Category: Opinion Written by Dr. Jason Johnson
TOP PICK--Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner, the No. 1 overall pick the WNBA draft, speaks during a news conference April 20, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
by Jason Johnson
Last Wednesday during a press conference the #1 Draft pick in the WNBA, Brittney Griner did the unspeakable. She casually, matter of factly and openly came out as gay in her first press conference as a professional basketball player.
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 April 2013 16:45
Category: Opinion Written by Dr. Boyce Watkins
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
(YourBlackWorld.com)--When you use a loosely-defined term such as “dark-skinned male” to describe the suspect of one of the most notorious crimes in American history, you should fully expect that people are going to become angry with you.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 15:36
Category: Opinion Written by Ulish Carter
In the new movie “42” about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball Wendell Smith is the fourth most important character in the movie behind Branch Rickey, (Harrison Ford), and Jackie and Rachel Robinson, (Chadwick Boseman and Nicole Beharie).
The movie opens with Smith, played by Andre Holland, telling the story.
Smith was sent by the Courier to cover Robinson’s effort to integrate Major League Baseball and becomes the Robinsons’ chauffer, finds places for them to stay and becomes their best friend while covering his year in the minor leagues as well as his first in the Majors.
Even though there has been to my knowledge two other movies made about Jackie Robinson, this is the first to include Smith who led the crusade to get Major League Baseball integrated. Well, it really wasn’t just Smith, it was the Courier led by Bill Nunn Sr.
After World War II ended the Double V campaign had to be revised by the Pittsburgh Courier, then the largest Black newspaper in the country. With victory overseas, and the military being integrated half the battle had been won, but the battle at home for equal rights was far from ended. Thus the Courier behind the leadership of Bill Nunn Sr., the managing editor, and a big time sports fan himself having been one of the greatest athletes to come out of Westinghouse, launched yet another battle, this one was to integrate major league sports. And since Major League Baseball was the biggest sport in this country at the time, this is what they targeted, with a weekly campaign by the entire sports staff as well as editorials demanding the Major Leagues accept Blacks into the league with the argument that Blacks were just as good as athletes and just as intelligent as Whites. This campaign was one of many the Courier launched to break down the walls of inequality and segregation. Leading the fight on the Sports front was Courier sports writer Smith and others on the staff. Also joining the fight was the Chicago Defender, which was the second largest Black paper of that time. But not only did they write in the papers they sent letters to all the owners and General Managers including Branch Rickey urging them to do the right thing, accept Blacks into the league, explaining to them how it would benefit their teams financially as well as in the win column. But it fell on deaf ears until Rickey finally decided to give it a shot in 1946.
The Courier sent Smith out to follow Robinson wherever he went. This was the story of the century, the biggest break through for Negroes since the Civil War if it happened. Smith stuck to Robinson like glue, and many don’t believe Robinson could have made it if not for Smith, who made sure the Robinsons’ were housed in every city he traveled including Montreal where he spent his first year in White professional ball.
Smith also became a trailblazer by becoming the first Negro to get a seat in the Major League Press Box. Before this event Blacks had to sit out in the stands with their typewriters.
Even though Rickey was the man who made the final decision to accept Blacks into the Majors, and Robinson was the player who accomplished this great feat, it was the Courier behind the leadership of Nunn Sr., with the backing of Publisher Jesse Vann, who initiated the whole campaign to keep pressure on the Majors, and make everyone aware of the great Black baseball players, and why they were just as good as the White players. And why the Negro should not and would not accept anything but equal opportunity.
Meet the Press had Rachel Robinson and movie historian Ken Burns, who is working on a biography of Jackie Robinson, on the program. Burns called Robinson one of the greatest heroes of history and I totally agree with him. And I also agree with him that Robinson’s accomplishment was the greatest achievement for Blacks since, he said the Civil War, but I say since the Emancipation Proclamation, because the Civil War really wasn’t fought to free the slaves. Rachel said she was very pleased and thrilled with the movie but wondered out loud what took Hollywood so long. I’m still wondering why Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Spike Lee or some of those rich Black baseball players didn’t put up the money for the movie years ago.
She said hopefully young people, Black and White, would go out to see it and be inspired to lead more productive lives.
I agree with her also on how disappointing it is that so many young people don’t know about Robinson, and what he did to open the doors for them? I’m talking about young athletes as well. Especially when I hear them thanking Michael Jordan. That is one of the reasons there’s still a long way to go when it comes to Blacks getting a total piece of the sports or corporate pie. Managers, coaches and management is still nowhere near what it should be and the number of Black American born players are rapidly dropping, despite the fact that baseball players are the highest paid players of any sport, and with the longest life expectancy which means they make more longer.
If you haven’t seen it go out and watch it. Take your kids. It doesn’t matter how old they are. It brought tears to my eyes, it made me mad, it made me happy, it made me laugh. What more could you ask from a movie.
I strongly feel it should be required of all Public Schools, and other students to watch this movie to know something of our history.
(Ulish Carter is the managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 10:00
Category: Opinion Written by William Reed
(NNPA)--In American politics, many object to power flowing through blood rather than through the ballot. A “dynasty” is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Among Blacks, some prominent families regard politics as business operations.
Blacks elected immediately after the civil rights era, entered office as mayors, members of the city council or members of U.S. House of Representatives from majority-Black areas.
Younger Black politicians are now seeking to win political posts of governor or senator in which they would represent much larger and diverse groups of voters. In theory, having a parent already in politics provides political base younger politicians can use to reach wider multi-racial constituencies.
Several scions of Black political families that came to high political office by virtue of birthright are on the decline. New York Gov. David Paterson, whose father Basil is a powerful figure in Harlem politics, left his appointed office in disgrace.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Malik Kilpatrick is now a resident in the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan, Mich. A former Michigan state representative, Kilpatrick, was recently found guilty on 24 of 30 federal corruption charges. In 1996, Kilpatrick was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives after his mother vacated the seat to campaign for Congress. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick represented Detroit in the Michigan State House from 1979 to 1996 and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1996 to 2010.
Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. has a family that has benefited from his impact on politics. The son who was first elected to Congress in 1995 now faces a prison sentence ranging from 46 to 57 months. Jesse Jackson Jr., was convicted for spending approximately $750,000 in campaign money on items ranging from a Rolex watch to Michael Jackson memorabilia. The extended Jackson clan includes Jonathan and Yusef. Jonathan Jackson is a business professor and entrepreneur. He owns a Cricket Wireless franchise operation, and is a partner with Yusef, in a Chicago-based Anheuser-Busch distributorship – River North Sales and Service, LLC.
In Memphis, the Ford name became legend as Whites moved from the city to the suburbs. By 1974, the percentage of Black voters had increased enough for three sons of a local funeral director to win an unprecedented electoral victory: John was elected to the state Senate, Emmett was elected to the state House, and Harold became the first African American from Tennessee elected to the U.S. Congress in the 20th Century. In 1996 when Harold, Sr., decided not to seek a 12th term in Congress, Harold, Jr., easily won the race, taking office at age 26. “Junior” was only 30 years old in 2000 when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. He ran for the U.S. Senate seat but lost. Scandal and corruption followed the Fords ascent in politics.
William Lacy Clay, Sr., was elected to the House of Representatives in 1968. In 2000, Clay, Sr., retired from the seat after 32 years and Clay Jr., known as Lacy Clay, became the U.S. Rep. for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.
Carrie P. Meek was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1978 and to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. Kendrick Brett Meek lost the U.S. House seat that his mother had handed him in his 2010 bid for the Florida Senate. Kendrick was the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 17th congressional district from 2003 to 2011, after having served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998.
Representative Donald M. Payne, from New Jersey, died of cancer in March 2012 after serving in the House for 23 years. He was 77. His son, Donald M. Payne, Jr., was elected to Congress in November 2012. Brother, and uncle, William D. Payne served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998-2008.
Black voters have to discern if there’s a disconnect between the agenda of Black political leadership and their constituent communities. Will Black voters ever shun political dynasties revolving among husbands and wives, brothers, sisters and children in the guise of serving the public?
William Reed is head of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects through the Bailey Group.org.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2013 12:30
Category: Opinion Written by Louis 'Hop' Kendrick
LOUIS 'HOP' KENDRICK
On an ongoing basis, the conversation between Black and White folks is about Black leaders. Who are these alleged persons that are labeled Black leaders and what constitutes them as Black leaders? Are they truly Black leaders or generic? Black leaders are generally elected, appointed, self-anointed, sports figures, entertainers, rich, preachers, and successful businesspersons. It is amazing how often the drug dealers are thought to be alleged responsible Black businesspersons.
If a Black individual is elected to public office is that person a leader for those who voted for them or are they a leader for all constituents in their district? When a Black person is appointed to a position in government—generally by a White politician—does that make them a leader or just an appointee who answers to his employer? When a Black male or female forms a 501c3 and is fortunate to receive a grant are they leaders or self-anointed leaders? Sports figures and entertainers may be a leader in their profession, but that definitely does not make them a leader. Are those men and women, who are in charge of religious organizations of every faith automatically considered to be leaders? I don’t think so. There are Black men and women, who were endowed with entrepreneurial spirit and have done extremely well financially, but that does not automatically qualify them as Black leaders.
I am a strong proponent of Black leadership, because they demonstrate their commitment by their concern for the communities—us and not for themselves.
It is impossible to list all of those men and women during my life who have earned the mantle of Black leadership, so I will limit it to those who are living.
Alma “Speed Fox,” is a true champion for people’s rights Black, White, males and females.
William “Bill” Robinson, dean of Black politicians. Bill Robinson’s political defeat was partially his fault, because he made the mistake of believing that the voters would remember what he had done as a legislator, and he did not campaign in the custom he had done in prior races. Bill’s defeat primarily was the result of his releasing a report card that graded the Democratic Party on their absolute failure to hire over 2 percent Blacks to work on the two stadiums being built at the same time on the North Side. Pennsylvania Representative William “Bill” Robinson gave the Democratic Party a Red “E” complete failure. The Democratic leaders from Harrisburg, Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh issued orders that Bill Robinson must be defeated, and those colored politicians in the legislative district responded to old Massa.
Herman Reid, former CEO of NEED, dedicated his life to helping our youths further their college education.
Irvin Williams, born and raised on the Hill District, had a burning desire to help restore the Hill District. He and his wife founded Ebony Development and they accomplished something that had never been done nor duplicated. They built from the ground up two office buildings at 1801 and 1901 Center Ave. Both buildings were named appropriately 1801 Williams Center and 1901 One Hope Center. These are just four of an untold number of examples of proven Black leadership.
Please remember that Kingsley Association could use your financial assistance. It is another example of Black leadership. Originally it was a dream of some others, but it became a reality under the guidance of the Black leadership of the current executive director Malik Bankston.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 11:20
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