He speaks with a deep, rich radio voice, and he is articulate. Mostly he speaks with passion, especially when the conversation veers toward the lives of black inner-city teens. Every now and then, quite suddenly, he becomes reflective and sad and even borderline bitter, puffing away at a cigarette, staring into space. He has an unusual name-- Torthel Lockli McClodden -- that he has turned to some advantage. In the hallways and classrooms of Beaumont High, which are filled with teens from low-income black North St. Louis families, he was known simply as "Brother Mac." He insisted on that, rejecting the standard "Mr. McClodden" because he felt it cut down the distance and formality of the student-teacher relationship. His voice jumps a couple of notches when he talks of one of the bright spots in his otherwise ordinary life: the honest conversations he has had with the teens about sex,... More >>>
By Jennifer Silverberg
Brother Mac says the students at Beaumont were "as motivated as you showed concern for their lives."