Interview with Tom Watson Brown, August 8, 2006

Collection: Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection

Dublin Core


William R. "Bill" Shipp interviews Tom Watson Brown. Topics include Tom Watson (Brown's great-grandfather and national Populist leader), the Leo Frank case, Walter J. Brown, James F. Byrnes, Strom Thurmond, MARTA, the Watson-Brown Foundation, and the T.R.R. Cobb House. Brown discusses his family and southern populism, the start of World War II, and his early life. He recalls Strom Thurmond's 1954 Senatorial Campaign in South Carolina, his service in the military, and his experience at Princeton and Harvard Law School. Brown also discusses his involvement in MARTA, the murder of Mary Phagan, and the rehabilitation of the T.R.R. Cobb House. He discusses his interest in the Civil War, including the preservation of Civil War battlefields and books on Southern history. Brown comments on the effect of technology and the internet on scholarship and literacy, his investment in the Atlanta Falcons, and his political contributions.

Thomas Watson Brown, the great grandson of Tom Watson, grandson of J. J. Brown, and son of Walter J. Brown, was born in 1933, in Washington D.C. Following his graduation from Princeton University in 1954, Mr. Brown worked on Strom Thurmond’s successful U.S. Senate campaign. He then entered the Army, working for the Counter Intelligence Corps, and was discharged in 1956. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1959 and came to Atlanta, working for Charles Weltner’s law firm. He served as Chairman of the Board of the Atlanta Transit Company (later MARTA), sat on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society for twenty-five years (winning the Martin Luther King Award for Social Justice), was a board member and attorney for Spartan Communications (founded by Walter J. Brown), and served as President and Chairman of the Watson-Brown Foundation. He died January 13, 2007.






Oral History Item Type Metadata


90 minutes


Tom Watson Brown and Bill Shipp, “Interview with Tom Watson Brown, August 8, 2006,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed February 26, 2024,