Daily Archive: January 20, 2010


Facelift planned for Memphis civil rights museum

by Martha Waggoner MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—The sign on the public bus from Montgomery, Ala., invites you to take a seat near the statue of Rosa Parks. No sooner do you sit on the hard, bench-like seat than a voice barks out orders in a distinctly Southern accent, intensifying with each message: “Please move to the back of the bus.” SYMBOL OF RACIAL TENSION—The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike of 1968 exhibit symbolizes the racial tension that polarized the city which led to riots and the occupation of 4,000 National Guardsmen. The strike became the impetus for Dr. King’s visits to Memphis to organize a nonviolent march as part of the Poor Peoples Campaign. “I need that seat now. Please move back.” “If you can sit there in other buses, suppose you get off and in one of them!” “If you don’t move out of that seat, I’ll have you arrested.” “Get up from there!”


This Week in Black History

Week of Jan. 22-28 January 22 BARNEY L. FORD, SAM COOK, PAUL ROBESON 1822—“From slavery to wealth” is the phrase that best describes the story of Barney L. Ford, who was born into slavery on this day in 1822 in Stafford Court, Va.—the product of a Black woman and a plantation owner. He was raised on a plantation in South Carolina but with the aid of the “Underground Railroad” he escaped and headed west through Chicago (where he met his wife) to the gold fields of California where he was denied the right to stake a claim because he was Black. After being cheated by a shady lawyer, he headed to the Denver, Colo., area and in time built a barbershop, a restaurant and then a fine hotel. He also built a hotel in the Central American nation of Nicaragua. Despite obstacles and setbacks such as racists bombing his hotel, Ford kept bouncing back and over time became one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Denver. After 1860, he used his influence to fight for Black rights in Colorado.


Editorial…Finding inspiration in King’s words

by Shannon Williams As we face very challenging times; be it the financial crisis, homelessness and poverty, wars, and even natural disasters such as last week’s catastrophic earthquake in Haiti—I realize I can only turn to God and the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a man whose legacy we celebrated on Monday—to help me through these woeful times. Here are some of King’s most insightful quotes and why I think his words remain relevant today.



Spitefulness, self-hate, ignorance suffocate Black progress

I have lost patience with those Blacks who would attribute all of our problems to White folks and refuse to accept any responsibility for a multitude of our shortcomings. This statement does not give White folks immunity from the roadblocks they put in place. However, let us analyze how we have gotten into our deplorable situation. We elect a Black female or male to a political position and immediately upon their being sworn in they demonstrate their total allegiance to the political party and we the voters do absolutely nothing about it, but complain. We don’t attend city council or school board meetings in big numbers to register our dissatisfaction, so it’s business as usual.



Reid, right and racism

(NNPA)—The flap over Sen. Harry Reid’s truthful—though clumsily phrased—comment on Barack Obama’s electability has exposed hypocrisy, and in some cases racism, among Republicans and Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton. Even Reid acknowledged that he used a poor choice of words last year when he told authors of “Game Change,” a new book on the election, that Obama was elected because he was a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”


Limbaugh, Robertson remarks show what crazy looks like

(NNPA)—As President Barack Obama directs aircraft carriers and transport planes jammed with food, medicine and as physicians, relief workers and journalists risk their lives to help beleaguered Haitians, the callous, venomous statements of Rush Limbaugh and Rev. Pat Robertson show just how irrelevant the GOP has become. With gifts to the American Red Cross totaling about $35 million in the first 48 hours of the disaster, U.S. citizens text-messaging millions, school children chipping in their spending change and CNN showing the tragedy to the world, the ugly words coming from the Republicans have me saying “Thank God America is not like them. Not anymore.”



NFL seeking to ‘needle’ more money from top court and you

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—Football is the most popular and profitable sport played in the United States. While hockey is almost forgotten, NASCAR stays with a niche audience, baseball struggles with scandal and about eight NBA teams are treading water financially and the NFL keeps raking in the billions. Even in a recession attendance remains high, profits are high and the Super Bowl remains an unofficial holiday even for non-sports fans. With all that going for them, it makes you wonder why the NFL is looking for a handout from the Supreme Court of the United States.


Haiti: Crisis and opportunity

(NNPA)—Much of what I feel about the monumental crisis in Haiti is similar to Katrina in that it was a man-made event waiting to happen. Haiti has existed in the backwater of the most powerful country in the world for 200 years as the poorest example of human hospitality. But since the defeat of Haiti by the French in 1804, the character of U.S. policy and relations has resembled Western resentment and as such, Haiti has been left essentially to it own devises. Frederick Douglass, who served briefly as U.S. consul to Haiti in 1889, said in a speech that, “Haiti is so near us and so capable of being serviceable to us….[yet] she is the one country to which we turn the cold shoulder.” He felt that the deep reason for the “coolness” is that “Haiti is Black.” He resigned when it became clear that the U.S. aimed to annex the major port in that country against the wishes of the rulers of the country.


Harry Reid is not a racist

Harry Reid is not racist and Republican calls for his resignation are misguided. There I said it. The Senate majority leader has recently come under fire for remarks attributed to him in the new book “Game Change.” Authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann say that in 2008 Reid described then candidate Obama as a “‘light-skinned’ African-American ‘with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.’” The comments have been seen by some as being racially insensitive.


Eunice Johnson: A legacy of beauty

(NNPA)—In the worlds of publishing and fashion, the names John H. Johnson and Eunice Walker Johnson will forever hold a place of distinction. In the 1940s, long before the Black consciousness movement of the modern civil rights era, this dynamic Chicago-based husband and wife team began showcasing the power, dignity and beauty of African-Americans with pioneering publications like Ebony and Jet and a worldwide traveling fashion show called the Ebony Fashion Fair. John Johnson died in 2005, and on Jan. 3, at the age of 93, Eunice Johnson passed away.