He's rubbed shoulders with icons of the U.S. civil rights movement. An "out of control" schoolboy, he was shipped out of Bermuda to Jamaica.

In college he became a well-known student activist and later, conflict with the medical authorities in Bermuda put him in self-imposed exile.

Dr. Ewart Brown is no stranger to controversy.

It emerged last night that one of his four sons is in jail in California. Another son is a doctor. If he wanted to gain political mileage out of the contrast, he might claim that he's attuned to the whole gamut of challenges faced by parents. Love him or loathe him - and whether or not he wins next week's leadership election - no-one can deny that Dr. Ewart Brown has brought some excitement to a largely uninspiring political scene. Here, Meredith Ebbin explores the makings of the man.

Dr. Ewart Brown, the man who would be premier, was breast-fed on politics.

His mother, Helene Brown, was a United Bermuda Party MP who served in Parliament alongside her sister Gloria McPhee, Bermuda's first female Cabinet Minister. A strong political streak runs through both sides of his family - the Darrells of Flatts and the Browns, who are descended from Jamaican immigrants.

Dr. Brown, 60, told the Bermuda Sun this week: "When people understand both sides of my family and the politicians who have preceded me they can understand me better. I am the fifth family MP - Russell Levi Pearman, Gilbert Darrell, my mother, Gloria and Cal Smith."

Like many parents, he has children who have made him proud and one who has fallen by the wayside.

Dr. Brown confirmed to the Bermuda Sun last night that his son Maurice Pitt, whose mother is Bermudian, is currently serving time in jail in California. Dr. Brown would not discuss the nature of his conviction, saying his son wanted the information to remain private. "I won't say anything further about it," he said.

Dr. Brown grew up in Flatts, the son of Ewart D.A. Brown, and Helene, a schoolteacher. His sister Emelita, who is two years younger, resides in California, where he lived for many years. D.A. Brown's other sons and Ewart Brown's half-brothers are Bank of Bermuda CEO Philip Butterfield and Chief Fire Office Vincent Hollinsid.

Dr. Brown attended Harrington Sound, Elliott and Central schools, Berkeley Institute, then Bermuda Technical Institute before being shipped off the island to attend school in Jamaica where his aunt lived. He was kicked out of Tech for being out of control.

So why was he out of control? "As I look back on it, I was just a hyperkenetic young man who probably just needed something to soak up my energy as opposed to just sitting in school all day," he said. "When I got to Jamaica, all of a sudden, I got back into my academic groove."

His uncle and mentor Dr. Bert McPhee, who backs his bid for the premiership, said he was a brilliant student who got in trouble in school because he was "bored."

Dr. Brown was exposed to politics in 1950s Jamaica, where the movement for independence was in full swing. "I used to sneak out of the house at night to listen to Norman Manley and Alexander Bustamante (both future prime ministers), I was enthralled."

After Jamaica, he went on to Howard University in Washington DC, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1964 and a medical degree in 1972. He was a track star at Howard and represented Bermuda in the 1966 Commonwealth Games.

Activist Stokeley Carmichael and Dr. Martin Luther King were some of the people he came in contact with as a student leader at Howard University in Washington D.C. during the 1960s.

He was never away from Bermuda for more than nine months, he said, but he established a medical career in California. He obtained a master's degree in public health from the University of California at Los Angeles.

In Bermuda, white authorities considered him a rabble rouser for his strong criticism of racism. For years, he considered himself an exile after he failed a medical exam all physicians have to pass in order to practise in Bermuda. He said the white power structure failed him intentionally and he refused to re-sit it for years. But he eventually did, clearing the way for his return home in the 1990s, where he established his medical practice and his political career. Dr. Brown lives in Smith's Parish with his third wife Wanda, a lawyer. He has four sons. The elder two, Kevin, a doctor in California, and Maurice are the children of previous relationships. Kevin has a son Caleb, seven, and a daughter, Kira, five.

Sons Ewart, who is known as Trey, and Donovan are the children of his second wife. They attended Harrington Sound and Bermuda Institute. Trey is currently a freshman at Howard.

This week, son Kevin told us from California: "He's always been there for me. There were times when I was in school at

Howard University when I wasn't sure if being a doctor was the career for me. I was very close to leaving medical school. It was the conversations I had with my dad that helped me focus on what I was doing and I'm very grateful to him for that.

He also said: "There's no question my father is a very stubborn man. He is hell bent on doing everything he possibly can to make Bermuda better."

Dr. Brown said he relaxes by playing golf. He works out at Sea View Gym. He's a church goer, but not a church member. "I don't have one church I belong to,' he said. "I go to Rev. Lambe's Church, I go New Testament Church. I go all over."

His spiffy clothes, with monogrammed shirts, made by his Atlanta-based Bermudian tailor David Tucker, who "makes clothes for a lot of Bermudians", is a reflection of his love of luxury. An essential difference between Dr. Brown and Alex Scott, an MP told us, is that PLP members would be served "cavier" at Dr. Brown's house and more home-style food at Mr. Scott's.

Dr. Brown became a U.S. citizen while living in the U.S., but gave it up in order to serve in Parliament. For someone to become an MP after having pledged allegiance to a foreign power - which he had to do to become a naturalized American - runs counter to Bermuda's Constitution.

As a man who came of age in the U.S. and is considered "too American" by some members of his own party, giving up U.S. citizenship is an indication of how badly Dr. Brown wants to be Premier.

His cousin LaVerne Furbert, a member of the Darrell clan and a PLP delegate, grew up next door to Dr. Brown. She admits the two have had their differences, mostly notably when she worked for the Bermuda Times newspaper he published, but she will vote for him next week.

She admits he had a reputation for being a bad boss who couldn't keep staff, but said that's a thing of the past.

Dr. Brown said: "It's changed because I found a manger who could do the day-to-day office management and leave me to practise. Doing the full time practice of medicine, I didn't have the time to spend on staff development. We fixed that. You can talk to the employees. We have the happiest employees in Bermuda."

He also said establishing the business has been a struggle, but now things have settled down. So why is he not a member of the UBP as his mother and aunt were?

"My mother and aunt analysed Bermuda's racial situation differently. We never agreed until my mother was much older on the analysis of raceā€¦In fact she actually became a supporter of the PLP before she died."