A week after attending one of the civil rights leader’s National Action Network meetings, award-winning writer Playthell George Benjamin’s views on Sharpton have done a complete 180 degrees.
Benjamin, who has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, criticized Sharpton in a scathing 8,000 word article twenty-three years ago when the Tawana Brawley case made national headlines. The case turned out to be a hoax when police found the young Black woman lied about a group of six white men, some police officers, allegedly raping her.
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
The turning point for me came when Al was stabbed by a white racist while leading a peaceful March in Brooklyn. Outraged Black and Puerto Rican New Yorkers were ready to burn this city down; one inflammatory word from Rev. Al and the city would have been thrown into chaos. But as he lay wounded in his hospital bed he called for calm and reconciliation, preventing riots from breaking out. There would be many other good works and struggles on the part of the Reverend that won my support, but that’s when I began to view him differently.
Playthell George Benjamin is the producer of Commentaries On Times, which he writes and delivers on WBAI radio in New York City, and a producer with The Midnight Ravers, a long running show exploring the world of art and politics which has won several radio awards for excellence in programming. He is an award winning journalist who has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in two different categories: Explanatory Journalism, Village Voice 1988, and Distinguished Commentary, New York Daily News 1995.