Cecil Newman

Recent Articles

MSR’s 19th Annual Graduation Celebration

By Raymond Jackson
Contributing Writer

 

 

On Tuesday, May 7, the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) newspaper sponsored its 19th Annual Graduation Celebration to acknowledge African and African American senior students finishing high school. This year’s event was held at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.  

Shed G, co-host of The KMOJ Radio Morning Show, emceed the event, which awarded six graduates Cecil E. Newman Scholarships and two graduates Launa Q. Newman scholarships. Cecil Newman is the founder of MSR; his wife, Launa Q. Newman, carried on as publisher after her husband’s death. The food served was home style, with many in attendance returning for seconds. Continue Reading →

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NAACP activates legal strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 
Local branch joins Doug Mann in Sports Authority law suit
 

One of the traditional strengths of the NAACP movement has been its shrewd planning for taking legal action against those violating rights of African Americans. When you think of the successes of NAACP legal redress committees, you think of such leaders as Walter White, Roy Wilkens and Thurgood Marshall, as well as such historic actions and legal milestones as the 1954 decision of Brown vs. Board of Education and Martin Luther King’s 1968 Poor Peoples March. The legal redress committee, a historic pillar of strength of NAACP branches across America fighting for African American civil rights, is seen once again in the local NAACP branch’s crafty move on the legal front to join the suit of long time NAACP member Doug Mann against the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) for its failure to meet its diversity pledge. With the appointment of long time local branch NAACP supporter Louis King to its executive committee, the trap door has been slammed shut on the MSFA. Continue Reading →

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Local civil rights leader Matthew Little passes

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

Matt Little is gone, leaving a legendary legacy. He was widely renowned and will be well remembered as a Civil Rights Era icon who held a soul-deep commitment to empowering the African American community. Graduating North Carolina A&T State University in 1948, he relocated to the Twin Cities and, in 1954 became a board member of the Minneapolis NAACP, beginning a lifelong dedication to the organization. During his career, he was president of that chapter as well as president of the Minnesota state NAACP. Far from being a figurehead, Little was hands-on and counted among his most prized memories filing a federal lawsuit to integrate the Minneapolis Fire Department. Continue Reading →

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Financial disaster for Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority

When Douglass Mann filed his motion with the Minnesota Supreme Court, early Friday morning, January 10, 2014, no one knew his motion was being sent to the State Supreme Court, raising serious constitutional issues with regard to the funding of the $1 billion “people’s stadium.”

As of the writing of this column, three days after the filing, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) did one of the most peculiar things in the modern legal history of Minnesota: asked to be a defendant in this landmark constitutional case, peculiar because one thing that never happens in America is for people to rush into court to be a defendant, especially when there are allegations of constitutional violations. Besides obviously believing they can’t/won’t lose, the MSFA is employing a shrewd strategy: requesting that the Minnesota Supreme Court impose a $50 million bond upon the Mann group to stop their pursuit seeking justice and fairness for the taxpayers of the City of Minneapolis, and, by extension, the taxpayers of Minnesota, The MSFA, in about 16 months or less, has gone through $74 million, including the $50 million in cash provided by Ziggy Wilf and the Minnesota Vikings. Before the Supreme Court does anything, it should require a forensic audit as to how the MFSA conducted its business from July of 2012 through December of 2013, and how it has spent its money ($74 million) and doesn’t have money to pay the bills due ($28 million) later this month (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board says one in three company audits have “high levels of deficiencies.” How high for government agencies?). The MSFA is paying more for the foreign steel they purchased than they are confirming, and have apparently consummated contracts that are $50 million beyond what they have ever had in their bank accounts. And Thursday evening, Jan 9, MSFA Equity Director Alex Tittle not only pointed out that 46 percent of current stadium work force were women and minorities (hard to believe), but that “to date more than $120 million have been awarded in contracts.” Really? Continue Reading →

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Snowden, Hastings and surveillance? Were they right?

 
The ‘here we go again’  relevance for Black America
 

Young journalists stepped forward to warn again how we continue to lose our government to growing “Big Brother.” Thirty-year-old document leaker Edward J. Snowden has fled to a secret place. And 33-year-old journalist Michael Hastings was killed in a fiery auto crash in Los Angeles June 18, 2013. They have shocked the nation by exposing the extent of the secret crypt of America’s intelligence network’s surveillance abuse of American citizens. Black America is not shocked. It’s been part and parcel of our lives ever since the first Black foot stepped off the boat in Virginia, on through failed Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the 1920’s, on through to today, blocking our access and freedoms.

We especially remember the surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders. Continue Reading →

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Patience: When is it no longer a virtue?

Many of us here at the MSR recall being taught by our elders that “Patience is a virtue,” and very often we have found their advice to be true. Often, if we wait and exercise patience, in time what is fair and what is just will prevail. Those in power who are doing wrong sometimes come to see the error of their ways. They begin to listen. They hear the cries of the people and do what they can to relieve their pain. Continue Reading →

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Jerry Freeman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder talks about his new novel

 

 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

It’s said that those who can, do, and that those who can’t, teach. In the publishing racket, more than one grousing writer would attest that those who can’t do, edit. Not the case with Jerry Freeman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR). Freeman has been editing at MSR — which, closing on 80 years, is Minnesota’s longest-lived African American publication (and, for that matter, the state’s oldest minority-owned business) — for the past decade. At the weekly community newspaper, he has developed a nettlesome reputation by assigning staff ace writer Charles Hallman stories delving into no small amount of controversy, among them a story on Black clergy members’ views on gay marriage and the series “Chasing The Tornado Money” (parts one, two, three) on just how much relief funding actually found its way to North Minneapolis victims of the deadly, vastly damaging tornado in 2011. Continue Reading →

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No More Excuses

Too many have sacrificed for us to give up now
Most of the excuses we make up make it hard for our life on this earth. Everything that really matters we make excuses for: excuses why we won’t go to school, why we don’t listen to our parents, why we don’t stay out of trouble, why we end up in jail, why we have a criminal record, why we have felonies. More excuses: I don’t have a job because I won’t work for less than $10 an hour. I don’t have a job because no one will give me a chance. If you don’t listen to your parents and drop out of school, your chances of being successful are slim to none without education. Continue Reading →

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Hip hop classes nurture creative expression

 

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

Arriving at renowned Watershed High School in South Minneapolis and walking to the “Hip Hop, History and the Arts” classroom to speak with curriculum founder-instructor Chadwick “Niles” Phillips is, to say the least, an interesting experience. The students have wrapped up rehearsal for the day, and he’s prepping them for the following evening’s premier of their artistic outing, “The Youth Performance Series (Act 4).”

This is, it’s clear, not simply a gathering reminiscent of Fame. These “at-risk” adolescents of color are taking advantage of the vital opportunity to pursue an alternative to the street life that more and more often sees minority youth ending up either victims or perpetrators of violent crime. The class is a viable alternative to having idle time on their hands and unwittingly following a dead-end path to a trouble-laden future. It’s a chance to begin realizing an ambition to do something positive with themselves and enjoy having their dreams nurtured to the fullest extent possible. Continue Reading →

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A Sports Authority chair who understands the Black struggle

 
 Kelm-Helgen’s civil rights history is a rich one

There are names and families that remain strong in the pantheon of the civil rights struggle for freedom and liberty for all in Minnesota, including such names as Newman, Johnson, Humphrey and Childress. Governor Dayton’s June 15, 2012 announcement of his three Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority members reminds us of another name and family of the Minnesota Civil Rights Pantheon, that of Elmer Kelm. The governor has appointed Elmer Kelm’s granddaughter, Michele Kelm-Helgen, as Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair (Star Tribune, “New stadium head has deep political roots,” June 16, 2012). Michele Kelm-Helgen’s grandfather, Elmer Kelm, managed Hubert Humphrey’s first successful mayoral campaign, was chairman of the Democratic Party when it merged with the Farmer Labor Party in 1944, and had a very long relationship with both Cecil Newman, the founder and publisher of this newspaper, and with Nellie Stone Johnson, one of the great political leaders in the history of this state. Elmer Kelm and Nellie Stone Johnson, with Hubert H. Humphrey’s blessing, were two of the signatories of the Farmer Labor Party/Democratic merger in 1944. Continue Reading →

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