Kweisi Mfume was elected chair of the board of regents of Morgan State University in Baltimore. He is an alumnus of the university and is a former Congressman from Maryland and the former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Born Frizzell Gray, he dropped out of high school. He became a street hustler and fathered five children out of wedlock by the time he was 22 years old. One summer night while sitting outside a liquor store he had an epiphany, seeing the image of his mother who had passed away when he was 16 years old. He decided he must change his life. He enrolled in Baltimore City College and changed his name to Kweisi Mfume, Ghanaian for “conquering son of kings.” He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at Morgan State and a master’s degree in international studies at Johns Hopkins University.
In 1979, Mfume was elected to the Baltimore City Council and in 1986 he won a seat in Congress. He was reelected four times and served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1996, with the GOP in control of Congress, he left Capitol Hill to become president of the NAACP. He served in that role until 2004.