Dividing Line: RONALD HARMON BROWN: 1941-1996

AN EMPTY SEAT AT THE TABLE

FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, the first week of April has often been a time when their heroes have died. In 1950 it was blood-plasma pioneer Dr. Charles R. Drew. In 1968 it was Martin Luther King Jr. Last week it was Carl Stokes of Cleveland, the first black big-city mayor, and Ron Brown, Bill Clinton's Secretary of Commerce, who at 54 perished doing what he always did best: trying to make deals.

Brown will be remembered more as the Frank Robinson than the Jackie Robinson of big-league politics--that is, as a star manager instead of a player. Most black leaders make their...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!