Daily Archive: February 23, 2011


And, we were oh so young, gifted and Black …

Timothy Cox, Courier Entertainment Editor, 1982-1987 My initial experience with the New Pittsburgh Courier was as a freelance writer who in the spring of 1981 contributed a story chronicling the impact of the infamous Atlanta murders. TIMOTHY COX I started my full-time Courier career as a general assignment reporter in May 1982, but after just five months on the job, Phillip Harrigan resigned from the Entertainment Editor’s post and I was promoted to his position. As a professional musician who played the city’s jazz circuit with Tim Stevens and Al Dowe along with performing with a ‘50s nostalgic touring band called Delmonics & Company, the writing gig was a natural fit for me. Fortunately for me, legendary columnist Hazel Garland and her daughter Phyl Garland would often show up in the newsroom frequently to impart their knowledge about Pittsburgh’s Jazz legacy.


Critics: Chocolate financing Ivory Coast's Gbagbo

by Michelle Faul JOHANNESBURG (AP)—Some of the cocoa in that Valentine’s Day chocolate probably came from a West African country where the man in power for a decade is still clinging to office. And activists say consumers might also think twice if they knew unpaid 5-year-olds helped produce it. YOUNG WORKERS—In this June 30, 2005 photo, children living in a cocoa producing village walk back from the fields carrying wood and food stuff on their heads on the outskirts of the town of Oume, Ivory Coast. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, File) This year, human rights advocates are harnessing the political crisis in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, to add momentum to an ongoing campaign to force the world’s chocolate makers to improve their labor practices. Supporters of the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast’s election also have pushed for a cocoa ban in an effort to financially strangle incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who the U.N. says lost the November election.


Obama budget: First cut deepest

The 2012 budget proposal released by President Barack Obama Feb. 14 has shifted his administration’s focus away from averting the economic crisis. Perhaps in reaction to Republican and Tea Party voters, the budget will cut $1.1 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years. VALERIE JARRETT “Having emerged from the worst recession in generations, the president has put forward a plan to rebuild our economy and win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors and creating the jobs and industries of tomorrow,” said Valerie Jarrett, White House senior adviser. “But we cannot rebuild our economy and win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren. We must restore fiscal responsibility, and reform our government to make it more effective, efficient, and open to the American people.”


This Week In Black History

The Week of February 19-25: February 19 1919—The “first” Pan African Congress is held bringing together prominent blacks from throughout the world to chart a program for Black unity and betterment. African-American scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois was the chief organizer. The gathering was held in Paris, France and drew 57 distinguished delegates including 16 from the United States, 14 from Africa and others from the Caribbean, South America and Europe. (The 1919 Congress is considered by many the “first” but another such Congress had been organized in 1900.) TUSKEGEE AIRMEN 1940—Smokey Robinson is born William Robinson in Detroit, Mich. He formed “The Miracles” in 1955 while still in high school. With his voice and poetry of song, Robinson led The Miracles as the group became one of the all-time best record sellers for Barry Gordy’s Motown music empire. 1942—The Tuskegee Airmen are activated for service in World War II. The all-Black pursuit squadron, later designated 99th Fighter Squadron, was organized and trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The squadron served with honors in Europe. During the war, the nearly 1,000 pilots who had been trained flew 15,000 sorties, destroyed 1,000 German aircraft and earned more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.


America’s Best Weekly: 100 Years of the Pittsburgh Courier

Included among the thousands of migrants coming to Pittsburgh were two men who would develop a newspaper that would make a significant impact on journalism and African- American life both in this country and the world. In 1910, three years after publishing a book of poems called “A Toilers’ Life,” Edward Na­thaniel Harleston wanted to expand his small sheet newspaper into a major publication. Harleston was a native of Charles­ton, S.C., and had moved to Pittsburgh from Atlantic City. DOUBLE V CAMPAIGN—Above photos of Blacks in the military during World War II. The Double V campaign launched by the Courier pushed circulation to a record high for any Black newspaper. He was employed as a messenger at the H.J. Heinz Co. on the North Side. He was an educated man, with industrial training as a carpenter and a business background as a partner in the Harleston and Wil­son Undertaker & Em­balmer Co. in Charles­ton. But by late 1909, Harleston did not have the capital nor the experience to publish a newspaper alone.


Aretha attends Pistons game with Jackson

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP)—The Queen of Soul came out to watch King James—and Dwyane Wade, too. Aretha Franklin was on hand Feb. 11 when LeBron James and the Miami Heat visited the Detroit Pistons. She sat in the second row next to Rev. Jesse Jackson and said at halftime she hopes to resume her public schedule in May—probably at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. “Probably starting at Radio City, reschedule what I had to cancel,” she said. ARETHA AND JESSE WAVE TO FANS (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) The Pistons game was believed to be one of Franklin’s first public appearances since undergoing surgery Dec. 2 for an undisclosed ailment. Franklin announced in November that she would be canceling all concert dates and personal appearances through May on doctors’ orders.


First lady: laughter key to togetherness

by Darlene Superville WASHINGTON (AP)—Michelle Obama’s advice for couples on Valentine’s Day and beyond: Laugh with your partner. She said it’s what she and President Barack Obama do, and it seems to be working. Their marriage, although tested throughout the years by his political ambitions—for the Illinois Senate, the U.S. Senate and later president—is going on 19 years. ROMANTIC—In this Jan. 2009, photo President Barack Obama dances with first lady Michelle Obama at the Midwestern Ball on the night of his inauguration in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) “I think a lot of laughing,” the first lady said Feb. 8 at a White House luncheon with reporters who asked about the Obamas’ union. “I think in our house we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and laughter is the best form of unity, I think, in a marriage.” “So we still find ways to have fun together, and a lot of it is private and personal. But we keep each other smiling and that’s good,” she added.



Analyzing our perception of Black History

I have never accepted February as being only the month recognized as Black History Month because it is my conviction that we should focus on Black History the entire year. It is disturbing to me that we as a people have allowed advertisers and ourselves to a large degree to give the wrongful impression that only Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and some times Frederick Douglas as the only Black people to shape History. This column does not attempt to dismiss the great importance of these two men, but to remind us that there are untold numbers of Black men and women who also played a tremendous role in the freedom and advancement of Blacks in America. I will highlight some of those whom we seem to ignore or have forgotten or maybe we just are not familiar with them.


The Obama budget— Valentine’s Day massacre

(NNPA)—President Barack Obama released his $3.7 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2012 on Valentine’s Day and it immediately became the object of a Valentine’s Day Massacre by Republicans in the House and Senate who want deeper budget cuts. Lost amid the GOP criticism was that President Obama proposed $61 billion in cuts. The president’s plan includes a 50 percent cut ($2.5 billion) in the government’s program to help low-income people pay their heating bills and slicing $300 million in community development block grants. While President Obama is highlighting the need for infrastructure spending and a clean environment, he is proposing eliminating almost $1 billion from grants that go to states for water treatment plants and infrastructure programs. Republican leaders say that the president’s budget was dead on arrival. GOP leaders have proposed returning federal spending to 20.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the average of federal spending from 1970 to 2008.



Congressman Chris Lee gets ‘Craigslisted’

(REAL TIMES M EDIA)—One of the best things about on-line dating is that the process is fairly simple. You go on-line create a profile and hope that nobody knows what you’re exaggerating or lying about. Since everyone assumes that there is a little exaggeration on a first date, and that’s in person, you’re even more likely to run into some colorful additions when you on-line date. The profile that reads “Architect who went to Yale, opened for Genuine and opened up a homeless shelter for African refugees” will probably turn out to be a construction worker who met Genuine at an after party and has a sponsor child through Sally Struthers. That’s all normal. What isn’t normal is when simple online dating becomes a whirlwind of racial and gender stereotypes that puts an innocent young woman in the crosshairs of the occasionally insensitive press.