Black History Lived | Columnists
He’s one of the wisest people I’ve ever met, and he’s more than generous with his time and ideas. I really enjoy his company.
When he speaks, I always try to listen because, without fail, I always walk away knowing much more than when I arrived. That’s partly because he’s pushing 90 but missing nothing; some are because he is a historian who seems to remember everything he ever learned and can still recite a long passage about the Diaspora that he memorized in 11th grade. Add to that that he’s African American, and his upbringing and experiences reveal a valuable perspective that’s increasingly rare.
But in this call he was troubled. He was very proud of a local television station’s segments on black history throughout the month, but was disappointed by the omission of information that could have been included. Like Carver High School – the old one on Lake Street – from which he graduated in 1952, and which he credits with providing him with a foundation that led him to earn degrees from Alabama State University and from Ball State, where he was the first person of color to earn a doctorate and embark on a 45-year career as an educator, author, motivational speaker and international education consultant.
Dr. Brown does not discuss black history as a program or field of study. He lived black history, from growing up in a 1930s cotton field to helping calm a distraught student body at Ball State after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, and working as an educator through desegregation. and beyond. And he has spent a working life sharing the values and critical thinking skills he learned from his parents, his beloved teachers at Carver High School, and decades of learning and teaching in schools and universities in several states.