Journalist Tony Brown urges a
Tony Brown, keynote speaker for Black History Month and one of America's
leading journalists, delivered several "bottom lines" and thoughts
on the status of America in his Feb. 7 address.
return to nation's spiritual roots
Brown, who has also developed interests in cultural diversity, economic
development and urban policies through his work as a producer, writer, educator,
television commentator and film director, advocated self-reliance and a
keen "understanding of how the past impacts the present and what it
means in the future." With strong words and high passion, he urged
his audience to take individual action.
"You live today in a corrupted Americanism," Brown said, after
quoting the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence. The forefathers
of the country "created a living document that would survive them as
the times and conditions changed."
Thus, "the struggle for civil rights is not a struggle for black people,
it is a struggle for the soul of America," Brown said. "We are
a theocracy founded to go by God's will. [Our] rights are created by God
and cannot be transferred or abridged by a government of people."
Citing historical examples such as World War I and the creation of the Federal
Reserve Bank, Brown explained how black Americans and Americans as a whole
have not been granted their inalienable rights. During World War I, black
Americans "were seen as Americans who could not be trusted," while
the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, "borrowed from the Communist
Manifesto-used the property of people to dominate them.
"Understand that you do not live in the country that you should,"
Brown said. "This is an oligarchy where wealthy and powerful people
manipulate the institutions of this country.
"The bottom line is that this is a great country and a country that
can be changed, but not if you are Pollyannaish about it," Brown continued.
In advocating change, Brown returned to the idea of incorporating God into
everyday life just as the founders did when they wrote the Declaration of
Independence. "Of course, church and state should still be separate,"
Brown said, "but you don't exclude God when you exclude religion. One
can be spiritual without being religious.
"Human rights are guaranteed by God," Brown continued. "There
is a conspiracy, and that conspiracy is the system the system [works against]
people who don't have. The only way to fight this system is to become the
Brown urged the audience to understand history for its instruction. "Blacks
and whites are basically the same-with a liberal sprinkling of fools. It's
real simple: no one deserves your loyalty unless they earn it. The way to
heaven is not through your beliefs, it's through the spirit in your heart.
The bottom line is about humanness.
"I'm proud that I'm an African American, proud that I'm black,"
Brown continued. "But I know that there's only one race, and that's
the human race. Here's the bottom line: We didn't come over on the same
ship, but we're all on the same boat."
In describing African Americans' continued marginalization in American society,
Brown used the example of mineworkers and canaries. The miners would take
a canary into the mines to find out how much toxic gas was in the air down
there: when the canary died, the workers left the mines.
"Every society has a canary," Brown said. "Every civilization
has discriminated against a minority. The virus is in human nature to dominate
another human being. It is the original sin, and you will find it everywhere.
We'll never get to the end of the race problem if we don't get rid of the
human race problem." If something is "structurally wrong, spiritually
rotten," in society, he said, those qualities will be found manifested
among the group that is society's most marginalized.
"Freedom is something you must always fight for, and the only way to
fight is to become more powerful than the enemy," he said. "I
want to live in a world where I can do what I want. All of us have made
"Jesus said to love one another and help the poor," Brown said,
as he talked about ways black Americans can help their communities. "You
can only strengthen the chain by strengthening the weakest link," he
"So I say during Black History Month to do what Jesus Christ asked
us to do," Brown concluded. "When you decide to change, things