Daily Archive: July 15, 2011


Education reform would shake status quo

Achievement levels for White students in America are comparable to students in European countries. For this reason education experts say passing broad based education reform that benefits minorities will be difficult. “There is not always a push for what’s educationally sound. It’s up to us to push what’s educationally sound, not politically feasible. I think we’ve got to get back to organizing. There are policy proposals that are going to be passed that are going to put us in worse shape,” said John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education. DEAN LARRY DAVIS “The challenge is people feel they have too much to lose if they fight back. We need to highlight the fact that education is a common good for all. It’s a tough battle. Don’t think we’re going to get everyone on board.”


Stevenson gives Baptist’s role in community

The church used to be the center of the community. It was where everything happened socially, politically and economically. During turbulent times, such as a recession, high unemployment and increasingly out of control Black on Black violence, many people, especially Blacks, used to turn to their faith. Instead, today’s society turns to other things. REV. JEROME STEVENSON One of the largest denominations represented in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area’s Black community is the Baptist church. According to the most recent edition of the Black Business Directory, there are 91 Baptist churches in Pittsburgh alone.


Birthday nightmare for teen who alleges racism

On the evening of July 9, Armani Ford and 10 other friends set out for a night on the town to celebrate his 16th birthday. As they made their way to Club Zoo, an under 21 club in the Strip District, their excitement filled the limousine rented by Armani’s grandmother for the special occasion. However, the young men’s excitement quickly disintegrated when they were denied admittance to Club Zoo. According to Armani, the teens were told they looked like “thugs.”


Central bomb scare

A few days before the celebration of its 120th Anniversary and only several months after the kick-off of its renovation campaign, Central Baptist Church in the Hill District faced an unsettling instance on July 9 when a suspicious suitcase was found in the parking lot of their 2200 Wylie Ave. location. Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Public Information Officer and Spokesperson Diane Richard said Zone 2 officers responded to a call of a report of a suspicious package. When they arrived, officers found a tan suitcase in the parking lot. The Bomb Squad was called to the scene and after examination of the suitcase by techs, the suitcase and the area were found to be safe.


NAACP concerned over CNN news lineup

(NNPA)—The NAACP is “deeply concerned” about the absence of African-Americans among the hosts or anchors in the Cable News Network’s just-released prime time schedule. “As CNN announced their new schedule, a glaring omission was present–-no African-Americans were hosts or anchors in their prime time lineup,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement. “The NAACP is deeply concerned with the lack of African-American journalists in prime time news, both on cable and national network news shows.” Apparently, this is not just a CNN problem. According to the NAACP, there are currently no African-Americans hosting or anchoring any national or cable news shows during peak viewing hours.


Miss Dot was more than a neighbor

(NNPA)—When I was very young, we moved from a three-room wooden shack at 2715-15th Street in Tuscaloosa, Ala. to McKenzie Court, a public housing development for African-Americans. We moved to 5-D, next door to Mrs. Dorothy Corder Smith, whom we called Miss Dot. When I speak around the country, sometimes I say we were so poor that my mother couldn’t afford to have children—the lady next door had me. Miss Dot, the lady next door, didn’t need any more children—she had 13 of her own. But that didn’t stop her from adopting every kid in McKenzie Court, including me. We all considered her our second mother and she made you feel that her house was your house. Her house was one of the few that had a television and telephone at that time. I practically lived there, showing up unannounced every day to watch my favorite cowboy, Benny Carle and the Circle 6 Ranch that was broadcast from Birmingham. It didn’t hurt that Benny Carle came on around dinner time.



NAACP: Cable news doesn’t want you

(REAL TIMES MEDIA)—Every year the NAACP and several other large organizations that advocate for African-American rights and respect release a report with same bad news: There are no Black folks on television anymore. Oh the theme varies from time to time, there are no Blacks on primetime sitcoms, no Blacks on nighttime dramas, no Black head writers or producers but the story has been the same: For the last decade there seems to be a steady decrease in the number of African-American men and women in prominent visible spaces on nightly cable television. While this is a dire issue these reports often fail to address why the news stations are doing what they are doing, or more importantly why it should even matter to have Black talent on the air. Only once those arguments are made will we see any changes.


Bob Pitts: Thanks for quietly opening the doors

With the recent deaths of John Adams, David Epperson and Nate Smith and the death last year of Robert Lavelle, it brought my thoughts back to a man who is still living and his contributions to the success of all Blacks in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. It was a special honor for me to be a part of the honoring of a gentle giant. A quiet hero was honored last year as the Courier honored the 50 Men Of Excellence and included this man as one of three legendary honorees. Last year the Courier added a new category to the proceedings by honoring three men who had been trailblazers. Those men were Robert R. Lavelle, Wendell Freeland and Robert Pitts. Unless you’ve had your head totally in the sand everyone knows the contributions of Freeland and Lavelle. But few really know the magnitude of what Pitts has meant to Pittsburgh. In fact, if it weren’t for Pitts, most of the men and women of excellence would not have been possible, because there would have maybe been 50 in the entire Pittsburgh area.


Kelly Strayhorn celebrates a Diamond in the Rough

Kelly Stayhorn Executive Director Janera Solomon hopes that the theater’s summer series “Celebrate East Liberty” will get people to appreciate the diversity of East Liberty and the artists that come out of the town. “The Kelly Strayhorn is proud to be here in East Liberty,” Solomon said. “Summer is typically a quiet time for theaters and we created a residency program for artists to grow and develop ideas during weeklong residencies at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.” JANERA SOLOMON All are open to the public during the residencies and each Friday performance affords the audience the opportunity to experience a work-in-progress showing, which is the culmination of the residency.


Stars shine at Essence Music Festival in New Orleans

by Diane Larche’For New Pittsburgh Courier It’s about music, inspiration and empowerment at the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans during the Fourth of July weekend. The annual fest started in 1995 as a one-time event to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Essence Magazine and is now in its 17th year. It is the largest annual African-American cultural event in the country drawing nearly a half million people to the crescent city and Louisiana Superdome and pumping in over 100 million dollars into an economy that could use a boost. NEW EDITION