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Recent Articles

Can we talk? The N-Word has got to go!

I’ve written hundreds of columns over the years but never about the N-Word. It is a term that makes my temperature rise and my skin boil. First of all, we should not be having this open discussion or debate. But the N-Word won’t go away, primarily because too many of us Blacks-African Americans-Negroes-Colored-whichever one you chose to identify with refuse to leave that term alone. Instead, we have taken ownership of that word. 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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Over 40 years ago King pointed out the “illusion of the damned”

 
America’s survival rests on undoing the exploitation of Black people
 
 

“When I speak of integration, I don’t mean a romantic mixing of colors. I mean a real sharing of power and responsibility. We will eventually achieve this, but it is going to be much more difficult for us than for any other minority. After all, no other minority has been so constantly, brutally and deliberately exploited. But because of this very exploitation, Negroes bring a special spiritual and moral contribution to American life — a contribution without which America could not survive.”

— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Testament of Hope,” (1969)

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

When Barack Obama was first elected U.S. president in 2008, some declared this the beginning of America’s post-racial age. Continue Reading →

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Amiri Baraka dies at age 79

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

In 1964, Amiri Baraka (then going by his given name LeRoi Jones) stood the American Theatre on its ear with the wildly controversial, Obie Award-winning drama Dutchman. He never equaled that success again, but his name and lasting fame had been solidly established, enhanced by the 1967 film version starring Al Freeman, Jr. (Malcolm X, Once Upon A Time…When We Were Colored) and directed by Anthony Harvey (The Lion In Winter, The Glass Menagerie). The story, a rite-of-passage saga for African American males, depicted the explosive self-realization of a young, middle-class man shattering the veneer of social convention to assert his Blackness. Baraka’s career began in the early ’60s among New York City’s bohemian elite most notably with his book Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note and his founding of Totem Press, which published the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. One of the most highly-regarded writers and controversial figures of his generation, he is hailed as a primary architect of the historic Black Arts Movement, which — also in the ’60s — saw the emergence of playwright Ed Bullins, poets Nikki Giovanni and Sonia Sanchez, and novelists Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. Continue Reading →

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A Civil War looming in South Sudan

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.

Contributing Writer

 

The escalating crisis in the South Sudan, a country only constituted in 2011, has brought with it growing concerns that a nation-state formed with such hope may now be on the verge of civil war. The crisis involves a factional struggle between the president (Salva Kiir) and the dismissed vice president (Riek Machar). Tensions have been simmering for quite some time. These factional battles have also been interlaced with ethnic tensions between the Dinka and Nuer peoples. The South Sudanese factional battle has taken many people by surprise. Continue Reading →

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Reverend Al Sharpton: The Rejected Stone

Activist reveals how he became ‘a force of consequence in America’
 
 
A Book Review

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

One does well to take the endorsements on the dust jacket of Reverend Al Sharpton: The Rejected Stone with a grain of salt. Most glaringly, a tribute from no less suspect a source than former President George W. Bush proclaims, “Al cares just as much as I care about making sure every child learns to read, write, add and subtract.” Bush demonstrated beyond a doubt that he never wasted a moment’s thought on the wellbeing of children of color. President Barack Obama states, “Reverend Sharpton is the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden.” Yet President Obama has proven himself deaf to the dire needs of the voiceless, if not with the fiasco of his Obamacare debacle, inarguably by his steadfast refusal to take any sort of impassioned stand on issues impacting the powerless, most conspicuously the Stand Your Ground Law, which has given gun-happy racists license to open fire on Black Americans. Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes extols, “Sharpton is the go-to Black leader today.” Why is this White woman dictating who qualifies as the number-one guiding African American light — of either gender? It’s best to simply set those comments aside and see for yourself, deciding on your own whether the book is worthwhile reading. (Odds are you’ve already made up your mind by now as to how great an individual Sharpton is or isn’t.) The fact, of course, that it’s about one of America’s most prominent figures alone is enough to warrant a look-see if out of nothing more than curiosity. Continue Reading →

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Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. named 2013 recipient of NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award

Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington and the NFL Players Association have selected Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, as the recipient of its annual joint award. Fitzgerald will receive the award during the 27th Annual Lombardi Gala on November 2 in Washington. The NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy. Fitzgerald has been growing his trademark dreadlocks since he was a freshman in college in memory of his mother Carol, who passed away after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. To carry on his mother’s legacy, he helped establish the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, which supports the causes that his mother held close to her heart, such as the education of urban youth on HIV/AIDS and breast cancer awareness. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On happiness and its enemies

 

“Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.” (from a Selby Ave. storefront)

 

We have the keys to happiness within us: our brain. Sex and exercise, learning and curiosity are the keys. Curiosity and novelty alleviate boredom. These stimulate the brain’s reward centers. Continue Reading →

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Lorber and company wow Dakota crowd

Jazz and R&B heavyweights come together for “special show”

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Last week was the first time I attended a Dakota Jazz Club late show. Several patrons that attended the earlier Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, Shawn LaBelle, and Stokley Williams set on August 28 told me that I wouldn’t be disappointed. They weren’t wrong. Billed as “a special show featuring four of the biggest names in contemporary jazz and R&B,” the four veteran artists easily could have done a solo performance at the downtown Minneapolis club, but as a quartet, they nonetheless rocked the house. LaBelle, who plays keyboards and bass, assembled the quartet: “It means a lot to have all these guys come in. Continue Reading →

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Black Press still ‘delivering news for and about Blacks’

An interview with the national Black newspaper assn. board chair
By Kam Williams
Contributing Writer

 

Cloves C. Campbell, Jr., is publisher of the Arizona Informant, a family-owned and operated newspaper that provides an important voice for the African American community in Arizona. This year it celebrates 42 years of publishing. Currently, he serves as board chair of the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NNPA), “a 73-year-old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers from across the United States,” according to their website (http://nnpa.org ).  

As a Phoenix native, Campbell’s personal commitment and knowledge of the community in which he grew up shows throughout his work. Continue Reading →

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