Daily Archive: October 13, 2010


Williams’ ‘White boys’ comment spurs action, Zappala to look into judicial bias

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala said he would investigate concerns of racial bias raised after Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams Jr. refused a plea agreement last week. Williams made national headlines when he declined a plea deal for a first time offender because he said prosecutors only make those deals for “White boys.” JUDGE JOSEPH K. WILLIAMS Williams, who recused himself from the case, declined to talk to the New Pittsburgh Courier regarding his statement. “I don’t see a racial component here, but if a judge raises the issue, it’s incumbent upon me to look into it,” said Zappala. “Judge Williams is in a responsible position, so we take this seriously.”


Community reacts to Roosevelt resignation

With his traditionally lighthearted and comedic demeanor, Pittsburgh Public School District Superintendent Mark Roosevelt announced last week he will resign, after holding the position for five years. “I stand before you all a very grateful person. I am confident leaving,” Roosevelt said. “I think I’m someone who sees possibilities and makes a turn­around come to life and that’s why I think my work is done in Pittsburgh.” RIVALS—Mark Roosevelt, left, and Mark Brentley share a laugh as they shake hands after the press conference. (Photo by J.L. Martello) At a Oct. 6 press conference, Roosevelt said he is the finalist for a position as president of Antioch College in Ohio. Whether or not he is offered the position, he said he intends to resign Dec. 31 of this year and maybe even seek employment with the Pittsburgh media, he joked.


Courier shines light on local legends and shooting stars

At the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Men of Excellence Awards reception, former, future and current honorees gathered with family and friends to celebrate their achievements. Adding to this year’s festivities, the Courier selected three local legends to honor with Legacy Awards. “The Legacy honorees have been leading this city for a very long time and it’s great to be following in their footsteps,” said John Wallace, one of this year’s 50 Men of Excellence. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be recognized with all of these men. It’s a great opportunity to recognize men who don’t get recognized.” LEGACY AWARDS—From left: Robert M. Lavelle, who accepted an award on behalf of his father, Robert R. Lavelle, with Legacy honorees Robert Pitts and Wendell Freeland. (Photo by J.L. Martello) Legacy honorees Wendell Freeland, Robert Pitts and Robert Lavelle have been civil rights icons in Pittsburgh for several decades. Their efforts to fight for equality and to improve living conditions in African-American communities can still be felt in the city today.


‘Queen of gospel’ Albertina Walker dies at age 81 in Chicago

by Carla K. Johnson CHICAGO (AP)—Albertina Walker’s singing once stopped the filming of a movie because so many actors were moved to tears by the “Queen of Gospel.” At home in Chicago, she babied her beloved French poodles, wore rhinestone sunglasses and was a fixture at the city’s gospel music festival. ALBERTINA WALKER The Grammy-winning singer died recently at age 81 of respiratory failure at RML Specialty Hospital in Chicago, said her granddaughter, Tina Nance. Walker, a protege of Mahalia Jackson, formed her own gospel group, the Caravans, as a young woman. Later, she played the role of mentor to many young singers.


Abuse of power…Bullying at work

by Brandon A Perry (Part 2 of a 4-part series from the Indianapolis Recorder.) According to experts, millions of Americans deal with abuse of power in their workplace, yet many employees aren’t quite sure how to handle the situation. Threats, intimidation, personal criticism and constant yelling are just some of the actions that represent abuse of power in the workplace. More than 53 million Americans deal with business abuse, but experts say there are ways to prevent and stop it. “It is ridiculous,” said Cynthia in frustration when asked to describe her work environment. “If the economy wasn’t so bad, I’d be gone.” Cynthia, who did not want to disclose her full name because she feared retaliation from her employer, works as an assistant manager at a local department store. She said her supervisor talks down to her, denies her opportunities offered to other co-workers and frequently overrides her decisions.


Contractors sue Penn Hills schools to block agreement

by Christian MorrowCourier Staff Writer The same group of independent contractors who sued to stop the Community College of Allegheny County from entering into a Project Labor Agreement that would require union labor on the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center project, has filed a similar suit against the Penn Hills School District. The Associated Builders and Contractors of Western Pennsylvania filed suit claiming the school board used a biased report to justify voting to establish a Project Labor Agreement with building trade unions for its upcoming high school construction. The study cost $15,000.


Community Calendar

Roundtable OCT. 15—Talk Magazine will host an African-American/Latino Roundtable at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Philadelphia West, 4010 City Ave., Philadelphia. This free two-day seminar will feature several guests from the African-American and Latino community discussing issues and solutions for how to build a stronger community. Registration is required. For more information, call 412-823-4007 or e-mail talk.roundtable@ljspublishing.com.


Uganda World Cup blasts: 36 suspects, 7 countries

by Godfrey Olukya KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) —If Ugandan police investigators are right, the size of the conspiracy behind the twin bombings during July’s World Cup finals could hardly have been bigger. Ugandan police—with help from the FBI and Kenyan police—have arrested 36 people from seven countries in the wake of blasts that rocked Uganda’s capital, killing 76 people. PLANS TO SUE—Top Kenyan human rights lawyer Mbugua Mureithi says he plans to sue the American FBI after being unlawfully detained by Ugandan authorities and accusing American authorities of directing his detention, over the July 2010 bomb attacks that killed 76 people who were watching live TV showing the World Cup final played in South Africa. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi) The suspects hail from at least three countries with known terror links: Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. At least one suspect said he was recruited and trained by al-Qaida. The Somali militant group that claimed responsibility for the blast, al-Shabab, has known links with the international terror group.


This Week in Black History

Week of Oct. 15-21 October 15 1859—White minister and mystic John Brown led a violent uprising in Harper’s Ferry, Va., in a bid to spark a Black uprising against slavery. Dozens of Whites were killed and the revolt was eventually put down. President Abraham Lincoln once referred to him as a “misguided fanatic” but Brown actually had a fanatical hatred of slavery and wanted it ended at all costs.


Soul music legend Solomon Burke dies at Amsterdam airport

AMSTERDAM (AP)—Solomon Burke was born to the sound of music in an upstairs room of a Philadelphia church and went on to become one of the greatest soul singers of the 1960s, renowned as among music’s premier vocalists. Yet his popularity never matched that of those he influenced, contemporaries including James Brown and Marvin Gaye, a reality he accepted with grace and some frustration, colleagues said. KING OF ROCK AND SOUL—Solomon Burke, the king of rock and soul—a title that Burke embraced ever since a Baltimore disc jockey is said to have hung it on him in 1964—poses in his red velvet throne in his Los Angeles home April 21, 2005. (AP Photo/Ric Francis, File) Burke, 70, died early Sunday of natural causes at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, his family said in a statement on the singer’s website. “This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family. We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans,” the statement said.