Commerce Department trade mission controversy was an American political controversy in the 1990s during the Clinton Administration. It refers to the alleged selling of seats on United States federal planes going on international trade missions, for the purpose of raising campaign contributions. No official charges were ever made in conjunction with the allegations but the Commerce Department did change its policies regarding the selection of participants for such missions so they would not be politically based.
The South Carolina presidential primary is an open primary election which has become one of several key early-state presidential primaries in the process of the Democratic and Republican Parties choosing their respective general election nominees for President of the United States. South Carolina has cemented its place as the "First in the South" primary for both parties.
|Party political offices|
Paul G. Kirk
| Chair of the Democratic National Committee |
| United States Secretary of Commerce |