Witness To The Truth
WITNESS TO THE TRUTH tells the extraordinary life story of a grassroots human rights leader and his courageous campaign to win the right to vote for African Americans in Northeast Louisiana. Born in 1901 in a small, mostly Black parish, John H. Scott grew up in a community where Black businesses, schools, and neighborhoods thrived in isolation from the white population. The settlement appeared self-sufficient and independent, but all was not as it seemed. From Reconstruction until the 1960s, African Americans still were not allowed to vote. Scott, a minister and farmer, sought to redress this inequality. Ultimately convincing Attorney General Robert Kennedy to participate in his crusade, Scott led a twenty-five year struggle that illustrates how persistent efforts by local citizens translated into a national movement.
Told in Scott's own words, Witness to the Truth recounts the complex tyranny of southern race relations in Louisiana. Raised by grandparents who had lived during slavery, Scott himself experienced the injustices of Jim Crow laws firsthand. But without bitterness or anger, he chronicles almost one hundred years of parish life, including post-slavery life, migrations between the two World Wars, the displacement of African American farmers during the New Deal, and the shocking methods some white southerners used to keep African Americans under economic domination and away from the polls. Chapter president of the NAACP for more than thirty years and a recipient of the A. P. Tureaud Citizens Award, Scott embodied the persistence, strength, and raw courage required of African American leaders working to advance human rights in the rural South.
Cleo Scott Brown, Scotts daughter, draws on oral history interviews with her father conducted by historian Joseph Logsdon as well as personal papers, court transcripts, records of the East Carroll chapter of the NAACP, interviews with other East Carroll residents, family recollections, and her own conversations with her father as the basis for this narrative.
About Cleo Scott Brown (Charleston, South Carolina Author)
Understanding -- Introspection -- Change
CLEO SCOTT BROWN writes and speaks nationally on issues of race, class, and voting. Her company, History Matters Institute, uses the past to teach valuable lessons about the present. She is the author of "Racelogy 101" published in late 2017 and “Witness to the Truth” (University of South Carolina Press), which was a Ouachita Parish (Monroe, LA) Summer River Reads book selection. Her commentaries have appeared in the Post & Courier (Charleston) and on other national blogs. She is also a contributor to Harvard University’s African American National Biography.
As the daughter of a civil rights leader who was subjected to acts of violence and extreme racial prejudice starting at a young age, Cleo is critically aware of the journey that must be taken to move toward seeing individuals beyond what we feel their race represents. It has been the lessons of the journey that have allowed her, without bitterness or anger, to now share the wisdom of history in a way that moves people to introspection which eventually leads to positive action.