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Willie Brown speaking at Modesto JC MLK event
Willie Brown in 20061a
Willie Brown - photo by Photo Contributed
MODESTO – Willie Lewis Brown, Jr., two-term mayor of San Francisco and longest-serving speaker of the California State Assembly (1980 – 1995), will provide the keynote address entitled “How Martin Helped Shape My Life” at the community-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration to be held Friday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Modesto Junior College Auditorium.

The annual event which celebrates the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. will also feature music and the presentation of the annual Legacy Award to local community leader and activist Tommie Muhammad. Brown will sign copies of his book “Basic Brown” following the Commemoration. The event is open to the public and free of charge. There will be a reception for Mayor Brown in the MJC’s East Campus Student Center from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Brown has been at the center of California politics, government, and civic life for four decades, and he is widely regarded as the most influential African-American politician of the late 20th century. He was re-elected 16 straight times to the 13th Assembly District (San Francisco), and his political career spans the American Presidency from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush. He has worked with every California Governor from Pat Brown to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships, and affirmative action, Brown has left his mark on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State. As the mayor of San Francisco, he refurbished and rebuilt the nation’s busiest transit system, pioneered the use of bond measures to build affordable housing, created a model juvenile justice system, and paved the way for a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco.

Brown has served on the Board of Trustees for the California State University system and on the Board of Regents for the University of California system. Today, he heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Institute on Politics and Public Service, where this master of politics shares his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders.

Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Hastings College of Law, University of California. He has been honored with over 16 honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the country. Born in Texas in 1934, Brown is the father of four grown children.

Historian Kevin Starr wrote, “Willie Brown has long proven to be one of the most charismatic, engaging, and effective politicians of his generation.”