Kweisi Mfume (pronounced Kwah-EE-see Oom-FOO-may), was born, raised and educated in the city of Baltimore and it was there that he followed his dreams to impact society and to help shape public policy.
He attended Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where as an honors student he graduated magna cum laude. He later returned there to join the staff as an adjunct professor teaching courses in Political Science and Communications. He was recently voted the University’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year.
As Mfume’s community involvement grew, so did his experience as an activist, radio commentator, administrator, and TV personality. By the age of thirty one he had won his first election to the Baltimore City Council.
During his seven years of service in local government, he chaired the City Council’s Committee on Health Policy and led the efforts to diversify city government, improve community safety, enhance business development and divest city funds from the then apartheid government of South Africa.
He later enrolled in and was graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 1984, earning a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in International Studies.
At the age of thirty eight, he was decisively elected to the United States Congress, a seat that he was to hold for the next decade during the terms of Presidents Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton.
As a member of the House of Representatives Congressman Mfume was active with a broad array of committee obligations. He served on the Banking and Financial Services Committee and held the ranking seat on the General Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. He also served as a member of the Committee on Education and helped to impact commerce and industry matters as a senior member of the Small Business Committee.
While in his third term, he was chosen by the Speaker of the House to serve on the Ethics Committee and the Joint Economic Committee of the House and Senate where he was later elected Chairman. Congressman Mfume consistently advocated landmark business and civil rights legislation.
He successfully co-sponsored and helped to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, strengthened the Equal Credit Opportunity Law and co-authored and successfully amended the Civil Rights Bill of 1991 to apply its provisions to U.S. citizens working for American-based companies abroad. He also sponsored legislative initiatives banning assault weapons and establishing stalking as a federal crime.
Congressman Mfume served as both Vice-Chair and later Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. He was regularly designated to preside as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives; during his fifth term in office, he was appointed by the Congressional Democratic Caucus as Vice-Chairman for Communications.
Kweisi Mfume left his Congressional seat to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP in February of 1996 after being unanimously elected to the post and served there for nine years. During that time he significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP while helping to restore its prominence among the nation’s civil rights organizations.
He is widely credited with helping to raise over 90 million dollars in outside contributions for the organization while at the same time creating its national Corporate Diversity Project, developing Television Diversity Agreements with NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, and establishing 75 new college-based NAACP chapters across the nation. His program to increase the organization’s relevance included civil rights enforcement, economic empowerment, educational excellence, workforce diversity, affordable healthcare and youth outreach.
In 2003 he helped negotiate for and successfully secured the NAACP’s official United Nations’
Status as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) within that world body with all of the rights and privileges thereto and pertaining.
Kweisi Mfume was formerly a member of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, People for the American Way, the Meyerhof Scholars Advisory Board of the University of Maryland, the Senior Advisory Committee of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, the African American Advisory Board of PepsiCo, the American Society of Association Executives, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Maryland.
Mfume was an original member of the Continuity of Government Commission funded by the Carnegie, Hewlett Packard, and MacArthur foundations. The Commission was created to study and recommend reforms related to Presidential and Congressional succession in a time of national catastrophic crisis or in the event of a terrorist attack.
In 2008, he travelled the country and served as a national surrogate speaker for the “Obama for America” Presidential campaign.
In 2010, he completed 12 years of service as a member of the Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees and he has been twice named “Marylander of the Year” by both the Baltimore Sun newspaper and Maryland Magazine respectively.
In 2010 and 2011, he served an interim appointment as the Executive Director of the National Medical Association; the nation’s oldest African American Medical organization of physicians.
Appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, he currently sits on the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
In 2011, he served as a corporate consultant to AT&T of North America. And, in 2012, he was appointed by the Obama campaign to the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention.
Presently he is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Gamma Boulé Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the Order of the Prince Hall Masons, the Board of Research America, the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America, the Association of Former Members of Congress and presently serves as Chairman of the Morgan State University Board of Regents.
Mfume is currently conducting research as the Principle Investigator (PI) for the National Institute on Health Minority Health Disparities Health Policy Research Consortium.
For the last twelve years, he has lectured at scores of colleges, universities, corporations, and bar associations across the country on the subjects of corporate diversity, compliance, inclusion, disparities in health care, tolerance and the new challenges of gender and race.
His background in broadcasting includes twenty years in radio and television. For three years he hosted the nationally syndicated and NBC/Hearst TV special “The Remarkable Journey.”
He is the recipient of the NAACP Image Award and the 2005 Telly Award for the Television documentary “Ticket to Freedom.” Oratorically he has performed in concert with legendary opera soprano Kathleen Battle, and with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
He has made appearances as a guest commentator on the ABC “This Week Program” and has been featured on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, Good Morning America; Meet the Press, The O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, The Daily RunDown, Nightline and countless other news and public affairs programs. He remains a constant advocate for bi-partisan political cooperation on healthcare, social and economic issues.
Kweisi Mfume is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees conferred by the University of Maryland, Brandeis University, Loyola, Washington College, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, Morgan State University, Morehouse College, Maryland Institute of Art, The University of the Virgin Islands and the Sojourner Douglass College.
He has been honored with hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations. His bestselling autobiography published by Ballantine Books (Random House) New York, NY is entitled “No Free Ride.”