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Let us recommit to the HBCU mission of St. Paul’s College

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator

 

This fall, as college campuses open their doors to the bustle of students, one historically Black institution will remain silent. In the old colonial town of Lawrenceville, Va., Saint Paul’s College has shut its doors after more than a century of operation. The college had fallen on hard times in recent years, and it serves as a canary in the coal mine for other historically Black colleges and universities that face an uncertain economic future. Saint Paul’s College was founded in 1888 by my grandfather’s uncle, James Solomon Russell. A former slave who died an archdeacon and university principal-emeritus, Russell understood the transformative power of education. Continue Reading →

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The I Am Troy call to action

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Guest Commentator

 

Two years ago last week, the state of Georgia ignored the facts, doubts and pleas of hundreds of thousands of people and killed Troy Anthony Davis. Today, on the anniversary of his execution, we rededicate ourselves to ending the immoral, biased and ineffective practice of capital punishment. For 15 years, we fought alongside Troy to clear his name for the killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Troy remained adamant about his innocence to his last breath. As explained in the new book I Am Troy Davis by author Jen Marlowe and Troy’s sister, Martina Davis-Correia, the case against Troy lacked conclusive evidence after many key witnesses recanted testimony from the time of the original trial. Continue Reading →

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History can move in two directions at once

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous

Contributing Writer

 

In my time as an organizer, I have been guided by the words of many people, activists and authors, colleagues and friends. But the most powerful lesson I ever received about the struggle for civil and human rights came in 1993, when my grandmother taught me that history could move in two directions at once. I was in college, celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday. A round of toasts went up. One friend raised his glass to honor the memory of all those we knew who had been killed or sent to prison before they reached the age of 21. 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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March on Washington revisited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Marc H. Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“Almost 50 years ago, I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama for the right to vote. I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us.” — Representative John Lewis at the 50th anniversary March on Washington

 

Last weekend tens of thousands of citizens from around the country converged at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and to dedicate themselves to a continuation of the fight for jobs, voting rights and a host of other challenges that are having a disproportionate impact on African Americans and other communities of color. Just as 50 years ago the National Urban League was on the front lines of last week’s March activities, I had the honor of addressing the multitude from the same location that Dr. King and Whitney Young did during the 1963 March. Approximately 5000 Urban Leaguers and friends marched with us to the Lincoln Memorial in a pre-march rally. We came in full force. Continue Reading →

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Making history…again

 

 

By Benjamin Todd Jealous 

Guest Commentator

 

Remember the March on Washington? August 28, 1963, tens of thousands of activists on the National Mall: a preacher’s son from Atlanta talking about his dream for the country. We don’t need a history lesson. Even if we weren’t at the March itself — even for those like me who were not yet born — Dr. King’s words are etched into our minds as deeply as they are inscribed in stone at the base of his memorial. The preacher’s son has taken his rightful place in the pantheon of national heroes. Continue Reading →

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Beyond the rhetoric Cry, cry, cry — nothing changes

 

 

By Harry C. Alford

Guest Commentator

 

In the past there were so many hangings, beatings, shootings and bombings. They went without justice being applied. During the past few decades we have shown national outrage from Emmett Till, Mississippi civil rights workers shootings, Rodney King, etc., and now we have the heartbreaking death of Trayvon Martin. Oh, there will be an enormous amount of talking, marching, debating and accusations. But in the end, nothing is going to change; nothing is going to make a difference. Continue Reading →

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Sebelius and Holder address NAACP convention — Speeches focused on Zimmerman verdict, Affordable Care Act, voting rights

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

In light of the recent George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict, both U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week stressed the importance of civil rights during their scheduled appearances at the NAACP national convention in Orlando, Fla. The attorney general called for “a respectful, responsible dialogue about issues of justice and equality.”

“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy for his family, but also for our country,” Sebelius pointed out. “So are the tragedies of all the children we have lost because of gun violence before and since Trayvon was killed.” She and Holder spoke separately to the NAACP July 16, three days after the Zimmerman trial ended on July 13. “Across America, diverse groups of citizens, from all races, backgrounds and walks of life are instead overwhelmingly making their voices heard” in disagreeing with the verdict, said Holder. “I hope that we will continue to approach this necessarily difficult dialogue with the same dignity that those who have lost the most — Trayvon’s parents — have demonstrated throughout the last year, and especially over the past few days.”

“The president hasn’t given up on pushing forward on commonsense gun violence prevention efforts,” reaffirmed the HHS secretary. Continue Reading →

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Second Karamu forum draws engaged audience — One long-term goal: an action plan for the Black community

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Organizers predict that by the time the “Karamu House,” a monthly forum series which began in June, concludes in December, an action plan for the Black community will be formed. “If we can leave here with an action step, and the next one we get another action step, by the end of the year we will have it tight and can institute [it],” commented St. Paul NAACP President Jeffry Martin after the second in a series of such meetings July 11 at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Paul. The series will focus primarily on the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Continue Reading →

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Zimmerman trial watch

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a series of commentaries written by MSR staff writer Charles Hallman exclusively for the MSR Online regarding the George Zimmerman trial. They are being posted several times per week. Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com

 

 
Zimmerman update #16 (July 23, 2013)
 

It’s been over a week since the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict was handed down. Marches, vigils, and other such events have taken place in its aftermath. “There’s going to be a lot of arguments about the legal issues in the case,” admitted President Obama in his unexpected address to the press last week. Continue Reading →

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