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"I do not expect the white media to create a positive black-male image." -
Huey P. Newton
The NorthStar News & Analysis -
June 30, 2011
New And Proposed Voter ID Restrictions Could Affect Black Voter Turnout in 2012
Nearly three dozen states have either enacted or are debating whether to pass laws requiring voters to present a government-issued photo identification cards in order to vote in the 2012 Presidential election.
Opponents of the new laws and of the proposed legislation charge Republicans and Tea Party-elected officials are attempting to steal the White House by making it difficult for black voters to cast ballots, four years after they turned out in high numbers to elect Barack Obama president.
Initiatives requiring that voters possess government-issued identification, like a passport or a driver's license, gathered momentum after Republicans took over the legislatures in several states and won the governor's races in 11 states during November's mid-term elections.
The Advancement Project, a Washington, D.C.-based organization founded by civil rights lawyers, reported that election officials ask black voters to produce a photo ID in much higher numbers than they make like demands of white voters. A survey of voters after the 2006 elections found that 47 percent of whites were asked for photo identification whether it was required or not compared with 55 percent of African Americans, the Advancement Project found.
The Advancement Project wrote in its 35-page report, "What's Wrong with this Picture: New Photo ID Proposals Part of a National Push to Turn Back the Clock on Voting Rights," reported that as March 22, 2011, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia legislators are backing bills to enact laws that require state residents to have a government-issued photo identification card in order to vote.
Since The Advancement Project issued its report, Gov. Bev Purdue of North Carolina, recently vetoed voter ID legislation that would have disenfranchised 270,000 black voters who do not have state-issued photo IDs. Iowa's mostly Republican legislature also refused to pass a voter ID law. Republican governors in Wisconsin and Texas, however, recently signed laws requiring residents to show state-issued photo identification cards before voting. Kansas and South Carolina also have enacted similar laws. Wisconsin, Texas, Georgia and Indiana are four of seven states that require voters to produce government-issued ID at the polls in order to vote. In other states, voters would be required to show government-issued ID when asked by election officials.
Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, which recently tightened existing restrictions regarding photo IDs, are battleground states that could determine which political party wins the White House. Ohio, for example, has voted for the winner in every presidential election since World War II except one.
Although supporters of photo IDs claim the cards will prevent voter fraud at the polls, the Advancement Project charged that the photo ID requirement is part of a coordinated attack to turn back the clock on the Voting Rights Act by disenfranchising millions of black, Hispanic, elderly and student voters. The cover of the Advancement Project's report equates photo ID requirements with poll taxes that were used in the past to prevent blacks from voting.
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law estimated that 18 percent of eligible voters over 65 don't have an ID that would be acceptable for voting. The Brennan Center also estimates voting-age citizens who earn less than $35,000 annually were more than twice as likely to lack government-issued identification cards.
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder of the Chicago-based Rainbow PUSH Coalition, told attendees at the National Newspaper Publishers Association 2011 Annual Convention June 22-25 in Chicago that more than 5.5 million African Americans of voting age lack state-issued photo identification cards. In Wisconsin, 55 percent of black men don't have photo IDs compared with 16 percent of white men, according to the Advancement Project.
The challenge to eligible black voters comes four years after they turned out in record and in high numbers to elect Barack Obama president.
PewResearchCenter, a Washington, D.C.-based independent policy research group, wrote in an April 2008 paper titled, "Dissecting the 2008 Electorate: Most Diverse in the U.S. History" that eligible black women voted in higher percentages than any other ethnic or racial group. Some 68.8 percent of black women cast ballots in 2008, up from 63.4 percent in 2004. Turnout among eligible black men voters increased 4.6 percentage points to 60.7 percent compared with 56.1 percent in 2004, PewResearchCenter reported.
During his speech before the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Rev. Jackson called for the U.S. Justice Department to intervene and legally challenge the photo ID laws. The Advancement Project said there might be chance to challenge the laws, although courts have upheld strict voter identification laws in Indiana and Georgia. Courts required elected officials in Georgia and Indiana to provide state-issued ID cards, enabling the state's residents to vote.
"Photo ID proposals may not necessarily withstand legal challenge if they add unduly burdensome requirements to voting, require voters to expend money to exercise their right to vote, create unequal classes of voters or fail to allocate sufficient resources to identify those without ID, provide ID without cost and sufficiently educate voters and poll workers about the requirements and facilitate voter access to the polls," officials of Advancement Project wrote.
The organization added that states must provide for free voter identification cards, and voters cannot be made pay money to exercise their right to vote.
States also need to reach out to voters without identification and facilitate the process of issuing ID cards. In addition, states are required to conduct significant campaigns to educate voters about the need for photo identification.The states also must purchase equipment to produce the state identification cards.
American Cancer Society
Cancer Society Reports A Decline In Cancer Deaths Among Black Men
But the reasons for the decline are not clear
Black men’s death rates from all forms of cancer fell 2.6 percent, the largest decline among all ethnic and racial groups, between 1998 and 2007, reports the American Cancer Society Inc.
Cancer, however, killed black men at much higher rates than white and Hispanic men, the American Cancer Society wrote in its June 17 report titled, "U.S. Cancer Death Rates Decline But Disparities Remain." The American Cancer Society found that black men have a 14 percent higher incidence rate and a 33 percent higher death rate from cancer than white men.
According to the Cancer Society's surveillance research, black men die from much higher rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers than white and Hispanic men. Deaths from prostate cancer among black men is double that of white and Hispanic men.
It is not clear why cancer death rates among black men declined, and
The NorthStar News & Analysis
could not reach a spokesperson for the organization for a comment.
Death rates for all types of cancer fell by 1.9 percent a year from 2001 to 2007 in men and by 1.5 percent a year in women from 2002 through 2007.
Overall, the American Cancer Society predicts 1,596,670 new cancer cases in the United States in 2011. It also predicts there will be 571,950 cancer-related deaths.
Haki R. Madhubuti
Haki R. Madhubuti Says Reparations Are Unlikely, But Group Disagrees
The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations In America will expand its membership to include organizations that were key in the founding of the reparations movement
Haki R. Madhubuti, a noted author and businessman who delivered the keynote address at the 22nd annual national conference of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) in Chicago, told attendees on Saturday that he doesn’t expect the federal government to repay blacks for hundreds of years of slavery because the country is broke.
“Between you and me, the United States never will pay reparations to blacks,” said Madhubuti, who is a life-long member of N'COBRA and gave a $500 check to the organization at the end of his speech. “This country owes China $2 trillion.” Madhubuti made his comments to 62 attendees during N'COBRA’s banquet.
Kamm Howard, co-chair of the Chicago Chapter of N'COBRA, which hosted the national conference, said the organization respected Madhubuti and appreciated his hard work. “His position, however, is not N'COBRA’s,” Howard said.
The U.S. government also does not want to pay reparations to African Americans. In 2009, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing for slavery, but the resolution did not address the issue of reparations. As a U.S. Senator, President Barack Obama said he did not support reparations.
Instead, Madhubuti suggested that N'COBRA members focus their attention in other areas.
He advised African Americans to start their own businesses to overcome their sense of “learned helplessness” and to elect blacks to office who have in mind the best interests of their black constituents.
Madhubuti said black-elected officials’ selection of former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun to run against Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, and four others for the Democratic nomination for mayor of Chicago, failed black voters. The candidates were seeking to replace Mayor Richard M. Daley, who was retiring.
“They [black elected politicians] knew she couldn’t win. She couldn’t even keep her senate seat,” Madhubuti charged. In 1993, Moseley Braun became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, but she lost her bid for re-election in 1998. In the Feb. 22, 2011, Democratic primary for Chicago mayor, Moseley Braun finished fourth in a field of six candidates.
In addition to electing responsible African Americans to office Madhubuti also suggested that blacks become entrepreneurs. As a suggestion, he told N'COBRA attendees that they should buy books at a discount from Third World Press and resell them at a higher markup as a way for the organization to earn money. In 1967, Madhubuti founded Third World Press Inc., a Chicago-based publisher of African-American books (
). He has written at least 24 books, including
Black Men: Obsolete, Single,
The African American Family in Transition
Later, Madhubuti said the black community’s pursuit of integration was a contributing factor in the lack of entrepreneurship in the black community.“Before integration, we did everything for ourselves. You don’t see the Irish, Jews and Hispanics begging, but we [blacks] are at the bottom. It is clear that we are in deep trouble, and we can’t allow the threat of white racism to stop us from setting and accomplishing our goals.”
The theme of this year’s N'COBRA conference was Bambalela-Jitayarishe, “Never Give Up--Be Prepared for Reparations Now!” The conference was divided into workshops that addressed the subjugations of enslavement, tracing genealogy and preparing non-profit organizations to receive reparations. About 150 individuals, including some from as far away as London and Toronto, Canada, attended a workshop on reparations, which was held on Friday, Howard said.
The conference attracted a diversely dressed cross section of African Americans. Most attendees wore African clothing; others were casually dressed and Madhubuti wore a blue blazer and khakis. Many people wore their hair in long dreadlocks; others had closely cropped hair and some women had their hair pressed.
Most N'COBRA members currently associated with nationalist or progressive movements, but the black reparations movement was founded at Howard University by a broad-based coalition of nationalists, leftists and mainstream groups, including black lawyers and black social workers, Howard said.
Over the years, these professional groups discontinued their participation in N'COBRA, he said. At the Chicago conference, N'COBRA members decided to launch a campaign to recruit these groups back into organization’s membership, Howard said.
The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America is based in Washington, D.C. The organization’s website is
. and its email address is
of Other Suns
nominated for nonfiction
writing. Author Tom Burrell is above.
The Hurston/Wright Foundation Announces Legacy Award Nominees
Fifteen works by writers of African descent are named
The Hurston/Wright Foundation on June 17 announced 15 nominees for the 2011 Hurston/Wright Legacy award, a prize awarded annually for exemplary works of literature, nonfiction and poetry by African-American writers.
A committee of black authors, who form judges’ panels in each award genre, select the winners from the nominees. Nominees are grouped into three categories—fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
This year, six works of fiction, six works of nonfiction and three works of poetry have been nominated. Winning writers in each of the three categories will receive a cash award and the coveted statue of Djhuiti (pronounced je-hu-ty), the ancient Egyptian symbol of the patron saint of writing, speech and divine intellectual pursuit. Finalists in each category will be given an engraved plaque.
The six nominees in the fiction category are:
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self
Bernice L. McFadden,
How to Read the Air
Wading Home: A Novel of New Orleans
How to Escape from a Leper Colony
In the nonfiction category, the six nominees are:
Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority
Keith Gilyard, John Oliver Killens:
A Life of Black Literary Activism
(University of Georgia Press)
Lawrence P. Jackson,
The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics
, 1934-1960 (Princeton University Press)
Rawn James Jr.,
Root and Branch: Charles Hamilton Houston, Thurgood Marshall and the Struggle to End Segregation
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
Thomas Chatterton Williams,
Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture
Three works of poetry were nominated for this year’s prize.
Thomas Sayers Ellis,
Skin, Inc.: Identity Repair Poems
The annual Legacy Award ceremony will be held November 10, 2011 at the historic Oxon Hill Manor Mansion in Oxon Hill, Md. The Hurston/Wright Foundation was established in 1990 by novelist Marita Gordon and Clyde McElvene. The Hurston/Wright Foundation supports black writers at every stage of the development of their craft and celebrates black literature and its importance to black culture and to the world at large. It is named in honor of two outstanding black writers of the twentieth century, Nora Zeale Hurston and Richard Wright.
The foundation is supported by donations from corporations, other foundations and individuals and by fees collected from the sale of publications, workshop tuition, and special events. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award is underwritten by Borders Books and Music.
To learn more about The Hurston/Wright Foundation, to donate to their mission or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, visit them online at
Cloves C. Campbell Jr.
National Newspaper Publishers Association Wants Members To Publish Online
Cloves C. Campbell Jr., the newly elected chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), said one of his most-important goals is to get member newspapers to publish some of their content online or at least launch websites to take advantage of business opportunities.
"We have lost a lot of revenue by not offering online products," Campbell said. "We are looking for members to go digital or at least have a website." Initially, he wants member newspapers to move to digital publishing yet at the same time publish print editions to meet the needs of the newspapers' online and print audiences.
Campbell, publisher of the
, which is based in Phoenix, made his comments on Friday, following his election to a two-year term during NNPA's 2011 Annual Convention June 22 -25 in Chicago. Campbell succeeds Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., publisher of the
Los Angeles Sentinel
The National Newspaper Publishers Association, which was founded in 1941 by
Publisher John Sengstacke as the National Negro Publishers Association, currently does not have memberships available for online publications, something Campbell said he plans to rectify at the NNPA board of directors' first retreat. Campbell and board members were sworn in on Saturday.
The Washington, D.C-based National Newspaper Publishers Association has 189-member newspapers in 35 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The newspapers, most of them weeklies, have a combined weekly circulation of more than 15 million, according to the organization's website.
Marketing and advertising executives who participated in the conference's panel discussions emphasized that NNPA's members must be online to attract a growing number of advertisers.
D. Michelle Flowers Welch, CEO of Flowers Communications Group, a Chicago-based integrated marketing, communications and advertising firm, told conference attendees that advertisers measure the effectiveness of online newspapers using different criteria compared with print publications. While print publications are audited, advertisers measure online publications' click-throughs to determine effectiveness in reaching a desired audience. Flowers Welch also urged NNPA members to format their newspapers so the publications can be read on smart phones.
In addition, NNPA members were encouraged to use social media, including Facebook and Twitter, to reach new and younger readers. The organization has launched a Facebook page.
The Nielsen Company, a New York-based marketing firm, reports that there is more opportunity for black-owned newspapers to grow their circulations through social media and smart phones.
Nielsen reports that African Americans use an average of 1,261 minutes per month on their mobile phones, more than any other group. And 30 percent of African Americans are more likely to visit Twitter’s website than other ethnic groups, according to Nielsen.
Campbell said he also wants to open offices in the NNPA's five national regions, which include the West, Texas, the Midwest, Southeast and Northeast, to assist member papers in pursuing advertising opportunities from regional companies.
Newspaper Publishers Sign An Agreement With The Nielsen Company
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which represents 189 black-owned newspapers, has signed a three-year agreement with The Nielsen Company in which the firm’s executives will provide a once-a-year report on buying trends by African-American consumers.
Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., NNPA chairman, said the agreement is significant because Nielsen’s data will eliminate many of the challenges faced by NNPA members who seek advertising and marketing support from companies based on their sales to black consumers.
“This will be very helpful data,” Campbell said. “When we have approached companies about advertising and marketing support, they always have questioned the source of our data.” The Nielsen Company, which is based in New York, is the world’s largest supplier of marketing information, media information and TV ratings, online intelligence and mobile measurement. The company operates in more than 100 countries, and in 2010, it reported annual revenues of $5.1 billion, and a net income of $132 million.
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of Community Relations and Public Affairs for Nielsen, said the business will share black-purchasing data with NNPA by industry, not by individual brands. Nielsen will deliver the report in September during the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend. “Political leaders also are very interested in this data,” Pearson-McNeil said.
Nielsen measures spending on all consumer products except automobiles, apparel and utilities. It is not clear if Nielsen will produce the data on a national as well as on a regional basis.
The Washington, D.C.-based National Newspaper Publishers Association operates through five regions. The regions include the West Coast, Texas, the Midwest, the Southeast and the Northeast. Campbell, who was elected chairman of NNPA, The Black Press of America, during the organization’s 2011 Annual Convention June 22 to 25 in Chicago, said he wants to hire regional staffs to assist member newspapers pursue advertising and marketing support from local companies as well as businesses that operate nationally.
Nielsen already has considerable data on black consumers.
In a column titled “Dissecting Diversity: Understanding the Ethnic Consumer," which was published May 19 on Nielsen Wire, Pearson-McNeil and Todd Hale, senior vice president of Consumer & Shopper Insights, wrote that blacks are the heaviest consumers of television, watching 6 hours and 54 minutes per day compared with a 5 hours and 11 minutes average for all U.S. households.
Blacks are also over-index [over-index means a certain group is represented in a certain category at a higher incidence than would be indicated by the population of that group] in subscriptions to premium cable services and on mobile phones. African Americans also use more voice minutes on their mobile phones than other groups. Blacks use 1,261 minutes per month, Nielsen reported.
Thirty percent of African Americans are more likely to visit Twitter’s website than other Americans. Blacks also shop more frequently at smaller retailers like drug stores, dollar stores and convenience and gas station stores than other ethnic groups. African Americans spend more on food, non-alcoholic beverages, personal and beauty products than the U.S. average. They, however, make relatively fewer trips to major channels like grocery stores and supercenters.
As part of the agreement between Nielsen and NNPA, Pearson-McNeil will write a bi-weekly consumer column for NNPA member newspapers. And Nielsen also will award 10 $1,000 scholarships annually over three years to students who attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities and are majoring in journalism or communications.
The Nielsen Co. is a partner with NNPA. The organization’s other partners are General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., AT&T Corp., Toyota Motors and Wells Fargo and Co.
Former Citigroup Vice President Accused Of A $19.2 Million Embezzlement Scheme
Gary Foster’s arrest follows two other arrests for embezzlement schemes uncovered internationally in a seven-month period
Sunday morning FBI agents arrested Gary Foster, 35, at Kennedy International Airport in New York after he returned from Bangkok. FBI agents took Foster into custody for allegedly embezzling $19.2 million from Citigroup Inc., his former employer. Foster is the third Citigroup, Inc. executive taken into legal custody in the last seven months, following the discovery of an embezzlement scheme at the financial institution.
Foster was a vice president in Citigroup's Internal Treasury Finance department. He supervised the department's derivatives unit at Citigroup's offices in Long Island City, N.Y., according to court documents. The treasury finance department exists to fund loans and other business transactions inside Citigroup.
"In support of that function, the department processes wire transactions between Citigroup entities," Thomas D' Amico, a special agent with the FBI, testified in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, according to court documents."Between May 2009 and December 2010, Foster wired $19.2 million from Citigroup's accounts to his personal bank account at JP Morgan Chase & Co. in New York." Foster resigned from Citigroup in January after working there since 1999. Internal auditors later discovered the theft, D'Amico testified.
Foster pleaded not guilty to charges of bank fraud on Monday when he appeared with his attorneys in court. U.S. Magistrate Ramon S. Reyes, Jr., set Foster’s bond at $800,000. Foster’s parents, Norman and Joan White, offered their home in Teaneck, N. J., as collateral to have their son released on bond.
Foster, who earned an annual salary of just under $100,000 when employed by Citigroup, lived far more lavishly than his income would have allowed. Federal prosecutors claim Foster owned six properties, including a condominium in Manhattan; two elegant apartments in Jersey City; a $1.3 million home in Tenafly, N.J.; and a $3 million house in Englewood Cliffs, N. J, the property where Foster resided.
In addition to traveling extensively internationally and accumulating prime real estate, Foster also demonstrated a penchant for luxury automobiles. He owned a Maserati GranTurismo and a BMW 550xi. Reportedly, Foster had recently ordered a Ferrari and was awaiting its delivery.
The fraud charges brought against Foster are partly a reflection of the Justice Department’s resolve to combat white-collar crime. The department has been criticized strenuously in the recent past for not holding banks and bankers more accountable for the questionable lending practices that contributed in 2007-2009 to the collapse of the financial industry.
That Foster’s embezzlement scheme was not detected for nearly a year also calls into question Citibank’s capacity to monitor effectively its own employees and their activities. Citibank had been criticized sharply during the country’s financial crisis for its weak risk management controls.
Substantial embezzlement schemes were discovered recently at Citibank branches in both India and Indonesia. Bank employees, using their insiders’ knowledge of bank procedures, have been arrested and charged in both instances and are now facing prosecution. An employee of Citibank’s Gurgaon branch in India was accused in December of stealing $8.9 million, and a senior vice president, a woman, at Citibank Indonesia was charged March 31 with embezzling $1.7 million. Citibank is Citigroup's retail subsidiary.
A graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in accounting, Foster is married and the father of two. If convicted of the bank fraud charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison. A trial date has not been set.
San Francisco Bay Area Commuter Rail Line Settles With Shooting Victim's Mother
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a commuter rail line that serves San Francisco/Oakland, has paid $1.3 million to the mother of an unarmed man who was murdered by a BART police officer.
Wanda Jackson, the parent of Oscar Grant, has received the money, her attorney announced Tuesday. Earlier, BART paid $1.5 million to Tatiana Grant, Grant's daughter.
In a statement, Bob Franklin, BART Board President, said, “The tragic death of Oscar Grant is a painful memory for all of us. While we cannot alter the past, we have been using the lessons learned as a catalyst to change our future.” Franklin said further that BART was committed to improving its police force and to regaining the trust of the community.
Oscar Grant, was lying face down on the platform of the Oakland rapid transit station on New Year’s Day 2009 when he was shot to death by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Commuters recorded the shooting on their mobile phones and uploaded it on YouTube.
Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He was released from prison June 13, after having served one year of a two-year sentence (
The NorthStar News & Analysis, June 16, 2011
). He is now on parole.
This Week in Black History
Week of July 2 to July 8
1777 – Vermont becomes the first U.S. territory to abolish slavery. By 1783, New Hampshire and Massachusetts had followed Vermont’s lead. The abolition of slavery was included in the Vermont Constitution which was adopted officially on July 8, 1777. A major force in the early abolition movement was a group known as the Rights of Man Movement.
1822 – Denmark Vesey and five of his co-conspirators are hanged in Charleston, S. C. Vesey’s “crime” had been the organization of the largest slave rebellion in American history. The insurrection was betrayed by a “house slave” before it could be implemented. Vesey was actually a former slave who had purchased his freedom.
1908 – Thurgood Marshall is born in Baltimore. Marshall would later become chief counsel for the NAACP and the lead attorney in the
Brown v. Board of Education
case, which led to the desegregation of the nation’s schools. President Lyndon Johnson would on June 13, 1967, nominate him to be the first African- American Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court.
Lt. Charles Hall
1943 – Lt. Charles Hall became the first African-American pilot to shoot down a Nazi war plane during World War II. Hall was from Brazil, Ind.
1775 – Prince Hall founds African Lodge Number One, the first black lodge of Free Masons in the United States. Hall would become the pioneer builder of black Masons in America. He was also a leading voice against slavery and for black rights in the North.
1962 – The first black man permitted to play Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson, is named to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
1776 – The United States formally becomes a nation with the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The document was largely written by Thomas Jefferson who later became President. Although he was a slave owner himself, Jefferson originally included a section in the Declaration denouncing slave traders and slave owners. Congress later deleted the section. The section said of the slave trader, “He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him.”
1792 – Thaddeus Stevens is born. Stevens would become one of the great white heroes of black history. He was a leader of a group known as the “Radical Republicans” which fought tirelessly in Congress against slavery. It was Stevens who introduced the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which, in effect, made the former slaves full citizens of the United States. It also contains the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. These clauses are now considered two of the most fundamental underpinnings of American law and were used extensively during the Civil Rights Movement to outlaw discrimination against blacks.
1881 – Booker T. Washington opens Tuskegee Institute (now university) in Tuskegee, Ala. It would become a leading center for the education of blacks.
1975 – Tennis star Arthur Ashe becomes the first black man to win the men’s singles championship at Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors. Ashe was born and raised in Richmond, Va. During his outstanding career he became active in several social causes, including frequent protests against the system of racial oppression known as apartheid in then white-ruled South Africa. Ashe contracted AIDS as a result of blood transfusion in 1988. He died of AIDS-related complications on February 6, 1993.
1853 – The first novel written by an African American is published on this day. The novel, however, had to be published in England because the author, William Wells Brown, was a fugitive slave. The novel was entitled
The President’s Daughter
and may have been partially inspired by the then rumored relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and the slave Sally Hemmings.
1862 – One of the most pioneering and militant black journalists in black-American history is born. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was born on this day in Holly Springs, Miss. The legendary journalist was also a relentless anti-lynching crusader and a fighter for women’s right to vote. She even made a stand against one of the more insulting laws of Jim Crow segregation nearly 70 years before Rosa Parks. In 1884, she refused to give up her seat on a train to a white man and move to an already over-crowded smoking car.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett
It took the conductor and two other men to drag her off the train. She was among the group of blacks and progressive whites who helped establish the NAACP. When she was just 25, she established her lifelong attitude relative to women being submissive to men declaring, “I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors: sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts …” She died in Chicago in 1931.
1957 – Althea Gibson becomes the first black person to win the singles championship at Wimbledon. Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina and grew up in Harlem, New York. She died in September 2003. She often said she was driven to success in life by an attitude she developed during childhood. She summarized that attitude as “I always wanted to be somebody.”
1971 – Henry T. Sampson invents the “gamma electric cell.” His invention and other engineering accomplishments had wide-ranging applications, but he did not invent the cell phone as some histories suggest. The gamma-electric cell converted nuclear radiation from reactors into electricity without going through the heat process.
1906 – Baseball legend Satchel Paige is born in Mobile, Ala. He was one of 15 children born to John and Lula Page. Paige first learned to pitch in a reform school where he had been sent at the age of 12 for shoplifting. He spent most of his career playing in the old Negro Baseball Leagues prior to the integration of Major League Baseball. He is generally recognized as one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game. Baseball great Joe DiMaggio once said Paige was “The best and fastest pitcher I ever faced.” Paige pitched his last game in 1965 at the age of 60, throwing three shutout innings. He died on June 8, 1982.
1805 – On this day in 1805, Bill Richmond becomes the first African American to gain international fame as a boxer when he defeated Jack Holmes in a 26-round bout in England. The son of escaped slaves from Georgia, Richmond was born in New York City in 1763. He did most of his fighting in Europe. Near the end of his boxing career, he married a wealthy woman and retired. He died in London in December 1829.
1914 – Jazz great Billy Eckstine is born in Pittsburgh. He was raised in Washington, D.C. where he began entering talent competitions at the age of seven. Eckstine would become one of the dominant jazz singers during the era of the big bands. He has been described as “an exceptional singer who never failed to impress.” Mr. Eckstine died of a heart attack in 1993.
Robert Taylor is editor of “This Week in Black History.” Receive a free copy of his bi-weekly “Black History Journal” by writing him at “Robert N. Taylor,” P.O. Box 58097, Washington, DC 20037. Include a $3.00 check, payable to Robert N. Taylor, to help defray mailing costs.
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