Published: April 12, 2006
Lucretia Brown, 31, is a journalism student unlike any other.
Like many students, Brown is close to finishing her degree. Like many journalists, she voices her opinions and seeks opportunities to inform the public of the world that surrounds them.
Unlike the rest of the student population, Brown is blind.
When asked about her condition she openly states, “Yes I’m blind. I have a disability, but I do accept help because it makes things go a lot faster.”
Brown gets the New York Times in Braille and is an avid reader of many other publications. Her inspiration to get into the journalism program began when she was selling newspaper subscriptions at Publishers Circulation Fulfillment. Brown felt that she should contribute to the world of journalism because she could relay the events of a story better than the authors of selected articles could.
Brown’s speech is straightforward. Her tone is reflective and her expressions as well as her hands become increasingly animated as she speaks of her determination to succeed as a journalist. She starts by taking a step into her past, her beginning.
Two months into pregnancy, Brown’s mother was thrown from a vehicle while racing sailors at Ft. Gordon in Augusta, Ga. Later in pregnancy, her mother caught the German measles, often referred to as Rubella, Brown explained.
“I was born with cataracts, which surgeons removed when I was 7 months old,” she said. “When I was 5 years old, contacts were placed in my eyes.”
The contacts failed to stay in position. Two years later, at age 7, glaucoma set in, a condition caused due to damage of the optic nerve. Finally at age 11, the loss of sight began to worsen and transformed into complete sight loss.
As Brown finished telling of the difficulties she faced before she was born and throughout childhood, one can see how resiliently she approaches life.
“Lucretia is among the most conscientious students I have taught in 30 years of experience,” said English and Communications Department Head Thom Botsford. “She works hard and doesn’t hesitate to ask questions. Most important, she doesn’t give up, despite difficulties created by her disability.”
Julia Ruengert, an instructor in the English and Communications department has had Brown in three of her classes.
“There are blind professional journalists. However, choosing to be a journalist in general entails major time commitments,” Ruengert said. “She takes the extra time to set up interviews in environments that are less distracting, and Lucretia has been willing to accept topics that the Corsair staff needed covered. She is a memorable presence in class.”
Other than attaining a career in journalism, Brown hopes to provide others with an awareness of what it is to be blind. She describes how many people will talk around her, rather than to her.
“I would like people to get a feel that I’m no different from [them],” Brown said.
Getting the motivation to keep going each day “is frustrating,” Brown said, but “I know that if God wants me to do what I’m set out to do, I’m going to do it and that’s with anything. The greatest challenge is getting here and being able to afford it day to day.”
Years ago, Brown says she remembers being told that journalism would be a good field to pursue because of the valuable life experience it would provide. Life experience is what Brown is gaining in her quest for knowledge, but she confesses, “My ambitions have always been to write a novel.”
As she finishes the last semesters of college, Brown continues to be optimistic about the future and accomplish the goals she has set out to attain. She currently is looking into the possibility of radio broadcasting.