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Who is Cleo Scott Brown?

Cleo Scott Brown, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Race Relations Strategist

Cleo Scott Brown, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Race Relations Strategist

CLEO SCOTT BROWN, author of Witness to the Truth and Raceology 101, speaks, writes and conducts workshops on issues of race, voting, class, and bias  through her company History Matters Institute. Her company focuses on using history to generate meaningful, insightful discussions that lead to introspection and change. She has experienced many things, and like her father, who is the central figure in her first book, she believes that their experiences have been for a greater purpose.

At seven, she was in the car with her father when he was shot for trying to get the right to vote. At nine, she was watching her father pull up Klan crosses from the end of the road to their home. At ten, she was hiding while her older brothers and sisters did target practice in order to defend the house if the family was attacked at night. At 11, she was helping adults learn how to pass the multi-part citizenship test required to register to vote. She got to become a little human guinea pig in a school integration experiment at age 12, an experience that proved to be more traumatic than the constant threat of being killed. And then at 17, she was off to experience the black power movement at the predominately Black Grambling State University and at 21, affirmative action quotas and some racial healing at General Motors in Anderson, Indiana. Her and her father’s direct personal experiences, combined with a lack of bitterness and anger, provide the rare but necessary combination that moves people to introspection and action.

Cleo has had the opportunity to share this very unique story with audiences across the country, including colleges, schools, churches, and civic organizations. The uses her talks, writing, and workshops to help bring enlightenment and understanding about the very complex and oftentimes emotional subject of American race relations.  She received the HBO Beah Richards Spirit Award for her work in this area.  

Her Writings & Workshops

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Cleo is the author of Raceology 101 and Witness to the Truth, published by the University of South Carolina Press. "Witness to the Truth" was Ouachita Parish Library's 2008 Summer Read selection and an best seller.  Raceology 101 is the 2018 1st Place Winner in the Federation of Press Women's Non-Fiction category. Cleo also won first place in the Speech Writers category for the speech she wrote and delivered the annual Dr. Martin Luther King commemoration in North Charleston, SC.  She has also contributed commentaries to the Charleston Post & Courier and was a contributor to the African American National Biography, Oxford University Press, W. E. B. DuBois Institute, Harvard University, 2008.  She is the editor of the monthly History Matters Report that brings knowledge and understanding of complex issues of race and class and monthly updates on the disenfranchisement of people of color (sign up at the bottom of the page).

She also facilitates a bias workshop, Addressing Race & Class Consciously: Think About What You Just Thought. This 90-minute interactive workshop helps participants recognize and understand how their personal values are applied in determining the value of others.

In Her Community

Cleo is a Goose Creek, SC resident and a retiree of a South Carolina utility where she worked as a Risk Manager. At the time of her retirement, she was also the Chairman of the Board of the Electric Public Power Insurance Consortium and a member of the FM Global Insurance Company Risk Management Executive Committee representing the utility industry.

Since her retirement, Cleo has dedicated her time to sowing into others. She served as the Mentor Coordinator for Berkeley County Schools for five years and Executive Director of the Royal Foundation, a non-profit affiliated with Royal Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC also for five years. She is currently the Vice President of Development for the John H. Scott Memorial Fund which has been providing scholarships to students in poverty for over 30 years in honor of her deceased father. She also facilitates the People of Color Affinity discussion group in Charleston, which is affiliated with the Race Equity Institute.


Cleo was top honor graduate of her class at Grambling State University in Grambling, LA.