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One of the earliest known professional American blues singers and recording artists, Ma Rainey, nee Gertrude Pridgett, was born in Columbus, Ga., to parents who were minstrel troupers. Ma Rainey would become the country’s most popular performer during the blues craze of the 1920s and would later be known as the “Mother of the Blues.”
By Frederick H. Lowe
Sibusiso Vilane, a South African mountain climber, has become a member of one of the world's most-exclusive clubs. Vilane became the first black person in the world to join the Three Poles Challenge after walking to the North Pole on April 12, 2012, seven days after the expedition began on April 5.
The Three Poles Challenge, or the Goliath Challenge, includes climbing Mount Everest, which Vilane did in 2003 and 2005 and walking to the South Pole, which he did in 2008.
American Express Co., the New York-based credit and charge-card issuer led by Kenneth I. Chenault, recently reported record first-quarter earnings and record first-quarter revenues for the three-month period ending March 31.
The issuer's net income was $1.256 billion, up 7 percent, compared with $1.177 billion for the same three-month period in 2011.
First-quarter revenues were $7.617 billion, up 8 percent, compared with 2011's first-quarter revenues of $7.031 billion.
“The increase reflects strong card member spending and higher net interest income driven by moderate growth in the loan portfolio,” company officials said on April 18, when American Express released its earnings.
The InvestorGuide Stock of the Day said American Express beat Wall Street Expectations. The company's earnings per share were $1.07, up 10 percent, compared with 97 cents for the same three-month period last year. Chenault, American Express chairman and CEO, attributed the issuer's strong performance to higher cardmember spending, and disciplined expense management.
“Spending on the American Express network rose 12 percent, remaining strong throughout the quarter, both in the U.S. and internationally,” Chenault said. “Credit quality continues to be among the best we have ever experienced, and our lending portfolio continued to grow at moderate levels."
Eight months before the 2012 presidential election, more independent voters are backing President Barack Obama over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitch Romney, the presumed presidential nominee of the Republican Party.
Statements violate electioneering rules for church non-profit status, complaint says
Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, asking that the government agency investigate the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria, Ill., for illegal electioneering.
Americans United filed the complaint on April 19, charging that Peoria Bishop Daniel R. Jenky compared President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin as part of an election-year appeal.
Federal law prohibits churches and other tax-exempt nonprofits from endorsing or opposing candidates, and the Bishop's April 14 sermon amounts to an order to vote against Obama, Americans United charged.
“Bishop Jenky's intervention in the election wasn't just extreme and mean spirited, it also seems a clear violation of the federal law,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United, which is based in Washington, D.C. “Churches are tax-exempt institutions, and they aren't allowed to intervene in partisan politics.”
Bishop Jenky delivered the homily during a religious service for Catholic men at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Peoria.
“Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services and health care,” Jenky said. “In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda now seems intent on following a similar path.”
Jenky later said, “Every Catholic must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall, our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals and all our public ministries could be shut down.” The homily was posted on website of the Catholic Post, the website of the diocese, where it remained as of April 25, 2012.
Lynn told the IRS that Jenky's comments were designed to build opposition to President Obama, which violates an IRS document that warns non-profit groups not to engage in any political campaign intervention.
by Frederick H. Lowe
The Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society says it supports Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to raise the state’s cigarette sales tax because the higher price would reduce the number of smokers based on history.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration will host a retirement savings forum for African Americans on Saturday, April 28, at Spelman College in Atlanta.
Spelman's Economics Department will co-host he forum, “African Americans and Retirement: What You Should
The Opportunity Agenda and the Maynard Institute will host a free webinar beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT) on Thursday, May 3, regarding the news media's coverage of African-American men and boys.
The Opportunity Agenda, a New York-based organization founded to expand opportunity, reported in a recent study,
African Americans are rarely cast in classic mainstream productions of Hollywood films or in Broadway plays. In recent years, however,
People magazine has named Beyoncé Knowles the most-beautiful woman of 2012, according to the publication, which is scheduled to hit the newsstands on Friday.
Knowles, who married rapper/business
April 26 through May 2
1886 ----- One of the earliest known professional American blues singers and recording artists, Ma Rainey, nee Gertrude Pridgett, was born in Columbus, Ga., to parents who were minstrel troupers. Ma Rainey would become the country’s most popular performer during the blues craze of the 1920s and would later be known as the “Mother of the Blues.” [Note: Some records indicate that Ma Rainey was born in September 1882.]