Maryland’s First Black Attorney General Has Jamaican Connection

Former congressman and lieutenant governor of Maryland, Democrat Anthony Brown, achieved a historic election victory in the state, becoming its first African American attorney general. Brown described his win as an honor and a privilege in a speech to supporters in Baltimore following announced projections by the Associated Press on election night on November 8, 2022. He also emphasized that with his election Maryland had rejected “hate, conspiracies, and division” and that the state “embraces our differences and sees each of our neighbors as deserving of respect.”

His victory was one of several historic “firsts” for Maryland, which also elected Democrat Wes Moore as its first Black governor, Aruna Miller as the first Indian American to be elected a lieutenant governor, and Brooke Lierman as its first woman to serve as the state’s controller.

Brown, a Harvard-trained lawyer and Iraq War veteran, gave up his seat in Congress where he represented Maryland’s 4th District, to run for attorney general because he wanted to have more of an impact on issues that he has worked for his entire life. He campaigned on addressing violent crime by increasing the office’s organized crime unit, making stronger ties with local state attorneys, and work for reforms in criminal and juvenile justice systems, with a particular focus on the systems’ over-incarceration of young Black men. He also plans to expand voting rights, protect abortion rights, decriminalize marijuana, control so-called “ghost guns” and even pursue legal action against gun makers.

Anthony Brown was born in Huntington, New York, in 1961. His father, Roy Hershel Brown, was a doctor born in Cayo Mambi, Cuba, but raised in Kingston, Jamaica. He came to the United States to attend Fordham University. He met Anthony’s mother in Zurich, Switzerland, where he was studying medicine, and after they married, the couple moved to New York, the birthplace of Anthony and his siblings. Anthony graduated from Huntington High School in 1979 and as a senior, he was the first African American elected president of the school’s student council. After graduation, he attended the US Military Academy at West Point, then switched to Harvard College to major in government. He enrolled in Army Reserve Officer Training at MIT and received a two-year scholarship. He graduated with an A.B. cum laude and as a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1984 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army, serving for five years. He was a helicopter pilot with the Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Europe. He entered Harvard Law School in 1989 after his active military service and received his JD in 1992.

His political career began in 1998 with his election to the Maryland House of Delegates as a representative of the 25th district. He served two terms there and held several leadership positions. In 2006, he was elected lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket and became the state’s eighth lieutenant governor in 2007. He was the first individual to be elected to that position directly from Maryland’s House of Delegates.