Bergen County honors historian and civil rights activist

Arnold Brown's family roots in New Jersey are almost as old as the United States itself. One ancestor was born into slavery in Bergen County. Several generations and more than 220 years later, the Browns are still in the county.

Now 86, Brown has led a life fighting for equality, including integrating the local schools in his hometown of Englewood.

For his work, he was invited to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream speech" and stood just feet from the civil rights icon.

He overcame personal obstacles along the way and bought his own house on Knickerbocker Road a half-century ago. He has lived there ever since.

Now Bergen County was set to honor him on Thursday for his decades of work in civil rights and uncovering and preserving the history of African Americans in northern New Jersey.