In Memoriam

William Neal Brown (1919-2009)

William Neal Brown, a Tuskegee Airman who was the first African American hired to the faculty of Rutgers University, died at his home in Millburn, New Jersey. He was 90 years old.

Dr. Brown grew up near Pittsburgh where his father worked in a steel mill. The valedictorian of his graduating class, he had no money for college and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal public works program. He eventually joined a program at Hampton University where he worked during the day and took college classes at night. He later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York.

In November 1961 Brown held a one-on-one debate with Malcolm X on the Newark campus of Rutgers University. The topic was integration versus black separatism.

Dr. Brown served on the Rutgers University faculty for 41 years. He also served as a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wisconsin, and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.