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Jesse Brown

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Jesse Brown
2nd United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
January 22, 1993 – July 3, 1997
Preceded by Edward J. Derwinski
Succeeded by Togo D. West, Jr.
Personal details
Born March 27, 1944(1944-03-27)
Detroit, Michigan
Died August 15, 2002(2002-08-15) (aged 58)
Warrenton, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Alma mater City Colleges of Chicago
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Jesse Brown (March 27, 1944 – August 15, 2002) was the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.

Early life

Jesse Brown was born on March 27, 1944, in Detroit, Michigan, but grew up in Chicago. He attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and Roosevelt University in Chicago, and graduated from the City Colleges of Chicago.

Military service

He joined in the United States Marine Corps in 1963, and served as a Marine in the Vietnam War, where he was seriously injured in 1965 near Da Nang – his right arm shattered and partially paralyzed.

Veterans service


In 1967, Brown joined the staff of Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a service and advocacy organization. He served in many different supervisory roles with the DAV in the 1970s and 1980s:

  • 1973 – supervisor of National Service Office in Washington, D.C.
  • 1976 – supervisor of National Appeals Office
  • 1981 – Chief of Claims, National Service and Legislative Headquarters
  • 1983 – Deputy National Service Director

In 1989, Brown became the DAV's first African-American director, serving until 1993.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

In January 1993, Brown was picked by President Bill Clinton to the position of Secretary of Veterans Affairs,[1] serving until 1997. He was the first African American to hold that post. During his time as Secretary, Brown offered more services to female veterans, homeless veterans and veterans who were sick because of chemical exposures in Vietnam or the Gulf War. After he resigned as Secretary, Brown founded a consulting firm, Brown and Associates.[2]


Brown died in Warrenton, Virginia on August 15, 2002 of lower motor neuron syndrome – being diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, since 1999.[2][3] He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[3]


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