Cover image for Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil
Title:
Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil

The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown
Author:
McSpadden, Lezley

Leflore, Lyah Beth
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography
Politics
Sociology
Nonfiction
Description:
The revelatory memoir of Lezley McSpadden—the mother of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014—sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history. "I wasn't there when Mike Mike was shot. I didn't see him fall or take his last breath, but as his mother, I do know one thing better than anyone, and that's how to tell my son's story, and the journey we shared together as mother and son." —Lezley McSpadden Michael Brown's death profoundly shaped the conversation about race and justice in America today. Everyone has their own version of Michael Brown's story: who he was, what happened to him, and whose fault it was. In this powerful portrait of our time, McSpadden tells the beautiful, devastating, and indelible story of her life, her son, and their truth. Immediately after he died, McSpadden's son became a national symbol. The question, "Why did Michael Brown die?" was suddenly the crux of every narrative about race in contemporary America. Protests erupted across the country, cries of "Hands up, don't shoot!" reverberated through the streets and airwaves of every home, and thousands of people came together with strength and solidarity under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement. With startling clarity and riveting force, McSpadden brings us inside her own experiences being raised by a single mother and attending a white school where she did not belong; the violence she witnessed in the streets of St. Louis over decades; becoming pregnant at age fifteen and dropping out of school to work and support her son; suffering through and recovering from abusive relationships; and raising four children as a single mother. McSpadden writes passionately about the hours, days, and months after her son's death—being on the ground with the protestors, how she was treated by the police and city officials, and how she felt in the gut-wrenching moment that the grand jury announced it would not indict Darren Wilson. When McSpadden realizes that the system will not deliver justice to her son—that in this world strangers often assume the right to write our stories for us—she shows us how to feel our way through the deepest darkness by creating meaning for ourselves, celebrating each life, and becoming an agent for justice and change.
Publisher:
Regan Arts.
Date:
2016/05/10
Digital Format:
Adobe EPUB

HTML

Kindle
Language:
English

Summary

Summary

The revelatory memoir of Lezley McSpadden--the mother of Michael Brown, the African-American teenager killed by the police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014--sheds light on one of the landmark events in recent history.

"I wasn't there when Mike Mike was shot. I didn't see him fall or take his last breath, but as his mother, I do know one thing better than anyone, and that's how to tell my son's story, and the journey we shared together as mother and son." --Lezley McSpadden

When Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown was born, he was adored and doted on by his aunts, uncles, grandparents, his father, and most of all by his sixteen-year-old mother, who nicknamed him Mike Mike. McSpadden never imagined that her son's name would inspire the resounding chants of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and ignite the global conversation about the disparities in the American policing system. In Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil , McSpadden picks up the pieces of the tragedy that shook her life and the country to their core and reveals the unforgettable story of her life, her son, and their truth.

Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a riveting family memoir about the journey of a young woman, triumphing over insurmountable obstacles, and learning to become a good mother. With brutal honesty, McSpadden brings us inside her experiences being raised by a hardworking, single mother; her pregnancy at age fifteen and the painful subsequent decision to drop out of school to support her son; how she survived domestic abuse; and her unwavering commitment to raising four strong and healthy children, even if it meant doing so on her own. McSpadden writes passionately about the hours, days, and months after her son was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson, recounting her time on the ground with peaceful protestors, how she was treated by police and city officials, and how she felt in the gut-wrenching moment when the grand jury announced it would not indict the man who had killed her son.

After the system failed to deliver justice to Michael Brown, McSpadden and thousands of others across America took it upon themselves to carry on his legacy in the fight against injustice and racism. Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil is a portrait of our time, an urgent call to action, and a moving testament to the undying bond between mothers and sons.


Author Notes

Lezley McSpadden is the mother of Michael Brown, and founder of The Michael O. D. Brown We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation. The organization advocates for justice, improving health, advancing education, and strengthening families. McSpadden also founded its signature program, Rainbow of Mothers, which was established to support mothers who have suffered the devastating loss of a child. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her family.

Lyah Beth LeFlore is the author of eight books, including the novels Last Night a DJ Saved My Life and Wildflowers ; the teen book series The Come Up ; the New York Times bestseller I Got Your Back , and NAACP Image Award-winning The Strawberry Letter. LeFlore is also a television and film producer who has been profiled in the New York Times , Essence , Ebony , and Entertainment Weekly .


Reviews 2

Kirkus Review

The mother of the 18-year-old killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 relates the saga of her life in the St. Louis suburb, expressing her love for her children on nearly every page. With assistance from LeFlore, McSpadden reveals her life conversationally, including the colloquial phrasings that pepper her speech. Growing up, the author's fascination with an older high school classmate led to pregnancy at age 15 and the birth of Michael Brown nine months later. From the start, McSpadden referred to her child as "Mike Mike" and does so throughout the memoir. Brown's death, which gained international attention, does not become the focus until more than 200 pages in. Before that, McSpadden details her life as a black female in a sometimes-racist, sometimes-supportive metropolitan area with a longstanding reputation for unequal treatment of minorities. She offers bright portrayals of her mother and mostly undependable biological father, plus dozens of other relatives, friends, and antagonists. Determined to earn her high school diploma, McSpadden eventually had to drop out to care for Mike Mike and labor at a variety of low-wage jobs. She is frank about the domestic violence she endured at the hands of the man who fathered her first two children and another man (since murdered) who fathered her third and fourth children. Unable to find satisfactory housing arrangements, the author chronicles the dizzying number of moves within the St. Louis region, sometimes commenting on the varying levels of racial segregation in each area. Eventually, McSpadden describes the apartment complex where Mike Mike was staying with his grandmother the day of his death. Regarding the controversial shooting, the author casts doubt on the robbery report involving her son, and she suggests that Mike Mike's companion during the altercation is lying about the details. Mostly, though, she chronicles her unsuccessful quest for justice within a law enforcement culture stacked against her. A vivid, compelling account of a life on the edge. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

You may think you know how this story ends, but you don't know McSpadden, and you don't know Michael Brown, the boy she raised and lost on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, MO, when he was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. At its heart, this memoir is a mother's tale of love, grief, and the struggle to raise her children the only way she knows how: working to make ends meet and bringing up her children to be all that they can be. Her narrative tells of violence and tragedy, poverty and prejudice but also speaks to Americans everywhere to wake up and see what's really happening in the lives of young black men and women. This book is a call to action and one worth reading. The language is alive and full of color, bringing McSpadden's energy and passion to life. Her experience takes a close look at issues of family and survival after the unspeakable loss of a child. -VERDICT Evocative writing make this memoir a compelling and moving read. Excellent for those interested in women's lives, black lives, social justice, and current events.-Gricel Dominguez, Florida International Univ. Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.