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 -
May 3, 2012
President Obama shakes hands with troops during a surprise visit
Monday to Afghanistan (Getty Images)
President Obama Signs Deal in Afghanistan and Visits Troops
Frederick H. Lowe
President Barack Obama on Tuesday made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he signed a partnership agreement with the government that will end America's role in the Afghan War.
The president also visited an Air Base to give a brief speech before shaking hands with the troops deployed there.
Obama met with the Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, the capital, where the two leaders signed the nine-page Strategic Partnership Agreement under which the United States will turn over responsibility for security to Afghans.
The “Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement Between The United States of America and The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” was discussed and drafted in 2010 in London and in Kabul and in Bonn, Germany, in 2011.
The agreement, which includes a preamble and eight sections, calls for the United States to designate Afghanistan as a “Major Non-NATO Ally,” and that beyond 2014, the U.S. shall seek funds on a yearly basis to support the training, equipping, advising and sustaining of the Afghan National Security Forces.
Until 2014, Afghanistan must provide U.S. forces continued access to and use of Afghan facilities. The United States deployed troops in Afghanistan in 2001.
After the signing ceremony, President Obama traveled to Bagram Air Base in the ancient city of Bagram. The base is one of the largest the U.S. has in Afghanistan.
The president spoke to troops deployed with the First Infantry Division, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, the Task Force Muleskinner, the 101st Army Field Sustainment Brigade, the Task Force Paladin, Task Force Defender and the 82nd Airborne.
He praised the military men and women and their families for their sacrifices, telling them that what they are doing makes America more secure and that the nation appreciates them.
He then told the troops that he was in Afghanistan to turn the security of the country over to the Afghans, although it would not occur right away.
“We're not going to do it overnight. We're not going to do it irresponsibly,” the President said. “We're going to make sure that the gains, the hard-fought gains that have been made, are preserved. But the reason we're able to do that is because of you. The reason that Afghans have an opportunity for a new tomorrow is because of you. And the reason America is safe is because of you."
President Obama also told them how proud he was being their Commander and Chief, before ending his speech of a little more than 10 minutes.
“God bless you, and God bless the United States of America,” he said. “Now I want to shake some hands.”
119,000 Jobs Added In April; Gallup Reports Job Creation is at the Highest-Level Since 2008
Employment in the nation's private, non-farm business sector, increased by 119,000 in April, the ADP National Employment Report announced on Wednesday. And Gallup's Job Creation Index said new hiring is at its best level since July 2008.
ADP, also known as Automatic Data Processing, reported that the service sector created 123,000 jobs in April, but the goods-producing sector and manufacturing lost a combined 9,000 jobs.
Employment in the construction industry also fell by 5,000, but financial services added 13,000 jobs.
Large, medium and small businesses continued to hire.
Roseland, N.J.-based ADP, which provides payroll processing, said large businesses of 500 or more workers added 4,000 jobs, and employment in medium-sized companies with 50 to 499 workers rose by 57,000. Small businesses, that employ up to 49 workers, added 58,000 jobs.
ADP releases its job data before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does on the first Friday of each month.
Princeton, N.J.-based Gallup reported on Tuesday that hiring has increased in all regions of the country, with companies in the South adding the most jobs. Gallup said high gas prices may have stimulated job growth in the region because of its reliance on the energy industry.
"The fact that more employees are reporting that their companies are hiring and fewer say they are firing is good news for the U.S. job market and those looking for work," Gallup said.
Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co.
Merck Reports Higher Sales on Diabetes Drug’s Double-Digit Growth
Merck & Co. Inc., the Whitehouse Station, N.J., pharmaceutical manufacturer of the diabetes drug Januvia, has reported a higher net income on higher revenues for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012. Merck's first-quarter sales were $11.7 billion, up 1 percent, compared with $11.5 billion for the same three-month period last year.
First quarter Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) net income was $1.738 billion, up 67 percent, compared with $1.043 billion during the same three-month period last year. Non-GAAP net income, which excluded certain items, was $3.044 billion, compared with $2.861 billion in 2011's first quarter.
GAAP earnings per share were 56 cents, compared with last first-quarter earnings per share of 34 cents. Merck's results were in line with expectations, analysts said.
“Merck's first-quarter results again demonstrated our ability to execute on our strategy plans and grow the top and bottom lines,” Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck, said on April 27. “Our performance this quarter was driven by the solid contributions across our pharmaceutical, animal health and consumer care divisions and by our ongoing efforts to operate more effectively and efficiently.”
The company reported double-digit growth in sales of Januvia, Gardasil and Isentress. Worldwide sales of Januvia/Janumet grew 26 percent to $1.3 billion in 2012's first quarter driven by growth in the United States, Europe, Japan and emerging markets.
Sales of Isentress, an HIV inhibitor that is used in combination with other antiretroviral agents used for treatment of HIV-1 infection, grew 15 percent in the quarter, driven by strong growth in the United States.
Gardasil reported a first-quarter sales increase of 33 percent to $284 million driven by increased vaccination of boys and men ages 9 through 26 and by the product's launch in Japan. Gardasil is a vaccine to prevent certain diseases caused by four types of human papillomavirus, which are capable of infecting other human beings, and manifest in warts and certain cancers, especially cervical cancer.
Anthony Edwards of FCSO talks to students about
the need for physical exercise
Mississippi Anti-Obesity Project Receives a Grant From the Soft-Drink Industry
Frederick H. Lowe
The Mississippi Beverage Association, which represents an industry that has come under strong criticism for fostering the nation's obesity epidemic, has granted $10,000 to the Fayette Community Service Organization (FCSO) of Mississippi, which works to combat obesity in Jefferson County.
Ron Aldridge, executive vice president of the Jackson, Miss.-based organization, whose members are bottlers and distributors of non-alcoholic drinks, handed a check to Janell Edwards, FCSO executive director, during a ceremony on Tuesday in Fayette. Aldridge said members support FCSO's goal of combating obesity.
Edwards said the funds would support FCSO’s Healthy Intervention Project-Community, which it launched in January. The program will work with 150 third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders to teach them nutrition and active-lifestyle skills, Edwards said.
The program plans to give away bicycles and to engage the students in a variety of activities, such as basketball, walking and other forms of physical exercise. FCSO also plans to offer free 30-minute exercise classes to adults, who agree to set goals for weight loss.
Jefferson County has the state's highest percentage of black residents and at one time, it was the state's most-obese county out of 82 counties. It is now the fourth most-obese county, Edwards said.
“Obesity among our children is premeditated murder. It shortens their lives by 12 years,” Edwards said. “If we as parents can't stop eating fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and red velvet cake, we're setting up our children for a poor quality of life, of using insulin to control diabetes and possibly going blind or losing a leg through amputation. We know that the children are obese, but who are their trainers?”
Edwards recently met a 12-year-old, sixth-grade student who weighed 254 pounds.
Dr. Olu T. Ekundayo, a professor of epidemiology and biostatics at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., writes grants for FCSO, and he trains the organization's volunteers. They will visit Fayette schools to perform a health assessment based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.
“The volunteers will screen students to determine their body mass index,” said Dr. Ekundayo. “Depending on a students' height and weight, we will be able to tell them if their weight is normal, if they are overweight or if they are obese.”
The screenings also signal whether the student is facing future health risks, such a being pre-diabetic, Dr. Edkundayo said.
FCSO is targeting children in the hope that their parents also will change their eating habits and become more physically active to help their children, Dr. Ekundayo said.
The Mississippi Beverage Association awarded FCSO the mini grant after foundations concerned with obesity, for unknown reasons, turned down the organization for funding.
“I find it very ironic, confusing and almost conspiratorial that we have not been able to do well with foundations,” Edwards said. “We have a high rate of obesity in Jefferson County.”
Edwards said the soft-drink industry is concerned about obesity and noted that it offers low-calorie drinks and water.
The soft-drink industry has come under attack for using high-fructose corn syrup, which critics charge is a key ingredient fostering the nation's obesity epidemic. Obesity adds $190 billion annually to the nation's health care costs, according to a study by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
In Chicago, an alderman submitted a proposal to tax soft drinks an additional 15 to 30 cents per container to reduce soft drink consumption and to fight obesity.
The mayor of Philadelphia and former governor of New York in the past have floated similar ideas.
But Aldridge denies that the beverage industry is the evil empire critics make it out to be. “We don’t believe we are the problem,” he said, adding that the industry has been innovative, offering a wider selection of drinks, including water, fruit juices and teas in smaller sizes to reduce calorie consumption. “Even among our low-calorie drinks, we are offering more choices,” Aldridge said.
He added that the industry is encouraging individuals to eat less and to become more physically active. “In 2007, Mississippi bottlers and distributors led the nation in removing all full-calorie drinks from the schools,” he said.
100 Black Men of London Uses Website to Tackle Diabetes
100 Black Men of London is using May, Diabetes Month, to publish a detailed explanation about the disease that affects a large number of individuals from Africa and the Caribbean who live in the United Kingdom.
100 Black Men's website is headlined, "Diabetes---May 2012." It reports that diabetes in ethnic and minority communities is four to six times higher than it is in white neighborhoods.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition in which blood glucose, or the amount of sugar in the blood, is higher than normal, and the body cannot make use of glucose effectively. If diabetes is untreated, it can cause serious long-term health problems, including neuropathy, blindness and the loss of limbs. The disease also can cause stroke and heart disease.
The website explains that there are two types of diabetes, Type 1, which is juvenile diabetes, an auto- immune disease characterized by a person's body inability to produce insulin. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the person must take regular insulin injections, eat a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity.
Type 2 diabetes, which is often preventable, also occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. This form of diabetes can be treated with physical activity, a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight. In addition, Type 2 Diabetics can control the disease through insulin shots and glucose-lowering medications. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with unhealthy weight gain.
Individuals are encouraged to eat foods with a low glycemic index, such as green vegetables that are slowly absorbed into the human body and don't cause a spike in blood sugar.
The website lists sugar and sugar substitutes with low and high glycemic index numbers. For example, Stevia, a sugar substitute, has a glycemic index number of zero, compared with raw honey, which has a glycemic index of 30. Corn syrup, a key ingredient in soft drinks, has a glycemic index of 75.
“Lower glycemic numbers are healthier,” the website says.
Men, women and children from the African Diaspora who suffer from either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are in good company. 100 Black Men notes that actress Halle Berry, singers Aretha Franklin and B.B. King and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard are diabetics.
FDA Approves Fast-Acting Drug to Treat Erectile Dysfunction
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new, fast-acting drug to treat erectile dysfunction. An estimated 30 million men in the United States have difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection.
The drug, Stendra, helps increase the blood flow to the penis in 30 minutes. The website WebMD reported, however, that Stendra proved to be effective for some men in 15 minutes.
“This approval expands the available treatment options to men experiencing erectile dysfunction, and enables patients, in consultation with their doctor, to choose the most-appropriate treatment for their needs,” Dr. Victoria Kusiak, deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation III in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said on April 27, the date Stendra's approval was announced.
During drug trials, Stendra resulted in successful intercourse for men suffering from diabetes-related erectile dysfunction, reported WebMD.
Stendra, which is manufactured by Vivus Inc., a Mountain View, Calif., biopharmaceutical company, is in the same class of drugs as Cialis, Levitra and Viagra that treat erectile dysfunction.
Like other medications in this class, Stendra can cause side effects, including loss of hearing and vision in both eyes. Men who take nitrates to treat angina, or chest pain, should not take Stendra because it causes a drop in blood pressure.
Lionel Richie and that country feeling.
Lionel Richie's Country Album Stays Hot
Lionel Richie's country album,
, debuted at No. 2 on the
200 charts before moving up to No 1. The album remained in that position for four weeks before being pushed aside by Madonna's “MDNA.”
Richie's album was released March 5 on the Mercury Nashville label and is now No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.
features Richie singing duets with country artists, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and Jennifer Nettles. It is country music's best-selling album so far this year with 536,967 records sold, according to
Richie, former lead singer of the Commodores, and Ray Charles are the only two artists in history to have No. 1 albums on the both the
Country Album and the R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. Richie's album,
Can't Slow Down
, which was released Oct. 11, 1983, on the Motown label, was No. 1 on the R&B charts.
Ivory Toldson, Ph.D.
Black Star Project to Host Black Male Education Conference
The Black Star Project will host its second-annual Midwest Black Male Education Conference, on Saturday, May 19, in Chicago.
Dr. Umar Abdullah Johnson of Philadelphia, Dr. Ivory Toldson of Washington, D.C., and Dr. Gerrard McClendon of Chicago are scheduled to speak at the conference, which will be held at the Ramada Inn, 4900 S. Lake Shore Drive.
Umar Abdullah Johnson, Ph.D.
Johnson is a nationally certified school psychologist and a recognized authority on the education of black boys.
Toldson is an associate professor at Howard University and editor-in-chief of
The Journal of Negro Education
McClendon is an Emmy award winning talk show host, author of the book,
Ax or Ask: The African-American Guide to
, and is an assistant professor and research fellow at Chicago State University.
Black Star is charging $200 to attend the conference, which has drawn a standing-room-only audience. The price of admission includes breakfast and lunch. Individuals who wish to attend may reserve a place by calling 773-285-9600. Black Star Project is based in Chicago.
Open Society Launches Website for Black Male Achievement
The Open Society Foundations' Campaign for Black Male Achievement and Root Cause have launched a website for the Leadership and Sustainability Institute, which is a national initiative designed to bolster the efforts of advocates and organizations, working to improve the outcomes of black men and boys in the United States.
The website address is
The website is a collaborative, open-engagement platform for individuals and organizations interested in advancing black male achievement. Materials from the planning process are posted to the site, including summaries of past events, recordings of webinars and lessons from research and surveys.
The site is continually updated to keep visitors apprised of new developments, and site users are encouraged to contribute to the site.
The Open Society Foundations were started by George Soros, a Hungarian-American business magnate, investor and philanthropist.
Database Targets Community Health and Environmental Issues
A database designed to assist lawmakers and community activists with information regarding health and environmental issues has been launched by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for black elected officials, and the National Minority Quality Forum.
The database will enable organizations to make health and environmental decisions by targeting their actions to where the problems are most severe and where help is needed.
The database is the first of its kind to combine information online from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials said. The Environmental Protection Agency will be added to the database later.
“We want to reduce the time and effort that has been necessary for leaders in any part of the country to understand their local health and environmental conditions and convey that information to the right people,” said Gary A. Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum. The Washington, D.C.-based non-profit research and educational organization is dedicated to ensuring that high-risk populations and communities receive optimal health care.
Danielle Deane, director of the Joint Center's Energy and Environment Program, said one goal is to make the database easy for anyone to access and to analyze.
“Information has to be brought to life in real time to tell a story and have impact, and this database is a tool that will make effective data storytelling for any lawmaker or community activist,” Deane added.
Mr. T. Celebrates 60th Birthday This Month; Meadowlark Lemon is 80
Born Laurence Tureaud on May 21, 1952, in Chicago, Mr. T. played the character “B.A. Baracus” in the hit 1980-television series,
. He also was “Clubber Lang” in the 1982 film
Meadow "Meadowlark" Lemon,the one-time Harlem Globetrotter, celebrated his 80th birthday in April. Lemon was born April 25, 1932, in Wilmington, N.C.
Boston Bruins Apologize for Racist Comments Fans Made to Black Hockey Player
The Boston Bruins apologized to an African-American player for the Washington Capitals after he received racist tweets and a death threat for scoring the winning goal in a playoff match on April 25.
Joel Ward, who plays the position of the right wing for the Capitals, scored in overtime, defeating the favored Bruins
2 -1. The Bruins are the defending National Hockey League Champions.
Ward's Capitals teammates mobbed him, but some Bruins fans called him a “nigger” and one fan threatened to kill him.
“The Bruins are very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night,” the team said. “These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization.” Ward told
that he was shocked by the fans' vitriol.
Jordan Axes Bobcats Head Coach
Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats of the National Basketball Association, has fired Paul Silas, the team's head coach, after the Bobcats finished the season with the league's worst winning percentage.
“Paul Silas will not return as head coach, and a search for a successor will begin immediately,” Rod Higgins, Bobcats president of basketball operations, said on Monday.
“I would like to personally thank Paul for everything he has done for this team under some pretty unique circumstances,” Higgins said.
The Bobcats ended the strike-shortened season with 7 wins and 59 losses. The team's winning percentage was .106 percent. Silas was named the Bobcats interim head coach on Dec. 22, 2010. The Bobcats dropped the "interim" designation on Feb. 16, 2011.
Robert Champion, Jr.
Felony Charges Announced in Florida A&M Hazing Death
A Florida prosecutor announced on Wednesday that he will charge 13 Florida A&M University band members with the hazing death of drum major Robert Champion, Jr.
Champion, 26, died on November 19, 2011, from internal bleeding while aboard a chartered bus in Orlando, Fla. Prosecutors said 11 band members will be charged with felonies and two will be charged with misdemeanors. Champion was gay, and the National Black Justice Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, had pushed law enforcement officials to file charges against some of the band members.
Junior Seau Found Dead
Junior Seau, a former National Football League linebacker, was found dead on Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest, the San Diego Chargers reported on the team's website. The 43-year-old Seau's body was found in his home in Oceanside, Calif. Seau played 20 years in the NFL, including 12 years with the Chargers and on 12 Pro Bowl teams.
Memphis Riot of 1866
NorthStar's Week in Black History
May 3 through May 9
1866 ----- The three-day Memphis Riot of 1866, which left the city’s black community in ruins, ended on this date.
The shocking incident increased the political power of the Radical Reconstructionists, discredited President Andrew Johnson's ability to lead the country and led to greater support for the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Racial tension was a fact of life in the South during Reconstruction (1863-1877). Those tensions erupted in Memphis on May 1, 1866, when a shooting altercation occurred between white policemen and black soldiers recently discharged from the Union Army after serving in the Civil War.
Following the shooting, mobs of white civilians and white police officers rampaged through Memphis’ black neighborhoods, forcibly entering the homes of black citizens, most of whom were freed slaves. Federal troops were sent to Memphis to quell the rioting. The troops gained control of the situation and peace in the city was restored on the third day of unrest.
A Congressional committee investigated the riot and later issued a report, detailing the three-day incident and its aftermath. The report revealed that 46 black citizens and two white residents of Memphis were killed during the rioting. Seventy-five individuals were wounded or injured, more than 100 persons were robbed, five women were raped and 91 homes, eight schools and four churches were burned.
Racial tensions had become more intense when Union forces captured Memphis in 1862 and the face and character of the city began to change significantly. Memphis soon became a haven for freed slaves, increasing the black population from 3,000 in 1860 to 20,000 by 1865.
During Reconstruction, black Union soldiers were hired to patrol Memphis. White residents of Memphis were unaccustomed to seeing black men in positions of relative power and authority, and many were uncomfortable with this new development.
White policemen, the vast majority of whom were Irish immigrants, were resentful of black soldiers providing security to the city. They expressed their feelings of displeasure and threat by challenging black soldiers and instigating conflicts, often arresting the soldiers for minor infractions and treating them with cruelty. Officials of the Freedman’s Bureau investigated many such incidents of false accusation and brutality on the part of white policemen, citing the police for questionable practices.
Though accounts vary, the Memphis Riot may have ignited when white policemen arrested several recently discharged black soldiers for disorderly conduct. The soldiers’ cohorts interfered with the arrest process, feeding the ire of the white policemen. The situation was complicated further by rampant rumors, fanned by white segregationists, that the majority of black residents of Memphis were armed and planned an insurrection in an attempt to gain control of the city.
As a result of the Memphis Riot, the police force in Memphis was reorganized and modernized. At the national level, Radical Republicans, supporters of Radical Reconstruction, won most congressional seats in 1866, and unsuccessful efforts were made to impeach President Andrew Johnson. The Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed citizenship, equal protection under the law, and due process for slaves, was proposed and passed.
Roberts' portrait of an unknown
child with a rooster
1880 ----- Richard S. Roberts, a self-taught photographer who created in painstaking detail a photographic record of the lives of African Americans in Columbia, SC, was born in Columbia on this date.
As a young man, Roberts worked as a stevedore and a fireman laborer and studied photography during his spare time. He opened a small studio in Ferdinand, Fla., where he made photographic portraits, perfecting techniques to produce better quality photographs.
In 1922, he returned to Columbia and established a studio, though he worked as a custodian in the post office from 4 a.m. until noon, six days a week. For 14 years, when he was not on duty as a custodian, he took thousands of photographs of the citizens of Columbia, particularly African-Americans and their surroundings, creating a visual history of the city and its people.
During this period of intense productivity, Roberts developed many techniques for manipulating various lighting conditions to produce quality photographs. In a brochure he created to advertise his studio and his work, he wrote, “No other gift causes so much real and lasting joy as the gift of your photograph,” adding that owning a “true likeness” of oneself “is a necessity of life.”
After Roberts died in 1936 at 56, his children stored the negatives of many of his photographs in the family home. The negatives were all but forgotten until his children unearthed them in 1977 and catalogued them with the assistance of researchers from the University of South Carolina’s library. More than 3,000 negatives were rescued, protected and added to the university’s historical photography collection.
An exhibition of Roberts’ photographs, sponsored by the University of South Carolina, was held in 1986 as part of Columbia’s bicentennial celebration. Many of Roberts’ photographic portraits were collected and published as a book,
A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936
. Originally published in hardcover in 1936, the collection was released in 1994 in a paper bound edition, published by Writers and Readers Publishing.
Dinah Johnson published a collection of Richard Roberts’ photographs and wrote text to accompany them. The book, published originally in 1998 by Henry Holt and Co., is intended for children five years old and older and is titled,
All Around Town: The Photographs of Richard Samuel Roberts.
Largely due to the efforts of his children and a few other family members, Richard Roberts now has a proper place in African-American history and his exceptional photographic work has been saved from obscurity, providing a rich visual record of the American South of the 1920s and 1930s.
A drawing of Smith's rotating lawn sprinkler
1887 ----- Inventor Joseph H. Smith of Washington, DC, received U. S. patent number 581,785 for an improved lawn sprinkler he developed.
Smith’s design was an early example of a water-propelled, rotating sprinkler, variations of which are widely used today. Smith worked to perfect the design of his sprinkler and was issued another patent for his sprinkler, U. S. patent number 601,065, on March 22, 1898.
1865 ----- Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., born to former slaves on this date in Franklin County, Va., would become one of the most influential clergymen and community and civil rights activists of his time.
Though he originally studied law and political science, Powell, who attended Virginia Union University, changed course and studied theology instead. Following graduation in 1892, he served in several churches before entering Yale Divinity School. In 1908, he was named pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City.
At Abyssinian, he delivered strong sermons in a strong style and emphasized worshiping in joyful and emotionally expressive ways. He drew attention to the church, and the congregation grew rapidly under his leadership.
Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.
In 1920, Powell purchased land in Harlem and oversaw the construction of a new church. The new church, built on West 138th Street, was completed in 1923. Powell didn’t stop there. He also raised funds for the construction of one of the first community recreation centers in Harlem. He worked both in the church and in the recreation center, linking the church to the community and providing needed services.
By 1930, the Abyssinian Baptist Church boasted a congregation of more than 14,000 members and was one of the largest and most powerful churches in the country. Throughout the Depression, Powell’s church provided food for those in the community who did not have adequate basic resources. The church also referred members of the community to city services and helped many unemployed people to find jobs.
An early civil rights activist, Powell used his pulpit and his position in the community to speak out against racism and injustice. He also taught courses on racism and race relations at the City College of New York and Union Theological Seminary.
Powell was also a co-founder of the National Urban League and an early member and leader of the NAACP. He was one of the organizers of the Silent Protest Parade of 1928 in which an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 blacks marched in absolute silence down Fifth Avenue to protest violence against African Americans.
After serving Abyssinian Baptist Church for 29 years, Powell retired in 1937, relinquishing his post to his son, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
1960 ----- President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which established federal inspection of local voter registration rolls and introduced penalties for anyone who obstructed a person's right to vote.
The act was designed to end the duplicity of registrars in southern states who would resign on the eve of a federal lawsuit so there would be no party to sue, according
The Encyclopedia of Black America.
The law required state election officials to preserve records for at least 22 months so they could be viewed by the U.S. Attorney General. The Civil Rights Act also authorized the U.S. Department of Justice to sue in federal court on behalf of persons denied the right to vote. The law, however, was considered by many to be ineffective because it did not provide stringent measures of enforcement. In addition, court delays also devitalized the act, according to the encyclopedia.
Congress passed the act despite strong resistance from Southern Democrats in the U.S. Senate who opposed any civil rights legislation.
The law was written to close the loop holes in the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which created a Commission on Civil Rights to study racial conditions in the United States.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first major piece of civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1866. African Americans were declared citizens and were granted equal rights to contracts, suits, access to trials, purchases and properties, according to the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
Tricycle outfitted to make deliveries
1886 ----- Black inventor M. A. Cherry patents the tricycle, a three-wheeled vehicle that is used for transportation by pre-schoolers and some adults.
Tricycles have many different purposes in different countries. In Asia and Africa, they are typically used for
commercial transportation and deliveries. In the United States and Canada, they are used mostly for shopping and exercise.
1787 ----- Prince Hall and 14 other African Americans, who had joined a British lodge of Freemasons 1775, received their own charter, becoming the African Lodge No. 459 in Boston.
Hall, who migrated from Barbados and was a minister, believed a separate lodge would provide a specific camaraderie needed for African-American members.
1878 ----- Joseph R. Winters receives the first of two patents for an improved fire escape ladder.
Winters' ladder replaced the wooden ladder with a metal frame and parallel steps. The fire escape ladder was mounted on a wagon for the Chambersburg, Pa., fire department.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Winters U.S. patent No. 203,517 on May 7, 1878, according to the website Inventions and Patents. Winters received a second patent, 214,224, for an improvement to the fire escape ladder on April 8, 1879.
Reverend Henry McNeal Turner
1915 ---- Henry McNeal Turner, the nation's first African American U.S. Army Chaplain, died on this day while traveling on business for the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Windsor, Canada.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had appointed Turner, a chaplain of the Union Army, attached to the !st Regiment,
U.S. Colored Troops, a unit he was instrumental in organizing in his own churchyard. The 1st Regiment fought numerous battles in Virginia, according to
The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
After the Civil War, Turner, who was a bishop in the AME Church, played a key role in implementing Reconstruction policies in the South. In 1876, he became president of Morris Brown College, a position he held for 12 years, according to
The Schomburg Center African American Desk Reference.
Later, Turner, convinced that African Americans could not achieve justice in the United States, became an advocate for blacks returning to Africa.
Turner is buried in Atlanta and his portrait hangs in the Georgia Capitol.
Asa Philip Randolph
1925 ----- Asa Philip Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,
a groundbreaking black union.
The organization was instrumental in securing better wages and hours for porters who worked for the Pullman Palace Car Company, which was based in Chicago. The union also played an integral role in fair-employment practices.
Pullman paid black porters less than it did white porters, and the black porters were only allowed to sleep in three-hour shifts in noisy, smoke-filled rooms.
Randolph addressed a meeting of porters in 1925, urging them to form a union. They agreed, but only if Randolph would lead the organization, according to
Africana: The Encyclopedia of African and African-American Experience
Burr's patent drawing for the
improved rotary lawn mower
Only 1,900 of the 10,000 black porters joined the union. Many felt they owed their allegiance to the company, not the union. The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters achieved its largest membership in 1928 with 4,623 members. In 1934, the Railway Labor Act forced the Pullman Company to recognize the union.
----- John Albert Burr received a patent in 1899 for an improved rotary lawn mower, according to About.com
Burr designed a lawn mower with traction wheels and a rotary blade so that it would not easily get plugged with lawn clippings. Burr’s design also made it possible to mow closer to building and wall edges.
NorthStar's Week in Black History is compiled and written
by Frederick H. Lowe and 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