Amos C. Brown

Amos C. Brown (born February 20, 1941) is an African American pastor and civil rights activist. He is the president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, and has been the pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco since 1976.[4][5] Brown was one of only eight students who took the only college class ever taught by Martin Luther King Jr.[4][6]

Amos C. Brown
Amos Brown in SF June 2013 - 3 (cropped).jpg
Amos Cleophilus Brown

(1941-02-20) February 20, 1941 (age 79)[1]
Alma materMorehouse College (B.A., 1964)
Crozer Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1968)
United Theological Seminary (D.Min, 1990)[1][2][3]
OccupationPastor • activist
EmployerThird Baptist Church of San Francisco
TitleMember, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
Term1996-1999, 1999-2001
Board member ofNAACP
Spouse(s)Jane Smith Brown

Early life and educationEdit

Brown was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1941. His great-grandfather was born a slave in Franklin County, Mississippi.[1] Brown's father worked as a rural church pastor and janitor.[1]

In 1955, Brown organized the NAACP's first youth council. He first met Martin Luther King at the 1956 NAACP national convention in San Francisco, which he attended at the invitation of Medgar Evers, who drove Brown there personally.[1][6]

In 1959, Brown criticized segregated schools in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer.[6] In response, he was barred from returning for his senior year at the then-segregated Jim Hill High School.[1][7] Medgar Evers, then field secretary of the NAACP, intervened,[7] threatening a lawsuit to force desegregation of a nearby white high school. Brown was let back into Jim Hill, but was no longer allowed to be president of the student council (which was demolished), nor to hold the positions of senior class president or valedictorian that he was elected to by his fellow students.[1]

Brown attended Morehouse College, graduating in 1964, and then entered Crozer Theological Seminary. Martin Luther King wrote one of Brown's recommendation letters, and served as an "unofficial dean" of the black students at the school, his own alma mater.[1] Brown attended a seminar in social philosophy that King co-taught with college minister Samuel Woodrow Williams.[1] Brown was one of only eight students hand-selected for the class.[6]

After earning a master of divinity from Crozer, Brown later went on to receive a doctor of ministry from United Theological Seminary.[8]

Career and activismEdit

Brown became senior pastor of the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco in 1976.[6][9] He has served as national chairman for the NAACP Youth and College Division and the National Baptist Commission on Civil Rights.[9] He is president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP.[4] He is also on the board of directors of the NAACP.[1][10][11]

In 1991, Brown testified at the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings on behalf of the National Baptist Convention of America, the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. He stated that the votes of the conventions were virtually unanimous in their opposition to the nomination of Thomas.[12]

Amos C. Brown was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1998.

Brown served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1996 to 2001.[13] He was originally appointed by Mayor Willie Brown in 1996,[6][14] then elected to a two-year term in 1999.[13] While a member of the Board of Supervisors, he proposed an ordinance that would prohibit standing on a street corner for more than five minutes, with loiterers facing a $250 fine and up to six months imprisonment.[15][16] He failed to win re-election to the board in the year 2000.[6]

Brown said in an interview that the origins of the student sit-in movement has been "romanticized... or mis-stated". According to Brown, the first organized "sit-down movement", as it was then referred to, was in Oklahoma City in August 1958, led by the NAACP Youth Council.[1] In 1961, Brown was arrested along with Martin Luther King Jr. at a lunch counter sit-in. He also joined the Freedom Riders that year.[6]

Brown is a supporter of LGBT rights.[9] He spoke in favor of the California gay rights bill in 1991.[9][17] He faced criticism from some black ministers for his support of same-sex marriage and opposition to Proposition 8 in California in 2008.[18] In 2012, he joined the NAACP National Board in voting overwhelmingly in favor of supporting marriage equality.[19]

Brown supports the legalization of marijuana, and has called for more African Americans to have a voice in the medical cannabis industry.[20]

Brown has called for reparations to be paid to black people, to aid in economic empowerment and compensate for deficiencies in education.[11]

Brown volunteered for Operation Crossroads Africa in 1964, spending over two months on the west coast of Africa. He has visited the continent over 20 times since then.[1] Under his leadership, the Third Baptist Church has sponsored many African refugees, and enabled 80 children from Tanzania to receive heart surgery in the United States.[8]

Awards and recognitionEdit

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Ministerial Award[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m David P. Cline (March 2, 2013). "Amos C. Brown oral history interview conducted by David P. Cline in San Francisco, California, 2013-03-02". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Amos C. Brown". San Francisco Chronicle. May 22, 1996. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  3. ^ "Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "About Us". NAACP San Francisco. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "Pastor Amos C. Brown". Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Christensen, Jen (November 3, 2012). "Civil Rights Icon Fighting for Change One Registered Voter at a Time". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Myrlie Evers-Williams; Manning Marable (August 29, 2006). The Autobiography of Medgar Evers. Basic Books. pp. 107–110, 149. ISBN 9780786722495. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Franklin Crawford (January 29, 2002). "The Rev. Amos C. Brown is annual Martin Luther King Jr. speaker Feb. 5". Cornell Chronicle. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Gary David Comstock (2001). "Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown". A Whosoever Church: Welcoming Lesbians and Gay Men Into African American Congregations. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 34–46. ISBN 9780664222802. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  10. ^ "Dr. Amos C. Brown". NAACP. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Joshua Johnson (February 4, 2015). "NAACP's Amos Brown: Blacks Have Gained 'Zero' From Bay Area's Boom". KQED. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  12. ^ "Nomination of Clarence Thomas To Be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States" (PDF). Library of Congress. September 20, 1991. pp. 125–136. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Former Supervisors". San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  14. ^ Rachel Gordon; Gregory Lewis (May 29, 1996). "Leslie Katz, Amos Brown sworn in as S.F. supervisors". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  15. ^ Nieves, Evelyn (December 10, 1999). "Homeless Defy Cities' Drives to Move Them". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Ferrell, Jeff (2001). Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy. New York: Palgrave. p. 90.
  17. ^ Clarence Johnson (May 28, 1996). "The New S.F. Supervisors / To Amos Brown, This Job Is Fulfillment of Destiny". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  18. ^ Leslie Fulbright (November 21, 2008). "Amos Brown says foes boycott his fundraiser". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Ray Kirstein (June 1, 2012). "NAACP Endorses Marriage Equality: board member Rev. Dr. Amos Brown Extended Interview and Transcript". State of Belief. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Chris Roberts (March 29, 2016). "NAACP Leader Calls For Medical Marijuana Industry to Get a Black Business Owner". SF Weekly. Retrieved January 19, 2017.

External linksEdit