Richard E. Brown of Owensboro, Ky., in Daviess County, was appointed by the governor to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Board of Commissioners. Brown previously served on the commission for five years from 2001 to 2006. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Brescia University in Owensboro. He has served on the Daviess County Foundation Board, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Owensboro Career Development Association Inc. Commissioner Brown took the oath of office at the Kentucky Human Rights Board of Commissioners January meeting. His term will expire September 12, 2015. He replaces Alma Louise Randolph Patton of Owensboro, whose term expired.
Commissioner Brown has been a longtime activist for civil and human rights in Owensboro since the early 1960s. A local and statewide leader of the NAACP, he used his influence to calm racial tensions after a riot in 1968 caused police to heavily patrol black neighborhoods. He fought for more hiring of minorities in Owensboro city government, which resulted in the hiring of the city’s first black firefighter in 1971. He and the NAACP addressed threats and racist protests toward black coal miners in Western Kentucky. He helped 30,000 Owensboro residents resist a march of the Ku Klux Klan by wearing yellow ribbons that indicated their city stood for unity rather than division. He helped the Daviess County Board of Education recruit minority teachers and organized scholarships and field trips for area youth. He is an inductee of the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame.