Eddie Brown, Jr. Civil Rights Activist

By Michelle E. Shaw

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Eddie Brown was often working on the behalf of others, which suited him just fine, friends and family said

Mr. Brown began working in the areas of human and civil rights in the 60s and never stopped. He was a student at Louisiana’s Southern University at the time as was expelled after participating in a sit-in protesting racial segregation. He soon moved to Washington D.C., enrolled at Howard University and became a leader and organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

He went on to work with other human and civil organizations such as Mississippi Action for Community Education, widely known as MACE

During his time at Howard, Mr. Brown met Ekwueme Michael Thelwell, and the men were roommates and became life-long friends. Mr. Thelwell marveled at the dedication his friend exhibited while working to uplift the oppressed, poor and disenfranchised. He was also drawn to Mr. Brown because of his musical and linguistic expertise.

“Ed was a virtuoso in the oral tradition of black people,” Mr. Thelwell said. “He was an excellent singer and he knew all of the spirituals. He could preach a song sermon with remarkable sensitivity to the poetry of it.”

“He was definitely a renaissance person,” said Courtland Cox, another log-time friend former Howard roommate. “His love of art, food and music was certainly unique.”

Both men said Mr. Brown spent a considerable amount of time and energy working to eradicate injustices in the areas of human and civil rights. Much of the work he did didn’t make national headlines, but it was significant none the less, Mr. Cox said.

“Ed, and others of our generation, made a huge contribution in changing what America looks like today.”

Eddie Charles Brown, Jr., of Atlanta, widely known as Ed, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Mr. Brown died at his home Wednesday from complications of the cancer. He was 70. Last rites were held Thursday at the West End Community Mosque. The body was buried in a Muslim cemetery maintained by Al-Farooq Masjid, in Hampton.

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