Brown-Lewis, Charliese(born: 1974)
Born in Versailles, Kentucky, Charliese Brown was the third African American to be selected as the Kentucky Derby Festival Queen, crowned in 1996. Derby Festival Queens have been selected every year since 1957; it is believed that the first two African American queens were selected in the 1980s. Becoming a derby queen begins with a nomination. Brown was a junior at Kentucky State University (KSU) when she was nominated by Betty Gibson, Vice President of Student Affairs at KSU. An application and photos were submitted, and Brown was selected as a princess. The Royal Court acted as ambassadors and represented the community at a variety of functions. In addition to being named the Derby Festival Queen in 1996, Charliese Brown was recognized as a member of the 1996 KSU Homecoming Court. She is the daughter of Charles E. Brown Jr. and Geraldine Collins Brown, and a sister to Chantel Brown Depp. For more information see the Kentucky Derby Festival web site.