Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown is a man dedicated to social justice and the teachings of Jesus. Throughout his life, his work embodied the fight for human rights and upheld the morals of the church. Through his ministry, service, activism, and community involvement, he has created a long-lasting impact that will be engraved in the fight for justice.
Amos C. Brown was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on February 20, 1941. He was raised in an environment of hardship and constant struggle. Brown attributes his strength to his upbringing in his hometown. He explains that Jackson had a strong sense of community where both middle-class and lower-income African Americans came together to form family-like relationships. When he was fifteen, the death of Emmett Till strongly impacted Brown. In response, he created the first NAACP Youth Council in Jackson. Shortly after, he was invited to San Francisco to attend an NAACP national convention. There he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks, who had just succeeded in the Montgomery Bus Boycott—and this milestone galvanized a lifetime of work aimed at gaining justice.
After finishing high school, Brown obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehouse College in 1964. He later went on to earn his Master of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. He began his service as a pastor at Saint Paul’s Baptist Church in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and later worked at Pilgrim Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1976, he was called upon to be the pastor at San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church, where he implemented his “priestly prophetic model of ministry.” This model aims to call people to truth, justice, and to strive for world peace. He continues to speak about his service as “two-winged”—you need individual effort and a ministry dedicated to social justice. Brown actively works to promote social justice and also strives to help others with personal problems.
This philosophy has guided his many widespread contributions. He helped start a successful summer school program and after-school academic enrichment program as well as a music academy free for all to express themselves. Brown also directed efforts to donate $68,000 for the Somalian relief effort in 1984, and $300,000 for the Ethiopian crisis.
He has held positions as a member of the governing board of San Francisco Community College, and as National Chairman of the National Baptist Commission on Civil Rights and Human services. He has also served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Chairman of the Bay Area Ecumenical Pastors Conference, first Vice President of the California State Baptist Convention, President of the NAACP branch in San Francisco, and as a member of the governing board of the National Council of Churches of Christ.
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown’s work has pushed for equality on both the national and international stage. As an active leader, he has worked on the 2001 United Nations Conference on Race and Intolerance, served as a national faith leader after 9/11 and met with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and South African President Nelson Mandela to speak about pressing issues regarding African development and US foreign policy. His church has accepted more African refugees than any other church in America. He has also worked with NAACP president Kweisi Mfume to provide scholarships to students pursuing higher education. Throughout all of his efforts, Brown has continuously stressed the importance of education. Partnering the church with San Francisco State University and San Francisco Community College, he acknowledges education as a way to liberate people from their physical, mental, psychological, and emotional bondage.
Most recently, Brown has been serving as an activist fighting the San Francisco housing and gentrification crisis. Dr. Rev. Brown seeks to ensure that the African American community in San Francisco, specifically the Fillmore District, is able to stay and prosper despite the changing landscape of the city.
As a testament to his hard work, Brown has received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Ministerial Award, was inducted into the International Hall of Fame at the King International Chapel at Morehouse College, was invited to Christmas dinner with President Obama, and he has been frequently honored in his hometown of Jackson. A recent celebration held at Third Baptist Church honoring 40 years of Rev. Dr. Brown’s service brought numerous national and international luminaries to town to recognize his leadership.
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown is the true embodiment of passion, hard work, determination, and dedication to social justice. As the NAACP website rightly proclaims: “Dr. Amos C. Brown is a legend in his own time.”
— Carlos Calles, Kimberly McAllister, and Zachary James
“Dr. Amos C. Brown.” NAACP. 2019.
“Pastor Brown.” Third Baptist.org. 2016.
“Rev. Amos Brown to celebrate 40 years at San Francisco’s Third Baptist Church.” ABC 7 News. 2 Sep 2017.