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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 -
June 9, 2011
Unemployment Gets Worse For Black Men
The unemployment rate during May climbed to 17.5 percent for black men 20 years old and older on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 17.0 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported June 3.
There were 1.411 million black men out of work and seeking jobs in May compared with 1.382 million who were out work and looking for a job, according to the bureau.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, however, among African-American women held steady. The jobless rate among black women in May was 13.4 percent, nearly the same as it was in April. Some 1.210 million black women were out of work in May compared with 1.217 million who were jobless in April.
The overall unemployment rate in the black community continued to rise on a seasonally adjusted basis.
In May, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for black men and black women 20 years old and older was 16.2 percent compared with 16.1 percent in April. Bureau officials reported that 2.880 million African Americans were out of work in May compared with 2.882 million black men and women who were out of work in April.
The seasonally adjusted jobless rate among African Americans is much higher than other racial and ethnic groups. May's unemployment among whites was 8 percent, the same as it was in April. Among Hispanics, May's unemployment rate rose slightly to 11.9 percent, up from 11.8 percent in April. The jobless rate for Asians was 7 percent, but that was not on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Last month, nonfarm payroll employment added 54,000 jobs and the overall unemployment rate was essentially unchanged from the previous month at 9.1 percent.
Unemployment In May 2011 Among Major Worker Group
International Commission Says Global “War on Drugs” Is A Failure
Group Urges Experimentation with Legalization
An international commission, composed of some of the world’s most prominent political figures, has declared the global “war on drugs” a failure, and commission members urged nations to consider legalizing marijuana and some other drugs in order to protect their citizens’ health and undermine organized crime.
In a report titled, "War On Drugs: The Report Of The Global Commission On Drug Policy," released on June 2, commission members concluded, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” The study urges governments throughout the world to try “experimentation” with “models of legal regulation of drugs.”
Members of the 19-member panel included current Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, British businessman Richard Branson, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Cesar Gaviria, former president of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico.
The United Nations estimates that there are 250 million illegal drug users in the world, but fewer than 10 percent of them can be classified as addicts. There are also millions of people estimated to be involved in drug cultivation, production and distribution. The report noted that annual drug consumption increased between 1998 and 2008 despite the well-publicized war.
The commission's report adds that money spent by governments on futile efforts to reduce the supply of drugs and on jailing people on drug-related offenses could be better spent on different ways to reduce drug demand and the harm caused by drug abuse. The full report is available at no cost at
Estimated Annual Drug Consumption
African Leaders Back Gaddafi; Call on U.S. and NATO to Stop Bombing Libya
They Believe U.S. and Allies Trying to Kill Gaddafi
In a potentially influential, unanimous decision, the leaders of African nations met over last weekend and voiced support for Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi. The leaders called on the United States and its NATO allies to stop bombing the North African country, and they said there should be an immediate cease fire between Gaddafi’s troops and rebel forces.
The call came at the end of an extraordinary summit, which began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday. The African leaders condemned NATO members for exceeding the mandate of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
The 1973 resolution authorized the use of force to protect civilians, but the African leaders feel the U.S. and its European allies have twisted the resolution out of its original mandate and turned it into a license to overthrow and even assassinate Gaddafi.
African Union Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa rejected U.S. and European demands that Gaddafi step down from power “before” peace talks begin. Kutesa issued a statement saying, in part, “In our view, the talks should be without pre-conditions. Otherwise there will not be progress … Also, the attempt to try to assassinate the leader of a sovereign country violates international law.”
NATO denies it is trying to kill Gaddafi, but it has heavily bombed the compound where he is believed to live. And thus far the bombing has killed one of his sons and two of his grandchildren. There is also speculation that what is taking place in Libya is not part of the so-called “Arab Spring” for democracy but is instead part of a long-standing Western effort to oust Gaddafi.
Nevertheless, most military experts believe the rebels do not have the strength to overthrow Gaddafi without a massive ground invasion by U.S. and NATO forces. The most likely scenario is a military stalemate which could last for months, if not years.
ACLU Wants Justice Department To Investigate Illinois State Police Consent Searches
Organization Cites Rampant Racial Profiling of Black and Hispanic Motorists
The Illinois branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Tuesday asked U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Illinois State Police for its alleged discriminatory practice of stopping and searching vehicles driven by black and Hispanic motorists. The ACLU charged that the Illinois state police practice raises “serious civil rights and civil liberties concerns.”
Illinois State Police officers are more likely to ask black and Hispanic drivers rather than white drivers for permission to search their cars or trucks. The state maintains statistical records of the searches and compiles data annually, the ACLU said. These searches are referred to as "consent searches," and approximately 90 per cent of the drivers pulled out of traffic agree to have their vehicles searched.
Racial profiling of drivers has become common in Illinois and though this practice has been protested vigorously, the ACLU charges that neither the Illinois state police nor Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn have looked into the matter. A panel, formed in 2006 to investigate racial profiling, for example, has never met.
"Because of the inaction of state officials, we are compelled to ask the federal government to protect motorists of color in Illinois from being subjected to unnecessary, invasive and racially discriminatory searches,” said Harvey Grossman, director of legal services of the ACLU of Illinois.
In response to Grossman’s letter, Gov. Quinn’s office and a state police spokesperson indicated that they view seriously the issue of discriminatory searches.
A review of statistics on consent searches compiled by the state of Illinois, reveals that even though the state police are three times more likely to stop a black motorist and four times more likely to stop a Hispanic motorist, the cops find more illegal contraband in vehicles driven by white drivers.
The ACLU charges that state troopers don't have concrete reasons in most instances for stopping any driver. They are merely acting on gut responses to the drivers and are therefore more likely to act in a discriminatory manner, the ACLU said.
In addition to objecting to racial profiling by the state police, the ACLU also raises the concern that pulling drivers out of traffic and asking that they allow their vehicle to be searched is “inherently coercive.” The ACLU argues stopped drivers are not given a real choice in this situation.
Ill. State Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago, long interested in the issues of race and law enforcement, agrees that the racial disparity in the conduction of consent searches should be investigated by the Justice Department. He further stated that police should be barred from asking to search any vehicle unless there is a clear reason for such a search to be undertaken.
Families Of Murder Victims Petition To Avoid A Trial In Alleged Serial-Killer Case
The families of eight victims of alleged serial killer Anthony Sowell have asked prosecutors to end the legal proceeding against him and accept a previously proposed plea offer.
"We, the family members of the victims ….hereby petition to the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Prosecutors' Office to accept the guilty pleas of Anthony Sowell with a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," the petition reads. The family members said they did not want to participate as witnesses in a trial in which the lives of their loved ones would be exposed to the media.
The 51-year-old Sowell, a Cleveland resident, was arrested in 2009 for the murders of at least 11 women.
Police found the decomposing bodies of Sowell's alleged victims, all black women scattered throughout his house and buried in his backyard (
NorthStar News & Analysis November 8, 2009
Sowell has pled not guilty to the murder charges, but earlier he agreed to plead guilty to avoid a trial. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason rejected the plea agreement.
Sowell faces the death penalty if convicted. On Monday, jury selection began.
Law Center Asks Homeland Security To Reconsider Cuts In Domestic Terrorism Budget
The Southern Poverty Law Center has urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to look again at resources devoted to investigating non-Islamic domestic terrorism after Daryl Johnson, a former top DHS official, charged that the department dismantled the unit under criticism from the political right.
"The department's work should never be compromised by misguided criticism from any quarter," Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote in a letter to Janet Napolitano, DHS secretary. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization, is based in Montgomery, Ala.
In his letter, Cohen cited a number of murders and terrorist acts committed by right-wing extremists, including the arrest of a neo-Nazi in the January attempted bombing of the Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash
NorthStar News & Analysis March 15, 2011
Johnson, who headed the unit responsible for analyzing security threats from non-Islamic domestic extremists, was the principal author of the April 7, 2009, report titled, "Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
The report was intended for law enforcement officials, but it was leaked to the press, and conservative commentators charged that the report equated conservatives with terrorists.
Television watching, a national
past time for blacks
Black America May Soon Have More Television Networks
First, there was Black Entertainment Television (BET) and then came TVOne. Now the Dish Network is launching Punch TV, a new television network targeting the African American audience.
Punch Television CEO Joseph Collins said the network has “ninety percent African American ownership” and will be available for DirecTV subscribers later this summer. Punch is based in Carson, Calif.
That is not all. Scheduled to debut this fall is Bounce TV, an Atlanta-based over-the-air television network with some well-known African American ownership. Among those involved in Bounce are former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III, the eldest son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
According to recent figures released by Nielsen, the television show rating agency, Blacks spend more time watching television than any other racial or ethnic group in the nation.
Punch says it will be a “family-oriented” network while Bounce promises to appeal to a slightly older audience than BET.
The four black-oriented networks will be competing for the attention of roughly 40 million African-American television viewers with a spending power of nearly $1.1 trillion.
Kenneth P. Thompson
Housekeeper In Sexual Assault Case Will Testify
Noted Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson Announces
The attorney for the housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his Manhattan hotel suite on May 14, said his client will testify at the trial. Standing outside the main criminal courts building on Monday in Lower Manhattan, Kenneth P. Thompson said, “She [his client] is going to come into this courthouse and tell the world what Dominique Strauss-Kahn did to her.”
Thompson added that it was ‘preposterous’ to suggest that the encounter between his hotel housekeeper client, an African immigrant, whose name has never been released, and Strauss-Kahn could be characterized as a consensual sexual encounter between two adults.
At the same time Thompson made his announcement and offered his comments, Strauss-Kahn was inside the court building with his attorneys, engaged in a four-minute court proceeding to enter a not guilty plea to serious charges that included attempted rape and sexual abuse.
Strauss-Kahn recently stepped down from his post as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). One of the most politically powerful men in Europe, he had been until recently tauted as the man who would succeed Sarkozy as the next president of France.
Thompson is no stranger to difficult or controversial cases. Now a founding partner of Thompson Wigdor LLP in New York City, Mr. Thompson served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
While serving in this capacity, Mr. Thompson handled hundreds of federal criminal cases, ranging from bank fraud to murder. Notably, he played a principal role in the successful investigation and prosecution of New York City cops who were tried for the 1997 brutal beating and torture of Haitian refugee Abner Louima in one of the most heinous police brutality cases in this country’s history.
Often cited as one of the best trial attorneys in the United States, Mr. Thompson, a graduate of New York University School of Law, has won many awards from the FBI and the NYPD and was cited for excellence on numerous occasions while with the U. S. Attorney’s Office. No trial date has been set.
NAACP Urges Mobilization Against Anti-Voting Legislation
The NAACP Washington, D.C., bureau is urging its members and others to contact their congressman to vote against H.R. 672, which if passed could lead to the dismantling of the Election Assistance Commission.
Founded in 2002 as part of the Help America Vote Act, the Election Assistance Commission acts as a resource for state and local election officials who seek to employ the most current technology and best practices when overseeing elections.
In an Action Alert, the NAACP warned that "extremist" members of Congress want to dismantle the Election Assistance Commission, which encourages blacks and other non-whites to vote. The House Administration Committee passed a bill on May 25 to dismantle the law and a vote is now slated for the full House of Representatives.
Mobile Phone Use Could Be Linked To Cancer
The World Health Organization 's cancer research agency said mobile phones are "possibly carcinogenic" and could cause brain cancer. A review of evidence suggests an increased risk of malignant brain cancer cannot be ruled out. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer reported, however, it cannot clearly establish the link between mobile phone use and cancer in humans.
Dean Baquet Named New York Times Managing Editor
Dean Baquet, chief of the
New York Times'
Washington bureau, has been named the paper's managing editor. Baquet, former editor of the
Los Angeles Times
, starts his new job September 6.
Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt with his attorney
Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt
Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, a former member of the Black Panther Party and a Purple Heart awardee, who spent 27 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, died of a heart attack June 2.
Mr. Pratt was 63 years old and lived in Imbaseni Village, Tanzania.
In 1972, Mr. Pratt was convicted of the 1968 kidnapping and murder of Caroline Olsen, a 27-year-old school teacher, who was shot to death during a robbery on a Santa Monica, Calif., tennis court.
Julius Butler, a Black Panther Party member and a police informant, fingered Pratt for the crime. Pratt's attorney, Johnnie Cochran, then a court-appointed defense attorney, assured his client that the charges would be dropped since Pratt was 350 miles away when the crime was committed. Pratt could prove his whereabouts.
Instead evidence disappeared, and the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office withheld evidence in which Olsen's husband identified another man as having committed the crime. It was later learned that Pratt was a victim of the FBI's COINTELPRO operation, and the FBI agents decided to "neutralize" Pratt because they considered him an effective Black Panther Party functionary. He spent nearly three decades in prison, including eight years in solitary confinement.
On June 10, 1997, a judge vacated Pratt's crime after Cochran proved that Los Angeles prosecutors concealed evidence that proved Pratt's innocence. Cochran later said that representing Mr. Pratt was the most-important case he had ever handled.
The City of Los Angeles and the U.S. Justice Department paid Mr. Pratt $4.5 million for false imprisonment. Mr. Pratt joined the Black Panther Party after serving two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he was a decorated soldier, earning two Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.
After his release from prison, Pratt worked on the behalf of the wrongfully convicted, including Mumia Abu Jamal. Pratt and Mumia Jamal met when they were both members of the Black Panther Party.
Pratt studied political science at UCLA on the GI Bill. Mr. Pratt was born Sept. 9, 1947, in Morgan City, La.
Gill Scott-Heron, Master of Militant Poetry-Rap, Is Dead
Gill Scott-Heron, perhaps the most militant and progressive poet ever produced by the Black American experience, has died.
He died May 27 in New York City at the age of 62 after returning from Europe.
Mr. Scott-Heron is best known for his early rap classic “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
In the 1970s, Heron paved the way for rap music before it was officially called “rap.” But his musical/poetic form was highly political and reflected the black militancy of the 1960s and 1970s. In a 1990 collection of poems entitled “Now and Then,” Scott-Heron said of his work, “If there was any individual initiative that I was responsible for it might have been that there was music in certain poems of mine, with complete progression and repeating hooks, which made them more like songs.”
He would later simplify his depiction, calling his signature mixture of percussion, politics and poetry “bluesology or Third World music.” In 2010, he released his first-studio album in 16 years, titled
I am New Here
NorthStar News & Analysis, March 22, 2010
Scott-Heron was born April 1, 1949, in Chicago.
An exact cause of death was not immediately given. Doris Nolan, a friend, released a statement that said he died after becoming ill after returning from a trip to Europe.
Megar Evers (see story below)
This Week in Black History
Week of June 11 to June 17
1963 – President John F. Kennedy declares during a nationwide radio and television address that segregation was “morally wrong” and told the U.S. Congress it was “time to act” (pass legislation) to end all segregation of the races. That statement and similar ones endeared Kennedy to millions of African Americans. However, five months after making the declaration, Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. Most of his legislative ideas would be implemented by his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
1963 – Displaying the tenacity of the segregationist mentality predominant in the South in the 1960s, Ala. Gov. George Wallace, with the aid of state troopers, stands in the doorway to the University of Alabama to block two black students from integrating the school. When the Deputy U.S. Attorney General returned later in the day with a force of National Guardsmen, Wallace stepped aside and Vivian Malone and James Hood were allowed to register for classes.
1840 – The world’s first anti-slavery convention takes place in London. The aim of the gathering was to unite abolitionists worldwide. The effectiveness of the convention, however, was marred by a decision to exclude female delegates.
1886 – The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the will of former slave owner David Dickson who had left over $300,000 to a child he fathered by raping a 12-year-old black girl. The ruling made Amanda America Eubanks the wealthiest black person in America. She would later marry one of her white first cousins.
1963 – Medgar Evers, Mississippi Field Secretary for the NAACP, is assassinated in front of his home by white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith. All-white juries twice refused to find De la Beckwith guilty although evidence of his guilt was incontrovertible. Finally, in 1995 De la Beckwith was convicted of killing the civil rights activist. De la Beckwith died in prison in 2001.
1967 – The United States Supreme Court rules in Loving vs. Virginia that Virginia’s law banning interracial marriages was unconstitutional. The decision was a death-blow to similar laws throughout the South. Alabama, however, did not officially remove its “anti-miscegenation” law from the books until 2000.
1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson nominates former NAACP Chief Counsel Thurgood Marshall to be the first black justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Johnson said of his decision, it “was the right thing to do, the right time to do it.” Marshall had been a towering figure in the legal battles against segregation including acting as lead counsel in the historic Brown v. Board of Education case. The Senate would confirm the nomination on August 30th. An aside: Marshall’s original name was Thoroughgood but he shortened it to Thurgood.
1811 – White anti-slavery activist Harriet Beecher Stowe is born. Stowe was the author of one of the best-selling books of 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book addressed the brutality of slavery and featured the character of “Uncle Tom,” a slave who, perhaps unfairly, came to symbolize the accommodating black person who showed complete deference to whites. The book was such an indictment of slavery that when President Abraham Lincoln met Stowe he remarked, “You’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great [civil] war.”
1970 – Cheryl Adrienne Brown wins the Miss Iowa pageant and becomes the first African American to compete in the Miss America beauty pageant.
1864 – General Ulysses S. Grant outfoxes Confederate General Robert E. Lee by switching an attack strategy from Cold Harbor to Petersburg, Virginia. The assault, spearheaded by General Charles Paine, knocked a mile-wide hole in Lee’s defenses, resulted in the capture of hundreds of rebel soldiers and helped speed up the end of the Civil War. Several black regiments were involved in the assault and siege. Grant would later become the 18th president of the United States and use his office to deal a series of crushing blows to the rapidly growing forces of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1870s.
1877 – Henry O. Flipper becomes the first Black graduate of the U.S. military academy at West Point.
1921 – Bessie Coleman becomes the first woman of any race to obtain an international pilot’s license. She had to leave the United States and study in France in order to accomplish her goal. She was barred from U.S. flight schools because of her race and her gender. Born in the small town of Atlanta, Texas, Coleman would move to Chicago where she was influenced by several prominent blacks, including Robert S. Abbott, publisher of the Chicago Defender. When she returned to the U.S. from France, Hollywood wanted to make a movie about her amazing feat, but she walked off the set because she felt the film actually degraded blacks. Coleman died in a plane accident on April 30, 1926. The main road leading to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is named in Coleman's honor.
1822 – This was the rumored start date of the Denmark Vesey-led slave revolt in the Charleston, South Carolina area. Vesey, a former slave who had purchased his freedom, had organized what is still believed to be the largest and most comprehensive slave revolt in American history. Aware of how “house slaves” tended to be loyal to their slave masters, Vesey had given strict orders that none were to be included in the plot. But so many blacks (both slave and free) were involved that word eventually leaked out and just as Vesey feared, a house slave informed the authorities. Military forces were moved into the city and scores were arrested. Thirty-five blacks, including Vesey, were hanged. [There is some historical debate as to whether June 16th was the actual start date for the rebellion. There is some authority that July 14th was to be the start date. But what is clear is that military forces moved into the city on June 16th to put down the planned revolt.]
1969 – The United States Supreme Court rules that the suspension of Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. from the U.S. House of Representatives on alleged corruption charges was unconstitutional. Powell, who had first won election to Congress in 1945, was returned to the House but without his seniority. Powell had been one of the most powerful men in Congress. He had fought civil rights battles in New York and had followed his father as pastor of the city’s influential Abyssinian Baptist Church. He often told blacks, “Mass action is the most powerful force on earth.” He also frequently reminded his supporters to “Keep the faith, baby.”
James Brown - "Godfather of Soul"
1775 – Blacks fight in two of the major battles of America’s war of independence from England – the battles of Bunker Hill and Breeds Hill. Two of the most outstanding soldiers were Peter Salem and Salem Poor.
1871 – James Weldon Johnson is born in Jacksonville, Fla.. Johnson is one of the most multi-talented men in Black American history. He was a poet, writer, attorney, diplomat and civil rights activist. Johnson was one of the leading figures in the black cultural revolution of the 1920s known as the Harlem Renaissance. He was the first African American admitted to the Florida bar to practice law. He was the first black executive of the NAACP. He served as one of the first black diplomats to Latin America and he is co-author of the “Black” National Anthem – “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” He died in an automobile accident in 1938.
1928 – The “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, was born on this day in Pulaski, Tenn. He was also referred to as “Soul Brother Number One” and “Mr. Dynamic” for his sensational dancing. Brown died in December of 2006.
1948 – Actress Phylicia Rashad is born on this day in Houston. Rashad is best known for her role as Bill Cosby’s wife in the once highly popular NBC television series “The Cosby Show.”
1980 – Tennis great Venus Williams is born in Lynwood, Calif. Venus is the older sister of fellow tennis great Serena Williams.
Robert Taylor is editor of “This Week in Black History.” Receive a free copy of his bi-weekly “Black History Journal” by writing to Robert N. Taylor, P.O. Box 58097, Washington, DC 20037. Please include $3.00 to help defray mailing costs.
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