James L. Stroud

Recent Articles

Penumbra Theatre Co. flips the script to meet economic challenge

 
Financial state result of administration’s failure to watch cash flow
 

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

Penumbra Theatre Company (PTC), one of the nation’s largest African American theaters, has suspended its programming for the year. This decision is due to a cash-flow challenge, which prompted PTC to lay off six of its 16 full-time employees. In a surprising twist to it all, PTC’s Lou Bellamy, who is known for being the founder, will be replaced as artistic director. However, according to reports, his successor will not be announced until close to the spring of 2013, when the theater will resume production. PTC was founded by Bellamy in 1976. Continue Reading →

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Geoffrey Canada creates ‘A Small Army of Love’

Harlem Children’s Zone founder gives feedback on Northside Achievement Zone

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

If a revolutionary is a person dedicated to change in any establishment, like a school system, business, or a government agency, then one might consider the appointment of Geoffrey Canada as the commander and chief of an education reform revolution. On October 2, Canada, who is nationally recognized as an educator, mentor, children’s education advocate, poet and the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York, accompanied by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), made a visit to the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) in North Minneapolis. NAZ is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education project that was formerly the Peace Foundation, which had a focus of stopping violence in North Minneapolis. Since changing to NAZ, their goal is to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Lead by President/CEO Sondra Samuels, the mission of the NAZ is to build a culture of achievement in a geographic zone in North Minneapolis to ensure that all youth graduate from high school college ready. Continue Reading →

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Local dance instructor trained over 1,000 in N. Mpls

 

Hollywood Studio students received national awards
 

 

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

“So you think you can dance?” That’s not likely a question you would ask Diane Elliott-Robinson. Especially if you know anything about the Hollywood Studio of Dance’s reputation in regional and national dance competitions over the last 20 years. Elliott-Robinson is a national award-winning professional dancer, dance instructor, consultant, mentor, business woman and the founder and artistic director of the Hollywood Studio of Dance (HSD), located at 2128 West Broadway. It’s on the corner of West Broadway and Penn Ave. N. in Minneapolis, directly across the street from KMOJ-FM radio station. Continue Reading →

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Author uses life experiences for children’s books — Proceeds used to support Liberian orphanage

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

If you read, write or know anything about fiction, then you know first of all that by definition it means to fabricate. Therefore, when it comes to getting published, one common assumption is that having a vivid imagination to conjure up a fictitious story might be all that one would need to write a book. That’s not how it happened for author/business owner/philanthropist Lynnette A. Murray-Gibson, who would probably disagree with that assumption, mainly because her two award-winning fiction books for children (Clara Meets Mr. Twiddles and The Hottest Day) were written from her personal true-life experiences in Minnesota. According to Murray-Gibson, she had no intentions of becoming a writer of any books, but it was fate and God’s will that made it happen. In 1999, Gibson-Murray, who is originally from Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa, was living in New Jersey recovering from a heart condition and looking for a different place to live and relax. Continue Reading →

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Black fraternity conventioneers reach out to North Mpls

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Leadership and community service were among the themes of the Omega Psi Phi Grand Conclave July 5-12 in downtown Minneapolis. It was the first time the legacy Black fraternal organization, founded in 1911 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., held their annual national gathering, which is composed of over 700 chapters, in the Twin Cities. “We are a collective body of men who strive for higher ideals, and we want to impart on the community here that those ideals exist in reality,” explained Craig Armstead of Chicago, an Omega member since 1986. “The Omega Psi Phi fraternity is an uplifting body of men who want to pass the higher values along to the community.”

These values include brotherhood, spirituality, education, family and good health: “We are not just about wearing purple and gold… We’re about some real things in this world,” Armstead pointed out. Continue Reading →

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Hometown star athlete shares the wealth

 

 

On Friday, July 6, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. (standing at center in left photo, with basketball in right photo) shared his success with his old neighborhood by donating a new basketball court to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in South Minneapolis. Parents and youth were invited to the court’s unveiling, which included food, beverages and ice cream compliments of Larry, Jr. and visits from Minnesota Lynx stars Monica Wright and Rebekkah Brunson. See more photos from the event on this week’s Sports Page. Photos by James L. Stroud, Jr.

 
 

Continue Reading →

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Kudos to the Minneapolis Juneteenth committee

By Jimmy Stroud

Contributing Writer

 

Kudos to the Twin Cities Juneteenth Celebration, Inc. and their many volunteers for another safe and successful Juneteenth event held at North Mississippi Regional Park in Minneapolis on June 16, 2012. As I roamed around the park taking hundreds of event photographs — 548 to be precise — I was able to talk and listen to many people who fully embraced the festivities and a few complainers with one foot in and one foot out, so to speak. I heard everything from “What happened to the parade and the 10K run?” to “This park is great and has a lot of stuff for children to do here.”

The Juneteenth celebration is a day that remembers the slaves in Galveston, Texas who were told slavery was abolished two-and-a-half years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. That means the Juneteenth celebration is about freedom. So let us remember and make room for freedom of opinion and speech of those people who attend and critique Juneteenth celebrations anywhere. Continue Reading →

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Ad campaign highlights achievement gap

 

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

In April 2012, the Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children (RKMC) unveiled a public service campaign aimed at bringing more attention to the Black-White educational achievement gap problem in Minnesota and a focus on solutions that have worked towards closing it. The campaign has included skyway banners, print, online and radio ads. According to Doug Stone, public relations consultant for RKMC, “This media campaign is more like a community call to action, and the RKMC’s efforts to address the achievement gap began long before now.”

RKMC was started by Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., which is a national trial law firm that has been in business for 75 years, with over 250 attorneys in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston and Naples, FL. Although RKMC has been operating since 1999, it doesn’t have a regular staff and relies on their partnership with the Minneapolis Foundation for administrative support. Since the RKMC was formed in 1999, “it has awarded more than $10 million in grants to educational programs and community organizations and another $3 million to social justice and public health programs,” Stone says. Continue Reading →

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Black votes on the line with Voter ID

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer 

 

A year after the 2008 presidential election, calls for new voter identification laws were heard in many states, including Minnesota. Led by a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) composed mostly of Republicans, proponents claim that such a law is needed because there is “rampant voter fraud.”

ALEC’s public safety and elections task force drafted the Voter ID Act in the summer of 2009, which would require “proof of identity” to vote. Those without a valid photo ID must fill out a provisional ballot that is only counted if the voter produces an ID by the Monday following the election. It also suggests that ID cards be made available free of charge to eligible voters without a valid driver’s license. ALEC is a Republican-favored organization that is promoting “its right-wing agenda” in all 50 states, says Color of Change.org, a national activist group that has launched a national campaign calling for corporations and others to stop financially supporting the organization. Continue Reading →

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Chemist, professor, businessman, pilot and plane builder

 
N. Judge King made his dreams come true — and other people’s too
 

By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

Dr. N. Judge King has always been fascinated with the idea of flying and owning an airplane, ever since he was a young man of 10 years. According to him, fear of flying was never a part of his mindset. “When I told people that I got my pilot’s license in 1968, they were afraid that I was going to hurt myself,” says King. He’s currently 75 years young and still going strong, but he decided to stop piloting airplanes in 2001. King has lived in the Twin Cities for more than 35 years with his wife, Dr. Reatha Clark-King, who is well known for her work as a former president of both Metropolitan State University and the General Mills Foundation. Continue Reading →

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