Cecil Brown: Journalism’s Crusader for Truth

Event summary

On Wednesday, February 14, Professor Reed Smith of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro spoke about the life of Cecil Brown, an award-winning journalist who made his living critiquing military and political issues of the day. Smith’s presentation covered Cecil Brown’s life and work, describing how he dealt with the identity of being Jewish in America in the mid 20th century, as well as maintaining journalistic integrity throughout times of war. 

Smith detailed Brown’s adventures around the globe, which included staying in hotels under bomb threat, being captured—and released—by Nazis, and covering desert warfare in Egypt. Brown accomplished all of this in pursuit of the story and the truth, Smith said. Even later in life, Brown traveled the world regularly to interview high-profile individuals, leaving one commentator to say that “Brown circled the globe so often that he almost counts as a satellite.” However, despite his propensity for globe-trotting, Smith said that Brown did not travel well, and that he was plagued by malaria, weight-loss, and witnessing death. Brown Is quoted as saying “peace shall one day come to this world, but I will not be here then.”

Ultimately, Professor Reed Smith highlighted Cecil Brown’s journalistic integrity, devotion to human rights, and reliance on independent evidence, and said that subsequent global developments validated his positions. Brown saw journalism not only as a way to play watchdog over the elite, but also as a way of life. According to Smith, Brown’s dedication to transmitting the truth was tied into his desire to allow people to “experience fully the world in their own time and make an impact on it.”