Listen to this enlightening episode of BTR News as I engage in a compelling conversation with Professor Jocelyn Simonson, acclaimed author of “Radical Acts of…
Thursday, March 11th 8:00PM Eastern/ 5:00PM Pacific
The Context of White Supremacy hosts the second study session on Jack Olsen’s Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt. Olsen is a White male, and a prolific author. Olsen wrote for Sport Illustrated during the 1960’s, and penned a celebrated series examining black athletes and Racism. The magazine also credits Olsen with writing one of the best biographies on boxing icon and attempted counter-racist Muhammad Ali. Last week, the book began by detailing the first meeting between Pratt, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and Stuart Hanlon. Olsen employs a number of significant descriptors when depicting the physical appearance and phenotypical features of these males. Pratt, a black male, is described as having a “hybrid,” “Eurasian,” or “Byzantine” complexion, while his scalp produces “white man’s hair.” Hanlon, the White attorney, brags about his “Jewfro.” Cochran explains to his White co-council that the evidence supports the complete innocence of his client, but Pratt was still convicted and restricted to years of solitary confinement. Hanlon begins to learn about Pratt’s upbringing in mid 20th century Louisiana – much like Cochran. Pratt describes his mother Eunice’s light complexion and non-black heritage – like her “blue-eyed Irish grandmother.” He also shares definitive moments of his childhood: Witnessing the Klu Klux Klan brutalize his brother and being arrested after a teenage White girl reported he and his friend for saying “hi” to her. Pratt said he did not understand Racism as a child. He went enlisted in Vietnam at the behest of his black elders – who wanted him to acquire skills to come back and help black people.
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