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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
March 15, 2011
Kevin William Harpham
Suspect Arrested In Attempted Bombing Of The Martin Luther King Jr. Parade
Kevin William Harpham, a white supremacist, who the FBI arrested for placing a bomb along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Spokane, Wash., served in the U.S. Army at Fort Lewis, Wash., one of five military installations with a concentration of white-racist members, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Harpham spent 1996 to 1997 in the Army as a member of the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project for the South Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization based in Montgomery, Ala., that monitors hate groups.
In July 2006, the Southern Poverty Law Center published an article titled, “A Few Bad Men: Pentagon In Denial,” which noted that due to a shortage of manpower to fight the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army recruited members of white extremist groups (
“Recruiters are knowingly allowing neo-Nazi and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don’t remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members,” said Scott Barfield, a gang detective for the U.S. Department of Defense, in the article.
In 1996, following a decade-long rash of cases in which white supremacists in the military were caught diverting arsenals of stolen firearms and explosives to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, the Pentagon launched a massive investigation, the article reported.
At Fort Lewis, one the largest Army installations on the West Coast, a general ordered all 19,000 soldiers stationed there strip-searched for white racist tattoos. The article named Fort Lewis, Fort Brag, N.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Camp Pendleton, Calif., as military installations where an online network of 57 neo–Nazis was on active duty.
The 36-year-old Harpham’s military service record came to light after FBI agents arrested him March 9 for planting a bomb at the Jan. 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Parade. Spokane sanitation workers discovered the bomb 40 minutes before the parade began. The bomb was found in a backpack placed on a metal bench along the parade route. The bomb failed to go off, but if it had, it would have sprayed the crowd with metal pellets coated with rat poison designed to enhance bleeding.
As a result of the weapon’s discovery, police rerouted the parade, which took place without incident. A bomb squad defused the explosive device, which provided law enforcement officials with DNA evidence that identified Harpham.
FBI agents arrested Harpham outside his home in Addy, Wash. In a criminal complaint filed against Harpham in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, the FBI charged the suspect with “knowingly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.” The charges also allege Harpham had an improvised explosive device that was not registered to him. If convicted of these charges, he could be fined $250,000 and face life in prison.
According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, Harpham was a member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, which he joined in 2004. The National Alliance was one of the nation’s most-prominent hate groups, but the organization has fallen on hard times since 2002, following the death of its founder William Pierce. He is author of
The Turner Diaries
, a 1978 race war novel, considered by white supremacists as the Bible of the radical right.
The Turner Diaries
is believed to have inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Harpham also has posted more than 1,000 racist and anti-Semitic comments on the Internet forum Vanguard News Network since 2004. In addition, he was a contributor to
The Aryan Alternative
, a white nationalist newspaper, published by Glenn Miller, a white supremacist.
U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings
Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed Against U.S. Rep. Hastings
U. S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings (D., Fla.) has been charged with sexual harassment in a federal lawsuit filed by a former aide.
Winsome Packer, who worked with Hastings as a representative to The United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, charged in the 36-page lawsuit that from January 2008 to Feb. 19, 2010, she was “forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments, and unwelcome touching by Mr. Hastings.”
Hastings was the commission’s chairman during the two-year period mentioned in the lawsuit, and Packer was the commission’s representative in Vienna, Austria.The commission provides advice on U.S. policy regarding security, human rights and other issues affecting Europe.
Judicial Watch, a conservative organization, filed the lawsuit March 7, 2011, on behalf of Packer, a resident of Alexandria, Va., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit alleges discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of the Congressional Accountability Act, retaliation in violation of the Congressional Accountability Act, sexual harassment in violation of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and retaliation in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Although Packer claims she rejected Hastings’ advances, the congressman refused to stop sexually harassing her. When she complained to Fred Turner, the commission’s staff director, Turner and Hastings allegedly retaliated by threatening to fire her. Turner also is being sued.
“Ms. Packer was particularly vulnerable to such threats because she was a Republican working for the democratically controlled commission, a point that both Mr. Hastings and Mr. Turner used to threaten and intimidate her,” the lawsuit charges. Packer eventually left the commission on her own accord because of emotional distress, anxiety and humiliation, the lawsuit said.
The 74-year-old Hastings, who is serving his 10th term in Congress, denied the allegations.
“I have never sexually harassed anyone. In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me…I will win this lawsuit,” he said. Hastings represents Florida’s 23rd Congressional District, which includes Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. He also is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a former U.S. District Court judge, who was convicted of impeachment in 1988.
Packer, who is the author of the novel
A Personal Agenda,
is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and back pay. She has requested a jury trial.
A Personal Agenda
is about the tensions between black Americans and black immigrants to America. Packer is a native of Jamaica.
Dr. King Memorial statute
Best Buy Donates $1 Million To Dr. King’s National Memorial
Best Buy Co. Inc., a Minneapolis-based electronics retailer, has donated $1 million to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial and Kids for King.
“We are extremely grateful for Best Buy’s generous million dollar gift, which will help support completion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and support our Kids for King program,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation. “I am glad to welcome the multinational retailer to our family of donors helping to build this important memorial honoring Dr. King.”
The $100 million memorial is located on four acres of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is scheduled to be dedicated on Aug. 28.
Congress passed joint resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., to establish a memorial honoring Dr. King. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Nov. 13, 2006.
Kids for King is an educational outreach initiative designed to inspire young people to further Dr. King’s mission. In addition to the donation, Best Buy will host on May 10 a Minnesota Dream Luncheon in the Twin Cities. The gathering will serve as a forum for Minnesota residents to come together and celebrate the international effort honoring Dr. King.
Best Buy, which has operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Mexico and Turkey, generates more than $49 billion in revenues annually.
Illinois Becomes The 16th State To Abolish The Death Penalty
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation last week abolishing the death penalty because of the number of cases of wrongful convictions in state’s criminal courts.
“I have concluded that our system of imposing the death penalty is inherently flawed,” said Quinn. “Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it.”
Illinois State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D., Chicago) sponsored the legislation in the state senate, and Illinois State Representative Karen Yarborough (D., Broadview) was the House sponsor.
Helping to abolish the death penalty was the most important legislation he has passed in his career, said Raoul.
Illinois reinstated the death penalty in the late 1970s, but before the state could execute it first prisoners in 1990, two were exonerated and released from death row. The state has released a total of 20 men from death row. In 2000, Gov. George Ryan ordered a moratorium on executions, fearing the state may execute an innocent man.
The American Civil Liberties Capital Punishment Project said the legislation will take effect July 1, 2011. Illinois joins 15 other states that have abolished the death sentence.
Dwyane Wade Wins Custody Of His Two Sons
Dwyane Wade has been awarded sole custody of his two sons, following a contentious battle with his wife, Siohvaughn Wade. Wade, a star guard for the Miami Heat, took his sons, who are 3 and 9, to his Florida home. Cook County, IL., Judge Renee Goldfarb issued the 102-page ruling on Friday.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Joins Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Legal Team
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. has joined the legal team of Mumia Abu-Jamal in his ongoing appeal of his capital murder conviction. Abu-Jamal is on death row in a Pennsylvania for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania vacated his death sentence in 2001 after determining there was an error in the judge's instructions to the jury.
Marcus Garvey. See story below.
This Week In Black History
1620 – The first black child born in America, William Tucker, was probably born on this date in Jamestown, Va. Though some controversy surrounds the exact date. What we know for sure is that he was the son of two of the first Africans brought to America as indentured servants in August 1619 – Anthony (Antonio) and Isabella. We also know he was baptised on Jan. 3, 1624. Further, there is debate as to whether his last name was actually “Tucker.” It seems that many historians simply assumed that the child was given the last name of the man on whose plantation his parents worked. While this would later become the practice on many plantations, there is no documentation that Anthony and Isabella actually gave their son the last name of Tucker.
1919 – Singer Nat King Cole is born in Montgomery, Ala. In addition to his considerable talents as a singer, Cole – the father of Natalie Cole – was the first African-American performer with his own syndicated radio program and later a network television variety show. The TV show aired for 15 minutes, expanded to half-an-hour but was then dropped due to lack of white advertiser support.
1852 – The leading black nationalist of the 1800’s Martin R. Delany publishes his manifesto entitled
The Condition, Elevation, Emigration and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States
. Delany, who fought in the Civil War to end slavery, became frustrated with American racism and argued that blacks were “a nation within a nation” who should consider returning to their Africa homeland. Delany, who became a doctor, would later advance an argument for reparations saying, “They [whites] had been our oppressors and injurers. They obstructed our progress to the high positions of civilization. And now it is their duty to make full amends for the injuries thus inflicted upon an unoffending people.” Delany died in Wilberforce, Ohio in 1885.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, is published in Boston and becomes a national best seller. The novel was based in part on a real life Maryland slave named Josiah Henson. Many considered Henson the archetypal “Uncle Tom” who was overly accommodating to whites and accepting of his condition as a slave. Revisionist historians have treated Henson more kindly suggesting he was simply being pragmatic and actually helped other slaves.
1883 – Jan Matzeliger receives a patent for the “shoe lasting” machine which would revolutionize the shoe industry, significantly reduce the cost of shoes and make Lynn, Massachusetts the shoe-making capital of the world. Matzeliger was born in Dutch Guiana (today’s Surinam) and arrived in America at 18 or 19 speaking very little English. His invention would eventually enable an entire shoe to be produced in 60 seconds by one machine. The patent was purchased by the United Shoe Company. Unfortunately, Matzeliger died at 37 before he was able to realize any of the enormous profits produced by his invention.
1957 – Filmmaker Spike Lee is born in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1955 – Walter White dies. As head of the NAACP, White was perhaps the most prominent and powerful civil rights leader of the first half of the 20th century. The light complexioned, blue eyed White became somewhat of a legend in 1919 when he “passed for white” in order to investigate the notorious Elaine, Ark., race riot when marauding bands of whites killed more than 200 blacks. He barely escaped with his life when news of his true identity was revealed.
1960 – The Sharpsville Massacre occurs in then white-ruled South Africa when police fire on Blacks protesting the country’s “pass laws” which greatly restricted the movement of the majority African population. At least 67 demonstrators were killed and 186 injured or wounded.
1965 – The historic Selma to Montgomery March calling for full voting rights for African Americans begins under federal protection. The original march had actually started on March 7th, but the more than 600 demonstrators were attacked with clubs and tear gas by state and local police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Organizers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., then went to court to get confirmation of their Constitutional right to demonstrate. The court battle was won and the march resumed under federal protection on March 21st. Five months later President Lyndon Johnson signed the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act.
2010 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes President Obama’s signature legislation – Health Care Reform by a 219 to 212 vote. No Republican voted for the measure. Since passage, however, Health Care Reform has been under political and legal attack from conservatives. Its future remains in doubt.
1492 – Alonzo Pietro sets sale with Christopher Columbus as he begins his famous journey to find a new trade route to China but accidentally “discovers” the Americas. Pietro was one of Columbus’ navigators. He was known as “il Negro” – The Black.
1916 – Marcus Garvey arrives in the United States from Jamaica. He would eventually build the largest black nationalist and self-help organization in world history – the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The organization owned everything from bakeries to a shipping line. It would develop chapters throughout major cities in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. “Garveyism” emphasized racial pride, economic empowerment, blacks supporting themselves and each other and the establishment of a powerful black nation in Africa to give protection to blacks throughout the world.
1942 – Scholar and political activist Walter Rodney is born in Georgetown, Guyana. Rodney would become one of the leading intellectual forces behind the worldwide black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was a brilliant scholar who traveled widely and among his major writings was the book,
How Europe Underdeveloped Africa
. He died in a car bombing in Guyana in 1980.
1931 – Ida B. Wells Barnett dies. Wells Barnett was one of the leading black female activists in America for more than 30 years. Born in Holly Springs, Miss., she became a crusading journalist against racism and injustice with her Memphis, Tennessee-based newspaper – “The Free Speech and Headlight.” When a prominent Memphis black man (a friend of hers) was lynched in 1892, she launched a national campaign against lynching. In 1909, she became a member of the Committee of 40 which laid the foundation for the organization which would later become the NAACP. She later sided with scholar W.E.B. DuBois when he accused the NAACP of not being militant enough. Wells Barnett would also later join with white suffragettes in demanding that women be given the right to vote.
1931 – The “Scottsboro Boys” are arrested and accused of raping two young white women – a crime which evidence suggests never occurred. The saga of the nine Scottsboro Boys (young black men aged 12 to 20) would extend over a period of nearly 20 years in a series of trials, convictions, reversals and retrials. The racism of the period was so pronounced that even when one of the young white women recanted and admitted that no rape had occurred, an all-white Alabama jury still found members of the group guilty and sentenced them to death. The convictions were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and more retrials and new convictions followed. Eventually, either by paroles or escapes, all the Scottsboro Boys would leave Alabama prisons. The last one died in 1989.
This Week In Black History is compiled for The NorthStar News & Analysis by Robert N. Taylor
of Taylor Media Services (202) 549-6872 or Taylor Media Services @ Yahoo.com
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