cleo scott brown

Conversations, History-Based Presentations, Keynotes, Panels, Book Talks

Signature Topics

Why Cleo?

A college student comes to Cleo after a session and says “I remember you. I heard you speak with my dad when I was six. That is why I do race work today.” A woman in a meeting proposes a different solution referencing something from a speech Cleo gave five years ago. A teen at the Detention Center writes later to say that Cleo gave him hope and a desire to change.

TRANSFORMATION. In a world of shock and fleeting “feel-good” moments, Cleo brings substance. Everything she does is designed for understanding, introspection, and change.

She is easy to work with. She is committed to you and your audience.

She shares lessons that only history can teach us about ourselves, one another, and our collective future. She not only gives the “what” but provides the important “why”, allowing audiences to search within themselves about the choices they have made and will make. Incorporating her own unique history, she brings the past alive and simplifies the complex through storytelling with accounts of triumph and cautionary lessons for today.


Using the past to help audiences understand today & create a better tomorrow.

Conversations with Cleo—An Audience Favorite

A conversation on a hot topic (see Hot Topic details below), discussed in the context of history, brings clarity to how we got to where we are and the mind and heart shift that must take place to get where we need to go.


Cleo is available for keynotes throughout Black History Month or for Dr. Martin Luther King Day events for schools, churches, corporations, governmental organizations, etc. She is also available for other Black History talks related to voting rights and the Jim Crow era.

Book talks. It’s Our Anniversary

We are celebrating 20 years since the publication of “Witness to the Truth” and its recent release in e-book format by the University of South Carolina Press! We took to the road in celebration this fall speaking at four venues in Louisiana. Get in touch if you would like to sponsor an event with your school, church, museum, library or book club.

These talks explore over 100 years of rural history including interesting racial relationships; fights for voting rights, land ownership, and respect; unique struggles and victories of predominately Black towns; and the persistence, strength and raw courage required of African American leaders in the south.

History-Based Presentations/

Many people say history is boring, mainly because it has been presented as facts and figures with no practical application.

Not anymore.

Cleo presents an interesting history that explains what is happening today and why, so we can make better choices for tomorrow. Presentations can be booked for the Hot Topics below.


Cleo can keep the conversation going and get your audience engaged on any of her hot topics and stories and essays from her books.

Speaker One Sheet

Delve into thought-provoking presentations, rich with history, storytelling, and personal experiences, to gain a profound understanding of race relations, voting, and bias.

Interested in Booking Cleo

Connect with Cleo
to learn more!

Media Kit

Unlock Cleo’s story with our PDF Media Kit. Dive into our mission, achievements, and visuals. Download it

Current Events in the Context of History | Hot Topics

Topic 1 | Voter Disenfranchisement: A Clear & Present Danger

Voting rule changes should matter to everyone! Many people do not know that the Voting Rights Act was gutted by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling nor do they understand the extremely serious consequences, with generational impact, of this single decision. Most are unaware of extensive changes across the country directly impacting voting rights of many, particularly people of color. This 40-minute presentation followed by a Q & A period covers:

  • How was the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act destroyed, who was behind it & why
  • How voting looked before the Voting Rights Act was passed
  • A summary of the many methods now used to disenfranchise voters
  • What we should do about it

Format: Presentation/Lecture, Conversation, Panel, Keynote

Topic 2 | Affirmative Action & the Supreme Court:
Dressing A Pig in A Pretty Dress

We generally know “what” happened. But do we know why?

A recent Supreme Court decision made it illegal to consider race in college admissions but who was behind it and why was it filed? What was its real purpose?

What are possible outcomes & why should it matter to you?

When we know the “why”, we often change our position.

Format: Conversation, Presentation/Lecture, Panel

Topic 3 |The Last Jim Crow Generation:
The High Price of Silence

Learn about Cleo’s generation, the generation that grew up during what felt like the final battle of a war to preserve the benefits of the Jim Crow system. After decades of segregation, Black and whites were thrust together as teens or young adults under an unspoken vow of silence.

What did our generation learn and what legacy of disfunction have we passed down to the people we mentored? What happens when people or even a country pretends that something really bad never happened, even when the people who did it and to whom it happened are still alive?

Gain an understanding of the how and why of Jim Crow, why honest historically-based conversations are so difficult. Explore the CRT movement—why it grew so quickly, how another generation is choosing silence, and what it is costing us.

Learn skills for better conversations around race and valuable lessons learned during race work following a massacre at a historical African American church in Charleston, SC.

Format: Conversations, Lectures, Panels, Keynote

Interested in having Cleo speak at your next event?

We can keep making the same mistakes OR we can learn the lessons history was recorded to teach.
– Cleo Scott Brown

History is always teaching.
It’s time we listen.
– Cleo Scott Brown

“You moved me SO!!…I was delighted to hear that the same was true for my colleague..many decades span between us. That you could reach us both—move us both at those far away distances speaks everything of your gift!…you have me wanting to return to the recording.”

— Participant, Virtual LA Justice Community Conference, LA Bar Association (Keynote)

“Finding Mrs. Cleo was a game changer. She was able to level set the playing field so everyone could be heard and seen from their perspective…It was a huge reality check for all cultures that attended the conference, and it gave us direction and instructions on how we could move forward professionally.”

— Participant, National Defense and Space Company (Conversations with Cleo)

“It really hit me when you talked about the prison system, and I realized that’s not where I want to be in my future. I took in a lot you said. So thank you once again.” Teen, South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

—Teen, South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (Black History Month Talk)