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Robert S. Browne and Foreign Policy

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Browne, Robert S. (1957-1995). "Robert S. Browne Papers." Series IV: Vietnam. Archived at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture, New York Public Library.

The following is a bibliographic record for the "Robert S. Browne Papers," from the New York Public Library's research catalog, CATNYP. The papers are located at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Call #: Sc MG 239
Author: Browne, Robert S.
Title: Robert Span Browne papers, 1957-1995.

Location: Schomburg-Mss&Rbks
Descript: 7.2 lin. ft.
Arranged: Collection organized into five series: I Personal Papers; II General Correspondence; III Political Activities; IV Vietnam; and V Writings.

Browne has been a prolific writer within his areas of expertise, i.e. American involvement in the Vietnam conflict, especially its impact on African-Americans, economics as it pertains to African Americans and to a lesser extent, to Africans. Most of his writings have been in the form of articles, letters to the editor and book reviews as well as writing and co-authoring several books.

The Robert S. Browne Papers document Browne's role as an important African-American economist whose ideas helped shaped the discourse on Black America during the 1960's, as well as his active involvement as an early outspoken critic of the American military campaigns in Vietnam The Browne Papers consist primarily of professional correspondence relating to all aspects of his career as an economist and black activist with the National Conference on Black Power and National Black Political Convention; his campaign for the United States Senate in 1966 and other political activities.

The collection is divided into five series and two subseries. The Personal Papers series consists of biographical information including resumes and autobiographical sketches, Browne's letters to family and friends, job applications, and tributes.

The two subseries within General Correspondence: Fairleigh Dickinson University (1966-1974) and Black Economic Research Center (1969-1981) consists principally of correspondence Browne kept at FDU and BERC pertaining to his speaking engagements, conference participation, writings, and other professional and personal matters. These files do not relate to his teaching responsibilities at FDU or to his administrative role at BERC.

The series Political Activities documents Browne's 1966 political campaign for the United States Senate seat from New Jersey. Material from the National Conference on Black Power includes reports on sessions and Browne's workshop on economic empowerment, and correspondence between Browne and Amiri Baraka (one of the conference's co-chairs) dealing with their participation in meetings regarding the conference. The series also contains material for the 1972 National Black Political Convention including drafts of the National Black Political Agenda and drafts of papers by others concerning a variety of topics as they relate to African Americans including human development, communications, foreign policy, rural development, and political empowerment, as well as Browne's paper on economic empowerment.

The Vietnam series reflects Browne's long-term commitment to influence United States policy on Vietnam. Correspondence with officials and others detail Browne's position, especially his conviction that the U.S. followed an erroneous course in supporting Vietnam's President Diem. Diaries document two trips Browne took to Vietnam in 1967 and 1978 to observe the changes that had occurred in the country. In addition there is material about African-American involvement both as soldiers and protesters.

The largest series in this collection is Writings, and includes speeches Browne delivered at conferences nationwide concerning the economic policies of the United States, especially as they relate to African Americans and economic empowerment, manuscripts for published articles, book reviews, and letters to the editor about the same topics. Copies of his numerous publications are also included in this series, including "Race Relations in International Affairs" (1961) and responses generated by Browne's controversial 1967 article, "The Case for Black Separatism."

Robert Span Browne (1924-) has been an economist, black activist, foreign aid officer, professor, economic consultant, founder of three black self-help organizations, and writer and speaker in his areas of expertise.

Browne began his career teaching at New Orleans' Dillard University in 1947 and served as the Industrial Field Secretary for the Chicago Urban League, 1950-1952. He held positions with the Agency for International Development in Cambodia (1955-1958) and in Vietnam (1958-1961). As a result of his experiences in Southeast Asia, he became a deeply involved activist against American involvement in Vietnam, and ran for the United States Senate from New Jersey as an independent candidate in 1966 on an anti-Vietnam platform.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's Browne immersed himself in working for black economic change. He assisted in organizing the 1967 National Conference on Black Power in New Jersey which called for the partitioning of the United States into two sovereign entities, one white, one black. In 1969 Browne delivered the keynote address at the National Black Economic Development Conference which addressed the liberation of African Americans through economic development as a means of gaining control of their destiny. He also participated in the 1972 National Black Political Convention which put forward a national agenda which sought an independent black politics striving toward change in the realms of economics, human development, international policy, communications, rural development, politics and other major issues.

In order to realize some of the goals involving black economic empowerment, Browne founded three organizations: Black Economic Research Center (1969), as a center of applied research that garnered the services of black economists, utilizing their research for many black economic development undertakings (BERC also published a quarterly journal, "The Review of Black Political Economy"); the Twenty-First Century Foundation in 1971, a small black-controlled foundation established to fund black organizations in the fields of education and economic development; and the Emergency Land Fund (organized in 1971) which was designed to assist African Americans retain their steadily declining land holdings in the South and to utilize them effectively.

Among several teaching posts, Browne taught economics at Fairleigh Dickinson University (1964-1972) and also served as Senior Research Fellow of African Studies at Howard University (1982-1985). He was Staff Director of the Subcommittee on International Development, Finance, Trade and Monetary Policy of the House Banking Committee, where he worked on issues related to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Third World debt, among others (1986-1991). Browne retired in 1993 and since that time has been an economic consultant for Washington, D.C. based organizations, several dealing with Africa.

Note: Finding aid available.

Browne, Robert S., 1924-
Baraka, Imamu Amiri, 1934-
National Black Political Convention (1972 : Gary, Ind.)
National Conference on Black Power (1967 : Newark, N.J.)
International relations.
Race relations.
Black power -- United States.
Black nationalism -- United States.
African American intellectuals.
African Americans -- Employment.
African Americans -- Politics and government.
Economic policy.
African Americans -- Economic conditions -- Research.
Elections -- United States.
Elections -- New Jersey.
Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975 -- African Americans.
Banks and banking, International.
United States -- Race relations.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1963-1969.
United States -- Social conditions -- 1960-1969.
New Jersey -- Politics and government.
Africa -- Economic conditions.
Form/genre Speeches.
Add'l name Browne, Robert S.
Donor Schomburg NEH Archival Resources for the Study of the Post-Civil Rights Movements Project.
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