Daily Archive: February 23, 2011

Metro

Black union fights for jobs

When the “Plan B” projects; Heinz Field, PNC Park and The David L. Lawrence Convention Center, were under construction a decade ago, African American Workers Union President Calvin Clinton was among those arrested for picketing the job site and protesting the lack of Black labor. Now, Clinton and board members Calvin Hughey and Rev. Alfred Brown told the New Pittsburgh Courier, that after nearly a decade spent fighting a charge that it misappropriated Allegheny County funds, which they have now been cleared of, the AAWU is back to picket and protest construction projects again that have no requirement to hire African-American workers, after being cleared of the charges. BACK IN THE BATTLE—African American Workers Union President Calvin Clinton said after nearly a decade of working to restore the union’s name after unproven charges of fraud were finally dropped, he will do whatever is needed to get Black laborers a chance to build careers. (Photos by J.L. Martello) “History here in Pittsburgh is that Blacks are always on the curb, it’s institutionalized racism” Clinton said. “We are the institutional response. More than 90 percent of our construction members are 26 or younger. Instead of a drug trade our young people can have a skilled trade.”

Metro

Community wages final battle for police accountability

In the wake of the alleged beating of former CAPA High School student Jordan Miles by three police officers, community activists and concerned citizens sprang into action to ensure similar incidents wouldn’t occur again. After one year, several pieces of legislation, aimed at police accountability, have been passed by city council. CITY COUNCIL—Council President Darlene Harris and Rev. Ricky Burgess consider comments from the public. (Photo by J.L. Martello) On Jan. 12 a public hearing was held for a final piece of legislation with the goal of improving relationships between the community and police force. If passed, the bill sponsored by District 9 Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess will amend the duties of the chief of police to enhance accountability and to publish an annual report of the force’s activities. “When the police are out in the street, whose rules are they ruling by? We have to make sure they’re serving and protecting not serving and abusing. You’re the one who’s going to be able to give us the sense of security and safety as the city of Pittsburgh,” said Sarah Campbell, public safety committee chairperson of the Homewood Brushton Community Coalition. “Justice delayed is justice denied. I thank you Councilman Burgess for getting us on the right track.”

Metro

Prater-Holliday challenges Burgess

With a folder of surveys in hand, Lucille Prater-Holliday, a candidate for City Council, has been walking the streets of District 9 to get feedback from those who could be her future constituents. On Feb. 9 she visited Misha’s, a restaurant on Frankstown Avenue in Homewood where she is a regular. LUCILLE PRATER-HOLLIDAY “Because of my background in social services, I have worked with all kinds of people and I have lived the life of many people in District 9. I have lived in poverty and know what it’s like to raise children in this environment,” Prater-Holliday said. “I’m visible in the district; I’ve always been visible in the district and I have a history of changing people’s lives.” Over her decades as a Homewood resident, Prater-Holliday has been a vocal activist at public forums. Now, in her position as chair of Action United, a membership organization of low- and moderate-income Pennsylvanians, she has widened her scope of activism beyond her neighborhood to the state as a whole.

Metro

100 years of Courier history exhibited

The Senator John Heinz History Center provided an in-depth look at the largest and most influential African-American newspaper of the past 100 years with “America’s Best Weekly: A Century of The Pittsburgh Courier,” a new exhibition that opened on Feb. 11. Just in time for National Black History Month, the exhibit features rare photos, artifacts, and videos which illustrate The Pittsburgh Courier’s significant impact on social change and American journalism. PAPERBOYS—Four paperboys stand outside of the Pittsburgh Courier offices on Centre ­Ave­­nue in the Hill District. (Photo courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Art) “The Pittsburgh Courier exhibition embodies the History Center’s mission to focus on American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection,” said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the History Center. “For 100 years, the Courier has served as a voice for African-Americans throughout the nation and its legacy has been felt around the world.”

Metro

Freedom Riders 50 years later

In May of 1961 groups of Blacks and Whites from across the country, many in their teens, boarded buses in Washington, D.C., bound for New Orleans to challenge the racial segregation still practiced in the Deep South. They expected it would be dangerous, and they would be met with violence. How dangerous? Before they left, they wrote out their wills. DUTY BOUND—Freedom Rider Winston Fuller tells Pittsburgh high school students he left a comfortable California life to be arrested in Alabama because he felt he had to help end segregation. (Photos by J.L. Martello) Winston Fuller had seen how the first Freedom Ride ended—he watched a firebombed Greyhound bus burning in Alabama on TV, he told an audience of more than 200 Pittsburgh high school students during a 50th anniversary Black History Month presentation at the Heinz History Center Feb. 9. He was stunned. “As a Southern California kid, I’d never seen anything like it,” he said. “I was appalled and angry. So when a friend of mine in the Congress Of Racial Equality asked if I wanted to go on a freedom ride. I immediately signed up.”

Metro

My one true love… Crossing 4 decades with the Courier

After graduating from Southern Illinois University with my degree in hand, a double major in journalism and radio/television, I was ready to see what was out there. I wanted to work for a Black newspaper, and nothing less would do. I wanted to make a difference in the Black community. ULISH CARTER IN THE ‘70s I had a hunger for know­ledge that just couldn’t be quenched. I spent so much time in the library, the librarians knew me when I hit the door and many times had books waiting for me. I didn’t waste time on fiction; I wanted information, knowledge of Blacks in America. Why so much hatred? I spent so much time in the library that my grades suffered. Math, science, english, foreign languages didn’t interest me at all, it was what happened in the world and what was happening in the world. It was history, social studies, civics and what could I do to help better conditions for Black people.

Metro

Courier years best memories of my life

by Jess Peters My reflections of the New Pittsburgh Courier are basically good, some better and the majority of them the best memories of my life. Actually, I grew up with the Courier throughout the years I attended Herron Hill Jr. High and Schenley. I would go to the Centre Avenue YMCA everyday after school and see a lot of the Courier employees right across the street, Bill Nunn Sr., Hazel Garland and Harold Keith, to mention a few. Some of the pressmen from the Courier would bring copies of the paper over to the Y and I made sure to secure one to take home for my parents to read. JESS PETERS After working for a major pharmaceutical company in upstate New York I returned to Pittsburgh in 1969 and began to write sports part-time for the Courier. Bill Nunn Jr. was the sports editor and a scout for the Steelers. The following year Nunn devoted full time to the Steelers and just wrote a weekly column with the paper. Subsequently, I was offered the sports editor’s position.

Metro

Speak Out: What is your reaction to GOP efforts to repeal the Health Care Reform law

The U.S. House recently voted to repeal the Health Care Reform law and it’s now in the U.S. Senate where it’s favored to be upheld. The president is expected to veto any bill that would repeal this law. So we asked Pittsburghers their view and this is what you said: “I am worried about my grandmother and my grandfather who have health care now but what happens if they repeal it, how is it going to affect them? I think they should leave it alone and it will work itself out.” Raven RuckerDowntownStudent

Metro

Courier, Pitt link revealed at Black history program

In 1909, Robert L. Vann became the first African-American graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Little did he know that more than 100 years later, his alma mater would celebrate his accomplishments as the editor and publisher of the Pittsburgh Courier and the legacy his newspaper has sustained over the years. COURIER, PITT HEADS—Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, Rod Doss and Robert Hill. As part of Pitt’s annual K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program, special guests were given a preview of the newest exhibit at the Senator John Heinz History Center. “America’s Best Weekly: A Century of The Pittsburgh Courier,” serves as one of the final events in the yearlong celebration of the Courier’s centennial anniversary. “This is of course an exhibition of impact that will provide people with the sense of influence. It’s really impossible to measure the impact,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg. “If people are committed, progress is possible and progress can be fueled in a wide range of ways.”