Daily Archive: April 21, 2010


Civil rights icon Benjamin Hooks, who boosted NAACP, dead at 85

by Lucas Johnson II NASHVILLE (AP)—Civil rights leader Benjamin L. Hooks, who shrugged off courtroom slurs as a young lawyer before earning a pioneering judgeship and later reviving a flagging NAACP, died April 15 in Memphis. He was 85. HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONOR—President George W. Bush presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to civil rights pioneer Benjamin Hooks, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington Nov. 5, 2007. Across the country, political leaders and Hooks’ peers in the Civil Rights Movement remembered his remarkably wide-ranging accomplishments and said he’d want the fight for social justice to continue. State Rep. Ulysses Jones, a member of the church where Hooks was pastor, said Hooks died at his home following a long illness. “Our national life is richer for the time Dr. Hooks spent on this earth,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “And our union is more perfect for the way he spent it: Giving a voice to the voiceless.”


W.Va. mining industry mourns 29 explosion victims

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP)—At 3:02 p.m. April 5, computers on the surface detected a major seismic event deep inside the mine. It came from about a mile and a half inside the mountain, near an area known as the “Glory Hole.” A half hour from the end of his nine-hour shift, coal car operator Melvin Lynch, 50, of Mount Hope, felt his ears pop. Suddenly, the mine went dark. The power goes out occasionally when someone runs over a cable, so no one on the section panicked. When the shift was over, Lynch and the other men on his crew made their way to the surface. It was only when another crew emerged and reported that they’d been showered with debris that Lynch knew that something was wrong. PRAYER ENDS IN SORROW—In this April 7 photo, Melvin Lynch speaks to a reporter at his home in Mount Hope, W.Va. Lynch was working in the Upper Big Branch mine when a section of the mine exploded. Lynch’s brother Roosevelt was killed in the explosion.


This Week in Black History

Week of April 23-29April 231856—One of the greatest inventors in American history, Granville T. Woods, is born in Columbus, Ohio. During his life he received 65 patents for electrical, mechanical and communication devices. Among his inventions was an advanced telephone transmitter. The transmitter was so advanced that the Alexander Graham Bell Co. purchased the rights to it from Woods both because it was superior to what Bell had invented and for fear that Woods might become a major rival to the Bell company. At his height, the Cincinnati, Ohio Catholic Tribune (Jan. 14, 1886) wrote of Woods: “…the greatest colored inventor in the history of the race and equal, if not superior, to any inventor in the country…” GRANVILLE T. WOODS, ELLA FITZGERALD, MUHAMMAD ALI


Ex-mentor: Sharpton is Obama’s link to the streets

by Verena Dobnik NEW YORK (AP)—Reverend Al Sharpton is a “lightning rod” for President Barack Obama on inner city streets, Obama’s former Harvard mentor and friend said April 17 at a forum in Harlem. But Sharpton, who led the event, told The Associated Press that America’s first Black president “has to work both for us and for others,” and that if Obama were to push a race-based agenda, “that would only organize the right against him.”


Atlanta bar accused of forcing Black men to give up seats for White women

(NNPA)—A discrimination lawsuit filed against a popular Atlanta restaurant by two customers, a former NBA player and a prominent local lawyer may soon go to trial. Former NBA all-star Joe Barry Carroll and Atlanta lawyer Joseph Shaw say they were escorted out of the Tavern at Phipps restaurant in August 2006 for refusing to give up their seats to White women, EURweb.com reported.



Positive people and events

The print media, radio and television, daily focus on negative incidents that too frequently involve Black people. This column is about being positive. And all the people are Black. A couple of years ago, Brenda, who is known in the business community as “Big Mama,” opened a take-out restaurant in the Strip District. There were plenty of naysayers who said she was wasting her time. She had difficulty borrowing money, but constantly talked about her faith in God and His ability to sustain her and her ambitions. Today “Big Mama” has enlarged her business operation with a 100-seat restaurant on Liberty Avenue in Downtown Pittsburgh. She is a proud, talented, spirited and grounded Black female, who refused to accept “can’t.”


This time they beat up White guys

(NNPA)—Police brutality in Prince George’s County, Md. is legendary. There have been scandals after scandals for at least the last 50 years. Much of it has spread across the border into Washington, D.C. It is bad and wide scale and it is also tinged with Black and Hispanic inclusion. Most of the abuses are targeted to these two national minorities and for good reason. The applicable prosecutors and court systems protect and shield the dirty cops who perpetrate brutality. They will defend the actions of the cops no matter how heinous their actions are.



‘Avatar: the last race bender’

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—A couple of years ago I was invited to be a guest on the Jesse Lee Peterson radio show to debate “The Passion of the Christ.” I had written a piece arguing that the movie was a fraud for using White Spanish actor Jim Kaviezel to depict Jesus when historical images show him to be a Black African or a dark-skinned Middle Eastern man. Peterson believed that Black folk should shut up, stop complaining and just enjoy the story, since race doesn’t matter in casting. I always found this to be a funny argument; everyone always says that race doesn’t matter in Hollywood casting, as long as the people who are benefitting are White. That’s one of the reasons why I won’t be supporting the upcoming flick “Avatar: the Last Airbender.”



Revisiting the State of Black America

(NNPA)—Although the National Urban League has been issuing the annual “State of Black America” report for 34 years, for some inexplicable reason, everywhere you look these days, some group is sponsoring a panel discussion titled the “State of Black America.” Tavis Smiley scheduled one in Los Angeles, canceled it, and then revived it in Chicago. Last Saturday, Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network hosted a televised panel discussion on the State of Black America at its national convention in New York.


The right challenges financial services reform

(NNPA)—Get ready for the next fight as the president and the Democratic controlled Congress attempt to try and fix the mess that nearly brought down the entire economic system that has placed millions of people out of their houses, jobs, savings, etc. Republicans met with banking association representatives recently about the financial services bills working their way through the House and Senate and came away dedicated to defeating them any way they could. The pain caused by the economic crisis finds most Americans favoring the need for financial services reform, but Republicans have turned on their message machine to fight it. For example, a $50 billion fund was put in the Senate version to have banks pay for their own bailout if they fail, rather than the U.S. Treasury.