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Kweisi Mfume (born as Frizzell Gray) was born October 24, 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland. He entered the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. While in Congress, he led the Congressional Black Caucus and actively supported civil rights and affirmative action. He retired from Congress in 1996 to become president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where he served through 2004.

While earning his undergraduate degree at Morgan State University in Maryland, Mfume grew interested in politics, becoming head of the Black Student Union and editor of the school newspaper. After graduation in 1976, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University to earn his masters degree in Liberal Arts. In the early 1970s, in recognition of his heritage and his success over his beginnings, he legally changed his name to Kweisi Mfume, a name from Ghana that translates to “Conquering Son of Kings”.

After working as an assistant professor and a program director for a local radio station, Mfume became active in local politics, first serving on Baltimore’s city council (1979-1986) before entering the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. While serving in Congress, Mfume led the Congressional Black Caucus and actively supported civil rights and affirmative action legislation. He retired from Congress in 1996 to become president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, where he served through 2004.

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