By Adam Serwer
When I was 17, I was a scruffy-headed biracial black and Jewish teenager, and a furious Louis Farrakhan hater. In the mid-1990s, Farrakhan’s fame and influence was at its height; I had once been thrown out of a middle school gym class for calling the Nation of Islam leader a racist. His Million Man March, a massive collective act of solidarity and perhaps the most important black event of the decade, had been one of the loneliest days of my young life. I sat in homeroom, one of just a few dozen kids in school, wondering why so many people hated people like me.
It was a story my high school English teacher Cullen Swinson told me, years later, that helped me understand why people might associate with the Nation. Scott Montgomery Elementary School was located in what The Washington Post called “The Wicked District” in a grim series on black youth in D.C. in the 1950s.Things were still bleak in the late ‘60s when Swinson began attending Scott—one year, there was a crime scare that enveloped the whole neighborhood.
“Fear would soon become a daily companion in the short walk to and from school every day,” Swinson told me, until …read more
From:: The Atlantic