NorthStar News & Analysis The Voice of Today's Black Man
National Association of Black Journalists 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year Winner! Read More >>
"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
December 29, 2011
In Memoriam 2011…
The NorthStar News & Analysis
honors 32 extraordinary people, all of whom are from the Black Diaspora, all of whom contributed enormously to our lives, our culture and the world at-large, all of whom died this year. With respect and gratitude and in the spirit of quiet remembrance and celebration, we bow our heads for...
, 70, died December 17, 2011. A native of the Cape Verde Islands, who became an international phenomenon,
Évora was once dubbed by a French newspaper as the greatest barroom singer who ever lived (see the video of her 2000 concert).
, 71, died December 6, 2011. A singer and songwriter who performed pop, soul and country-western music, Gray, a resident of Nashville, was best known for his 1973 hit song, “Drift Away,” which sold one million copies. Other hit recordings include “Look at Me” (1963), “The In Crowd” (1963) and “Loving Arms” (1973). The cause of death was cancer.
, 72, died December 2, 2011. A blues, gospel and soul singer, as well as a songwriter, who led a tumultuous life, Tate died after a long battle with lung cancer.
Tate began his career as a gospel singer but also recorded R & B sides in the early 1960s for Mercury and Cameo Records. When he recorded with Verve, he released his first album,
Get It While You Can
(1967). He recorded steadily through the 1970s but retired from the music industry and sold securities on the East Coast.
In the 1980s, he became a drug addict, lost control of his life and lived in a homeless shelter until he received effective drug-rehabilitation treatment. During the 1990s, he became a minister and a counselor for drug addicts and chronically mentally ill persons.
In 2001, Tate performed in New Orleans for the first time in decades, re-establishing his career in music. He released an album,
, in 2003 and recorded three more albums shortly thereafter.
, 41, died November 29, 2011. Actor, radio personality and controversial stand-up comic, O’ Neal died of complications associated with a stroke he suffered October 19.
Boisterous, outspoken and characteristically confrontational, O’Neal raised controversial issues, such as racism and AIDS, in his comedy routines. He appeared on television in HBO comedy specials, on Comedy Central and in popular sit-coms, including “Arrested Development, “The Office” and “Chappelle’s Show.” Earlier this year, he released a comedy album and DVD, “Elephant in the Room.”
, 44, died November 8, 2011. Born
Dwight Arrington Myers
, Heavy D was one of the most popular, influential and positive rappers of this day. Leader of the hip-hop trio, Heavy D and the Boyz, he had a string of hits during the 1980s and in the early 1990s. He appeared frequently in concerts and more recently, on television. He also rapped with major stars on their recordings, most notably with Michael Jackson on his song, “Jam,” from his album
Heavy D appeared in a cameo role in “Tower Heist,” an Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller comedy film released this year. In October, Heavy D performed on the BET Awards show, his first live performance in 15 years. Heavy D died when blood clots in a lung and leg burst.
, 67, died November 7, 2011. Boxing legend “Smokin’” Joe Frazier, who beat the previously unbeatable Muhammad Ali in 15 rounds in the Fight of the Century in 1971, succumbed to liver cancer.
A top amateur fighter who won a gold medal in Tokyo at the 1964 Olympics, Frazier turned pro in 1965, defeated Britain’s Lester Ellis for the heavyweight boxing title in 1970 and held that title for two years. During his later years, Frazier operated a gym in Philadelphia.
, 69, died November 18, 2011. Hazzard, who helped John Wooden coach the UCLA Bruins to the team’s first NCAA Basketball Championship over Duke University in 1964, died of complications of a stroke he suffered in 1996.
Hazzard, who changed his name to Mahdi Abdul-Rahman, was the Bruins’ head basketball coach from 1984 to 1988.
Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth
Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth
, 89, died October 5, 2011. Bombed twice, beaten unconscious more than once and jailed 35 times, Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the most influential leaders of the civil-rights movement, known for his fierce oratory and confrontational tactics. He died following a year of fragile health.
The last of the great three civil-rights leaders, Shuttlesworth founded with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957. He was instrumental in driving the movement from Alabama, which eventually gave rise to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Shuttlesworth also organized the historic marches from Selma to Montgomery.
In 2004, Shuttlesworth attempted to rekindle the SCLC, but the group formed did not endorse his style of radical activism, prompting Shuttlesworth to abandon the enterprise. The Birmingham, Ala., airport is named in his honor.
Derrick Albert Bell, Jr.
Derrick Albert Bell, Jr.
, 80, died October 5, 2011. Bell was the first tenured African-American professor of Law at Harvard University, and largely credited as the originator of Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline that focuses on the intersection of race, law and power. He was the former dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
, 75, died September 29, 2011. Robinson was CEO and founder of Sugar Hill Records, which recorded "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang and "The Message" by Grand master Flash & The Furious Five. "Rapers Delight" is the first rap song released by a hip hop act, and it is still very popular today.
, 73, died September 26, 2011. A gospel and soul singer/songwriter, Jessy Dixon is credited with influencing a generation of singers. He died in Chicago.
Dixon’s singing career began when he joined the Reverend James Cleveland’s Gospel Chimes as both a singer and pianist. A productive performer and songwriter, Dixon wrote songs for many chart-topping singers of the day, including Randy Crawford, Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.
He met Paul Simon at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972. Simon was awed by Dixon’s singing and asked that he open for him on concert tours. Dixon agreed and was Simon’s opening act for eight years. Dixon’s own song, “I Am Redeemed,” released in 1993, topped the gospel charts that year and remained on the charts for five years.
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai
, 71, died September 25, 2011. Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. She received the Peace Prize in 2004. Maathai, who lived in Kenya, founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights.
, 53, died September 22, 2011. Williams’ body was found in her California hotel room. Prescription drugs, given to address her chronic insomnia, were also found in the room. The cause of death was likely accidental overdose.
An actress and R & B singer with a four-octave range and a string of hits in the 1980s, Williams is best known for her hit singles, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” (1986), “Don’t Blow a Good Thing” (1986), “Sweet, Sweet Love” (1988) and her signature song, “Congratulations” (1989).
Williams appeared on television, most notably during the 1994-95 season of the sit-com “Sister, Sister,” which starred Jackée Harry and Tim Reid.
After struggling with obesity much of her adult life, Williams lost 100 pounds and became an advocate for juvenile diabetes research and weight loss.
Troy Anthony Davis
Troy Anthony Davis
, 42, died September 21, 2011. Davis was executed in Georgia for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer. The sentence was carried out after the U.S. Supreme Court denied his lawyers a last-minute stay in a case that received worldwide attention because a large number of witnesses recanted their testimony.
Georgia had delayed Davis' execution for four hours until his case was reviewed by the nation's highest court. Davis was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 P. M. Eastern Time, but his legal team succeeded in persuading the court's justices to hear their arguments.
After four hours of deliberation, the justices issued a statement, denying a stay. Thirty minutes later, Georgia officials executed Davis. He was pronounced dead at 11:08 P.M. Eastern Time.
, 70, died August 23, 2011. R & B singer and songwriter, Ashford, who performed and composed with his wife, Valerie Simpson, as Ashford & Simpson, Motown’s most dynamic duo, died as a result of throat cancer.
Ashford wrote with Simpson some of Motown’s greatest hits of the late 1960s. They are perhaps best known for the songs they wrote for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, now soul classics, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (1960) and “You’re All I Need to Get By” (1968).
They also composed signature songs for other performers, including Gladys Knight and The Pips, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and Teddy Pendergrass.They wrote Chaka Khan’s signature song, “I’m Every Woman” (1978).
Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
DeLois Barrett Campbell
, 85, died August 22, 2011. She died in Chicago of complications associated with pneumonia.
Barrett performed for more than 60 years with her two sisters in a gospel trio known as the Barrett Sisters. DeLois Barrett Campbell began singing in church as a child and was also inspired by two of her family’s neighbors, both giants of gospel music, the world-famous singer Mahalia Jackson and the gospel music composer Thomas A. Dorsey.
The sisters sang in churches and other venues, gained a strong reputation for perfect performances and were in great demand. Their mastery and popularity eventually led to their recording debut in 1963 with their first album,
Jesus Loves Me
. The Barrett Sisters are also featured in the acclaimed documentary film about gospel music, “Say Amen, Somebody,” released in 1982.
, 66, died August 22, 2011. The cause of death was drug intoxication, secondary to ingesting too much phentermine, a weight-loss drug. Smith also suffered from heart disease and hypertension.
Charles Aaron Smith
, he was a former NFL defensive end who enjoyed a second career as an actor and commercial pitchman on television. He became acquainted with success at Michigan State University where he was All-American and the number one draft pick from the University in 1967 when he joined the Baltimore Colts. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
Smith played for the Colts for five seasons, including Super Bowl III (they lost) and Super Bowl V (they won). He then played two seasons with the Oakland Raiders and two seasons with the Houston Oilers, retiring from football from the Oilers in 1976 because of a serious knee injury.
Smith pitched Miller Lite beer on television and later landed film roles, most notably a principal role in the six comedy films of the “Police Academy” series.
David "Honeyboy" Edwards (Corbis Photo)
David "Honeyboy" Edwards
, 96, died August 29, 2011. Edwards, one of the last of the great Mississippi Delta bluesmen, died of congestive heart failure. He lived in Chicago. Prior to his health turning for the worse in late April, Edwards was scheduled to play numerous shows in Chicago, across the United States and in Europe, according to his website.
He played his last gigs at the Juke Joint Festival and Cathead Mini-Festival April 16th and 17th in Clarksdale, Miss. In April of this year, Michael Frank, his manager, announced that Edwards would be retiring because of ill health.
He won a Grammy Award for the Best Traditional Blues Album in 2008 and a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 2010. In 2005 and 2007, he received the Blues Music Award for Acoustic Blues Artist. In 1996, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, which was founded by the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn.
Edwards recorded 14 albums between 1951 and 2008, and he wrote "Long Tall Woman Blues" and "Just Like Jesse James."
He appeared in the 1991 documentary, "The Search for Robert Johnson," with whom he was closely associated. He also was associated with Pinetop Perkins. Edwards also had a role in the 2007 feature film, "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story." In 1997, he wrote his autobiography,
The World Don't Owe Me Nothing
, the title of which became his favorite saying (Corbis Photo).
Dorothy Edwards Brunson
Dorothy Edwards Brunson
, 72, died July 31, 2011. The first black woman to own a radio and television station, Brunson owned WEBB, a radio station in Baltimore. She also later purchased radio stations in Atlanta and Wilmington, North Carolina. Brunson would sell off her radio stations in 1990 to provide funding to establish WGTW-TV in Burlington, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia, becoming the first African-American woman to establish a television station. She later sold WGTW to Trinity Broadcasting Network.
, 69, died July 6, 2011. Mackey’s cause of death was not given, but it is likely he died of complications associated with dementia. He had resided in an assisted living facility from the age of 65.
A lightning-fast AFL tight end, Mackey played with the Baltimore Colts (1963-1971), revolutionizing the position of tight end, and the San Diego Chargers (1972). When Mackey retired from the game, he served as the first president of the NFL Players Association and helped organize a players’ strike that won $11 million in pensions and benefits for players.
The NFL Players Association refused initially to provide disability benefits for Mackey, asserting there was no proven link between brain injury and playing football. The league and the NFL Players Association reconsidered their denial and adopted instead, “Plan 88,” named for Mackey’s jersey number. The plan provides $88,000 per year for nursing home care and up to $50,000 per year for adult day care.
, 69, died June 18, 2011. Tenor saxophonist for the E Street Band, led by rock music mega-star Bruce Springsteen, Clemons, who lived in Palm Beach, Fla., died of complications from a stroke he suffered June 12.
Clemons recorded 21 albums with Springsteen. In addition to playing with the E Street Band, Clemons, referred to as The Big Man, played beside many musical greats, recording albums with Aretha Franklin, Ringo Starr, the Grateful Dead and Lady Gaga. He also recorded three solo albums,
A Night with Mr. C
, 88, died June 9, 2011. Luper is best known for her leadership role in the 1958 Oklahoma City Sit-in Movement, as she, her young son and daughter, and numerous young members of the NAACP Youth Council successfully conducted nonviolent sit-in protests of downtown drugstore lunch-counters which overturned their policies of segregation. The Clara Luper Corridor is a streetscape and civic beautification project from the Oklahoma Capitol area east to northeast Oklahoma City, announced by Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry to honor Luper.
Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt
Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt
, 63, died June 2, 2011. 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. He lived in Imbaseni Village, Tanzania.
, 93, died May 30, 2011. She was in her home in Englewood, N.J., when she succumbed to heart failure. Perhaps best known for her role as the mother of Phylicia Rashad’s character on “The Cosby Show,” Taylor was also known for playing a grandmother on “Sesame Street.”
A character actress who enjoyed an extensive film career, Taylor appeared in “Play Misty for Me,” an eerie 1971 film about obsession, directed by Clint Eastwood. Taylor plays the housekeeper Birdie to Eastwood's character. She fends off a knife attack by Evelyn Draper, who is played by Jessica Walter. As Birdie is being carried out on a stretcher, she tells David Garver, played by Eastwood, "It's going to cost you double to clean up this mess."
Taylor also starred in the groundbreaking comedy, “Five on the Blackhand Side” (1973) and in the 1995 film, “Smoke.” She was also in the Broadway production of “The Wiz.” Taylor was a founding member of the historic Negro Ensemble Company, established in 1967, a New York theatre company that offered productions focused on African-American lives.
, 62, died May 27, 2011. Though the cause of his death was not announced, it is generally assumed that Scott-Heron died of complications associated with an illness he contracted while traveling in Europe and complications of HIV and drug use. He reported using crack cocaine to relieve debilitating physical pain.
A revolutionary poet, musician and songwriter of great influence who performed both in song and spoken word, Scott-Heron is considered the grandfather of rap music. His work was almost entirely political in character, reflecting the betrayal and fury of the post-civil-rights era. His songs bore incendiary titles, like “Home Is Where the Hatred Is” and “Whitey on the Moon.”
In 1974, Scott-Heron recorded the song that made him famous, one that satirized the media and became his signature work, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
60, died April 26, 2011. Born
Phoebe Ann Laub
, Snow was an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for her chart-topping 1975 hit “Poetry Man.”
The New York Times
described her as a "contralto grounded in a bluesy growl and capable of sweeping over four octaves." Snow's first album,
, released in 1974, went platinum.
D. J. Megatron
, 32, died March 27, 2011. Megatron built a career at hip-hop and R&B radio stations from Philadelphia to Boston and at BET’s “106 & Park." The popular deejay, born
, was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest.
Pinetop Perkins (Corbis Photo)
, 97, died March 21, 2011. A blues musician specializing in piano music, Perkins played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history and received numerous honors during his lifetime, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2003.
, 64, died March 21, 2011. A singer and songwriter, Holloway was mainly known for her disco hits, "Hit and Run" (1977) and "Love Sensation" (1980).
died March 15, 2011. The cause of death was complications following multiple strokes. The California rapper was born
in Long Beach, Calif. Nate Dogg made a name for himself when he was featured on Dr. Dre’s classic album,
(1992). His most-recent solo album was
, released in 2008.
, 65, died January 26, 2011. The lead singer on many of the Marvelettes' greatest hits, including the classic, "Please, Mr. Postman," Horton died in a Sherman Oaks, Calif., nursing home, from complications of a stroke she suffered last year.
, 113, died January 14, 2011. She was the oldest living African American. Winn, who died in a Shreveport, La., nursing home, was born in Benton, La., on March 13, 1897, one of 15 children of Mack and Ellen Winn. Mississippi Winn, who never married, lived in Seattle before moving to Shreveport. She said she avoided dairy products, took an aspirin each day and ate mostly fruits and vegetables.
Stanley Eugene Tolliver, Sr.
Stanley Eugene Tolliver, Sr.
, 85, died January 3, 2011. A Cleveland attorney and community activist who worked to desegregate public schools, Tolliver also acted as legal counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He also served as Cleveland's school board
president and as a radio talk-show host.
Justice Department Blocks South Carolina's Photo ID Law
Frederick H. Lowe
The U.S. Justice Department last week blocked implementation of a South Carolina law requiring residents to show state-issued photo identification cards to vote because the legislation would prevent large numbers of African Americans and other nonwhites from casting ballots.
As of Oct. 1, there are 2,703,843 registered voters in South Carolina and 69.6 percent are white and 30.4 percent are non-white, Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, wrote in a Dec. 23 letter to C. Havird Jones, Jr., Assistant Deputy Attorney General for South Carolina.
These data show that of the total number of registered voters in the state, 239,333 or 8.9% percent did not possess a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV)-issued photo identification (either a driver's license or a non-driver's photo ID card) that would satisfy the requirements under Act R54, which amended current South Carolina law by limiting acceptable forms of identification for purposes of in-person voting, he added. South Carolina's current voter law has been in effect since 1988. The current law does not require South Carolina residents to present a photo identification card to vote. In addition, voters can vote with a voter-registration card that does not have a photo.
"When disaggregated by race, the state's data show that 8.4 percent of white voters lacked any form of DMV-issued identification, as compared to 10 percent of nonwhite registered voters," Perez wrote. "In other words, according to the state's data, which compare the available data in the state's voter registration database with the available data in the state's DMV database, minority registered voters were 20 percent more likely to lack a DMV-issued identification card than white registered voters, and thus to be effectively disenfranchised by Act R54's new requirements."
According to South Carolina's own statistics, there are 81,938 nonwhite citizens who are registered to vote and who lack DMV-issued identification, Perez wrote in the letter. He also noted that seven counties with the highest number of registered voters who lack DMV-issued identification are also among the 10 counties in South Carolina that have the highest percentage of voting-age persons who are nonwhite. President Barack Obama won South Carolina in the 2008 presidential election, and South Carolina's African-American voters are expected to have a major influence in the 2012 national elections.
Because South Carolina has a history of putting obstacles in the way of blacks who want to vote, the state must first submit any changes to its voting laws to the U.S. Justice Department for approval, which is called preclearance in order to meet standards required under Title V of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
South Carolina's Republican legislators and governor wanted to change the state's current voting law to prevent voter fraud.
"Although the state has a legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud and safeguarding voter confidence, the state's submission did not include any evidence or instance of either in-person voter impersonation or any other type of fraud that is already addressed by the state's existing voter identification requirement and that arguable could be deterred by requiring voters to present only photo identification at the polls," Perez said.
In addition to South Carolina, the preclearance states are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, except for the city of Sandy Springs, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virgina, except for 14 counties. There also are a number of counties in various states in which changes to their voting laws must be pre-cleared by the U.S. Justice Department.
South Carolina is one of eight states that passed laws requiring residents to show state-issued photo identification cards in order to vote. The other states are Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, according the NAACP.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said the state would appeal the U.S. Justice Department's decision.
The NAACP, however, hailed the Justice Department's decision.
“South Carolina’s voter ID law was little more than a 21st Century poll tax, said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. “While some may quibble over the intent, there is no doubt the effect of this law would disproportionately block black South Carolinans from voting.”
Twenty-One Convicted Men, Including 15 Black Men, Exonerated in 2011
Frederick H. Lowe
The Innocence Network recently announced that it had secured 21 exonerations for wrongful convictions in 2011, down from the two previous years, but the network helped free two men who served more than 30 years each in prison for crimes they did not commit.
In 2010, the Innocence Network helped exonerate 29 men, and in 2009, the network assisted in overturning 27 wrongful convictions. The network is an affiliation of 64-member organizations in Australia, Canada, United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand that provide
legal services and investigative work.
In all three years, the majority of exonerees were African-American men. In 2009, 16 of the exonerees were black; in 2010, 15 were African-American and last year, 15 were black.
The Innocence Network profiled the 2011 exonerations in a 14-page report titled, “Innocence Network Exonerations 2011: 21 Wrongs Made Right.”
On the issue's cover is a photograph of Harry Miller, who was convicted in 2003 for a gas station robbery in 2000 in North Salt Lake, Utah. The robbery victims identified Miller as one of the stickup men.
At the time of the holdup, Miller was at home in Louisiana recovering from a stroke. Miller's family and in-home nurse vouched for his condition and whereabouts. In 2007, a court overturned his conviction. He was formally declared innocent on Sept. 12, 2011, with the help of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The State of Utah will pay Miller for his wrongful incarceration.
Miller symbolizes one of the major failures of the nation's judicial system. Misidentification was by far the leading cause of the wrongful convictions that were overturned, but this year false confessions, faulty forensics and police or prosecutorial misconduct were also contributing factors, the Innocence network noted.
“These 21 exonerations expose the cracks in our deeply flawed criminal justice system,” said Keith Findley, president of the Innocence Network and a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. “We urge legislators and other political leaders to take notice of these numbers and implement reforms to reduce the risks that such grave injustices will happen in the first place.”
The 21 individuals profiled in the 2011 report, which was published Dec. 21, served more than 365 combined years in 13 state prisons before they were let go, Findley said.
Henry James served one of the longest prison terms before he was freed. James spent 30 years in Angola Penitentiary in Louisiana beginning 1982 for rape before DNA evidence cleared him of the charge. James was 20 years old when he entered Angola.
Cornelius Dupree of Dallas was declared factually innocent on Jan. 4, after serving 30 years for wrongful convictions involving armed robbery and rape. He was convicted in 1979. Although Dupree maintained his innocence, two women identified him as their attacker. DNA evidence, however, excluded Dupree as a suspect.
“These wrongfully convicted spent some of the best years of their lives in prison—separated from their parents, spouses, children and other loved ones who suffered their own loss, shame and separation,” Findley said. “Proving their innocence took years of work by dedicated teams of lawyers and staffers forced to fight against a system that too often would rather deny than correct mistakes. And most disturbing of all, these 21 represent just a small fraction of the thousands of people who are behind bars for crimes they didn't commit and who may never see justice at all.”
Click Here To View the Report
NorthStar News & Analysis Commentary
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
New America Media
Things got worse for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul when his rival Newt Gingrich recently called him out for purportedly using racially inflammatory language in official fundraising newsletters during the 1990s. The newsletters in question -- Ron Paul’s Political Report and Ron Paul’s Freedom Report -- brought in a considerable haul of cash for Paul, a longtime politician and presidential candidate. His half-baked racial scribbles are by now well known: He’s bashed blacks for being chronic welfare grifters, thugs and lousy parents. He has also said black people are inherently racist toward whites.
Following Gingrich’s attacks, Paul issued a terse denial that he authored or even read any of the aforementioned racial slanders. But there is also no evidence that he ever wrote a correction or issued a clarification.
Paul was back at it again in 2008, when he was also running for president. On his campaign website, ronpaul2008.com, Paul spotlighted race as a major issue when he wrote: "Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry." In short, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case,
Brown vs. Board of Education
, the 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and legions of other court decisions and state laws that bar discrimination are, according to Paul, worthless. Going even further than that, Paul has suggested that those laws have promoted bigotry by dividing Americans by race and class.
None of this would have much mattered to Gingrich, or to the mass media, if Paul hadn’t recently polled as a front-runner in the Iowa Caucus.
His kind-of, sort-of, let’s drop the subject dodges to the racism charge are standard Paul, and his protestations seem driven by political timing rather than sincerity. Paul has no choice but to embrace a diverse electorate if he is to have any credibility as a serious presidential contender. But Paul’s past writings and statements are more than likely a reflection of his true sentiment about racial matters.
Paul’s boast that he would not have voted for the landmark 1964 civil rights bill that's been the law of the land for nearly six decades is a textbook case in point.
Paul's rap against the bill is just as absurd and tortured as the rap that Southern Democrats and Northern GOP conservatives who bottled the bill up for more than a year in Congress used to pretty up their opposition to it: It violated property rights.
Paul, nearly six decades after those efforts failed, has had to deny those allegations in recent interviews: “I'm for property rights and for state's rights, and therefore I'm a racist? That's just outlandish."
The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment wiped away the bogus claim that property rights trump racial discrimination, a century before Paul and Jim Crow maintenance proponents used this ploy to torpedo the civil rights bill. Yet linking the anti-civil rights position directly to the old property rights canard fits neatly into the stock libertarian argument that the best thing government can do is stay out of the affairs of private citizens and private business. It’s a philosophy that claims the root of America's woes -- bloated spending, soaring deficits, congressional gridlock, crippling energy dependence, massive tax disparities, the drug plague and even America's wars abroad are the result of top- heavy government interference and intrusion in the lives of Americans.
Paul also knows that spicing up the horribly distorted Jeffersonian principle of limited government with race has broad implications for scrapping regulations on environmental and civil liberties and consumer protections, gutting regulations to prevent corporate abuses, and of course, slashing funding or eliminating government health services, education, welfare and labor law.
At the end of the day, Paul’s seemingly anti-establishment, anti-party, maverick position plays well with the legions of frustrated, disgusted and enraged Republican rank and filers and Libertarians who are desperate to have an alternative to the field of GOP establishment-anointed presidential contenders.
Paul could be magnanimous and apologize for his racist rants, while deftly deflecting blame to someone else and telling the press to get over it and talk about the “substantive” issues. But why would he? The dredging up of the newsletters gave him what he wanted. He is now nearly a household name and a viable force in the GOP. A slash and burn assault on government, even when it’s race tinged, doesn’t hurt Paul one bit. It gets media and public attention, draws denunciations from his defenders as hitting below the belt, and solicits quiet cheers from the multitudes that happen to agree with Paul, his suspect views on race notwithstanding.
In other words, Paul flunks the Racism Test, for good reason.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst, a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network, the author of
How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge
, and a regular correspondent for New America Media.
NorthStar News & Analysis Editorial
Paying a Price for Cheap Laughs
Tyler Perry crossed the line when he insulted black men during a promotion of his new television sitcom.
In a scene from "For Better or Worse," which the TBS Network began broadcasting November 25, a young woman is weighing whether to accept her beau's marriage proposal.
A heavyset black woman asks the young woman if her boyfriend beats her. The young woman says, “No.” The older woman then says, 'If he doesn't beat you, you should marry him!'
I am sure some in the television audience got a lot of yuks out of that one, but black men should be outraged.
Domestic violence by men and women is a serious issue, and it should not be solely pinned on black men. Perry also
has set the lowest possible standard for black people saying yes to tying the knot.
That's because black relationships have been turned into rough comedies designed to entertain large television audiences.
It is not unusual to see black couples on Maury Povich's and Jerry Springer's shows hurling insults and sometimes throwing fists at each other while the audience stands up and cheers like spectators at a death match in the Roman Coliseum. It is hard to take marriage and romance seriously when we entrust these institutions to media-carnival barkers.
Producers of the Springer and Povich shows are also very skilled at finding ill-educated, inarticulate individuals to appear on these programs. Because viewers cannot understand what many of the participants are saying, the programs employ subtitles, similar to those found in foreign films. Another yuk.
Springer, Povich and Perry have hit on a new way to insure high ratings, but black men should avoid participating in and watching these shows.
According to a Pew Research Center study, black men are looking elsewhere for marriage partners, and maybe it is because they have higher hopes for their relationships, not lower ones.
Happy New (Technological) Year!
The countdown is on. As we welcome a brand new, shiny year, I’ve already been poring through the magazine articles that promise me, “A New Year, A New You!” Here we go –- again. Last year, I was convinced that if Jennifer Hudson could lose weight through Weight Watchers, then I could, too. And of course, there was an “app” to help me with that. I am not alone in my quest to find a quick way to a new and improved way of life –- via my smartphone, according to a recent Nielsen study.
The State of the Media The Mobile Media Report, the latest of Nielsen’s ongoing smartphone analytics research, tells us nearly half of all American mobile consumers (44 percent) now own a smartphone. Plus, Nielsen’s recently released State of the African-American Consumer Report, confirms that 44 percent of all new mobile phones purchased by black consumers are smartphones, so that now 33 percent, or a whopping 14 million, of us own one.
Smartphones are those handheld mobile devices that allow us to make and receive phone calls, emails, surf the web and perform a host of other activities, depending on just how “smart” of a model you own. Regardless of the model you choose, Nielsen knows that more black users prefer an Android (37 percent) or RIM Blackberry (30 percent) than the 16 percent of us who choose an Apple iOS, otherwise known as the iPhone.
Regardless of the model, we can download diet plans and fitness apps with virtual trainers for practically pennies. Apps are also available to help with other popular resolutions (and nearly anything else that might tickle your fancy) like getting organized, spending less to save more, learning something new, etc.
Since my quest to be slim like Jennifer did not make it past February 1 in 2011, I decided to get a head start on things this year. Like a zealot on a mission, I spent the entire day after Christmas downloading new and improved apps in preparation for 2012. I have my “to-do list” app all ready to go and my “new goals” app is synced with my Outlook calendar and this time I’m entering the year of new possibilities armed with a “personal trainer” app and even a “101 Ways to Be Healthy” app!
Couple those with the apps I have to stay abreast of my financial situation and those that keep my wardrobe organized and my home redecorating projects coordinated, plus those that come with the phone, that gives me 49 apps.
According to Nielsen, I’m over-indexing on the apps thing, since most smartphone-app downloaders report having an average of 33 apps on their mobile phone. (Apple iPhone app downloaders have an average of 44 apps, while those with Android smartphones have an average of 32). Hey, you can’t say I’m not ready!
No end-of-the-year column is complete without a year in review right? So here’s a smartphone recap for 2011:
• Most of the 18 percent of mobile subscribers who had smartphones two years ago were more likely to be male. In 2011, more than half (51 percent) of the 44 percent who own smartphones are female.
• Younger consumers still led in smartphone penetration. 64 percent of 25-35 year olds and 53 percent of 18-24 year olds owned smartphones.
• In 2009, RIM’s Blackberry smartphone was the device of choice (even still the choice of President Obama). In 2011, Blackberrys were used by 17 percent of the smartphone market.
• Apple was the top smartphone manufacturer in the U.S. with 28.6 percent of the market, and Android was the most-favored operating system by manufacturers, with 44 percent of the market.
• The number of smartphone subscribers using the mobile Internet has grown 45 percent since 2010.
Whether you’re a smartphone user or New Year’s resolution maker or not, on behalf of Nielsen, I wish you a safe and Happy New Year. I look forward to sharing more exciting information with you in 2012, because –- say it with me –- knowledge is power!
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen. For more information, go to
NorthStar News & Analysis Book Recommendations For 2012
NorthStar News & Analysis
subscribers want to curl up with a good book on a long winter's night, here are some titles that should be on your shelves.
Destined To Witness: Growing Up Black In Nazi Germany.
Hans J. Massaquoi, retired managing editor of
magazine, writes about his childhood under the Third Reich and eating dinner almost every night at the home of his best friend, whose father was a Nazi block captain.
Black Nazis II
. As Massaquoi did, Veronica Clark shatters a myth about Nazi Germany. Clark writes that blacks and Asians served as soldiers in the German army and the dreaded SS during World War II. Many Nazi officers also had black mistresses.
Destined to Witness
rewrite history that has been long ignored about blacks living in Germany during that era.
James Baldwin: A Biography
. James Baldwin flew to Paris with $100 and a duffle bag of clothes because he believed he would become a great writer. He did. David Leeming has written an extraordinary biography of Baldwin.
The Deacons for Defense
. Long before Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton organized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, black men in the South armed themselves as the Deacons for Defense to fight the Ku Klux Klan because law-enforcement officials refused to do so. This is a new view of a civil-rights struggle that has been long overlooked.
The Assassination of the Black Male Image
. Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes about how black men are depicted in books and on television as lazy, hyper-sexual and criminal.
King of the Cats
. Wil Haygood's insightful biography of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a pragmatic politician who became a powerful congressman.
News for All the People
. Juan González and Joseph Torres write about the history of the American media, including how the Federal Communications Commission awarded radio licenses to the Ku Klux Klan but refused to give them to African and Hispanic Americans. The writers also warn us that we are in for a bigger battle, which is control of the Internet, or Net Neutrality, to ensure that our voices and ideas are heard.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
. Rebecca Skloot writes the story about how Lacks' collected and preserved cancer cells became one of the most important tools in modern medicine.
The Vitamin D Cure
. James E. Dowd, M.D. and Diane Stafford write about how Vitamin D can prevent diabetes, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
The Chaneysville Incident
. David Bradley gave us a powerful novel about a man's obsession.
Into Thin Air
. For those of us who want to climb Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, Jon Krakauer's book recounts a 1996 climbing disaster on the Queen of the Himalayas.
The Presumption of Guilt
. Harvard University Professor Charles Ogletree writes about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., by Cambridge, Mass., police for being on the porch of his own home.
The Day of the Jackal
. Frederick Forsyth wrote one of the most compelling novels in recent years. It involves the attempted assassination of French President Charles de Gaulle by French generals so they could continue the war in Algeria.
There are a lot of other good books out there. Write and tell me about them. --
Frederick H. Lowe
Robert C. Weaver
Week in Black History
December 29 through January 4
1907 ----- Robert C. Weaver was born
. Appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Weaver served as the first United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from 1966 to 1968. He was the first African American in the country to hold a cabinet-level position.
As a younger man, Weaver, who was knowledgeable about housing issues even then, was one of the 45 prominent African Americans appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to his so-called Black Cabinet. Weaver was a respected but informal adviser to Roosevelt, and he was responsible for directing federal programs during the New Deal era.
After serving in the Johnson administration, Weaver served as the president of Baruch College in 1969. In 1970 he taught urban affairs at Hunter College in New York. He retained that professorship until 1978.
Weaver died on Washington, DC, in 1997. He was 89.
1917 ----- Thomas J. Bradley was born
in Calvert, Texas. For 20 years, from 1973 to 1993, Bradley, the grandson of slaves, served as the 38th mayor of Los Angeles. He was the first African American and the only African American to-date to hold that office. At the time of his election in 1973, Bradley was only the second African American mayor of a major city in the United States. (The first African American elected mayor of a major U. S. city was Carl Stokes. Voters elected Stokes mayor of Cleveland in 1967.)
Following his long stint as mayor, Bradley ran for governor of California twice, in 1982 and 1986. He lost both times, though he was the first African-American gubernatorial candidate in California history.
Bradley died in Los Angeles in 1998 at the age of 80.
1892 ----- Myles V. Lynk, MD
, of Nashville, Tenn., one of the founders in 1865 of the National Medical Association (NMA), the oldest African-American professional medical association,
published the first black medical journal,
Medical and Surgical Observer
, on this date. The journal published 17 editions.
1928 ----- Bo Diddley
, named Elias Otha Bates at birth,
in McComb, Miss. Rhythm and blues vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, Diddley was dubbed “The Originator” because he influencedso many artists and helped to bridge the gap between blues and rock and roll. Among others, Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and The Rolling Stones credited Diddley, who mastered a driving guitar sound, with setting an example of musicianship and performance for them to follow.
Diddley began his career performing on the streets of Chicago’s South Side, supplementing the modest income he earned as a carpenter and mechanic. In the 1950s, he played in clubs, collaborated with other blues musicians and recorded blues sides at Chess Studios. He had a string of hits, “Pretty Thing” (1956), “Say Man” (1959), and “You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” (1962).
Between 1958 and 1963, Bo Diddley recorded 11 albums for Checker Records. He also toured both nationally and internationally, performing less often in clubs and more often in auditoriums and stadiums, becoming enormously popular worldwide.
In 1987, Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 1998, he received lifetime achievement awards from both the Rhythm and Blues Foundation and the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Bo Diddley died of heart failure in Archer, Fla. in 2008. He was 79.
The first Watch Night Services
in the United States
in African-American communities
on this date.
The Watch Night Service, which was also known as “Freedom’s Eve,” can be traced to gatherings held by enslaved men and women and freed men and women across the country, waiting to hear whether the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 would be signed into law.
The most famous watch night service was held in Rochester, N.Y. The vigil was convened and led by abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
At the stroke of midnight, January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation became law and all those enslaved in Confederate states were declared free. When the news was announced, jubilation and songs of celebration replaced the prayerful solemnity of waiting to hear.
Many African Americans still gather in churches on New Year’s Eve to commemorate and celebrate the tradition of watch night services.
1804 ---- Haiti emerged as the first independent, black-led republic
in the world. The Haitian Revolution was one of the most successful slave rebellions in history. It inspired people of African descent around the world.
Though slavery was not abolished until the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Bill of Rights in 1865, a great national debate raged for years over the issue of slavery. On March 2, 1807,
President Thomas Jefferson signed a bill to abolish slavery effective January 1, 1808.
Controversy and economic compromise led to a dilution of the bill’s original intent as a moral document, and the importation of slaves to the United States was banned. While slavery was not abolished for 57 more years, this limit on the slave trade is considered the beginning of the end of slavery in the United States. Slavery was abolished in the British Empire with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Bill of 1833.
1997 ----- Robben Island Museum (RIM) in South Africa was established
on this date. The museum, located on Robben Island in Table Bay, six miles west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, was formerly a prison, primarily for political prisoners, established in the 17th century.
Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress (ANC) and former president of South Africa, was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 years from 1964 to 1982. In 1982, he was transferred to Pollsmoor Prison in Capetown and then to Victor Verster Prison when it was discovered that he had contracted tuberculosis. Mandela was finally freed from Pollsmoor Prison on February 11, 1990.
1965 ----- Martin Luther King, Jr., led a voter registration drive that began in Selma, Ala
. The Selma to Montgomery marches were three marches in 1965 that marked the political peak of the civil rights movement. They grew out of the voting rights movement in Selma launched by local African-Americans who formed the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL). In 1963, the DCVL and organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began voter-registration work. When white resistance to Black voter registration proved intractable, the DCVL requested the assistance of Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who brought many prominent civil rights and civic leaders to support voting rights.
The first march took place on March 7, 1965 — "Bloody Sunday" — when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas. The second march, the following Tuesday, resulted in 2,500 protesters turning around after crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The third march started March 16. The marchers averaged 10 miles a day along U.S. Route 80, known in Alabama as the "Jefferson Davis Highway". Protected by 2,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, 1,900 members of the Alabama National Guard under Federal command, and many FBI agents and Federal Marshals, they arrived in Montgomery on March 24, and at the Alabama Capitol building on March 25.
The route is memorialized as the Selma To Montgomery Voting Rights Trail, a U.S. National Historic Trail.
Sammy Younge, Jr.
Sammy Younge, Jr.
, a 21-year-old student at Tuskegee Institute and U.S. Navy veteran,
was shot to death
by a 67-year-old gas station attendant for using the Standard Oil station's whites-only bathroom.
An all-white jury found Marvin Segrest, the attendant, not guilty of murdering Younge. Tuskegee students reacted by rioting and destroying parts of downtown Tuskegee, Ala.
Younge is the subject of a 1969 biography by James Forman, executive secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The book's title is
Sammy Younge, Jr.: The First Student to Die In the Black Liberation
1920 ----- Andrew "Rube" Foster organized the Negro National League
, the first league for the African-American Baseball League.
Foster was owner and manager of the Chicago American Giants. The Negro National League was established by a coalition of team owners at a meeting in a Kansas City, Mo., YMCA.
The new league was the first African-American baseball circuit to achieve stability and survive more than one season. Initially, the league operated mainly in the Midwest, ranging from Kansas City, Mo. in the west to Pittsburgh in the east. In 1924, the league expanded into the south, adding franchises in Birmingham and Memphis.
Week in Black History
is compiled by Susan M. Miller.
The Northstar News & Analysis, Inc.
Chicago, IL | 312.504.0223
Donate to Northstar
Send Us a Message
Contact Us on Skype
Built & Powered By Ecommerce Architects