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Oscar Brown, Jr.

Born October 10, 1926, in Chicago, Oscar Brown, Jr. defied narrow definition. Throughout his forty-year career, he was part jazz singer, part poet, part entertainer and part songwriter. As an aspiring young playwright in 1960, Brown made an unprecedented two-hour appearance on NBC soon after writing "Kicks & Company". Though the play never made it to Broadway, Brown had arrived. He began sharing the stage with such greats as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Nancy Wilson and Julius "Cannonball" Adderley. His London-based, two-hour, one-man show, "Oscar Brown, Jr. Entertains," led him to be hailed as a musical genius. He also made headlines with a project that worked effectively with local gang members, done in conjunction with his performance partner and wife, Jean Pace. Among their many discoveries were the Jackson Five. A composer of several hundred songs and more than a dozen full-length feature pieces, Brown lived in Chicago with his family.

He passed away on May 29, 2005 at age 78.

Accession Number

A2000.010

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/19/2000

Last Name

Brown

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Cicero

Schools

Frances E. Willard Elementary School

Englewood High School

Lincoln University

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Oscar

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BRO03

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

McCormick Tribune Foundation

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

10/10/1926

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Death Date

5/29/2005

Short Description

Poet, entertainer, and music composer Oscar Brown, Jr. (1926 - 2005 ) was a black music theorist whose compositions included the song “Afro Blue” which was performed by Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Liz Wright.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Brown

DAStories

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown, Jr. narrates his photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr.'s favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. describes his parents' backgrounds

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. remembers his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. shares memories from his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Oscar Brown Jr. describes his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Oscar Brown Jr. remembers his parents

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls his childhood environs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. details his interests as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. lists the schools he attended

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. details his early radio career

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses his early activism

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls his early endeavors in the arts

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. details his experiences during the 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls his dismissal from the Communist Party

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls writing his play 'Kicks and Company'

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Oscar Brown Jr. recounts the production of his play 'Kicks and Company'

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses his career pursuits after 'Kicks and Company'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls his Chicago performances

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses race and power in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. describes his study of black bodies in motion

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr. shares his personal philosophy on modern society

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. expresses his hopes for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. reflects on his life's work

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. recalls his time in various cities

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses his relationship with entertainer Jean Pace, part 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses race, citizenship and taxation in the U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses his relationship with entertainer Jean Pace, part 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Oscar Brown Jr. discusses the role of hats in his personal style

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Oscar Brown Jr. considers his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Oscar Brown Jr. sings 'Brown Baby'