Twenty-five years ago the Tawana Brawley case enflamed race relations in America and catapulted Al Sharpton into the national limelight. But Sharpton’s race demagoguery had begun years before that, and his notoriety as a racial arsonist continues up to the present, as testified by his leadership role in turning the Trayvon Martin shooting into a national racial confrontation.
The Tawana Brawley case is the subject of a short, excellent new documentary by Retro Report that expertly combines historic photos, documents, and news footage with recent interviews (including with Al Sharpton himself) along with important perspective on the tactics and sordid record of one of America’s most (in)famous agitators and race hucksters. Surprisingly, the New York Times and Newsweek/Daily Beast, two of the MSM flagships that helped boost Sharpton to prominence and shield him from the consequences of his violent advocacy, have promoted the recent Retro Report exposé of Sharpton. The Daily Beast article went further, not only highlighting Sharpton's role in the Brawley affair but also touching upon the “Rev. Al’s” incendiary role as both the gasoline and the spark in the Crown Heights riots and the Freddy’s Fashion Mart murder/arson tragedy.
Tawana Brawley: Rev Al’s Launchpad
In November 1987, Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old black girl from Wappingers Falls, New York, knew she was in trouble. Although she had been grounded, she had gone out with her older boyfriend anyway and had been gone for four days. She knew from past experience that when she went home she could expect a beating from her mother's live-in boyfriend, a violent ex-con and alcoholic who had served time for murder. To avoid those consequences she concocted a lurid story that ended up being transformed — once Sharpton got ahold of it — into a racially polarizing incident at the national (and then global) level.
Click here to read the entire article and related video of documentary.
Photo of Al Sharpton: AP Images