Willie Brown

Mayor + Politician + Lawyer
Born Mar 20, 1934

Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served over 30 years in the California State Assembly, spending 15 years as its Speaker, and afterward served as the 41st mayor of San Francisco, the first African American to do so. Under the current California term limits law, no Speaker of the California State Assembly will ever have a longer tenure than Brown's.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Willie Brown.

  • 57e54cc21700002900ac6aa3
    America's Oldest Park Ranger Enjoys Special Treat For 95th Birthday
    Huffington Post - Sep 23, 2016
  • Big Names To Help Rechristen Bay Bridge Span For Willie Brown
    San Francisco Chronicle - Feb 10, 2014
  • S henry waxman mini
    Considering Henry Waxman: Despite Drawbacks, The Congressman And The Scene He Helped Create Had Massive Accomplishments
    Huffington Post - Feb 05, 2014
  • Bay Bridge: Too Big To Fail
    San Francisco Chronicle - Jan 31, 2014


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Willie Brown.


1934 Birth Born on March 20, 1934.


1951 17 Years Old 1 More Event
Brown was born in Mineola, Texas and attended a segregated high school. He moved to San Francisco in 1951, attending San Francisco State University and graduating in 1955 with a degree in liberal studies. … Read More


1955 21 Years Old Brown earned a bachelor's degree in political science from San Francisco State College in 1955. … Read More
1958 24 Years Old 1 More Event
Brown earned a J.D. in 1958 and was class president at Hastings.
1962 28 Years Old He lost the election to the California State Assembly in 1962 by 600 votes before winning a second election in 1964.


1964 30 Years Old Brown was one of four African Americans in the Assembly in 1964.
1969 35 Years Old …  He became the Democrats' Assembly whip in 1969. … Read More
1972 38 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1972, he delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention.


1975 41 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1975, Willie Brown authored and lobbied the successful passing of the Consenting Adult Sex Bill that legalized homosexuality in California, thus earning the strong and lasting support of San Francisco's gay community.
1977 43 Years Old Similarly, he voted against AB 607, which banned same-sex marriage in 1977, further building his reputation as a supporter of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. … Read More
1980 46 Years Old He won the Speakership in 1980 with 28 Republican and 23 Democratic votes.
1981 47 Years Old Brown was California's first African American Speaker of the Assembly, and served in the office from 1981 to 1995.


1984 50 Years Old …  He also made a cameo appearance in the 1984 Jefferson Starship music video Layin' It on the Line (depicting a futuristic 1988 presidential campaign). … Read More
1990 56 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1990, Brown helped negotiate an end to a 64-day budget standoff. … Read More
1992 58 Years Old 1 More Event
Brown gained a reputation for knowing what was occurring in the state legislature at all times. In 1992, he gave US$1.18 million to the Democratic Party to help with voter registration and several campaigns, some of which was from contributions from tobacco companies and insurance companies. … Read More


He continued to be reelected to the Assembly until 1995.
Brown served as San Francisco mayor from January 8, 1996 until January 8, 2004. … Read More
He helped to oversee the settling of a two-day garbage strike in April 1997. … Read More
In 1998, Brown wrote a letter to President Clinton urging him to halt a federal lawsuit aimed at closing medical marijuana clubs. … Read More
1999 65 Years Old 1 More Event
Brown's opponents in his 1999 mayoral reelection campaign were former Mayor Frank Jordan and Clint Reilly. … Read More
2000 - 2006 4 More Events
Brown remained neutral throughout the 2008 presidential campaign. … Read More
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