Director laments tepid support from Black legislators
The Black population in Minnesota has increased by at least six times since the Council on Black Minnesotans (COBM) was founded in 1980. The COBM’s primary mission is to advise the governor and the state legislature “on statutes or rules necessary to ensure that Black people have access to benefits and services provided to people in this state,” according to the preamble to its charter that was passed out during its annual “Day on the Hill” event last week.
Executive Director Edward McDonald talked January 15 with more than 30 “lobbyists” at Christ Lutheran Church, located across the street from the capitol building, who gathered there after visiting lawmakers. He said that it’s even more important that the state legislative body hear “the furious cry” from Black Minnesotans to seriously address the various disparities in the state.
Jazz is an important part of America’s musical history. Furthermore, jazz and Detroit historically have been linked, where legendary giants made the city a required stop in their musical tours over the years — some even got their starts there as well. The MSR in an occasional series will feature conversations with several jazz artists who appeared at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival.
This week, we profile three ladies of jazz.
“Detroit is where I got my education, musically and academically,” added Freda Payne.
Before her late 1960s pop classic “Band of Gold” hit the charts, Freda Payne sang with big bands such as Duke Ellington’s. Barbara Morrison over the years performed with the likes of Ray Charles and Tony Bennett. Joan Belgrave’s classically trained voice has allowed her to do jazz and blues, but her roots are in gospel.
She leaves proud of many achievements as ‘a fierce advocate for children’
Among the “frustrating challenges” she often faced during her nearly five years as Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) superintendent was the unfair “characterization” she received from some in the Black community, says Bernadeia Johnson, who announced her resignation last month. Her last day is January 31.