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Zero-Tolerance Policies Turn Black Students into Zeroes

Black boys are suspended from high school at a much higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups.
Black boys are suspended from  high school at a much higher rate than other racial and ethnic groups.
by Frederick H. Lowe

(TriceEdney) - African-American boys and girls are suspended from the nation's public schools in greater numbers than any other racial and ethnic group even in preschool, according to U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights report released on Friday.

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Justice Department reported that African-American students were 16 percent of the student population during the 2011-2012 school year, but black boys received 20 percent of out-of-school suspensions and black girls received 12 percent.

There were 1.9 million single out-of-school suspensions and 1.55 million multiple out-of-school suspensions. Some 130,000 students were suspended during the school year.

Black boys and black girls were suspended more than whites, Hispanics, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders, Asians and students of more than two races, the report stated.

The information is detailed in a 24-page report illustrated with colorful charts and titled "Data Snapshot: School Discipline." The report covered the 2011-2012 school years with Civil Rights Collection Data from all 97,000 of the nation's public schools, 16,500 school districts, representing 49 million students.

This was the first time since 2000 that the Department of Education has received race, gender, and ethnic group data from all of the nation's public school districts, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan said during a news conference in Washington, D.C.

"The data released today reveals particular concern around discipline for our nation's young men of color, who are disproportionately affected by suspensions and zero-tolerance policies in schools," Duncan said.

Out-of-School Suspensions Benefit The Police
Out-of-school suspensions eventually benefit the police who are there to arrest people and the nation's prison system which locks them up, providing jobs to prison guards and administrators.

"Suspended students are less likely to graduate on time and more likely to be suspended again. They are also more likely to repeat a grade, dropout and become involved in the juvenile justice system," the report said.

Black students represent 27% of students referred to law enforcement and 31% of students subjected to a school-related arrest.

Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., wrote in an email to supporters that the law center has been "fighting the school-to-prison pipeline for years, bringing case after case to reform zero-tolerance policies that amount to a war on our nation's children."

Dees gave two examples of cases involving the Southern Poverty Law Center. The cases don't signal SPLC lawyers are representing Al Capone, John Dillinger or even Michael Corleone.

A school suspended a student in Mobile, Ala., for 50 days because his shirt was not tucked into his pants. To top that off, a 14 year old in Meridian, Miss., was locked up for several days because he had too many pockets on his pants, Dees said.

He noted that May 17 marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that outlawed segregation. He added, however, that the recent data shows that even after six decades, traces of Jim Crow linger. "And it's devastating to African- American communities, who see their children's futures cast aside as they are earmarked for dropout and incarceration," he Dees said.

Out-of-school suspensions of black students begin with preschool. Only 40 percent of public school districts offer preschool programs.

Preschool Suspensions
African-American students represent 18 percent of preschool students but 42 percent of first-time suspensions and 48 percent of students suspended more than once.

"This critical report shows that racial disparities in school discipline policies are not only well-documented among older students, but actually begin during preschool," Holder said.

The study reported that African-American students represented 16 percent of the student population, but 32 percent to 42 percent of students suspended or expelled.

In comparison, white students represented 51 percent of the student population and 31 percent to 40 percent of students suspended or expelled, the study reported.

The report noted that African-Americans are suspended and expelled at a rate of three times greater than white students. On average, 4.6 percent of white students are suspended or expelled compared to 16.4 percent of African-American students.
Schools  often target Black boys for out-of-school suspension.
Black boys’ school experiences are often traumatic, causing high rates of depression, said Dr. Waldo E. Johnson Jr. of the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

The report lists out-of-school suspension rates for 49 states. West Virginia reported the highest out-of-suspension rate for African-American males at 32 percent. West Virginia was followed by Mississippi (27 percent), Illinois (27 percent), Massachusetts (26 percent), and District of Columbia (26 percent). North Carolina was the only state in a single digit for African-African male suspensions at 6 percent.

As for African-American girls, Wisconsin led the nation with a 21 percent out-of-school suspension rate. Wisconsin was followed by Michigan at 16 percent and Missouri was also at 16 percent.

North Dakota reported the lowest out-of-school suspension for African-American girls at 0.0 percent. Georgia did not report its out-of-school suspensions.

Find how your state, district and school rank among out-of-school suspensions at the searchable database.

African Hearts Swell at Lupita Nyong'O's Oscar Prize

(TriceEdney) – The chatter on social media sites was off the charts as the Oscar choice for best supporting actress was named – the luminescent Lupita Nyong’o - for her role in the Hollywood feature “12 Years a Slave.”

Nigerian journalist Bim Adewunmi, writing in The Guardian, was one of many Africans covering the long night of prizes and accolades and who would witness Nyong’o at the moment of her victory and feel the chills of the much-deserved award.

Adewunmi recalled the moment: “She never had that look of being cowed or over-awed by all the pomp and pageantry. Dazzled, sure (who wouldn't be?), but never looking out of place with it. There was always a confidence, borne out by her wonderful and gracious acceptance speeches and interviews.

“It helps that she looks beautiful too, with her super-short hair (a fade! On a black woman! On the red carpet!) and dark brown skin, but even that beauty seems independent of the circus around her.”

At an earlier event - the Essence Black Women In Hollywood luncheon – Nyong’o had said: "I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned."

On the Kenyan blogs, the chatter took a turn to the personal. “Dear African women and your daughters, LOOK! No weave on Lupita’s head,” penned noted Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina.

He exulted: “African women in spotlight today forgot chemical burns, fake hair,” adding for good measure: “Millions of African women today pulled weaves out with bare hands!”

The Kenyan actress and Yale School of Drama graduate, who turned 31 on Saturday, won plaudits for both her efforts on screen and her impeccable fashion sense.

Meanwhile, on the blog site bellanaija.com, breathless accolades poured out: “I am sooooo proud, u ve given us hope”… “Dreams come true… wish her all the best in her future endeavors” …  “I usually don’t care for things like these but dang Lupita’s speech brought tears to my eyes!! She’s all types of adorable!! More grease to her elbows and I hope she stays grounded too! 
 
“Lupita Nyong’o has arrived,” declared Adewunmi. “And while most of us seem glad of it, some of us are inevitably more glad than others.

Environmental Racism: 'New Frontline' of Human Rights

By Zenitha Prince

(TriceEdney/Afro American Newspaper) - Environmental justice activists are calling attention to what they say is the new frontline of the human rights struggle - chemical contamination of communities of color - what some groups have dubbed environmental racism.

“When corporations decide where to build chemical plants, landfills, or water treatment plants where chemicals leach, they most often choose low income communities of color,” Richard Moore, a long-time civil rights and environmental justice leader with the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, said in a statement.

“This is the next frontier of the Civil Rights Movement,” Michele Roberts, co-coordinator for the alliance, told the Afro American Newspaper. “People of color and the poor have borne the brunt of exposure to toxins and have a disproportionate share of health issues because of the prevalence of chemical sites in their communities. You even have people migrating because they are losing their communities.”

Roberts pointed to Mossville, a town just outside Lake Charles, La. that was built by Black freedmen in the late 1700s, and now faces a corporate buyout because “they are surrounded by 14 of the most toxic facilities ever.”

The environmental justice movement began in the 1960s when farm workers organized by Cesar Chavez fought for workplace rights, including protection from toxic pesticides in California fields, and when African-American students took to the streets of Houston to oppose a city dump that claimed the lives of two children.

But the movement truly took off in 1982 when residents from Warren County, N.C., a poor, rural and overwhelmingly Black jurisdiction, fought to block the dumping of 6,000 truckloads of soil laced with toxic PCBs in their community.

“For us, environmental justice is about protecting where we live, play, work and pray,” Roberts said. She added of the history, “Grassroots communities came together to form the environmental justice movement. They looked at what Dr. [Martin Luther] King said about creating the ‘Beloved Community’ and honed in on that to say that we must have environmental remediation and policies in those communities.”

Those early efforts led President Bill Clinton to issue Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” in 1994.

But activists complain that Clinton’s executive order and other laws, such as the General Duty Clause of the Clean Air Act which requires facilities that produce, process, handle or store hazardous substances to take proactive measures to prevent accidental releases, are not being implemented.

Despite strides in legislation and executive actions, “communities continue to experience disasters,” Roberts said. “What we now need are standards and regulations to enforce these laws and protect these communities now and for future generations.”

On Jan. 9, a West Virginia chemical spill contaminated the water supply of nine counties, leaving 300,000 people without drinking water. On Dec. 20, an explosion at the Axiall plant near Mossville, La., sent several people to the hospital. In August, an explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant killed 15 people. On June 13, a chemical explosion in Geismar, La., killed one person, injured at least 75 others and released a plume of toxic fumes across the area.

President Obama’s Executive Order 13650, “Improving Chemical Safety and Security,” mandates “listening sessions” across the country, with the next scheduled for Feb. 27 in Newark, N.J. At the meetings, stakeholders who live and work near chemical plants have the chance to express their concerns.

Roberts said the move signals new momentum in the thrust for chemical policy reform and the environmental justice movement.

“I really believe we have a very strong chance because we’re getting more and more people involved” including the United Steelworkers, health advocates and more, Roberts said. “If we work collectively together, especially in the waning years of this administration, we would be able to get the reforms we need to protect our communities.”

Internet Use: Class vs. Race, But "Digital Divide" Continues

by Zenitha Prince

TriceEdney) - The digital divide between Blacks and Whites may be more a function of class than race, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

The study, entitled “African Americans and Technology Use” and released Jan. 6, found that at the same income levels, there is little discernable difference in Internet use and adoption between African Americans and Caucasian Americans.

Young, college-educated, and higher-income African-Americans mirror Whites of a similar demographic profile in the use of the Internet and the availability of broadband service at home. At least 86 percent of Blacks ages 18-29 are home broadband adopters, as are 88 percent of Black college graduates and 91 percent of African Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or more per year.

“These figures are all well above the national average for broadband adoption, and are identical to Whites of similar ages, incomes, and education levels,” the report stated.

Social networks are a major draw for African-Americans in cyberspace, particularly younger users. Overall, 73 percent of African-American Internet users—and 96 percent of those ages 18-29—use a social networking site of some kind. Twitter is particularly popular—22 percent of online Blacks are Twitter users, compared with 16 percent of online Whites.

The picture is very different among older, non-college educated African-Americans, who are significantly less likely to go online or to have broadband service at home compared to their White counterparts. African-Americans age 65 and older have especially low Internet adoption rates compared with Whites; a mere 45 percent of Black seniors use the Web, and 30 percent have broadband at home. Among White seniors, 63 percent go online and 51 percent are broadband adopters.

Analyzed together, the survey showed that the digital divide between Whites and Blacks persists, particularly when it comes to traditional means of Internet access. In all, 87 percent of Whites have traditional means of Internet access compared to 80 percent of Blacks. When it comes to home broadband adoption, 74 percent of Whites have some sort of broadband connection at home, compared to 62 percent of Blacks.

However, mobile technologies are helping to bridge the gap. Overall, 72 percent of all African Americans—and 98 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29—have either a broadband connection or a smartphone. Blacks and Whites are equally likely to own any cell phone, including smartphones. About 92 percent of Black adults are cell phone owners, and 56 percent own a smartphone of some kind. While older African Americans trail others in Internet use, they are more likely to own a cell phone. While only 45 percent of African Americans ages 65 and older use the Internet, 77 percent are cell phone owners—only 18 percent, however, own smartphones.)

This report on African Americans and technology is the first in a series of demographic snapshots of how technology has permeated different groups of adults in the United States. It was based on a survey of 6,010 American adults, including 664 who identify as African American.

Advocates have long championed policies to close the digital split between different communities, saying the disparity affects rates of literacy and education, political influence, development and more.
Afrocentricnews.com

Jordan Davis, Another Victim of a Murderous Historical Continuum

Wilmer J. Leon, III
by Dr. Wilmer J. Leon, III

(TriceEdney) - “Can a Negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed into existence by the constitution of the United States…they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for…” Chief Justice Roger Taney – Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)

The verdict is in. Michael Dunn was found guilty on three counts of attempted second-degree murder but the jury failed to reach a verdict on the most significant charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Jordan Davis.

Instead of celebrating what would have been his 19th birthday, Jordan Davis’ parents continue to mourn the legally unrecognized murder of their son. I can only imagine that this verdict is analogous to killing him again. Jordan Davis has become another victim of a murderous historical American continuum.

In the wake of the Treyvon Martin murder, the killings of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, Sean Bell on November 26, 2006, Police Sgt. Cornel Young, Jr. on January 28, 2000, Police Officer Willie Wilkins on January 11, 2001, Amadou Diallo on February 4, 1999 and so many others we find ourselves coming to the same conclusion, by focusing on their color; people failed to see their humanity.

The subtext to all of these untimely deaths remains race. The subtext to the inability of juries to convict the George Zimmerman’s and Michael Dunn’s of the world of murder is tied to race as well. They are the most recent victims of a murderous historical American continuum. Tolnay and Beck in their book A Festival of Violence, “identified 2,805 victims of lynch mobs killed between 1882 and 1930 in ten southern states. Although mobs murdered almost 300 white men and women, the vast majority-almost 2,500-of lynch victims were African-American. The scale of this carnage means that, on average, a black man, woman, or child was murdered nearly once a week, every week, between 1882 and 1930 by a hate driven white mob.” Today, lynch mobs have been replaced by Zimmerman’s and Dunn’s and sanctioned by “Stand Your Ground” and “juries of their peers”.

As Africans in America and later African-Americans, we have been engaged in a struggle for a very long time. Too many of us have forgotten what’s at the crux of the issue. Many believe it’s economic, others believe its civil rights. Both of those are important and play a significant role in improving our circumstance but what we’ve been fighting to have recognized since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 (395 years ago)is to be considered human.

According to the Virginia Statutes on Slavery, Act 1, October 1669; what should be done about the casual killing of slaves? “If any slave resist his master and by the extremity of the correction should chance to die, that his death shall not considered a felony, and the master should be acquitted from the molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepense malice should induce any man to destroy his own estate.” We were property, not human – part of the estate.

In Dred Scott Chief Justice Taney wrote, “…they (Negro’s) were at that time an considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the government might choose to grant them.” Unfortunately, Taney’s perspective remains prevalent in the minds of too many Americans.

For decades, the law recognized the value of life over property. In many jurisdictions, before a person could use deadly force they had a duty to retreat. They had to prove that the use of deadly force was justified. This is often taken to mean that if the defendant had first avoided conflict and secondly, had taken reasonable steps to retreat and so demonstrated an intention not to fight before eventually using force, then the taking of a life could be considered justified.

Today, Stand Your Ground has turned this long held principal on its head. Today it provides individuals (seemingly mostly European American’s) the right to use deadly force (seemingly against African American’s) to “defend” themselves without any requirement to evade or retreat from a circumstance of their own creation.

One cannot stress enough, in both the Treyvon Martin murder and the murder of Jordan Davis, both victims were in public space, engaged in legal activity, and at the time they were confronted were not a threat to anyone. George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn initiated the confrontations, put themselves in harm’s way, and then took matters into their own hands, choosing to use deadly force against unarmed and non-threatening innocent victims. Neither Martin nor Davis was given the opportunity to stand their ground.

What ties the death of all of the individuals listed above together is the culturally accepted stereotype of the threatening Black male. Defense counsels in the murder of Treyvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Amadou Diallo and so many others rationalized these irrational shootings by tapping into the oftentimes unspoken but clearly recognized and understood fear of the Black male.

Even though no weapon and nothing resembling a weapon was found in the vehicle Jordan Davis was riding in, at least one member of the Dunn jury understood his claim that he was in fear of his life. Even though Treyvon Martin was unarmed, members of the Zimmerman jury understood on a gut level his claim that he was in fear of his life. Amadou Diallo was armed with only his wallet when NYPD unleashed a barrage of 41 bullets striking him 19 times.

Since those first 20 and some odd “African indentured servants” disembarked from the Dutch Man O War off the shores of Jamestown, VA in 1619 African’s in America and now African-Americans have been victimized by a murderous American historical continuum.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email:wjl3us@yahoo.com. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com © 2014 InfoWave Communications, LLC
Afrocentricnews.com

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Medal of Honor Ceremony Rights a lot of Wrongs

Medal Of Honor Former Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris
Former Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris was a U.S. Army Green Beret. President Barack Obama has awarded him the Medal of Honor for valor in Vietnam. PHOTO: The White House
(TriceEdney) - President Barack Obama has awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 U.S. Army veterans who did not receive the nation's highest combat medal because of racism either exhibited by their commanding officers and others.

The veterans, who fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War all received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest service medal, at a White House ceremony March 17.

President Obama, however, upgraded those medals to the Medal of Honor after Congress in 2002 called for a review of the combat service of Jewish Americans and Hispanic Americans through the Defense Authorization Act.

During a review, records of several soldiers who were not Jewish nor were of Hispanic descent also were found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor.

One of the Army veterans honored by President Obama was Melvin Morris, who served two tours of duty and was wounded three times in an attack on Sept. 17, 1969, near Chi Lang, South Vietnam that killed a fellow commander. Morris was commander of Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force.

During the battle, Morris, a Green Beret, retrieved his fallen comrade's body and a map that would have been useful to the enemy.

In 1970, the Army awarded Morris, then a staff sergeant, the Distinguished Service Cross. The 72 year-old Morris lives in Coca, Fla., according to Valor 24, the website of the Medal of Honor.

Morris is one of three Medal of Honor recipients still living. The others are Spec. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, Texas. Erevia was cited for courage during a search and clear mission near Tam Ky, South Vietnam on May 21, 1969. The other soldier is Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela also of San Antonio. Rodela was cited for courage during combat operations in Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam, one Sept. 1, 1969.

The other recipients have died, and they will receive their medals posthumously.

More than 1,000 Rally Against the 'Stand Your Ground' in Florida

Stand Your Ground Protest Signs
Protesters carried signs showing recent victims. PHOTO: Aldranon English II/Capital Outlook

Over 1,000 Rally Against 'Stand Your Ground'
More than 1,000 Rally Against the ‘Stand Your Ground’ in Florida

Rev. Al Sharpton and the parents of Trayvon Martin - Tracy Martin and Sybrina
Among leaders of the march were the Rev. Al Sharpton and the parents of Trayvon Martin - Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton.PHOTO:Aldranon English II/Capital Outlook.
(TriceEdney) - Rev. Al Sharpton and several renowned activists led a march of hundreds to the Florida State Capitol last week to protest Florida’s self-defense doctrine notoriously known as the “Stand Your Ground” law. Among the participants were the parents of slain teenagers Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson and Jordan Davis.

Family members of Emmitt Till, who was murdered at 14 years-old during the 1950s, were also on hand. They joined family members of: Fruitvale Station victim Oscar Grant III, Air Force veteran Michael Giles and recently released mother of three Marissa Alexander – who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun near her estranged husband.

The event beckoned many influential figures including radio personalities Tom Joyner and Joe Bullard. Others included Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, City of Tallahassee Commissioner Andrew Gillum, local attorneys Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks along with Florida A&M University Student Government President Elect Tonette Graham.

Florida law dictates that people, not involved in illegal activity, have the right to stand their ground and meet force with force – including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it is necessary to avoid death or great bodily harm. Florida Rep. Corrine Brown states that the law has done more harm than good in several states including Florida.

“In 2005, Florida passed the expansion of ‘Stand Your Ground’ to 24 other states,” said Brown. “Since its expansion, the law is like a cancer that needs to be eradicated.”

Brown strongly urged the community to participate in the committee meetings later that day as well as the upcoming elections in November.

“You have to march over to the committee meetings as well to the voting polls,” said Brown. “Florida is ‘stuck on stupid,’ you have to show up people in Tallahassee and you have to represent on a daily basis.”

Rep. Alan Williams states that self-defense laws were already in place before “Stand Your Ground,” but understands the importance of changing the aggressor language portion of the law.

“As members of the Legislature, we cannot appeal it outright now, but we are going to repair it,” said Williams.

Williams stressed the significance of the march and the goal at hand for the community as well as for the entire nation.

“This would have been the first year for Trayvon and Jordan to be allowed to vote,” said Williams. “Don’t just march because it is Monday, don’t just march because it is in the moment. March because it is a movement,” said Williams. “It is a movement that makes certain our community is better and safer for our families, friends and loved ones.”

Several individuals participating in the march held signs and banners that stated “Standing Our Ground” and wore T-shirts that read “We are not a threat.” Baltimore's Pastor Jamal Bryant’s message reverberated throughout the streets near the state Capitol as he spoke about the mission of the rally.

“We have not come today for a march. We came here for a rescue mission,” said Bryant. “We are here trying to locate the missing pieces so that our children can walk the streets peacefully without fear.”

Rev. R. B. Holmes, of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, plans to file a federal lawsuit against the state of Florida concerning the stand your ground law. Holmes along with Bryant plan to enforce a pastoral task force to repeal and repair the self-defense law across the country.

Sharpton stressed the attention and ramifications the march will gain from all of the public figures that were present but made certain that their attendance should not be the focus of their cause.

“We are here to help illuminate,” said Sharpton. “We did not come here to supplant. We came here to support.”

Sharpton explained that the stand your ground law is fundamentally unjust during the march.

“To have laws that tell people that they can shoot first and then ask questions later is a violation of our civil rights. I believe that law is inherently wrong,” said Sharpton. “The law in effect says based on your imagination – if you imagine I am a threat – you have the right to kill me.”

Sharpton concluded the assembly with inspirational words that left many participants charged and ready to act on change.

“Nothing we have achieved was given to us,” said Sharpton. “We had to fight for it then, and we will fight for it now.”

The protesters planned to attend House and Senate criminal justice committees in hopes of telling lawmakers they want them to consider action on the law.

Some Black Men Believe They are Viewed as "Less Valuable"

Christopher Crump: Recent verdicts indicate the justice system is "not meant for us."
Christopher Crump: Recent verdicts indicate the justice system is "not meant for us."

By Kelly-Ann Brown, Brelaun Douglas and Jasmine Rennie

(TriceEdney) – As the national focus continues on high profiled shootings of unarmed young Black men, some say the controversies have caused them to fear attack even when they are doing what is right and normal.
With fallout from the Florida-based Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin cases - and the not so recent, but still relevant, Sean Bell and Oscar Grant cases - all brimming with racial undertones - Black males seem to be in danger of being killed for that reason alone - being Black.
Most recently, Michael Dunn, 43, of Jacksonville, Fla., shot and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis during an argument at a gas station. Dunn opened fire, shooting toward an SUV carrying Davis and three friends. He claimed he thought he saw a gun during a dispute over the teens’ loud music.
Though convicted by a jury of three counts of attempted murder, the jury could not reach a verdict on the first degree murder charge in relation to Davis’s death. Dun’s sentencing has been delayed until he is retried on the remaining first-degree murder charge May 5.
The case of Jordan Davis is reminiscent of scenarios that civil rights leaders argue the Black community has heard far too often. That scenario is that a young African-American male is unjustly killed and the trial often ends in a disappointing verdict.
Marcus Randall says he is always "cautious of my actions and mindful of my surroundings."
Marcus Randall says he is always "cautious of my actions and mindful of my surroundings."

As heartbreaking as the verdict had been, many young Black men were not surprised by the Dunn outcome at all, noting a culture of attacks against innocent Black me by those who stereotype or profile them.
Joshua Lanier, 25, a community supervision assistant for the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency in Washington, D.C., notes a common theme among the Jordan Davis case and others like it:
“A Black male’s life seems to be less valuable than anybody else's in this country,” says Lanier. “Anytime you hear a case involving a young Black male [and] the police, he always seems to get the short end of the stick.”
For many it seems the outcomes of these cases – including the George Zimmerman acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin - have only reaffirmed what many Black men have considered to be true: “The justice system…is not meant for us,” says Christopher Crump, 19- year-old California resident attending Hampton University.
Though law officials pride themselves on objectivity, by nature people are judgmental and often unable to separate their emotions and personal experiences from their decision making as well as their views of others.
“Times haven’t changed,” says Nicholas Taylor, a 19-year-old Texas native attending Howard University. “There’s still an innate fear of African-American males … whether you are [a] law enforcement [official] or an average citizen.”
But when it comes to being a Black male in America, to what extent does race effect their interactions with others?
“I think many of us are unconscious of our personalities around people who are not like us, especially Caucasians,” says Gregory Richards, 24, an accounts receivable representative from The Bronx, N.Y.
Lanier, the community supervision assistant, agrees. He believes that Black males are feared “more than any other race and gender” because society has depicted the Black man to be aggressive and unpredictable. In response to this often false depiction, other races can be overly aggressive when attempting to diffuse a minor conflict; especially when it escalates to a killing.
Stresses related to being stereotyped and profiled are also known to affect the health of Black men, according to Dr. Waldo E. Johnson Jr., associate professor at the School of Social Service Administration and faculty affiliate in the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago.
At a symposium at the university last month, Johnson said African-American men suffer from much higher rates of depression because of trauma compared to their white counterparts, and many Black men don't recognize that they have been traumatized, according to an article on TheNorthStarNews.com
Gregory Richards says Black males are sometimes "unconscious of our personalities" around people who are different.
Gregory Richards says Black males are sometimes "unconscious of our personalities" around people who are different.

According to the article, “Because young Black men and Black men rarely find places where they can feel safe, they are on hyper-surveillance concerning their surroundings, and they are hyper-vigilant to any signs of danger coming from the police, or individuals who act like the police, such as a George Zimmerman, security guards following them in stores and other individuals in positions of authority, Dr. Johnson said. He added that black men always are under intense surveillance by others.”
Recent high-profiled cases shed light on the belief that young Black men are apparently being killed because of their culture, such as Davis’s loud music which irritated Dunn, or their physical appearance, like Martin’s Hoodie which apparently caused shooter George Zimmerman to see him as suspicious. The stereotypical conclusion: Black men pose a threat.
As a result, some Black men change themselves to meet the expectations of others.
“Regardless of the situation they are going to see us as something we are not,” said 21-year-old Philadelphia resident Marcus Randall currently attending Penn State. “At the end of the day, I just have to be cautious of my surroundings and mindful of my actions.”
Through advice and personal experiences, many Black males have found strategies to combat these prejudices in hopes of making themselves seem less intimidating. “It’s not always about staying true to who you are, it’s about adapting. Adaptation doesn’t mean selling out,” says Taylor, the Howard student.
“I can understand not wanting to change because that’s who they are,” Taylor said. He concluded, but even “animals that don’t change go extinct.”

Family Feuds Could Stall Settlement of Mandela's Estate

Mandela Family
(TriceEdney/Global Information Network) – A last will and testament by former Pres. Nelson Mandela published this week offered some unpleasant surprises for children of the national leader and especially for his second wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, who was not listed among the beneficiaries.

The family of South Africa's first black president, who died two months ago aged 95, met this week behind closed doors at his foundation in Johannesburg to hear the reading of the will, which divides up an estate estimated at $4.1 million.

An executor, Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy chief justice of South Africa's constitutional court, said the reading of the will to the family had been "charged with emotion" but no one had yet contested it. "There were clarifications sought from time to time," he added.

Perhaps the most unexpected turn of events, was the omission of Madikizela-Mandela, his wife of 38 years during the struggle against racial apartheid. They divorced in 1996 but became close again towards the end of his life and, along with his third wife, Graça Machel, she was at his bedside when he died.

Over 165 comments were posted in the online South Africa paper News24 speculating on the curious testament. "It could still end up in court,” said a News24 source. “The trusts could be dissolved and the funds in them would go to the family members."

Mandela married three times and his numerous children and grandchildren have frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his lucrative "brand". Last year, two of his daughters went to court to dispute control over the millions contained in one of the trusts but eventually dropped the action.

Winnie’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren with Mandela were all left generous sums, although the money for Bambatha, Zondwa, Zwelabo and Zoleka Mandela has to be paid to Graça to be paid out at her discretion.

Meanwhile, the third wife, Graça Machel, will inherit their cars, the jewelery in her possession and the works of art of her choosing at the Houghton home she had shared with him. Graca’s children from her former marriage to the late Mozambican president Samora Machel – Josina and Malengane - and six of Samora Machel’s children from his previous marriage are also beneficiaries.

Madiba also made a bequest to all the schools he had attended in his lifetime, as well as to the Qunu Secondary School and to Orlando West High School for the “role its pupils and teachers played in the struggle for liberation”.

The home in Houghton, Johannesburg, where Mandela died on Dec. 5 will be used by children of his late son Makgatho. "It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death."

Black History Month Hashtag Viewed as Disgraceful
Eddie Jones First Black Man
This photo was a part of the memes that trended on social media during Black History Month.
by Brelaun Douglas

(TriceEdney) - Search this hashtag: #FirstN*ggaTo- on one of the popular media sites such as Instagram or Twitter and be prepared for a Black History Month shock.

Posts have flooded the internet and social media sites with fictional - and even stereotypical - messages pertaining to the African-American community. Such posts include, but are not limited to, a picture of a baby named Lester J. Green being attributed as the first Black kid to have a light bill in his name; a young man, Claude Malvoux, relaxing in a chair being attributed as the first Black man to extend his break 30 minutes; and “Eddie Jones” as being the first Black man to say “lemme hold sumn.”

Ironically, the controversial memes are often being posted by African-Americans. The question that comes into play here is are these memes funny or offensive? Do they degrade Black History Month - and Black history overall - or do they bring a lighter balance to the standard Black history learnings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcom X, and Harriet Tubman?

“There is nothing positive here,” concludes Sylvia Y. Cyrus, executive director of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Cyrus affirms that this month is a “very important celebration of American history and provides the opportunity for Americans to celebrate the contributions of Blacks.”

ASALH, founded by historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson 99 years ago, prides itself for “celebrating Black history 365 days a year”. During Black History Month, the organization holds several major events, including an annual luncheon that seats thousands and a program at the White House.

Black History Month began in 1926 as only a week. Created by Dr. Woodson, often called the “Father of Black History” Negro History Week was meant to highlight the achievements and contributions of African Americans during a time when they were purposely written out of the history books. It was first held during the second week of February and soon became recognized and celebrated across the United States. In 1976, President Ford broadened Negro History Week to cover the entire month of February and Black History Month was born.

But, in the advent of social media, the traditionally serious nature of the month is sometimes undermined for comedic or conversational purposes. Therefore, California comedian Marcus Parker is torn between whether the memes are funny or insulting.

“As a comedian, I get the humor. As a comedian I can live in that world,” he says. “It’s a double edged sword. It would be funnier coming from a comedian, but coming from young Black kids, it shows that they don’t get the gist of what Black History Month is about. ”

To Parker, the month is a time for honoring Blacks and their contributions to history. But he feels that it may not be taken as seriously as it was in the past - and he is “more saddened than mad at these memes, especially since it is more Black people than others posting them.”

U.C. Riverside freshman Cameron Fulton still feels that Black History Month is important and serious. He sees it as a time to celebrate the “people that fought for you” because “without their fight, we probably wouldn’t be here” living the freer lives that we live. Fulton is not sure if it is mainly Black people posting these memes, but regardless of the person’s race he finds it overall disrespectful.

“You don’t know what a person went through, so why when we are celebrating things that they did would you disrespect their fight?” he questions.

Ajah Love, a sophomore at Cal poly San Luis Obispo, agrees with Fulton and finds the memes disgraceful. “When I first saw it I thought it was going to be something insightful and that it was going to be a piece of history every day for the month, but it wasn’t” she criticizes. She asserts that Black history “is not a joke” and that “it’s time that’s deserved.”

She feels that more importance should be placed back upon it with events being held and getting people involved in the history and that “people are going out of their way” to find something stereotypical for these memes. Instead of using these memes, “Find something meaningful and be grateful,” she asserts.

Director of Howard University’s School of Communication’s honors program, Dr. Audrey Byrd, takes the memes as a sign. “It makes me think all more the importance of using this month to look at who we are and what we have accomplished,” she proclaims. To Byrd the memes show someone who is unknowledgeable of Black culture and views them as “a mark of ignorance.”

Cyrus not only finds the images to be sad and unfortunate but evidence of the lack of knowledge of Black history. “Only when we know our history well enough,” she declares, “will we be able to rally against those who will alter our image and do this to it.”

B.B. King: The King of Blues Appearing in the Bronx

B. B. King
By Deardra Shuler

One of the most famous guitarists in the world of Blues, B.B. King, will be appearing at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 19th at 8:00 p.m. Known around the world, at age 88, King is an unstoppable musical icon, who is still going strong and touring to this day.

Born on September 16, 1925, in Itta Bene, Mississippi, Riley B. King (a.k.a. B.B. King) is also a songwriter, singer and blues musician, whose blues hits and classics include “3 O'clock Blues,” “Woke Up this Morning,” “Live at the Regal,” and “Bobby “Blue” Bland Together for the First Time.” In the R&B genre, “You Don't Know Me” rose to #1. “Please Love Me,” “You Upset Me Baby,” “Sweet Sixteen, Part 1” and “Don't Answer the Door, Part 1,” hit at #2. His crossover hit “The Thrill is Gone,” won King two Grammy Awards and the Hall of Fame Award. These are among the numerous awards he has accumulated during his lengthy career.

Mr. King has collected a number of guitars over the years. “Yes, I have an extensive guitar collection, but my guitar of choice is a Gibson custom Lucille,” remarked King who named his guitar Lucille after an incident in Twist, Arkansas, when 2 men while engaging in a brawl knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall where B.B. (Blues Boy) was playing. Rushing outside to escape the flames, King remembered he left his guitar inside. He rushed back to retrieve it in the knick of time, almost costing him his life. Later, King learned the fight was over a woman named Lucille, prompting King to trademark his Gibson guitars ever since, calling them Lucille.
Lucille has been good to B.B. who developed a unique and very identifiable style of playing the guitar. Influenced by Blind Lemon Jefferson and T-Bone Walker, King developed a precise and sophisticated style of vocal-like fluid string bends and a shimmering left hand vibrato that many electric blues and rock guitarists have emulated. “I listen to all kinds of music and they all have something to offer,” said Mr. King in terms of the development of his music and musical style over the years. His humane bent includes supporting a non-profit organization that provides free musical instruments and instructions to underprivileged public school children. The program is called Little Kids Rock wherein Mr. King sits on the Honorary Board of Directors.

Married twice, B.B. King is reported to have several children and grandchildren. When asked by this writer how Mr. King would like to be remembered, the King of Blues stated humbly, “I would like to be remembered as a person who loved people & loved sharing my music with the world.”

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office by calling 718-960-8833 or going on line at www.LehmanCenter.org. The Center is accessible via the #4 and D trains or if driving via the Major Deegan Expressway and Saw Mill River Parkway. Parking is $5. Tickets are selling fast, so get your tickets early.

2014 Exonerations Expected to Outpace 2013

TriceEdney) -- The National Registry of Exonerations, a joint project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School, has reported that the pace of exonerations in 2014 is expected to easily surpass the total number in 2013.
So far this year, there have been 25 exonerations and if this pace continues, there will be 100 exonerations in 2014. Last year, there were a record-breaking 87 exonerations, the organization reported.
This year's exonerations include 11 overturned murder convictions and two overturned rape convictions. Six exonerations involved non-violent crimes, including perjury, theft, non-violent conspiracy and drug possession.
On average, the exoneration occurred 12 years after conviction, although in DNA cases the average time nearly doubles to 23 years.
Nine of the 25 known exonerations occurred in 2014's first quarter and more than 33 percent involved cases where no crime had occurred.
"No-crime cases make up and ever larger portion of exonerations in the National Registry, including 28 out of 87 of the exonerations in 2013," organization officials said.
Four of the exonerations in 2014's first quarter, or 16 percent, occurred in cases in which the defendants were convicted after pleading guilty. The rate of exonerations after a guilty plea has doubled since 2008.
Five of the exonerations were obtained through DNA evidence and 11 were obtained through cooperation with police and prosecutors.
In 2013, 47 percent of the exonerees were African-American; 40 percent were White and 11 percent were Hispanic, the Registry reported.

Report: Black-White Graduation Gap Among NCAA Basketball Contenders Remains Wide
Schools Are ‘Treading Water,’ Says Author

(TriceEdney) - Amid the excitement of March Madness comes sobering news: The disparity between Black and White graduation rates in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Male Basketball Tournament teams remains wide.

According to data released this month, the story of the stubborn performance gap among college athletes is spelled out in data detailing graduation success (GSR) and academic progress rates (APR).

Overall, the GSR for White male basketball student-athletes decreased slightly from 90 percent in 2013 to 89 percent in 2014, while the GSR for their African-American counterparts remained stagnant during the same period at 65 percent, creating a 1 percent drop in the achievement gap.

“There is not much good news to report as almost every category examined remained the same or got worse,” said Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which compiles the data, in a statement.

“The most troubling statistic in our study is the continuing large disparity between the GSR of white basketball student-athletes and African-American basketball student-athletes,” Lapchick added. “It is simply not acceptable that in 2014, 38 percent of the men’s teams had a GSR disparity of greater than 30 percent between white student-athletes and African-American student-athletes, and 47 percent had a GSR disparity of greater than 20 percent.

“This year we seemed to be treading water instead of moving ahead,” Lapchick said in a statement.

In an interview with the AFRO, Lapchick, the chief author of the report, said graduation rates for African-American student-athletes have been increasing since 2005 when penalties for subpar academic performance were put in place by the NCAA.

“But the graduation rates for White students have also increased. So the gap between African-Americans and White students remains large,” he said.

Among teams in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, the imbalance is more pronounced. In 2014 there is a 43 percent gap compared to a 27 percent in 2013, according to the data.

There is significantly less disparity between White and African-American female student-athletes – a 5 percent White-Black gap in graduation rates overall and a 13 percent White-Black GSR gap among Sweet 16 teams.

Lapchick argued that racial disparity rates need to be included in teams’ academic progress rate, a metric that includes graduation, retention and other factors. The APR was developed in 2004 by the NCAA to hold teams responsible for the academic performance and retention of their student-athletes. For 2014-15 championships, teams must earn a 930 four-year average APR or a 940 average over the most recent two years to participate in championships.

In 2015-16 and beyond, teams must earn a four-year APR of 930—the equivalent of a 50 percent graduation rate—to compete in post-season play. If schools fail to meet APR standards they can be blocked from participating in tournaments, penalized with decreased scholarships or otherwise.

“The takeaway for me is that the NCAA needs to include in the measure of Academic Progress rates the disparity between African-American and White student-athletes and if there is a significant gap, that should be part of the penalty,” Lapchick told the AFRO. “We think this would be an incentive for schools to work towards narrowing the gap.”

Dunn Verdict Seen as Another Permit to Kill Black Men

Jordan Davis
Michael Dunn
by Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire) – Civil rights leaders are shaking their heads and demanding justice this week after a jury verdict once again appeared to let the killer of a young Black man off the hook.

Michael Dunn could actually face decades in prison as he was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle. But, because the Jacksonville, Fla. jury did not reach a verdict on a charge of first degree murder of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, prompting a mistrial on that charge, rights leaders across the country are crying foul.

"We are deeply disappointed by the verdict in the case of Michael Dunn. Though he was convicted for attempted murder and shooting into the car, the value of Jordan Davis’ life was not addressed in this verdict,” says the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network. “The mistrial further sends a chilling effect to parents in the 23 states that have the Stand Your Ground law or laws similar.”

The case stems from the 2012 shooting of four Black teens in an SUV after Dunn, who is White, complained they were playing their music too loud outside a Jacksonville convenience store.

After 30 hours of deliberation over the course of four days, the diverse 12-member jury found Dunn guilty on every count, except the first degree murder. Several questions from the jury during deliberations indicated they were split on a decision. They had asked Judge Russell L. Healey whether they can decide a verdict on some counts without deciding on others, As a result, Dunn, 47, was only convicted of attempted murder of Tevin Thompson, Leland Brunson, and Tommy Storns, the three teens in the car with Jordan, but not of the murder of Jordan.

Prosecutors indicate they will retry Dunn on the murder charge, but civil rights leaders say more sweeping action is also needed, such as the abolition or amendment of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” self-defense laws. Dunn used the infamous “Stand Your Ground” defense that became well known in the controversial acquittal of George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin of Sanford, Fla.

“This is clearly a continuation of the injustice we saw with Trayvon Martin, and it will only stop if we stand up now. We demand a retrial, and strongly urge Attorney General Eric Holder to bring justice in this case and investigate how 'Shoot First' laws shield those who commit hate crimes,” says Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org. “All too often, young Black men across this country are the targets of violence, a tragic fact fueled by stereotypical media portrayals that create inaccurate perceptions of Black men and boys.”

Dunn, who took the stand in his own defense, claimed that he feared for his life because he thought the four teens had a gun when he opened fire upon them, shooting 10 times and hitting the vehicle nine times. No gun was ever found in association with the teens. The case was racially charged given that Dunn is White and also because his fiancé testified that he commented, “I hate that thug music,” as they pulled into the parking lot where the shooting occurred.

Testimony in the trial harkened back to the initial comment by Zimmerman to a 911 operator that the unarmed Martin, carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea, was “up to no good”. Zimmerman successfully used the “Stand Your Ground” defense despite the fact that he followed Martin even after the 911 operator cautioned against it.

"This case is a perfect example of how stand your ground laws are illogical and often lead to tragic outcomes, especially to people of color who often end up on the wrong side of the weapon,” stated Dr. Niaz Kasravi, NAACP Criminal justice director in a statement. “To help prevent future tragedies such as the death of Jordan Davis, we must repeal stand your grounds laws and bring back common sense self-defense policies in every state across this country.”

Over and above the legalities of the case, the battle against the perception that young Black males are fair game for shooting and killing is an uphill one for civil rights leaders. And as long as “Stand Your Ground” laws give shooters an out, this kind of stereotyping will prevail, some contend. Still others see the lesser convictions as a good start for justice.

“Young, Black men are not thugs or suspicious by definition,” said Florida NAACP President Adora Obi Nweze, “And this important verdict reconfirms that those who commit crimes based on those misplaced preconceptions will not go unpunished.”

All indications are that the Dunn verdict has sparked the escalation of the fight against “Stand Your Ground” laws. Sharpton indicates protests may be planned.

“It requires the Civil Rights community to head into Florida, which is now ground zero for a National fight to change that law,” he states. “From Trayvon Martin to Jordan Davis enough is enough.”

Nagin - Guilty of Corruption - to be Sentenced June 11

Ray Nagin

(TriceEdney) - Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has made history by becoming the first mayor in New Orleans’ nearly 300-year history to be tried and convicted for a crime committed while in office.

Nagin, a New Orleans businessman and Democrat who famously vowed to root out corruption once elected, was found guilty on 20 of 21 counts in a federal court. He was convicted on one count of conspiracy, five counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of filing a false tax return.

The 57-year-old ex-mayor was found not guilty on one count of bribery, stemming from an alleged bribe involving businessman Rodney Williams.

“I maintain my innocence,” a stoic-faced Ray Nagin said as he left the federal courthouse.
“We did our best,” lead defense attorney Robert Jenkins told reporters. “I’m surprised. I really thought the jury would not find him guilty of any of these counts,” Jenkins said. “We will move on to the appeal process.”

A sentence hearing has been set for June 11.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Nagin could face 20 years behind bars, and possibly more time plus fines. The former mayor remains free on bond and was not taken into custody.
At times during the trial, a defiant Nagin engaged in heated exchanges with federal prosecutors and denied taking bribes although he did acknowledge that he did whatever he could to support his sons and the family business.
“Like any father, I wanted to help my sons,” Nagin testified.

When his time on the witness stand was finally over, Nagin said, “Thank you Jesus.”
“Our public servants pledge to provide honest services to the people of Southeast Louisiana,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, a New Orleans native who took over the reins at the U.S. Attorney’s Office after his predecessor was forced to resign amid an online posting scandal, said Wednesday in a written statement. “We are committed to bringing any politician who violates that obligation to justice.”

The 21-count federal indictment charged Nagin with accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business, Stone Age, in exchange for promoting the interests of local businessman Frank Fradella. Nagin, who as a newly installed mayor pointed to the pre-dawn arrest of a cousin who drove a cab as proof of his seriousness about ending public graft, was also charged with accepting at least $60,000 in payoffs from contractor Rodney Williams for his help in securing city contracts.
“The road to former Mayor Ray Nagin’s conviction began with one phone call from a courageous citizen,” Rafael C. Goyeneche III, a former cop and president of the Metropolitan Crime Com?mission, said in a released statement. “That citizen told the MCC about shipments of granite from Florida by the truckload to the Nagin family business in New Orleans. It was only one piece of a corrupt puzzle but when placed in the hands of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the pieces grew one by one into a sprawling picture of corruption and betrayal.”

From the day he was inaugurated when he jumped out of a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of Faubourg Tremé — to the surprise of his wife, reporters and onlookers — to second-line in the street, to the day he told the federal government to get off its “ass and do something” after Hurri?cane Katrina, Ray Nagin had a knack for keeping things interesting. He will be forever remembered for his infamous “Chocolate City” remark, proposal to reopen the Canal St. hotels as casinos after Katrina, his decision to mask as the Roman general Maximus on Fat Tuesday and his description of himself as “vagina-friendly” during a local celebration of “The Vagina Monologues.”

“Nagin’s legal problems began long before his indictment on 21 counts of corruption,” W.C. Johnson, a member of Community United for Change and host of local cable-access show “Our Story,” told The Louisiana Weekly. “Nagin first began deceiving the people of New Orleans when he changed his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat. During his tenure as mayor, Nagin displayed Republican values throughout his color of governance. In addition, Nagin ran scared for his reelection bid that caused Nagin to embrace his Black roots and persuade the working poor to reelect him for a second term. The amount of political capital Nagin owed to the working poor should have raised the living standards of the working poor and the economic stability of the Black business community. Unfortunately, neither group benefited from the support in rejecting Mitch Landrieu’s bid to upset the Nagin administration.
“The worst demonstration of Nagin’s rejection of the working poor and Black business community came when public housing residents petitioned the mayor and his administration to reject the demolition of the major housing communities known as projects,” Johnson continued.

“Nagin’s rejection of the very people who saved the Nagin Administration was the beginning of Nagin’s demise. Interestingly enough, many Black politicians in New Orleans are blinded by the illusion of ‘good old boy’ politics being the saving grace when it comes to the relinquishing of political power through the electoral process. Blacks who are allowed to ascend to political positions in New Orleans either lack the vision of empire building or are dissuaded by the images of ‘Strange Fruit’ hanging from the poplar tree. Without regards to historical accounts, Blacks dismiss the notion of, ‘the greater the risk, the greater the rewards.’ Using Atlanta as an example, America has witnessed what Blacks can do once they go all in for the high-stakes game of politics. Regrettably, Blacks in New Orleans would rather risk going to jail as a common thief than risk death for control of the pie. Once again settling for the crumbs from the pie instead of getting the pie.”

In 2006 Nagin defeated challenger Mitch Landrieu in a hotly contested race to win a second term as mayor.
Landrieu, who became Nagin’s successor in 2010, talked about the Nagin conviction Wednesday.

“This is a very sad day for the people of the city of New Orleans,” Landrieu said. “The conviction of former Mayor Nagin is another clear indication that the people of this city will not tolerate public corruption or abuse of power. Four years ago, the people of this city turned the page on that sad chapter for New Orleans and on the old way of doing business. We are moving forward and are restoring the public’s trust in government. Our city’s best days are ahead of us.”

W.C. Johnson said there’s a lesson to be learned from Nagin’s fall from grace.
“Ray Nagin, William Jefferson, Oliver Thomas, and others should pass on to Black political hopefuls the merits of self-determination for the race, instead of individual riches,” Johnson told The Weekly. “The old cliché, ‘a rising tide lifts all ships,’ needs to be the watchwords for Black politicians in New Orleans. There are only a few metropolitan cities that enjoy a Black majority. Fewer still are metropolitan cities that reward the Black population because the Black race is in the majority. European history reveals European conquest. In the vigor that Blacks embrace the European model, why have Blacks overlooked the conquest of empire-building blocks that lead to true political power? Are Black politicians so disconnected and self-absorbed, or are Black politicians so afraid that the obvious eludes them?”

Sounding like a fallen elected official who believes he suffered a knockdown but is not out for the count, Nagin sent the following message via Twitter Thursday: “Praying 4 prosecutors, government witnesses, jurors…God still in control.”
A similarly upbeat Robert Jenkins said he was hopeful about the findings of a report about prosecutorial misconduct in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I promise you that if it’s what we think it is…it’s a bombshell,” Jenkins told FOX 8 News.
According to FOX 8 News, the report is being kept under wraps by U.S. District Judge Kurt Englehardt for now.

A similar investigation by the Feds led to the overturning of a number of convictions in at least one high-profile, post-Katrina murder case involving NOPD officers.
“There are many objections, and those appeals are based on those,” Jenkins said.
For now, Nagin remains in Dallas, Texas on home confinement.
“New Orleans has been damaged in an immeasurable – yet, thankfully not irreparable – way by Ray Nagin’s and Greg Meffert’s campaign of corruption and self-dealing,” former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, Nagin’s immediate predecessor, “It is a sad day for all of us when those who are elected and entrusted to protect our citizens demonstrate such little regard for the tremendous duty and responsibility of leading this great city. I hope that this conviction reminds the current generation of New Orleans elected officials, as well as others across the nation, of just how essential personal integrity and commitment are to public service.

“Fortunately, my hometown of New Orleans is strong and resilient and has already begun, under a new administration, to move past the damage directly caused by Nagin and Meffert,” Morial, who currently serves as National Urban League president, added. “Elected office is a sacred public trust, and ineptitude, lack of integrity, and abuse of power have no seat at the table. I hope that everyone who is proud to call New Orleans “home” can now fully put this behind us and move on to the business of continuing to push our city forward.”

Va. House of Delegates Rejects Care for Slave Graves

(TriceEdney/Richmond Free Press) - Virginia pays to care for the graves of soldiers who fought in the Civil War.Shouldn’t the state also care for the graves of the forgotten slaves over whom that terrible conflict was fought 150 years ago?
“Yes,” is the right answer to Republican Delegate Robert G.“Bob” Marshall.That’s why he proposed a bill to set up an 11-member state commission to identify such graves, with the ultimate goal to provide state assistance to groups or organizations that maintain them.The bill, though, died in a Republican-dominated House committee Feb. 17, which Delegate Marshall called disappointing.

“We honor the memory of those who fought on both sides and fail to honor the memory of those who occasioned that awful struggle,” the Prince William county delegate told the FreePress. “We ought to give those graves legal recognition in deathas we do those who fought.”

Delegate Marshall said the idea for caring for the graves of slaves came from Paul Goldman, a political analyst and a former chairman of the Virginia Democratic Party. Goldman said that the “state treated slaves like property when they were alive. It is important for us to right this wrong as best we can and make sure they get the respect they deserve.”

This would not have cost much, Delegate Marshall said. A former history teacher, he envisioned volunteers from schools, heritage groups and the NAACP combing through archives to identify slave burial grounds. He said, “This would have brought people together.” 
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