THE STORYELAINE BROWN’S ROLE & BOOK
In January of 1997, Darrell Woods, a black man at the age of 23, was murdered while he was waiting with his two sons in the car as his wife went to buy soda at Henry’s Supermarket in Vine City, Atlanta. It was uncertain who was responsible for the crime, but the police first suspected Eric Mills, a local drug dealer. However, after interrogating Mills, attention turned towards Michael Lewis, known as Little B, a 13-year-old black youth dropped out of school and identified as a local troublemaker. It was said that he shot the man 3 times to death because he felt “dissed” when Woods refused to turn off his headlights. Police then interrogated Mills’ drug-related acquaintances including Lewis’s half brother, and drug addicts including Lewis’s own mother, and from this Michael Lewis was arrested as the sole suspect of the incident. Even more noting is that the County district attorney chose to try Lewis as an adult.
In hearing this case, Elaine Brown decided to investigate into the incident and puCRITICISM OF BOOK & FURTHER CAUSE
t her thoughts and findings in her latest book entitled, The Condemnation of Little B.. In this book, Brown shares her thoughts on an escalating problem of imprisoned youths, especially among the African-American community. She advocates the possibility that Lewis is innocent by analyzing the rushed investigation and trial by the prosecution, and the discrepancies in testimony and procedure. She also highlights that investigators went by words of drug dealers and drug addicts to pass through a case in which there was no real evidence linking Lewis to the murder. She points out that the weapon used in the trial, an old World War II rifle with a defective mechanism was almost impossible for a boy so young to handle and shoot repeatedly. She attacks the authoritarian figures in the case, along with the sly prosecutors, but then also attack the African community for conforming to Lewis’s conviction without knowing all the facts.
The prior portion of the book is mostly Brown’s social criticism of a “New Age Racism” that society has taken on. She describes how black people have had to forget about racism and take care of themselves. At one point she contrasts the treatment of Little B., labeled a “black predator” in need of incarceration to that of the white youths responsible for the Columbine School shooting, labeled as “alienated white youths” in need of physiological treatment. She uses this new racist society as a setting for her later statements.
So far, there have mixed feelings among people who have read Elaine Brown’s book, but they basically fall in one of two categories. There are those who certainly support Brown’s case and her views toward our flawed society. Then there are those who just think Brown is going on a rant as the radical Black Panther she was in her day. Brown gives a good case for her views, but she never really gives evidence for Lewis’s innocence. Nevertheless, it is impossible for one to realize that she is not justified in blaming authorities and our criminal system in its discrepancies and faults. Furthermore, Elaine extends her cause as being founder of (link) Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice, an organization of mothers with children in jail.