The Honorable George Leslie Brown was born on July 1, 1926, in Lawrence, Kansas. Growing up on a farm in Kansas, Brown was a star athlete in basketball, football and track before graduating from Lawrence Liberty Memorial High School in 1944. During World War II, he served as a Tuskegee Airman.
Brown graduated from the University of Kansas in 1950 with a B.S. in journalism. He also did graduate work at Harvard Business School, the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. For fourteen years, he worked as a writer and editor for The Denver Post and hosted his own Denver radio talk show. He was the first African American editor to work for a major daily newspaper in the Rocky Mountains. Brown served as the assistant executive director for Denver’s Public Housing Program for four years and taught at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.
In 1955, Brown made history when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. He served as a state senator for eighteen years, and was reelected to five consecutive four-year terms. Then, in 1974, in the middle of his fifth Senate term, he was elected lieutenant governor, a position he held for four years. He was the nation’s first Black lieutenant governor.
In 1979, Brown joined the Grumman Corporation as vice president for marketing and was later promoted to senior vice president in charge of the firm’s regional offices, becoming the first African American corporate officer in a major U.S. aerospace company. He completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in 1980 and worked as Grumman’s chief lobbyist in Washington, D.C., until he left Grunman in 1990. That year, Brown joined the Washington, D.C. law firm of Whitten & Diamond. In March 1994, he was named director for Prudential Securities and managed its Washington public finance office. He was a banker for Greenwich Partners from 1997 to 2000.
Brown was active on various boards and serves as a consultant and adviser for various organizations and companies. He received numerous awards and honors for his work. Brown was married to Modeen Brown. They have four daughters: Gail, Cindy, Kim and Laura.
Brown passed away on March 30, 2006 at the age of 79.
Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 23, 2003.