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.
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
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
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.)
Black power -- United States.
Black nationalism -- United States.
African American intellectuals.
African Americans -- Employment.
African Americans -- Politics and government.
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.
Add'l name Browne, Robert S.
Donor Schomburg NEH Archival Resources for the Study of the Post-Civil Rights Movements Project.