August 29, 2015
Lorenzo Brown was born on December 26, 1941, to the late Claude and Mabel O’Neil Brown. He was the youngest of their seven children. Although he was raised in Marion, Alabama, he was actually born in Selma, since Marion did not have a hospital for “colored women.”
Lorenzo was baptized as a member of the Zion Methodist Church while in Marion. One by one, he and his siblings migrated north to Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where Lorenzo graduated from Evanston Township High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University and his master’s degree from Syracuse University, both in economics.
The 1960s civil rights movement included an intensive plan to improve the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the South, and Lorenzo was one of many professors who participated. He returned to Alabama and taught economics at Miles College, an HBCU in Birmingham. While there his passion for racial equality led him to become involved in many civil rights activities.
On a return visit to Chicago, Lorenzo met the love of his life, Jamie Foster, in the cafeteria of Roosevelt University. They married in Alabama six months later.
Lorenzo and Jamie moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where Lorenzo received his doctorate in economics. His dissertation, “Return to Scale Economics,” was selected by the University of Stockholm as a textbook for the economics curriculum. Lorenzo and Jamie traveled and studied extensively throughout Europe. While in Sweden, they welcomed their sons, Randall and Russell, into the world.
When they returned to the United States they made their home in Washington, D.C. Lorenzo taught economics at Howard University and became a prolific author of articles like “Why Should Black-Owned Businesses Hire Predominately Black Labor Forces,” published in the Review of Black Political Economy.
After leaving Howard University he went to work for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) while concurrently consulting for the C&P Telephone Company (now part of Verizon). In 1992, he left FERC to work full-time with Jamie on a newsletter that she’d begun after leaving a little startup cable network known today as BET. That newsletter was the beginning of Sister 2 Sister magazine, where Lorenzo served as the managing editor and company president for 23 years.
Lorenzo, Renny or simply “Big Lo,” always displayed the most infectious smile before everyone he met. He was full of love, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, thoughtfulness, helpfulness and fun. He loved fishing, tennis and watching basketball, but if there was a conflict, basketball always won. And nobody could grill ribs and chicken like Big Lo.
To cherish his love, Lorenzo leaves behind his wife of 46 years, Jamie Foster Brown; two sons, Randall and Russell; three sisters, Octavia (Jim), Edna (Charlie) and Geraldine; two sisters-in-law, Stella and Shirley; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and dear friends.
Love offerings, cards and well-wishes can be sent to Jamie Foster Brown, PO Box 41148, Washington, DC 20018.
3600 Brightseat Road
Landover, MD 20785
Get Driving Directions