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Willie L. Brown Jr. (1934–) was a Democratic member of the California State Assembly from 1964 to 1994, including fifteen years as Speaker of the Assembly. This established him as a powerful African American politician, renowned for a charming and flamboyant style. Brown's political career ended in 2004 after two terms as the mayor of San Francisco.

Brown was born on March 20, 1934, in the segregated rural community of Mineola in East Texas. In 1951 the ambitious teenager fled to California, enrolled at San Francisco State University, and became involved in political activism. In 1955 he earned a degree in political science and a law degree in 1958 from University of California, Hastings College of Law. Brown started his own law practice, but his attention ...

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