Daily Archive: October 12, 2011


City Council unanimous on police accountability

After months of tweeking, meetings, objections and finally consensus, Pittsburgh City Council unanimously passed legislation that will allow for more monitoring of police actions, which supporters said would foster greater cooperation and trust between the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and particularly, the Black community. It passed council unanimously Oct. 11. GRATEFUL PARTNERS—Tim Stevens, left, flanked by Black Political Empowerment Project Members and CPRB Exec. Elizabeth Pittinger, thanks city council for passing Rev. Ricky Burgess’ Police Accountability legislation in a unanimous Oct. 11 vote. (Photo by Rossano P. Stewart.) Black Political Empowerment Project Chair Tim Stevens noted that the following day would be the 16th anniversary of Jonny Gammage’s death at the hands of police. He called the passage of the legislation, “a new day for the citizens of Pittsburgh.” “I thank everyone for this remarkable cooperative effort,” said Stevens. “Everyone was at the table; the police administration, the union, council, the ACLU, the Pittsburgh Citizen Police Review Board, and community representatives like B-PEP and the Alliance for Police Accountability—and everyone has signed off on this.”


Bev Smith talk show cancelled

Last week, listeners tuning in to “The Bev Smith Show” on American Urban Radio Networks might have been surprised to find that the show was no longer being broadcasted live. Though “The Bev Smith Show” is slated for cancellation Oct. 28, AURN began airing a canned version of some of the radio personality’s greatest hits Oct. 3. “We’re in conversations with stations that are interested in syndicating our show. I was told our show is not relevant to young people,” Smith said. “There is no voice out there for Black minds. Our show was not only a show to entertain; it was about activism. That’s what the show is all about and there’s nothing about that on the air for African-Americans.” BEV SMITH As the only nationally syndicated African-American woman radio talk show host in the country, Smith has been recognized with numerous awards for her show, which began airing in 1998. Currently she is working to find another network and will be utilizing the Internet to communicate with her fan base.


Bidding Dock Fielder farewell

Laid out in a white suit, matching English driving cap, gold shirt and tie, and with a cigar in his breast pocket, Dock Fielder Jr. was as dapper in death as in life. And it was his life that was celebrated by the hundreds who gathered at Pentecostal Temple in East Liberty for his funeral service, Oct. 7. GOING HOME—Pallbearers, including sons and grandsons, carry Dock Fielder from Pentecostal Temple after his Oct. 7 funeral service. Shuman Juvenile Detention Center Director William “Jack” Simmons said he was somewhat surprised there weren’t more in attendance. “The people he put on the (Allegheny) County payroll alone could have filled this place,” he said. “Dock was a friend, a neighbor, even a client. And if he said he supported you—he supported you. When I ran for Clerk of Courts in 1983, as a Republican, he had my name printed on slate cards he handed out—the Democratic ward chairman.”


Westinghouse keeps name after protest

On Oct. 5, 50 to 60 people gathered outside the Academy at Westinghouse to protest the possible name change of the historical Homewood school. If they’d known the results of the discussion, which produced suggestions for two names both preserving the Westinghouse legacy, they might’ve stayed home. “It’s about removing the African-American culture. We oppose changing the name and the culture of the school. I believe this is a concerted effort to remove our culture,” said John Brewer, founder of the Westinghouse High School Commission of Recognition, prior to the meeting. “We feel pretty much opposed to what they’re trying to do and how they’re trying to do it.” JOHN BREWER The meeting, facilitated by the District Solicitor Jocelyn Kramer and Chief of Staff Lisa Fischetti, brought together staff, students, parents and representatives of the community to vote on recommendations for the new school name. As a result, the School Naming Group is recommending George Westinghouse Academy or George Westinghouse for approval to the school board’s School Naming Committee.


Nobel Peace Prize goes to women’s rights activists

by Bjoern Amland OSLO, Norway (AP)—The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three champions of women’s rights in Africa and the Middle East on Friday in an attempt to bolster the role of women in struggles to bring democracy to nations suffering from autocratic rule and civil strife. RIGHTS CHAMPIONS—Africa’s first democratically elected female president, a Liberian peace activist and a woman who stood up to Yemen’s authoritarian regime won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 7, for their work to secure women’s rights. Seen from left: Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (AP Photo) The Norwegian Nobel Committee split the prize between Tawakkul Karman, a leader of anti-government protests in Yemen; Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman to win a free presidential election in Africa; and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, who campaigned against the use of rape as a weapon in her country’s brutal civil war.


Community Calendar

Seminar Series OCT. 13—The Alzheimer Disease Research Center, the Alzheimer Outreach Center and the University of Pittsburgh will host The Walter Allen Memorial Seminar Series at 2 p.m. at the Hill House Kaufmann Center, 2nd floor conference room, 1835 Centre Ave., Hill District. The topic will be “Genetic Studies of Behavior Changes in Alzheimer Disease.” The guest speaker will be Dr. Robert Sweet, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology ADRC Clinical Core Psychiatrist of the University of Pittsburgh. Refreshments will be provided. For more information, call Marita Garrett at 412-692-2722.



This Week In Black History

Week of October 15-21 October 15 1859—White minister and mystic John Brown leads a violent uprising in Harper’s Ferry, Va., in a bid to spark a Black uprising against slavery. Dozens of Whites are killed but the revolt is 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. 1887—The U.S. Supreme Court declares Civil Rights Act of 1885 unconstitutional. Decision was spurred by the end of Reconstruction and helped to usher in the Jim Crow period in the South whereby Black rights won during Reconstruction were taken away.


Civil rights warrior Fred Shuttlesworth dead at 89

by Jay ReevesAssociated Press Writer BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)—Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who was bombed, beaten and repeatedly arrested in the fight for civil rights and hailed by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his courage and tenacity, has died. He was 89. Relatives and hospital officials said Shuttlesworth died Oct. 5 at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. A former truck driver who studied religion at night, Shuttlesworth became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and soon emerged as an outspoken leader in the struggle for racial equality. SOLDIERS—In a May 8, 1963 file photo, civil rights leaders, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., left, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, center, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy hold a news conference in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo, File)



Some enslaved us, others freed us

I went to Ohio to attend my great-granddaughter’s 10th birthday and to my delight a program was on television that focused on the amazing number of White southern abolitionists. Over the years I had always been aware of the fact that there were Black abolitionists and there were untold numbers of White abolitionists in the northern states. The program opened by pointing out that the Quakers were always opposed to slavery because they perceived slavery as being immoral and often would raise money to pay former slaves. They were in the forefront of operating the Underground Railroad, which had often been described as the first interracial Civil Rights Movement.