Daily Archive: August 27, 2009


This Week In Black History

For the Week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2 August 27 1963—African American activist and intellectual giant W.E.B. DuBois dies in Accra, Ghana, at the age of 95. Born in Great Barrington, Mass., DuBois was one of the most dominant figures in the African-American struggle against racial oppression for nearly 40 years. He helped found the Niagara Movement (precursor to the NAACP) in 1906 and helped organize the first Pan-African Conference in London. An educational product of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., he also taught at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga. and edited the NAACP’s Crisis magazine. DuBois was a major opponent of Booker T. Washington’s grand “compromise” with Whites and he argued frequently with Marcus Garvey’s Black separatist ideology. However, the “attacker of injustice and defender of freedom” would eventually become frustrated with the slow, legalistic tactics of the NAACP and the tenacity of American racism. He turned to socialism and late in life went into self-imposed exile in the West African nation of Ghana. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would write of him: “History cannot ignore W.E.B. DuBois because history has to reflect the truth and Dr. DuBois was a tireless explorer of the truth.” W.E.B. DUBOIS


The cost of incarceration

(Part one of an eight-part series) WASHINGTON (NNPA)—In communities around the country, Black people are missing. Neighborhoods languish. Dreams deferred rot in distant warehouses we call prisons. The similarities between the correctional system and slavery are eerie: Families ripped apart. Traditions lost or never made. The shipment of flesh, the pipeline that nearly guarantees Black children go from the cradle to the prison; the insane profits made by warehousing human beings; the burden borne forever by those labeled as “convicts.”


Nearly half century since March on Washington: Has Black activism weakened?

WASHINGTON (NNPA)—This week marks the 46th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963. Nearly a half century since the march that drew more than 200,000 to Washington, D.C., Black activists confess they have changed their strategy in the wake of an African-American president, but they contend that their commitment remains the same. “I think that some leaders are now reluctant to engage in public struggle because President Barack Obama is in the White House. But I would remind you that a public demonstration for justice would not be a march on the president. That would be unfair,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. “We supported Kennedy over Nixon, but we still had the March on Washington. We supported Johnson over Goldwater, but we still had the march on Selma.” DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AT THE 1963 MARCH ON WASHINGTON


Obamas trading White House for Martha’s Vineyard

CHILMARK, Mass. (AP)—The first family settled in Sunday for their vacation on Martha’s Vineyard not long after Hurricane Bill scampered away, leaving behind big waves and heavy rip currents for the Obamas. A tropical storm warning was lifted just hours before President Barack Obama began his first vacation since taking office. The hurricane forced him to delay his departure from Andrews Air Force Base by a few hours. During the flight from Washington to Cape Cod, White House spokesman Bill Burton conveyed a message from Obama, who boarded Air Force One in khakis and without jacket or tie, to the reporters traveling with him. TAKING A BREAK—President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, with daughters Malia, right, and Sasha, walk to board Air Force One heading for a week of vacation in Martha’s Vineyard off Cape Cod, Mass., at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. They are accompanied by base commander, Air Force Col. Steven Shepro.


Green Bay hires first Black police officer

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP)—Green Bay has a Black police officer for the first time in the 152-year history of its police department. Solomon Ayres starts the first phase of a 17-week training regime this week. He says he expects some resistance from both Black and white residents. But thinks his life experiences will help defuse difficult situations and make him open to different points of view. MAKING HISTORY —In this photo taken Aug. 19, newly sworn-in Green Bay police officers Solomon Ayres, left, and Tom Marquardt talk during weapons training at the multi-jurisdictional range in Oneida, Wisc.


Letter To The Editor…Community must form another Dwelling House

Dear Editor: On Aug. 14, another African-American institution, Dwelling House Savings and Loan, the only minority-owned and operated financial institution in Pittsburgh was closed to the regret of many. Dwelling House Savings and Loan and its predecessor, with a history of more than 119 years in the Hill, have helped more African-Americans and poor people buy their homes than many realize. In fact, many people would not be homeowners (my wife and I included) if Dwelling House did not exist. Many people who could not get mortgages from White institutions had their dreams realized at Dwelling House.


Boycotting Glenn Beck’s sponsors is not enough

(NNPA)—Some of the nation’s blue chip companies—many that rely on African-American consumers for a significant portion of their profits—advertised on right-winger Glenn Beck’s incendiary program on Fox TV. They include Procter & Gamble, Kraft Food, ConAgra (maker of Healthy Choice foods), Clorox, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, Honda, General Electric, Travelocity, State Farm Insurance, Geico, Farmer’s Insurance, Pfizer, Walmart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Radio Shack, Sprint, CVS, Red Lobster, Nestle, Progressive Insurance and pharmaceutical companies Roche and Sanofi-Aventis (maker of Plavix). Beck touched off a firestorm when he labeled President Obama “a racist” who has “deep-seated hatred for White people.” ColorOfChange.org, an Internet-oriented Black grass roots advocacy group, quickly organized a petition drive urging advertisers to stop sponsoring his show.



Sen. Ferlo: Champion for the people

Senator Jim Ferlo was the only local politician to question how and what benefits G-20 brings to Pittsburgh. There is no question that a number of persons echo the same sentiment, but they whisper the question. In my estimation Ferlo has always been a stand- up guy that we could always count on so this week’s column is a salute to a true champion of the people. I went to Ferlo’s Butler Street office hopeful that he would be available and he was. The first question that was asked, “In what part of Pittsburgh were you born?” He replied, “I was born in upstate New York.” I had forgotten he was not a native Pittsburgher.



A town hall on Michael Vick

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. For most of my adult life I watched football but didn’t have a real team that I followed consistently. On any given Sunday I’d just root for whatever team had a Black coach or a Black quarterback. So a couple of years ago, when Rush Limbaugh attacked Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, I knew that was going to be my team and I haven’t missed a game on either television or radio in about five years. Two weeks ago, the Eagles shocked the sports world and a lot of mainstream media by signing former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick to their roster. Vick had just been released after spending two years in jail for running a dog fighting ring along with some of his relatives. In addition to having lost over $130 million in pay and being suspended from the NFL, he’s become public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of group of Americans who think his crimes are so heinous that he doesn’t deserve to play professional football again.



This in not a time for silence

(NNPA)—During the fierce battle with the Amalekites, when Moses raised his hands the Israelites won, but when he tired and dropped them, his enemies won. So Moses’ brother Aaron and Hur, a friend, stood with Moses and kept his hands raised until their side had the victory. In this fierce battle over health care, African-American religious leaders must not only pray but also get in the battle and support their brother President Barack Obama so he will not become overwhelmed by his enemies and lose this battle and the war. This battle is about health care reform, but the war is much greater. As Rush Limbaugh and the political right have made clear, the war is the defeat of the Obama presidency and the destruction of all avenues of help and prosperity for the poor and middle-class Americans.