african American community

Recent Articles

What happened when we got off the bus?


October 16 will mark the 17th anniversary of the Million Man March on Washington, D.C. I remember that day because I stood in support of the beautiful brothers that had sent such a loud message to the world. I remember listening to great speeches, hearing proclamations, and seeing a spark in the eyes of African American men that had been overshadowed with the mask of hard times. Somehow I knew that this march was going to change the direction of the people I had grown to love so dearly — my people! Two years later, on October 25, 1997, I did not even question whether or not attending the Million Woman March was an option. For once in my life I was not doing something because my family or elders encouraged me to do it. Continue Reading →

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What has President Obama done for Blacks?

Affordable Care Act, HBCU investment top some advocates’ lists

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Since Barack Obama took office four years ago as the first Black president in U.S. history, he has been criticized by many Blacks for not doing enough for the Black community. The MSRspoke with an author and political leaders who say the political sound bites that list the president’s accomplishments are not being captured. “I think much of the criticism on the president is unfair, and I think part of my job is that we get the information out there in the community on what the president has done. He doesn’t get enough credit on things he has done, and [for things that] have directly benefited the African American community,” states Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who also is U.S. Conference of Mayors president. “This president has put more money in Historically Black Colleges than other presidents before him have,” says National Congress of Black Women, Inc. President E. Faye Williams on the Obama administration’s investment in HBCUs. Continue Reading →

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Tone down the rhetoric on Black museum’s money problems


Who would ever say that the legendary and renowned Dorothy Bridges would be involved in harming her legacy and imprint on a community bank, Franklin National Bank, which has done so much for the African American community under her leadership? Thus we are puzzled by the attacks on Franklin National Bank (“Stalled museum now battles bank,” Star Tribune, September 1, 2012), and, by implication, on Dorothy Bridges, who was CEO of FNB from 1999-2008 and put all of her energy, her soul, and her vision into making Franklin National Bank the best it could be (doubling the bank’s assets to $116 million). She did more for the African American community than any other bank. During her tenure at Franklin National Bank, we heard about the institution’s generosity, sensitivity and openness, a legacy crafted by Ms. Bridges. Ms. Bridges departed to Washington, D.C. and then returned last year to be a senior VP of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Continue Reading →

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Top health risks for the African American community


There are several common health issues that place the population at risk of increased injury and early death. We as a population always wonder how to protect ourselves from these common health issues. Good health references good quality of life. It has been shown in multiple studies that risk-factor reduction is a certain method we use for defense against injury and poor health. Risk-factor reduction requires good input from both the patient and healthcare providers. Continue Reading →

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The commissioner of education did the right thing



We and our beloved city are faced with a challenging question: Are we committed to the principles and values of decency, trust, honesty, integrity, and transparency of action, or do we, for the sake of a dollar and a color code, embrace and poison ourselves, with that which is evil, dark and decadent that can not only destroy us as a people, but also destroy the society and institutions we share with Whites and others? We can place no greater hope than on these virtues so as not to get distracted by corruption, misrepresentation, and hypocrisy. And yet many accuse Minnesota’s education commissioner, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, as being somehow irresponsible and a hater for not embracing and advancing the code of Blackness, even for wrongdoing. She would be criticized in this corner had she done anything differently when information and documentation was brought to her attention. It all started with the exposé in the Star Tribune story, of August 10, 2012: “State examining finances of charter founder’s schools,” and in the Star Tribune August 15, follow-up story, about how the charter school’s founder’s “$273,000 salary raises eyebrows.”

What is even more shocking is that this information and evidence has been in the archives of the Minnesota Department of Education since 2001, under a different administration (we first exposed the education crisis in the chapter on education in our 2002 book). Continue Reading →

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Stenglein takes on task of making downtown safe for all



A May 30 Star Tribune article, “Stenglein builds on strengths,” announced Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein becoming CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. (“…some 300 downtown businesses and large regional companies,” “movers and shakers,” with “a new plan for a vibrant and livable 24/7 downtown that can house double the 34,000 people who now live there.” It “will help forge public-private partnerships at a time of limited government funding.”)

Stenglein “has the reputation of seeing the importance of investing in the Black communities’ economic growth,” as seen in “his African-American Men Project, an effort to rethink county policy to get more young black men employed and out of trouble.”

Unfortunately, the documentation/statistics/lack of jobs shows good intentions were not met, as the African American community gained little financial stimulus. Recall the statement of former Minneapolis Civil Rights Department Director Michael Jordan, about five years ago, that Minneapolis can meet its diversity hiring goals without hiring a single Black person. Reaction? None. Continue Reading →

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Tell us something we didn’t already know: The corruption of disadvantaged business enterprise programs in Minneapolis

When the Monday, November 21, morning edition of the Star Tribune hit the streets, I was amused by the headline: “Preferred Public Works Contracts Get Scrutiny.” I’ve written 20 columns on this since 2005, identifying corruption and criminal malfeasance that has shut African Americans out of programs that were allegedly created to give the African American community a shot at some of the so-called big dollars, such as the $950 million Light Rail Corridor Project and the Gopher and Twins stadiums.
So I welcome the Star Tribune in joining us in scrutinizing the whole issue of how fairness, justice and equality of opportunity for Blacks has been sidestepped by not enforcing disparity/diversity statutes, ignoring them, as politicians and their bureaucratic enablers favor laws/statutes/rules benefiting other groups claiming to be minorities. Had Martha Stewart been a Congress member, she would not have gone to jail for insider trading
But, as the former director of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights infamously said, pointing out how discrimination and exclusion is legal again, “We can meet our minority hiring compliance requirements without hiring a single Black person.”
The danger in this kind of investigative reporting is that there are those who attack you for printing the truth, trying to apply pressure to make your column disappear, as they oppose hope and change in order to keep the changeless status quo and their position in it. But God is a good God: Be patient, persevere, and lay out the facts, and the truth will make a difference. I haven’t taken my eyes off the prize: prosperity for all through education that qualifies boys and girls and men and women for jobs, and then facilitates equal access to those jobs. When the City of Minneapolis released its report last year entitled The State of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises, October 22, 2010 (DBEs: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs), I wrote that it contained the evidence, statistics and data exposing the criminal acts against the interests and the future economic opportunity for African Americans in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Cherishing the memory of a mother lost to Alzheimer’s



Clarissa Walker’s life a legacy her daughter shares with the community

By Neva Walker

Contributing Writer

I recall my mom once saying to me, “Baby the hardest thing is, I’m losing myself because without your memories you have nothing.” That statement became the struggle my family would have to cope with while watching our pillar slowly leave before our eyes. Clarissa Walker, who passed away on March 7
Photo courtesy of Neva Walker
I woke up a couple weeks ago with her on my mind, which isn’t unusual but that morning the devastating disease that ceased the vibrant intelligent woman I had known was heavily on my mind, too — Alzheimer’s disease. I was surprised to learn that November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the same time I would be honoring the birth of my mother. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, I decided this was a message placed on my heart to share my family’s story along with information about this disease with my community. Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and a progressive disease that impacts the brain and causes severe memory loss over time; it is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. Continue Reading →

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