The Nation: Death of the Middleman

"I die," Paul L. Cabell Jr. wrote to his students, "to emphasize to you and all minority people who ever dream to be free that it can only come through working together. It seems that there is no other way for me to get your attention." With that, Cabell, the black assistant principal of a racially troubled high school just outside Flint, Mich., put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Cabell had apparently been frustrated by the racial incidents at Beecher High School, which has an enrollment of 1,000—65% white and...

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