“In The Shadow Of Brown” ::: Mumia Abu-Jamal & Brown Vs. Board As McCarthyism

One major factor of Black Media Trust is an understated need to parse through interpretations of history. These moments of history need to be carefully assessed and accessed especially when imbued with high emotion. Scholar and writer, Mumia Abu-Jamal discusses this in relation to Brown versus Board of Education in his book, “Writing On The Wall: Selected Prison Writings Of Mumia Abu-Jamal”.

 

In an essay entitled,”In The Shadow Of Brown”, he writes:

 

…in my private studies, I learned that Brown wasn’t decided because of the educational needs or violated rights of Black citizens, but because of the ideological needs of the U.S. government, which was trying to present a false face to the Third World, much of which was horrified at the images of dark-skinned people brutalized by racist cops for trying to get a decent education.

 

In 1952, U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson submitted a letter to the U.S. Supreme Court noting that “the continuation of racial discrimination is a source of constant embarrassment to this government…and it jeopardizes the effective maintenance of our moral leadership of the free and democratic nations of the world.”

“Writing On The Wall: Selected Prison Writings Of Mumia Abu-Jamal”, Mumia Abu-Jamal, pg 164

 

He continues:

 

Brown, then, was a propaganda victory, designed to defeat rhetorical attacks from the communist countries, which argued that the United States was a violent, racist nation.

“Writing On The Wall: Selected Prison Writings Of Mumia Abu-Jamal”, Mumia Abu-Jamal, pg 164

 

Further:

 

It has been over 50 years since Brown, and ghetto schools from coast to coast, from North and South, are as segregated as they were in 1953. They are segregated not by law but by practice, as a class; poverty-stricken, they have few resources, increasingly poorly trained, poorly paid and demoralized teachers, and few educational expectations or outcomes of excellence.

“Writing On The Wall: Selected Prison Writings Of Mumia Abu-Jamal”, Mumia Abu-Jamal, pg 164

 

And back to his concluding stance:

 

Brown may be law on the books, but in the lives of millions of dark-skinned kids, it’s barely an asterisk. It is meaningless.

“Writing On The Wall: Selected Prison Writings Of Mumia Abu-Jamal”, Mumia Abu-Jamal, pg 165

 

While we must strive to question even our premiere thinkers, this particular bit of information does taint how Brown can be interpreted. That alone gives us all reason to question its value, and dig deeper into not only those events leading up to Brown, but all events of history.