Biography

Oscar Brown Jr., was born on October 10, 1926 on Chicago’s southside to a father who was a successful attorney and a real estate broker and a mother who was social worker and later homemaker.

Brown was a man of many talents. Although he was a self proclaimed “entertainer,” he became a pioneer in the entertainment industry by writing and performing songs, poems and plays about the celebration of African-American life, social justice and racism, right at the time when the civil rights movement in the 60’s was unfolding. Perhaps the title ‘civil rights activist entertainer’ would be more appropriate. He enjoyed entertaining and educating his listeners and even coined the word “edutainment” when describing his approach and style. His prefered musical genre was mainly jazz, blues, folk music and gospel. Brown had an early start in the entertainment business by acting in radio plays such as “Secret City” at the age of 15. He briefly studied at the University of Wisconsin after graduating 2 years early from High School but he left before graduating after getting an opportunity to host a local radio program called "Negro Newsfront"- the US’s first black news radio broadcast at the age of 18. He was nicknamed "America's first Negro newscaster." Four years later, he quit his job and turned to politics to run unsuccessfully for the Illinois state legislature on the Progressive Party ticket.

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