Daily Archive: November 12, 2009


African kings, queens, chiefs to honor Mandela

by Donna Bryson JOHANNESBURG (AP)—Dancers clad in animal skins heralded the beginning of a different sort of royal ceremony, a nod to tradition for the forward-thinking kings, queens and chiefs who jetted in to Johannesburg from across Africa to launch an institute they hope will expand their roles on the continent TRADITIONAL DANCE— Batswana traditional dancers perform during the launch of the Institute of African Royalty launch in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nov. 3. The two dozen leaders from Morocco to Swaziland describe their new Institute of African Royalty as part think-tank on democracy and development, part lobby group to polish their image. They say their model is anti-apartheid icon and former President Nelson Mandela, and plan to honor the man referred to during the Nov. 3 proceedings as “Prince Mandela” at a gala ceremony in Pretoria, the capital, later this week. Sello Hatang, a spokesman for the anti-apartheid icon’s office, said Nov. 3 that Mandela “feels honored to be respected by the traditional leadership.”


Black leaders applaud House passage of health care bill—with public option

WASHINGTON (NNPA)—When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel and declared, “The bill is passed,” health care reform that President Obama and Democratic leaders have pushed for so fervently over the past year came one step closer to reality Nov. 7. The Senate is next. Black lawmakers, their Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives and civil rights leaders celebrated the passage of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, a landmark bill that aims to reform the health care system in America.


La. judge in interracial marriage debacle resigns

(NNPA)—Keith Bardwell, the Louisiana judge who drew national criticism after refusing to marry an interracial couple, resigned Nov. 3. For weeks, Louisiana officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, had called for Bardwell’s ouster after he refused to marry Beth Humphrey, a White woman, and Terence McKay, an African-American man.


High court to look at life in prison for juveniles

WASHINGTON (AP)—The Supreme Court is considering whether sentencing a juvenile to life in prison with no chance of parole is cruel and unusual punishment, particularly if the crime is less serious than homicide. The cases being heard Nov. 9 involve two Florida convicts. Joe Sullivan was sent away for life for raping an elderly woman when he was 13. Terrance Graham was implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17. SENTENCED TO LIFE—This 2002 photo provided by the Equal Justice Initiative shows 15-year-old Terrance Graham in Jacksonville, Fla. Graham, implicated in armed robberies when he was 16 and 17, was given a life sentence without parole by a judge who told the teenager he threw his life away.


This Week in Black History

Week of Nov. 12-18 November 12 1775—General George Washington, first president and “father of the country” issued an order barring free Blacks from serving in the army as the U.S. struggled for independence from England. Washington was also a slave owner. The slave-owning aristocracy felt if free Blacks fought for America’s liberation they would demand freedom for their enslaved brothers and sisters. Despite Washington’s order, hundreds of Blacks did fight in the Revolutionary War. DANIEL HALE WILLIAMS, JANET COLLINS, and JOHN MERCER LANGSTON 1900—Henry Ossawa Tanner becomes an internationally acclaimed artist as he takes a silver medal for his art displayed at the Paris Exposition. Nearly 7,000 artists had entered their works. The Pittsburgh-born Tanner had numerous major works including his painting called “The Banjo Lesson.”


Speak Out…What is your reaction to the possible closing of 16 school buildings?

A recent report to the Pittsburgh School Board suggested that 16 school buildings may have to be shut down for economic reasons. We asked Pittsburghers what they thought. Here’s what you said. “It’s the sign of the times. It may be about money but you’re moving students from one area to another where those people didn’t particually like each other and it’s been like that for generations.”Howie AlexanderArtistBlack Ridge Howie Alexander, Cecily Pollard, Chris McNeal


Guest editorial…Hatred to hope and hope to hatred

by Richard Anderson In the space of 15 years, I voted for two Black presidents: Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. My vote for Mandela was predicated on a history of personal oppression and hatred of apartheid and those who promulgated it. For me, Mandela represented a move from hatred to hope. Fourteen years later, I voted for Barack Obama because his candidacy represented a personal vision of America I had always carried. This vision was not always vindicated by my experiences in the “land of the free.” In many respects, being Black in America was not much different than being Black in South Africa. But I still hoped that this was the country where anything was possible.



Have voters lost focus?

Another election has come and gone and if you exclude the Obama election of 2008 the turnout in the Black community was deplorable. If I had my way it would be called criminal. I am currently writing a book and in the second chapter I address the political situation in the Third Ward (lower hill) in the early 1950s and how it is so similar to conditions of Black voters across the city of Pittsburgh in 2009. At that period off time in the 15 districts there was one colored committeeman. The entire political leadership was White—the alderman, chairperson and vice chair, constable.



Apocalypse 2010

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—The results came in last week and the cheering and recriminations have echoed throughout the political world. At the one year anniversary of Barack Obama’s historic election his party supposedly took a huge hit in the polls, losing governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. You couldn’t switch channels last week without seeing Republican Party chair Michael Steele crowing about his party being on the upswing and how this is simply the beginning of how the GOP is on the comeback trail for the 2010 mid-term elections. I wouldn’t go that far, the major gubernatorial races of 2009 are a mixture of local and very few national issues, and the real revolution that might hit in the 2010 mid-terms isn’t even being talked about.


‘Worrying’ about interracial children

(NNPA)—After creating an imbroglio because he refused to perform a marriage ceremony for a White woman and a Black man, Louisiana Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell resigned under pressure. However, his stated reason for denying the couple a marriage license is still perplexing: “There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage,” he told the Associated Press. “I think those children suffer, and I won’t help put them through it.”Let’s see, interracial children could suffer so much that one might become mayor of Washington, D.C. Another multiracial child might grow up to become CEO of the NAACP. One poor kid could develop into another Tiger Woods. And one, heaven forbid, might even become president of the United States. Each person holding those positions is biracial and they have “suffered” all the way to the top.