The new faces of the Mpls NAACP: MSR’s recent story on the new officers of the Minneapolis Branch of the NAACP (“Minneapolis NAACP swears in new members,” Feb. 27) revealed among other things that women now constitute a majority of the new leadership, including for the first time several African immigrant women who bring impressive skills and experience to the organization. In the interest of introducing MSR readers to these new leaders, this is the second of a series of stories profiling three women from our African immigrant communities who appear determined to bring the historic civil rights organization’s power and prestige to bear on the obstacles currently inhibiting progress in our communities of color. Space permitting, we will allow these women to present their views in their own words.
This week, meet Farhio Khalif, NAACP Assistant Secretary
By Isaac Peterson
Farhio Khalif speaks of her life in terms of a “journey,” and what a journey it has been. Khalif ‘s journey began in Somalia and made stops along the way to Minneapolis in Italy; Birmingham, Alabama; Florida; Washington, D.C.; and Virginia Beach, Virginia. Continue Reading →
“My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off limits. For that I am sorry.” — MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. So, she is off the hook with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, ACLU and the rest of the “Let’s get Dan Zimmerman” crew? Can you imagine if one of the FOXNEWS conservatives, such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Glenn Beck, said the following on their TV shows? Let’s pretend the headlines would read “Rush Limbaugh in his creative wisdom was only (only, to minimize his actions) joking about a Romney family photo, which included their adopted African American grandson, Kieran James Romney. Continue Reading →
Congratulations to the Rev. Jerry McAfee, newly elected president of the Minneapolis branch of the NAACP, and to the new board members. This is an auspicious time. We just celebrated the life of Nelson Mandela, a man who proved a Black man can be a success as president of a country with both Blacks and Whites. Along with Archbishop Tutu’s “ubuntu,” he demonstrated that “truth” and “reconciliation” are more than slogans: they are action paths to unity. Minneapolis needs unity and reconciliation within the Black community and between White and Black people and institutions. Continue Reading →
By Marian Wright Edelman
“It should be clear by now that a nation can be no stronger abroad than she is at home. Only an America which practices what it preaches about equal rights and social justice will be respected by those whose choice affects our future. Only an America which has fully educated its citizens is fully capable of tackling the complex problems and perceiving the hidden dangers of the world in which we live.” — From the speech President John F. Kennedy planned to deliver on November 22, 1963.
I was a brand new law school graduate in my first months of work with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York City on that fateful November day 50 years ago. I had begun the day visiting a young Black male death row client in a rural Georgia prison accused of killing a White farmer and had returned to Atlanta where I was sitting in a courthouse library researching how many Blacks and Whites had been executed in Georgia’s history. Continue Reading →
By Benjamin Todd Jealous
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 →
By Benjamin Todd Jealous
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 →
By Benjamin Todd Jealous
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 →
An interview with the national Black newspaper assn. board chair
By Kam Williams
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 →
By Marc H. Morial
“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 →
By Benjamin Todd Jealous
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 →