Daily Archive: August 18, 2010


This Week in Black History

August 19 1791—Benjamin Banneker wrote a letter to Secretary of State (later president) Thomas Jefferson denouncing slavery. In his letter, Banneker declared, “I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am of the African race” and then preceded to label America’s recently achieved freedom from England a “hypocrisy” as long as Blacks continued to suffer under “groaning captivity and cruel oppression.” Banneker was a Black activist against slavery even though he is generally recognized for his mathematical achievements, designing one of the first clocks made in America and laying out the nation’s capital after Pierre L’Enfant abandoned the job. EDITH SPURLOCK SAMPSON



They still don’t care in 2010

The most recent graduation class from the Pittsburgh Police Academy totaled 34—33 Whites and only one Black. All day long the talk shows were consumed with the topic of what difference does it make? On Friday evening a radio host piggybacked the same attitude the others did by emphatically stating “I don’t care,” and then he simplified the complex issue by stating the obvious that if you call 9-1-1 you don’t care if a Black, White, male or female responds. I was so upset with the negative attitude that I called, but was put on hold for 22 minutes and then I was informed they had a guest, Councilman Rev. Rickey Burgess.


America—The new third world

(NNPA)—I thought I had seen it all during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when thousands of people waited for days at the convention center for a drink of water, where some of them died in the hot sun and the rancid water, where thousands more were holed up in the Superdome in conditions that rivaled foreign prisons, and where many who were looking for food in order to survive were accused of looting and subsequently shot down like stray dogs. I thought I had seen it all when people were herded off to places unknown, into other stadiums in other cities where, according to Barbara Bush, things were “working very well for them.” I thought I had heard it all when those affected were referred to as “refugees.”



Handicapping the 2010 ­gubernatorial elections

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—If American elections were viewed in the same light as professional sports, August could safely be called the middle of the season. Now that some of the biggest primaries are over it’s pretty clear who’s making the playoffs (the fall elections) and who the contenders (well-funded outsiders) and the pretenders (hard right Tea Party candidates) really are. The press is trying to come up with the trendy pick for the fall prognosticating which house of Congress is mostly likely to fall to the anti-incumbent or pro-Republican wave that has still yet to materialize nationally. The majority of pundits are paying attention to Congress, which makes for good cable news stories but that’s not where the real action is in 2010. The governor’s races of 2010 are the most important races we’ve seen in a decade and that action is what will really dictate president Obama’s fortunes in 2012.


Changing the status quo in our schools

(NNPA)—In late July, both President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to the National Urban League’s Centennial Conference about what the president called “an issue that I believe will largely determine not only African-American success, but the success of our nation in the 21st century—and that is whether we are offering our children the very best education possible.” Right now, of course, the answer is no so President Obama and Secretary Duncan were there to speak about the administration’s plans for education reform.


The mosque in Lower Manhattan: What is the real controversy?

by Elinor Tatum Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.—The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for freedom of religion, a key principle that these United States were founded on. America was supposedly created as a bastion for freedom, leaving the oppressive rule of the British across the ocean.


Jazz singer Abbey Lincoln dies at age 80 in N.Y.

by Charles Gans NEW YORK (AP)—Abbey Lincoln, a jazz singer and songwriter known for her phrasing, emotion and uncompromising style, died Saturday in New York at age 80. “AMAZING GENIUS”—In this Sept. 17, 2005 photo, jazz singer Abbey Lincoln performs during Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert in New York. She had been declining in health for the past year. Her death was confirmed by friend and filmmaker Carol Friedman, who has been working on a documentary on Lincoln’s life. Lincoln made records and acted in films in the 1950s and ’60s, then saw her career surge again in the 1990s when she found new voice as a songwriter.


Cover To Cover…‘Big Girls Do Cry’

You should never have eaten that last slice of cake. Once you got the shirt home, the color looked awful on you. Yes, those pants make you look fat. Dating that geeky guy from the office seemed like a good idea at the time. You wish you had listened to your instincts. Throughout your life, you’ve had a thousand regrets. But, as you’ll see in the new novel “Big Girls Do Cry” by Carl Weber, things could be worse. You’ve never asked your sister to carry your baby.