Dr. Bob Brown rose from humble beginnings in High Point, first in law enforcement, then public relations, before eventually working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As part of our continuing Black History Month coverage, Spectrum News reporter Nana-Sentuo Bonsu has part two of Dr. Brown's story. He had just learned about the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a close friend:
NORTH CAROLINA -- After the funeral of Dr. Bob Brown’s close friend, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Brown remained close with the King family. King’s widow, Coretta Scott, introduced him to President Nelson Mandela's wife Winnie. Brown had agreed to bring Mandela's children to America to go to college.
"Mrs. Mandela said, ‘You got to go in and see Mandela. Mandela needs to meet who is going to be the guardian of his children,'” said Brown.
At the time, President Mandela was an inmate at Pollsmoor Prison in Capetown.
Brown said, "Nobody had seen Nelson Mandela in 20 or so years except his immediate family."
Winne Mandela insisted that Brown would meet her husband and then he received a phone call.
"He said I work for President Botha and he asked me to call you to tell you that he has given you permission to go to Pollsmoor Prison tomorrow to meet with Nelson Mandela."
The next day, Brown traveled to Capetown where he was greeted by a prison guard, and moments later he laid eyes on Mandela. They discussed family, civil rights in South Africa and Mandela's future hopes for his country.
"I spent almost two hours with Mr. Mandela, and nobody in the 20 something years he had been in prison, nobody has spent more than 15-20 minutes with him."
After their meeting, Bob Brown returned to the States continuing to do what he loved to do, serving others. He served as an adviser to presidents Nixon, Bush and Obama and other world leaders.
"I didn't ask for a meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., I didn't ask for a meeting with Nelson Mandela. I didn't ask for a meeting with all these different presidents. I work with Democrats and Republicans,” said Brown.
Brown continues to serve the community. His PR firm in High Point is still open. He's started the RJB Education Equity Foundation that provides education and literacy worldwide and in his backyard.
Brown is building schools in North Carolina for undeserved children.
"Children can't wait, we can't wait for another five to 10 to 15 years until we get everything straight. We have to do the best we can right now, and the charter schools are the way to doing it to the best we can be right now."
This is a legacy that was built on his grandmother's foundations.
"If you live your life reaching out and helping other people, He will take you where you can't even dream of, son."
Dr. Brown's foundation plans to open doors to the year round charter schools in North Carolina in 2019.