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 shape a more humane public policy.
He attended Morgan State University in Maryland where as an honor student he graduated magna cum laude. He would later return there on the staff as an adjunct professor teaching courses in Political Science and Communications.
As Mfume’s community involvement grew, so did his experience as an activist, radio commentator, administrator and TV personality. By the age of 31 he had won his first election to the Baltimore City Council.
During his 7 years of service in local government, he 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 graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 1984 with a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts and a concentration in International Studies.
At the age of 38, 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 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 serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives and 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 9 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 health care 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 and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Maryland.
In 2006 with endorsements from the Maryland State Teachers Association and the National Organization for Women (NOW) he fell 4% short in an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate from Maryland. Two years later in 2008 he 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.
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.
He recently served an interim appointment as the Executive Director of the National Medical Association to help lead and oversee the positioning of the nation’s oldest African American Medical Association and its physicians in preparation for the implementation of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act.
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 consultant to AT&T of North America and in April 2012 he was appointed to the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention.
He is presently a member of the Gamma Boulé Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and the Order of the Prince Hall Masons, the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the Board of Research America, the National Advisory Council of Boy Scouts of America, the American Society of Association Executives and the Association of Former Members of Congress.
For the last twelve years he has lectured at scores of Colleges, Universities, Corporations, and Bar Associations across the country on corporate diversity, compliance, inclusion, disparities in health care, tolerance and the new challenges of gender and race.
His background in broadcasting includes 13 years in radio. For 3 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.” 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, Nightline and countless other news and public affairs programs. He remains a constant advocate for bi-partisan political cooperation and conversation over crisis.
Kweisi Mfume is the recipient of ten honorary doctorate 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, and the Sojourner Douglass College.
He has been honored with hundreds of other awards, proclamations and citations. His former bestselling autobiography published by Ballantine Books (Random House) New York, NY is entitled "No Free Ride."