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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 -
December 22, 2011
Bank of America agreed to pay a major financial
settlement to black and Hispanic homeowners
Consent Decree Requires Bank to Repay $335 Million to Black and Hispanic Mortgage Borrowers
Frederick H. Lowe
Bank of America Corp. on Wednesday signed a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to pay $335 million to more than 200,000 African-American and Hispanic-American homeowners who were over charged for mortgage loans by Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage lender and servicer, now owned by Bank of America.
The Justice Department charged in a federal complaint that from 2004 to 2008, Countrywide mortgage brokers charged black and Hispanic borrowers higher fees and costs on mortgage loans than the Calabasas, Calif.-based company charged non-Hispanic white customers. Justice Department officials said the settlement also covers 10,000 black and Hispanic borrowers who should have qualified for prime loans, but Countywide employees steered them into higher interest rate subprime loans.
“These allegations represent alarming conduct by one of the largest mortgage lenders in this country, during the height of the housing-market boom,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference in Washington, D.C. “For example, in 2007, a qualified African-American customer in Los Angeles borrowing $200,000 paid an average of roughly $1,200 more in fees than a similarly qualified white borrower.”
“The higher fees to African Americans and Hispanics were not based on borrower risk but [were] because of their race and or national origin,” Holder said.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez added: “Countrywide's business practice allowed its employees and mortgage bankers to vary a loan's interest rate and other fees from the price it set based on a borrower's objective credit-related factors. Simply put, Countrywide first determined your creditworthiness and then gave its employees and mortgage bankers the discretion to alter that price without providing guidance or monitoring for fair-lending compliance.”
The Justice Department arrived at its conclusion after reviewing 2.5 million loans, including data loan terms and information on each borrower's creditworthiness. Countrywide's discriminatory practices, which violated the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, affected nonwhite homeowners in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
“Subprime borrowers are often subjected to penalties and higher interest rates and have a greater likelihood of default and foreclosure then those who have prime loans,” Justice Department officials said. “Often, the impact of the discriminatory lending practices can reach even further—potentially harming borrowers' credit; inhibiting their ability to find quality housing, employment, or access to higher education; and depriving entire communities of economic opportunities.”
Perez said it was part of Countrywide's strategy to target African Americans and Hispanic-Americans in order to expand the company's lending and gain market dominance in making residential loans in those communities.
“Once those borrowers walked in Countrywide's door, they did not receive fair and equal terms,” said Perez, who heads the Civil Rights Division. “They received discriminatory terms, and chances are, the victims had no idea they were being victimized. They were thrilled to have gotten a loan and realized the American dream. They had no idea they could have, and should have, gotten a better deal. This is discrimination with a smile.”
Dan B. Frahm, a spokesperson for Bank of America, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., said the financial institution reached a settlement with the Justice Department to resolve Countrywide's alleged historic practices that occurred before Bank of America acquired Countrywide, the nation's largest residential mortgage lender, in 2008 for $4 billion.
“We discontinued Countrywide products and practices that are not in keeping with our commitment, and will continue to resolve and put behind us the remaining Countrywide issues,” said Frahm, adding that Bank of America's mortgage lending practices were never an issue.
The National Council of La Raza, a Chicago-based Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, said the findings in the case echoed “what we've been saying for years—deceptive lenders willfully preyed on Latinos and other minority borrowers, steering them to subprime mortgages even when they had good credit.”
The Center for Responsible Lending, which is based in Durham, N.C., said Countrywide was the “largest of the rogue mortgage lenders that caused the current crisis.”
Bank of America's settlement with the U.S. Justice Department was filed with the Central District Court of California in Los Angeles and is subject to court approval.
In Sharp Contrast to Media Hype, National Crime Rates Decline Steadily
Frederick H. Lowe
The nation's crime rate dropped again during the first six months of 2011, as it has for the past four years, the FBI reported on Monday. So why are television stations bombarding viewers with local news programs, showing cops making arrests and reality shows like “Cops” and “The First 48?”
The FBI does not comment on why the crime rate continues to drop, but an FBI agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the news media emphasizes crime because “sensationalism sells.”
“I agree,” Dr. Mark T. Berg, assistant professor of criminology at Indiana University in Bloomington, said without hesitation. “The news media is awash in stories about violence, but the country is at its safest point in my lifetime and my mother's lifetime. They [the media] don't want present a rosy picture.”
Many of the news stories involve police arresting young black men. The stories follow a general theme developed in the recently published non-fiction book
News For All The People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media
News For All The People
's co-authors Juan González and Joseph Torres argue that the news media often publishes stories designed to increase racial misunderstanding.
To show how far the news media is off course by focusing on crime, Berg gives as example of murder statistics in New York City. Last year, New York recorded 532 homicides, up 13 percent from 471 recorded in 2009. Last year, however, was the ninth consecutive year that homicides in Gotham were below 600, a historic low.
Berg selected homicide, calling it a bellwether because it is an indisputable crime. Robbery, rape and burglary, however, when reported, are not indisputable crimes.
“They may have happened or they may not have happened,” Berg said. “It is very clear when a murder has taken place.” Burglary, he explained, has been declining since 1976.
According to the FBI's Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, which covers January 2011 through June 2011, the number of violent and property crimes reported to the bureau by more than 12,500 police and law-enforcement agencies across the country, decreased compared with the same six-month period in 2010.
Overall, violent crimes were down 6.4 percent and property crimes fell 3.7 percent, the FBI reported. Murder declined 5.7 percent, robbery declined 7.7 percent, burglary dropped 2.2 percent, motor vehicle theft declined 5.0 percent, arson declined 8.6 percent, larceny theft dropped 4.0 percent, and aggravated assault declined 5.1 percent. The declines occurred in all regions, the Northeast, Midwest, the South and West.
The FBI did report a 1.2 percent uptick in murders in cities with populations of 500,000 to 999,999. Rape in cities of 1 million or more increased 1 percent.
Experts had predicted that violent crime would rise because of the recession. One, who was widely quoted, warned that the country should prepare for a blood bath.
That has not happened, Berg said. The nation's high prison-incarceration rate for rather innocuous crimes and better policing may be reasons for the drop in crime. Community groups, who work independently of the police because they don't trust officers, may be another reason. In addition, low inflation rates on durable goods have also kept down crime.
“With a low inflation rate, people are less likely to turn to an informal economy,” Berg said.
He admits, however, that experts don't understand why the recession has not sparked an increase in the crime rate as some had predicted.
“We have not done a good job of explaining this,” Berg added.
If crime continues to decline, will cities need fewer police officers?
The Wall Street Journal
has reported that small towns like Alto, Texas, and Half Moon Bay, Calif., and other municipalities have closed their police departments because of budget cuts and in some cases because of police misconduct.
The towns have outsourced the work to sheriffs' offices, which patrol several towns. Half Moon Bay dissolved its police department, saving more than $500,000 annually. The city outsourced police patrols to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.
An Alto city councilman said the town cut its five-member police department because it was not a moneymaking entity. “Cities won't hire more police and as serious crime declines,” Berg said, “police will focus on less serious crimes like New York's stop-and-frisk patrols in which mostly black and Latino men are stopped by the police and frisked for marijuana and guns.”
The stop-and-frisk patrols are now a subject of a federal lawsuit. The Center for Constitutional Rights, which is based in New York City, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York Police Department. The lawsuit, which has been certified as a class action, charges that NYPD's stop-and-frisk patrols violate the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides equal protection, and the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure.
Kevin William Harpham
White Supremacist Who Planted Bomb Gets 32-year Sentence
Frederick H. Lowe
A 37-year-old white supremacist was sentenced to 32 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Justin L. Quackenbush on Tuesday for the attempted bombing of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March on Jan. 17, 2011, in Spokane, Wash.
The defendant, Kevin William Harpham, pleaded guilty on Sept. 7 to two counts of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and an attempt to cause bodily injury with an explosive device because of the actual or perceived race, color and national origin of any person.
Harpham is a member of the National Alliance, a white-supremacist organization founded by Dr. William Luther Pierce, a former physics professor at Oregon State University. Pierce is author of the
, books about a white revolution in the U.S. The National Alliance is based in Hillsboro, West Virginia.
After Harpham completes his sentence, he will serve the rest of his life under court supervision. Kailey Moran, Harpham’s lawyer and a member of the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, declined to comment to
The NorthStar News & Analysis
about her client’s sentence. It is not known where Harpham will serve his sentence. Federal agents arrested Harpham on March 9, 2011, on charges of placing the explosive device along the route where 2,000 people were scheduled to walk in the Unity march.
The bomb was found in a Swiss Army-brand backpack along with two T-shirts. The bomb had a welded blast plate and contained shrapnel. The shrapnel was coated with an anticoagulant rat poison, intended to prevent any wounds from clotting.
Harpham, an unemployed electrician, intended to detonate the bomb remotely from his car, but police discovered it and defused it. No one was hurt, and the parade was re-routed. The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the bomb-maker's arrest.
“Acts of hate like this one have no place in our country in the year 2011, but yet, unfortunately, we continue to see attempted violence in our communities due to racial animus,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. “The Justice Department is committed to enforcing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and all of the tools in our law-enforcement arsenal to prosecute such egregious crimes."
Byrd was an African-American who was murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Byrd's lynching-by-dragging gave impetus to passage of a Texas hate crimes law and later the federal law. Shepard was murdered near Laramie, Wyoming, in October 1998 because he was gay.
President Barack Obama signed the federal bill into law on October 28, 2009.
Withdrawal of AT&T Bid for T-Mobile Counts as Victory for One Black Group, Defeat for Others
AT&T Inc.'s announcement on Monday that it was scuttling its plan to purchase T-Mobile USA Inc., a wireless company, for $39 billion, is a win for ColorOfChange.Org, a black online political organization that opposed the agreement, but it is a loss for a coalition of the African-American organizations, including the NAACP, which supported the deal.
“AT&T said today that after a thorough review of options, it has agreed with Deutsche Telekom AG to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA, which began in March of this year,” the Dallas-based AT&T said.
The proposed merger faced heavy opposition from the U.S. Department of Justice, which had sued to block it citing anti-trust concerns and was seeking delays in the case, and from the Federal Communications Commission, which had expressed opposition as well.
By withdrawing from its planned purchase of T-Mobile USA, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., a wealthy Seattle suburb, AT&T is obligated to pay Deutsche Telekom, based in Bonn, Germany, a $3 billion “break-up fee.”
Color OfChange, which is based in Oakland, Calif., said in March that if the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T's purchase of T-Mobile, it would destroy jobs, raise the price of cellular services and threaten net neutrality for wireless high-speed Internet service.
“Net neutrality guarantees that information you put online is treated the same as anyone else's information in terms of basic ability to travel across the Internet,” ColorOfChange had said in explaining its position. “It is the reason the Internet is so diverse and so powerful. Anyone with a good idea can find their audience online, whether or not there's money to promote the idea or money to be made from it. Net neutrality is what's allowed groups like ColorOfChange to speak freely, without corporate gatekeepers or censors—unlike what we see with radio and TV.”
ColorOfChange then launched an online petition drive to quash the deal.
On the other side, the coalition of black organizations that backed the agreement had argued that it “would provide African Americans enhanced access to most technologically advanced tools available to more effectively complete for business and better jobs.”
Hillary Shelton, senior vice president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said AT&T was committed to diversity in procurement, philanthropy, promotion and hiring at the federal and local levels.
In the coalition's filing with the FCC, the organization said minority-owned firms make up 20 percent of AT&T's suppliers. In addition, nearly 40 percent of AT&T's employees are people of color, the coalition said.
Sharis A. Pozen, acting assistant U.S. attorney general for the Anti-Trust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, called AT&T's decision to drop its bid for T-Mobile a victory for consumers.
“Had AT&T acquired T-Mobile, consumers in the wireless marketplace would have faced higher prices and reduced innovation,” Pozen said. “We sued to protect consumers who rely on competition in this important industry. With the parties’ abandonment, we achieved that result.”
Cesária Évora Dies
, a quarterly magazine of arts and culture that targets black intellectuals, last year published an excellent article about Cesária Évora, a native of the Cape Verde Islands once dubbed by a French newspaper as the greatest barroom singer who ever lived. She died December 17.
Carla Martin, the writer for
, spent a lot of time with Évora, reporting and writing the article while the singer was visiting Paris. Martin wrote about how popular Évora was with Cape Verdeans and others from the African Diaspora who lived in the City of Light.
One scene was particularly funny and very telling.
Évora and Martin caught a cab, and when the driver realized who his special passenger was, he did something very unusual.
“The taxi driver immediately recognized her, rolled down the windows, and then proceeded to drive us circuitously through the city, all the while shouting Cesária and beeping to attract the attention of onlookers,” Martin wrote. “He belted out her well-known song “Sodade” off-key, eliciting the occasional chuckle from Cesária, who rolled her eyes and smiled, waving at awestruck fans on the sidewalk.” Évora could only walk a few feet down the street in Paris before she was mobbed by fans and autograph seekers.
Évora was a worldwide celebrity who came from very modest beginnings. She was born Aug. 27, 1941, and grew up in Mindelo, a port city of 47,000 people on the island of Sao Vicente, where sailors from Europe, America, Africa and Asia mingled in what was a lively cosmopolitan town with a fabled nightlife.
At 16, she began singing in Cape Verde's bars. Individuals even rowed her out to Mindelo's harbor so she could sing to sailors on ships moored in port. Cape Verde, which comprises 10 islands off the coast of North Africa, at one time was the center of Portugal's Atlantic slave trade.
Évora's big success came in 1988 with the release of her first album “La Diva Aux Pieds Nus.” Her 1992 album, “Miss Perfumando,” sold 300,000 copies worldwide. In 1997, she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: Best Artist of West Africa, Best Album and Merit of the Jury.
From 1995 to 1999, Évora released five critically acclaimed albums, including “Cesária,” “Cabo Verde,” “Miss Perfumando,” “Mar Azul” and “Café Atlantico.” In 2003, she won a Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary World Music Album “Voz D' Amor.” She was known for singing lyrics that stirred emotion about longing and loss.
Although she was recognized through much of the world, she did not have an easy start to her career. José da Silva, a Cape Verdean raised in France, formed a partnership with Évora after hearing her sing in a restaurant and night club in Lisbon, Portugal. Da Silva, however, had trouble finding a large record distributor for his small company, Lusafrica. He approached all the major recording companies, including BMG and Sony. The executives agreed that Évora had an extraordinary voice, but they said her image was not right.
Évora was known as “The Barefoot Diva” because she performed without shoes. Critics considered it a political statement. But Martin wrote that she had other reasons for not wearing shoes.
“In fact, Cesária's penchant for removing her shoes is a personal choice of a different nature,” Martin wrote in the
article. “She never developed a habit of wearing shoes as a young person, unable to purchase them and subjected to discrimination as a result. Diabetes has also taken a toll on her feet as she has aged, leaving her with chronic pain that now makes wearing shoes an unwelcome discomfort.”
She was an ambassador for the World Food Programme, a non-profit organization based in Rome, Italy, that fights hunger worldwide.
The organization honored Évora on its website
On Saturday, the world lost one of the great voices of all time when Évora died, four months after retiring because of heart problems and hypertension, in São Vincente, Cape Verde.
French physicians had performed open-heart surgery on her in May 2010. In September, she announced her retirement, apologizing to fans in an article published by
Following her death, Cape Verde's government declared two days of national mourning, and family members set her burial for Tuesday, December 20, in Mindelo. She is survived by a son and a daughter.
NorthStar News & Analysis Editorial
I grew up in Tacoma, Washington, where I often accompanied my dad on errands. When my dad and another black man approached each other, they nodded their heads in acknowledgement.
They did not always know each other's names, but they were taking time to exchange a silent, respectful greeting in a world that ignored black men, treated them with hostility, or both. My dad and other black men used this small gesture to embrace each other figuratively.
I now live in Chicago, and I rarely, if ever, see black men nod their heads at each other, let alone speak. Too often when black men see each other, they avoid eye contact by looking down at the street, up in the air or across the street.
This is unfortunate because others acknowledge black men in the most-negative ways possible, destroying a positive sense of ourselves.
Women clutch their purses at the sight of us, armed-security guards follow us in stores and office buildings, cops slow down their patrol cars to stare, and white matrons quickly lock the doors of their Buicks when we are within 50 feet of their cars. On the local news, black men in handcuffs, escorted by police, are stars of the nightly broadcasts.
Black men have the power to counter this hostility by nodding to each other or by saying hello. Some of you will argue that once you do this, panhandlers will use it as an opportunity to beg you for a buck or two.
If this does occur, you can say no or give what you can afford. But you can't afford not to acknowledge other black men. We are all subject to the diminishing regard of others, no matter who we are and what we've achieved. A nod or a hello is a small step in building black-male solidarity, creating affirmation in our daily lives --Frederick H. Lowe
Arthur Wergs Mitchell
NorthStar’s Week in Black History
December 22 through December 28
Arthur Wergs Mitchell was born
in Lafayette, Ala. Mitchell served in Congress as a representative from Illinois, becoming the first African American elected to the legislative body as a Democrat. Mitchell held office for eight years from 1935 to 1943.
At 14, Mitchell entered Tuskegee Institute, where he was educated and where he served as Booker T. Washington’s office assistant. Following graduation from Tuskegee, he attended Columbia University, studying there long enough to qualify for the bar. After leaving New York, Mitchell moved to Chicago and worked for the Republican Party, but discovered that his views and theirs were at odds on many significant issues. He switched parties.
Elected to the House of Representatives in 1934 by defeating incumbent African-American representative, Oscar De Priest, Mitchell introduced bills in Congress to end racial discrimination and to ban lynching.
Mitchell himself filed a lawsuit against the Illinois Central and Rock Island Railroads after he was forced to move to a segregated train car when the train on which he was traveling passed through Arkansas. Eventually, the U. S. Supreme Court heard Mitchell’s case and ruled in his favor, saying that the railroads violated the Interstate Commerce Act.
Mitchell retired from political life when he chose not to seek re-election in 1942. He relocated to Virginia and farmed in Petersburg until his death in 1968. He was 84.
W. E. B. Du Bois
1943 ----- W. E. B. Du Bois
was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters
, becoming the first African American to achieve this honor. A sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist and prolific writer, Du Bois was also the first African American to earn a doctorate. His degree was conferred at Harvard. Du Bois devoted the whole of his life to scholarly and activist pursuits aimed at ending racial discrimination.
The National Institute of Arts and Letters was established in 1898 and incorporated by an act of Congress in 1913. The organization was formed to further literature and fine arts in the United States. Its membership was limited to 250 persons, and on a planned basis the organization awarded metals and presented gifts for distinguished achievement in the arts.
Best known for his collection of essays, published under the title
The Souls of Black Folk
(1903), W. E. B. Du Bois wrote and published more than two-dozen works of nonfiction, four novels and three autobiographies. His seminal work,
Black Reconstruction in America
(1935), was received with controversy because it challenged forcefully the erroneous and racist view that Reconstruction failed because blacks were incompetent and unable to fashion good lives, adequate work and viable communities for themselves once they were freed from slavery.
Du Bois, self-exiled to Ghana during the last years of his life, published his last book in 1960,
Africa in Battle Against Colonialism, Racialism, Imperialism
. Du Bois died in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, in 1963 at the age of 95.
Theologian and abolitionist,
Henry Garnet was born
in Kent County, Md., the son of an enslaved mother and father. In 1824, Garnet and his parents escaped from slavery and located in New Hope, Pa., where Garnet was educated. In 1840, Garnet gained admission to the Oneida Institute, near Utica, NY, where he earned a degree in theology.
He was the pastor of a number of churches in both New York City and Washington, DC, before becoming president of Avery College in Allegheny, Pa.
In 1843, Garnet attended the National Convention of Colored Citizens, convened in Buffalo. There, Garnet delivered his celebrated speech, “Address to the Slaves of the United States.”
Garnet’s galvanizing speech catapulted him to a stronger position of leadership among blacks. He espoused emigration and suggested that blacks leave the United States and establish themselves in Africa, Haiti, South America or Central America. Calling slavery the ‘highest crime against God and man,’ Garnet also bade blacks to use their religions and their churches to defeat slavery.
Garnet died in Monrovia, Liberia in 1882. He was 66.
Madam C. J. Walker
Successful business woman
Madam C. J. Walker, named Sarah Breedlove at birth, was born
in Delta, La., one of six children born to Owen and Minerva Breedlove, enslaved and in service on a Madison Parish plantation.
Married at 14 to escape an abusive stepfather, widowed and a mother at 20, Walker remarried at 27, divorced in 1903, and then married for a few years, newspaper sales agent Charles Walker in 1906, hence the surname by which she became known.
Walker experienced hair loss as a young woman, as many women of that era did, given that women were unable to wash their hair frequently because adequate indoor heat and plumbing were not features of most homes. Walker tried various remedies to restore her hair, but found that most were ineffective. She experimented on her own, developing various products to remedy scalp disease, stimulate hair growth and improve hair quality. When she used sulfur as a basis for her products, she and others experienced desired results.
Walker and her daughter soon sold products locally and then nationally. In 1910 Walker relocated to Indianapolis, where she established her business headquarters and as well as a factory to make her products. She taught and trained women to open and operate their own businesses, selling her hair products.
Madam C. J. Walker Hair Product
In addition to manufacturing, distributing and selling specialized hair products for black women, Walker made shrewd real estate investments and earned a fortune in this way as well. Generous with her fortune, Walker was also a philanthropist and donated to numerous charities. She established a college scholarship fund through the NAACP, established homes for senior citizens and helped fund the National Conference on Lynching.
Walker was also instrumental in supporting a black intellectual salon, The Dark Tower. This group of intellectuals, writers and artists facilitated the emergence in the 1920s of the Harlem Renaissance.
Walker was so successful in business she became the first African-American millionaire.
Walker died in Irvington, NY, in 1919. She was 51.
More information about Walker and her life can be obtained by visiting online at a website devoted to her,
Gas Furnace Schematic
Alice H. Parker
of Morristown, NJ,
patented the gas heating furnace
, that provided central heating, allowed for heating to be controlled in separate living areas of the home and decreased markedly the need to cut down trees for heating fuel.
An exodus of 5,000 blacks from Edgefield County, SC,
took place on this date, a dramatic example of the emigrationist movement in the post-Reconstruction South, a movement that espoused black self-governance and the repatriation of black Americans, largely to Liberia and other locations in Africa.
A statewide protest over common grazing rights as well as frustration over high rents and limited access to political inclusion, stimulated blacks to mobilize and work together to establish communities of their own and to consider in some cases, leaving America for Africa. Underdeveloped farmland in Arkansas drew a group of nearly 5,000 blacks from Edgefield County to Arkansas, where they relocated and established farms.
Further mass relocations by black farm workers occurred during the following six years. These black farm workers left North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and western Tennessee for better opportunities in Arkansas.
1886 ----- Eatonville, Fla.
on this date. Eatonville is located six miles north of Orlando. Eatonville was the first incorporated all-black town in the United States and one of more than 100 black towns founded between 1865 and 1900, the years immediately following the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
According to historians of the area, Eatonville was named for Josiah C. Eaton, a white landowner, who, along with a few other white landowners in the region, was willing to sell to African Americans tracts of land sufficiently large to establish black towns.
Celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston was raised in Eatonville and offered a version of the founding of the town in her novel,
Their Eyes Were Watching God
(1937). An annual celebration in the town recognizes its relationship to the author.
According to the 2000 census, the population of Eatonville was 2,432. The racial makeup of the town was 89.3 percent African American, 7. 5 percent white, 3.54 percent Hispanic, 0.49 percent Native American, 0.29 percent Asian, 1.56 percent from other races, and 0.82 percent from two or more races.
Renowned jazz singer, songwriter and bandleader,
Cabell Calloway III, in Rochester, NY. Reared in Baltimore, Calloway sang in church, was given private voice lessons, eventually performing in Baltimore’s jazz clubs, though his parents disapproved of the music.
Following graduation from high school, Calloway and his older sister, Blanche, joined in a touring production of a popular black musical revue of the day,
. Blanche later settled in Chicago and soon became a jazz singer and then an accomplished bandleader in her own right.
may have been the first woman to lead an all-male orchestra. While singing solo, she sang with a number of bands during the 1920s and until 1935. She eventually formed her own group, Blanche Calloway and Her Joy Boys. She disbanded the group in 1938 and continued to perform as a solo jazz singer. From the 1950s to the 1970s, she worked as a disc jockey at WMBM in Florida.
Calloway left Lincoln University to join his sister in Chicago. He performed as a singer and a drummer in various clubs, eventually turning away from his parents’ wishes for him to become an attorney. During those years he met Louis Armstrong, who is credited with teaching Calloway to “scat” sing.
In 1930, Calloway took over “The Missourians,” a highly accomplished but failing band. The band was hired as a replacement band for Harlem’s Cotton Club, contracted to perform whenever the Duke Ellington Orchestra was on tour. Calloway’s band became enormously popular and was elevated to co-house band status with Ellington’s band. In 1931, Calloway recorded his most famous song, “Minnie the Moocher.”
Calloway’s band also began to tour nationally and was featured twice weekly on national radio broadcasts from the Cotton Club. Calloway also appeared on Walter Winchell’s radio program and with Bing Crosby at the Paramount Theatre. Together, Ellington and Calloway broke the color barrier in major network broadcasting.
During the 1930s, Calloway made a number of short films for Paramount and landed a significant film role opposite Al Jolson in
The Singing Kid
, released in 1936. Numerous film roles followed in subsequent years, notably,
(1943). The movie musical also starred Lena Horne, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Fats Waller.
Calloway also appeared often on television during the 1960s and starred opposite Pearl Bailey in an all-black production of
Cab Calloway enjoyed a long and prosperous career as a popular entertainer. His career spanned 63 years, from 1930 to 1994.
Calloway died in 1994 in Hockessin, Delaware, following a stroke. He was 86.
Harry T. Moore
Teacher, civil rights activist and founder in 1934 of the first branch of the NAACP in Brevard County, Fla.,
Harry T. Moore
, was killed on this date. A bomb, thrown through a window of their house, fatally injured both Moore and his wife, Harriette. It was Christmas night and the Moores’ 25th wedding anniversary.
Moore became the first martyr of the civil rights movement. He was the first NAACP leader to lose his life in the struggle for civil rights. A national outcry followed Moore’s murder. The NAACP staged a massive rally in New York City, and poet Langston Hughes read to the crowd a poem he had written as a memorial to Moore.
Though the FBI was called in to investigate Moore’s murder, no evidence of significance was uncovered and no suspects could then be named. Men suspected of the crime, all members of a Central Florida Klavern of the Ku Klux Klan, have since died. The case remains unsolved.
Journalist Ben Green wrote a book about the investigation surrounding Moore’s murder. The book is entitled,
Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr
In 1952, the NAACP awarded posthumously the Springarn Medal for extraordinary achievement by an African American to Harry Moore. In 1999, the state of Florida designated the Moores’ home as a Florida Historical Heritage Landmark.
of the US Organization created Kwanza
, a seven-day celebration that is the first specifically African-American holiday. Karenga said his intention was to offer American blacks an alternative to Christmas as well as an opportunity to celebrate themselves, their history and their identities as opposed to adopting the customs practiced by the dominant society.
is derived from the Swahili phrase,
matunda ya kwanza
, which translates as first fruits of the harvest.
celebrates what Karenga refers to as
, or the seven principles of African heritage, a communitarian philosophy. The seven principles are:
or unity: To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
or self-determination: To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and stand up and speak for ourselves.
or collective work and responsibility: To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve those problems together.
or collective economics: To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
or purpose: To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
or creativity: To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and more beneficial than we inherited it.
or faith: To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
symbols include a decorative mat on which specific symbols are placed---corn and/or other crops, a candle holder with seven candles, a communal cup for libations, gifts, a poster printed with the seven principles of the celebration, and a black, red and green flag, the flag of Africa.
1956 ----- NAACP awarded the Springarn Medal to
, the son of sharecroppers in Cairo, Ga., and the first African American athlete to play major league baseball since the 1880s, for his courage and conduct both on and off the baseball field.
Robinson broke the color line in professional baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, contributing enormously to the cause of civil rights in America.
An ace second baseman, Robinson was one of baseball’s most outstanding players of all time. In ten seasons, he played in six World Series and starred in the Dodgers’ 1955 World Championship. He was also chosen for six consecutive years for All-Star Games and was the recipient of what was then the inaugural MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947.
In 1949, Robinson won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, becoming the first African American to be honored in this way. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952, and in 1997, his uniform number, 42, was retired by Major League Baseball.
Robinson died in Stamford, Conn., in 1972 at the age of 53. He was later awarded posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2005 by President George W. Bush.
Dr. Margaret Burroughs
The DuSable Museum of African American History was founded in Chicago by
Dr. Margaret Burroughs and her husband,
The museum, named for Jean-Baptiste DuSable, a native of Haiti, who is generally considered the founder of the city of Chicago, was the first museum of its kind in the United States.
Earl “Fatha” Hines was born
in Duquesne, Pa., into a musical family. He became a jazz pianist and is generally referred to as the “Father of Modern Piano Jazz.”
While still in high school, Hines played regularly in jazz clubs in Pittsburgh. In 1922, he left his hometown for Chicago and played wherever he could there, gaining a name for himself as a musician. Within six years, he organized his first group.
Earl “Fatha” Hines
By the 1930s, Hines was given his own radio show that was broadcast nightly. Many legendary jazz musicians played with him during those years, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
When his own group disbanded in 1947, Hines played for four years with Louis Armstrong’s band, Louis Armstrong and His All Stars, leaving to become a bandleader again, playing at venues in the United States and abroad.
When his career stalled in the 1960s, he opened a tobacco shop in Oakland, Calif. He was cajoled by his former manager into playing again in 1964 in a series of recitals at The Little Theatre in New York. His playing captured attention and a new and enthusiastic audience, revamping his musical career, a career that was vital for the remainder of his life.
Hines played and sang in San Francisco just a few days before he died. He died in Oakland in 1983 at the age of 79. His tombstone is engraved with two words,
NorthStar News & Analysis
Week In Black History is compiled by Susan M. Miller
The Northstar News & Analysis, Inc.
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