Brett Brownell

Brett Brownell

Multimedia Producer

Brett Brownell is the Multimedia Producer at Mother Jones and has visited all 50 states. He also helped launch MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes as a video and web producer, served as new media director for the employee rights organization Workplace Fairness, and founded the annual global photography event Worldwide Moment in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-T.V. and grew up in Arlington, Texas.

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60 Years Ago the Supreme Court Told Schools to Desegregate. Here's How Fast We're Backsliding.

| Sat May 17, 2014 9:12 AM EDT
A 1973 Charlotte, N.C., first grade class that was integrated through a school busing program.

Sixty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The changes required by Brown v. Board of Education decision were not immediate, but they were profound and lasting. Today, schools in the South are the least segregated for black students in the nation.

Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story. In honor of the Brown anniversary, UCLA's Civil Rights Project released a report that analyzes the progress of desegregation since 1954. According to the report, starting in the 1980s, schools began to ditch integration efforts and shift focus to universal education standards as a way to level the playing field for students in unequal schools. In 1991, when the Supreme Court ruled that school districts could end their desegregation plans, it put the nail in integration's coffin.

Black students integrating a Clinton, Tennessee, school in 1956 Thomas J. O'Halloran/Library of Congress
In New York state, 65 percent of black students attend schools that are 90 to 100 percent minority, as do 57 percent of Latino students.

Today, the picture of American schools is far different than what the 1954 ruling seemed to portend. The UCLA report notes that Latino students are the most segregated in the country. In major and midsize cities, where housing discrimination historically separated neighborhoods along racial lines, black and Latino students are often almost entirely isolated from white and Asian students—about 12 percent of black and Latino students in major cities have any exposure to white students. Half of the students who attend 91 to 100 percent black and Latino schools (which make up 13 percent of all US public schools) are also in schools that are 90 percent low-income—a phenomenon known as "double segregation." And the Northeast holds the special distinction of having more black children in intensely segregated schools (where school populations are 90 to 100 percent minority) in 2011 than it did in 1968. In New York state, for instance, 65 percent of black students attend schools that are intensely segregated, as do 57 percent of Latino students.

Bused to a white school, New York City children face parent protests in 1965. Dick DeMarsico/Library of Congress

Even in the South, where Brown made such a profound difference, school integration is being rolled back. The chart below shows the percentage of black students attending majority white schools in the South over the last 60 years. You can see the progress made after Brown—and how rapidly it's dissolving.

This Video of Michael Sam and His Boyfriend Finding Out He Has Been Drafted Is Amazing

| Sat May 10, 2014 9:11 PM EDT

Earlier today, Michael Sam received a really great phone call. He had become the first openly-gay player to be drafted in NFL history. Cameras were present as he and his boyfriend found out the news together. Watch them share a kiss and beautiful embrace as they learn of the historic decision by the St. Louis Rams:

 

15 MB of Fame: Never-Before-Seen Digital Art by Andy Warhol

| Thu Apr. 24, 2014 3:58 PM EDT

Making art with a computer ain't easy. Just ask Andy Warhol. The American icon mastered numerous art forms and shaped our culture with his work. But a newly-discovered collection of files from 41 floppy disks—yes, floppy disks—shows that he struggled with early digital design tools. Today, members of Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Club and STUDIO for Creative Inquiry in Pittsburgh released a previously unseen set of images Warhol created in the 1980s using a Commodore Amiga 1000. (That used to be a type of computer, kids.)

The work was discovered after artist Cory Arcangel found a fuzzy You Tube video from 1985. In it Warhol sits next to Blondie singer Debbie Harry and uses the Amiga to paint her digital portrait. Jonathan Gaugler of the Carnegie Museum of Art says Arcangel was "relatively sure" the disks containing Warhol's digital prints would be housed in the Warhol Museum. Sure enough, they were. But, Gaugler says, "It's risky. Because reading them in a drive, there is a chance of wiping it just by trying."

So the museum's curator, Tina Kukielski, connected Arcangel with the Carnegie Mellon's Computer Club, which wrote original code to safely read the data without damaging it. The process was captured in the upcoming documentary film series The Invisible Photograph, premiering May 10 at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall.

Here are some of Warhol's digital works, and stills from documentary showing how they were retrieved. Enjoy—while listening to Blondie if you can:

Image: Andy2
"Andy 2" Andy Warhol, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum
Image: soup
Campbell’s Andy Warhol, 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum
Image: Venus
"Venus", 1985, ©The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visuals Arts, Inc., courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum Andy Warhol
Image: Corey Arcangel
Amber Morgan of the Andy Warhol Museum and Cory Arcangel in The Invisible Photograph, Part II – Trapped: Andy Warhol's Amiga Experiments © Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
Image: Amiga computer
Commodore Amiga computer equipment used by Andy Warhol between 1985-86 Courtesy of The Andy Warhol Museum

 

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