Birthplace: Baltimore, Md.
Mfume became active in politics while a student at Morgan State University in Maryland. There, he headed the Black Student Union and edited the school's newspaper. In the years following his graduation, he taught political science and communications and earned a masters degree in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University. Mfume served on Baltimore's city council from 1979 until 1986, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He was leader of the Congressional Black Caucus from 1992 to 1994. A political Democrat, Mfume actively supported civil-rights and affirmative-action legislation. In 1996 he gave up his seat to become president and CEO of the prestigious civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He stepped down from his NAACP presidency in Jan. 2005. He made an unsuccessful run for retiring Paul Sarbanes's (D-Md.) Senate seat in 2006.