While sitting in a local park in the fall of 2008 I noticed a beautiful little girl, no older than three or four playing with a woman who appeared to be her mother. The trust the little girl had for the woman was visibly evident as she swung on the monkey bars. I was drawn to their relationship in particular because of the apparent ethnic differences between the two. The woman was Caucasian and the girl African American or at least in part. I assumed the woman was married to, or at least dated a black man and produced this little beauty. But then a whole new can of worms opened up.
A Caucasian man entered the park and went up to the woman and child that I was watching and gave them both hugs and kisses. This is where things started getting confusing. I thought to my self she is surely a mixed child how are both her parents white. I was sitting there minding someone else business trying to make sense of it all. I thought of every possible reason why this child had two parents different from herself. The last thought I had was that maybe she was adopted. If so this little girl didn’t care and probably didn’t know what it meant, she just loved on both the man and woman as if this was normal. And it was.
I began thinking of how their relationship would be compared to other “normal” ones I was used to. The struggles the joys, etc, I thought this would make a great story. But I’ve seen this before but what I haven’t seen much of was the opposite a white child in a black family. Here was my story. Right away I knew the kind of plight I wanted my character to have what struggles and accomplishments he would experience, mine. This is the only way the character of Johnny would come alive. I then fashioned this character around man I knew who purposely took up the plight of another ethnic background, John Brown the Abolitionist, hence the characters name JOHNNY BROWN.