The Harold K. Brown Civil Rights Collection


The Harold K. Brown Civil Rights Collection

Digitized selections from the Harold K. Brown Papers, a collection that documents Mr. Brown's participation in the local San Diego Civil Rights Movement, with a heavy emphasis on the San Diego Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), led by Mr. Brown. Highlights include the Congress of Racial Equality's actions against the employment practices of the San Diego Zoo, SDG&E, Montgomery Ward, and Bank of America. The resource includes reel-to-reel audio recordings of the "Viewpoints" program on KSDO Radio, a listener call-in program where perspectives on civil rights, equal rights, and race relations were presented and discussed.

Harold Brown, also known as Hal, was born in 1934 in York, Pennsylvania, a small working-class town.  After graduating high school, Brown attended Penn State, but left after his first semester in order to play minor league baseball with the St. Louis Browns.  After sustaining an injury, Brown moved to San Diego in 1953 to attend San Diego State College on a basketball scholarship.  His studies were interrupted by two years of military service, but he later returned to SDSC and finished his degree in physical education and speech.  Upon graduating in 1961, Brown began a six-year teaching career at a local junior high school.  During this time, he also became extremely active in the San Diego Civil Rights Movement.  Brown was also a member of the El Cajon Valley Open Housing Committee, which sought to integrate neighborhoods in El Cajon and La Mesa.  In addition, he helped to found and chair the local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  This organization fought unfair employment practices, and organized civil rights marches, demonstrations and sit-ins across San Diego. 

Later, Brown became the Deputy Director for the US Peace Corps in Lesotho.  In 1971, he returned from Africa and became California State University's Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Assistant to the Vice President for Administration, making him the first African-American administrator at San Diego State.  He also served as the Associate Dean of Planning and Director of the Afro-American Studies Program, which he helped to establish, and he was appointed Director of Campus Information Systems in 1973.  Afterward, he became the Associate Dean for External Relations in the College of Business Administration.  As Associate Dean, he developed a certificate program in community economic development and founded the Center for Community Economic Development (CCED). The purpose of the program was to create economic self-reliance in poorer communities, such as southeast San Diego, by offering classes in accounting, computers, financial planning, and leadership.  It was one of only a handful of such programs in the United States.  Brown retired in 1997, but continued consulting until 2004.  Harold Brown has been the recipient of numerous awards for his service both to the university and to the community.


Special Collections and University Archives in the Library of San Diego State University