Sunday, August 31, 2008

Negative perception of blacks rises with more news watching, studies say

Travis Dixon

Caption: Communication professor Travis Dixon found in a pair of studies that the more people watched either local or network news, the more likely they were to draw on negative stereotypes about blacks.

Credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, U. of I. News Bureau. Usage Restrictions: Photo may be used only with stories about the research described in the news release. Please credit: Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, U. of I. News Bureau.
Watching the news should make you more informed, but it also may be making you more likely to stereotype, says a University of Illinois researcher.

In a pair of recently published studies, communication professor Travis Dixon found that the more people watched either local or network news, the more likely they were to draw on negative stereotypes about blacks.

Significantly, the effect was independent of viewers' existing racial attitudes, Dixon said. "We've shown that just watching the news – just news consumption alone – has an impact on one's stereotypical conceptions," he said.

In other words, even among those who may think of themselves as largely prejudice-free, those who watch more local or network news are prone to more often see blacks as intimidating, violent or poor, Dixon said.

The studies were published in successive March and June issues of the Journal of Communication. Each was based on data collected in a telephone survey of 506 Los Angeles County residents conducted from November 2002 through January 2003.
In related research, Dixon also is working on studies about stereotyping in the news coverage of Hurricane Katrina and of terrorism.

The study on local news, published in the March issue, built on prior research in several cities – Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles among them – showing local TV news, particularly crime news, as almost always "racialized" in its portrayal of blacks and often other groups, Dixon said. One of the Los Angeles studies, conducted in the mid- to late 1990s, was led by Dixon, and analyzed the news content of individual stations.

In all of the analyses, Dixon said, blacks are overrepresented as perpetrators, whites are overrepresented as victims, and black-on-white crime is overrepresented relative to crime within racial groups. The overrepresentation is relative to police department crime statistics, not population.

"All of these things are inconsistent with what's really happening out there in the quote-unquote real world," Dixon said. "Some news reporters will say they're holding up this mirror (to the real world), but it's a distorted mirror."

Dixon, therefore, said he was not surprised by his findings that those in Los Angeles who watched more local news were more likely to draw on negative stereotypes about blacks. He even found that those who watched the stations that most overrepresented blacks as perpetrators, based on his earlier analysis, were more likely to use or believe those stereotypes.

(Dixon noted that though his analysis of local news content was a decade old, he had seen little evidence of significant change in the way those stations cover the news.)

Dixon is careful not to label either reporters or news consumers as inherently or overtly prejudiced or racist. Instead, he talks about how stereotypes get repeated and therefore reinforced in the mind, a process called "chronic activation." Those stereotypes then come more-readily to mind, consciously or unconsciously, when seeing or interacting with a member of that group, a process called "chronic accessibility."

Through much local television news, "we keep seeing these black perpetrators all the time, so that becomes more accessible and not other conceptions," Dixon said. As a result, any black male is more likely to be seen as potentially violent or a criminal, he said.

What did surprise Dixon, however, was seeing that network news broadcasts, not heavy on crime coverage, had a similar effect on viewers and their tendency to "access" stereotypes. The findings, which he found "disconcerting," contradicted his assumption that those who stayed well-informed through network news would be less prejudiced and hold fewer stereotypes of blacks.

In trying to explain the connection, he believes part of it may be in the way network news often "frames" an issue or topic, such as poverty or welfare, by finding individuals to focus on.

In doing so, they often fall back on stereotypes, he said. "Network news is more subtle, but it's still there."

In his survey, Dixon collected information on a number of factors that could influence stereotypical beliefs other than news-watching – such as gender, age, race, education, political ideology, income, racism, overall television exposure, newspaper exposure, neighborhood diversity and the community's crime rate.

His conclusions about the effect of news-watching came after taking all those factors into account through statistical analysis. "We found that more than a quarter of stereotypical beliefs can be explained just by how much news you watch," he said. If one assumes that respondents may suppress their honest feelings, given that the subject involves race, then the effect could be assumed to be even larger, he said.

Researchers often are careful to note that survey results showing strong associations between two factors – in this case, news-watching and stereotypical belief – do not necessarily mean that one causes the other. Dixon suggests that there may be a causal connection here, however, because his survey work builds on previous experiment-based research with college students, in which different groups were tested after watching different versions of news broadcasts.

The prior research "makes us more confident that what's happening here is causal and not just correlational," Dixon said.

"News viewers need to be empowered to know that media effects are real and that they need to be more conscious of the potential effects," Dixon said. "The fact is we still largely live in a segregated society, so our perceptions of other groups largely come through the media," he said.

"Viewers need to take a little bit more of an active role in demanding better coverage and turning off the tube when it's not good." ###

Contact: Craig Chamberlain 217-333-2894 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thursday, August 28, 2008

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (I Have a Dream) VIDEO

As far as black Americans were concerned, the nation's response to Brown was agonizingly slow, and neither state legislatures nor the Congress seemed willing to help their cause along. Finally, President John F. Kennedy recognized that only a strong civil rights bill would put teeth into the drive to secure equal protection of the laws for African Americans.

On June 11, 1963, he proposed such a bill to Congress, asking for legislation that would provide "the kind of equality of treatment which we would want for ourselves." Southern representatives in Congress managed to block the bill in committee, and civil rights leaders sought some way to build political momentum behind the measure.

A. Philip Randolph, a labor leader and longtime civil rights activist, called for a massive march on Washington to dramatize the issue.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (I Have a Dream)He welcomed the participation of white groups as well as black in order to demonstrate the multiracial backing for civil rights. The various elements of the civil rights movement, many of which had been wary of one another, agreed to participate.The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and the Urban League all managed to bury their differences and work together.
The leaders even agreed to tone down the rhetoric of some of the more militant activists for the sake of unity, and they worked closely with the Kennedy administration, which hoped the march would, in fact, lead to passage of the civil rights bill.

On August 28, 1963, under a nearly cloudless sky, more than 250,000 people, a fifth of them white, gathered near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to rally for "jobs and freedom." The roster of speakers included speakers from nearly every segment of society -- labor leaders like Walter Reuther, clergy, film stars such as Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando and folksingers such as Joan Baez. Each of the speakers was allotted fifteen minutes, but the day belonged to the young and charismatic leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had originally prepared a short and somewhat formal recitation of the sufferings of African Americans attempting to realize their freedom in a society chained by discrimination. He was about to sit down when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson called out, "Tell them about your dream, Martin! Tell them about the dream!" Encouraged by shouts from the audience, King drew upon some of his past talks, and the result became the landmark statement of civil rights in America -- a dream of all people, of all races and colors and backgrounds, sharing in an America marked by freedom and democracy.

For further reading: Herbert Garfinkel, When Negroes March: The March on Washington...(1969); Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963 (1988); Stephen B. Oates, Let the Trumpet Sound: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. (1982).

Audio in Real Media format Martin Luther King "I have a dream" - Digital Library SunSITE Manager: The Library, 299 Evans Hall #6000, University of California, Berkeley USA 94720-0001. WEB: The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends - so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification - one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi - from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring - when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics - will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Distribution statement: Accepted as part of the Douglass Archives of American Public Address on May 26, 1999. Prepared by D. Oetting

Permission is hereby granted to download, reprint, and/or otherwise redistribute this file, provided this distribution statement is included and appropriate point of origin credit is given to the preparer and Douglass.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

why MS affects African-Americans differently than Caucasians

John R. Rinker, II, M.D.

Assistant Professor of Neurology, Professional Background: M.D., Medical College of Georgia, 2001. Office: 440 Sparks Center, 1720 7th Ave S, Birmingham AL 35294-0017. Phone: (205) 934-2402 / 996-2092. Email:, FAX: (205) 975-6030.

Personal Info: Dr. Rinker, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from medical school and received his M.D. degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. He completed a one-year internship in internal medicine in 2002 and a three-year neurology residency training program in June of 2005 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri.

Following his residency training, he worked under the mentorship of Dr. Anne Cross at Washington University School of Medicine for two years, completing a post-doctoral fellowship and mentored training program in clinical investigation in June of 2007. The Department of Neurology is pleased that he has accepted the position of Assistant Professor in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis Center starting July 9, 2007.
New clue why MS affects African-Americans differently than Caucasians

ST. PAUL, MN -- Differences in immune systems have been found in African Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to Caucasians, possibly offering a clue why African Americans experience more disability with MS than Caucasians, according to a study published in the July 3, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers compared levels of antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid of 66 African Americans to 132 Caucasians with MS.

The study found antibody levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of African Americans with MS were 29 percent higher than levels found in affected Caucasians.

“The findings show that ethnic differences in MS extend to the immune response system, which plays a central role in MS,” said study author John R. Rinker, MD, with the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Rinker says the reason for this biological difference is unknown, but may be related to differences in genetic background.

“It remains possible that genes are unevenly distributed between ethnic groups to account for different susceptibility to some diseases,” said Rinker. “In MS, recent genetic studies have begun to identify certain genes which may explain why African Americans experience more disability, but the products of these genes and the mechanism of their effects remain unknown.”

The study found that African Americans had MS for an average of nine years before needing a cane, walker, or wheelchair, compared to an average of 17 years for Caucasians. However, Rinker says the higher values of antibodies in African Americans did not predict an earlier need for help walking. ###
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 20,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Contact: Angela Babb 651-695-2789 American Academy of Neurology

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Study: Common wisdom about troubled youth falls apart when race considered

Children playing singing games in Eatonville, Florida in 1935

Children playing singing games in Eatonville, Florida in 1935, Credit: Lomax, Alan. "African American Children Playing Singing Games, Eatonville, Florida." June 1935. Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip, Library of Congress.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the most widely accepted beliefs about the differences between troubled boys and girls may need to be revised, according to new research.

Experts have long believed that girls tend to internalize their problems, becoming depressed or anxious, while boys externalize, turning to violence against people or property.

But a new study found that this oft-repeated idea didn't hold true for African-American youth who were in the juvenile justice system. For them, whether they internalized or externalized depended not on gender, but on what was happening within their families.

The results suggest more attention needs to be paid to the intersection of race, gender and family when it comes to dealing with troubled youth,
said Stephen Gavazzi, co-author of the study and professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University.

"If you look at most studies involving internalizing and externalizing among youth, they generally look at white, middle-class samples," Gavazzi said.

"Most research has not paid attention to race. And when studies do look at race, they are not likely to look at family and gender as well."

In this study, the results showed that Black girls and boys showed similar levels of externalizing and internalizing behavior, once family dysfunction was taken into account. In these families, boys and girls were more likely to show outward aggression if they lived in families with higher levels of dysfunction. Such a relationship was not found in white families.

"Family issues affect children in African-American families differently than they do in white families," Gavazzi said. "That is something that really hasn't been found before."

This study, published in the July 2008 issue of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, involved 2,549 youth who appeared before a juvenile court in five counties in Ohio.

The youth were assessed using a measure developed by Gavazzi and his colleagues called the Global Risk Assessment Device (GRAD). The measure is an internet-based assessment tool that asks youth a variety of questions to determine the risks they face for further problems in life.

GRAD asks about prior brushes with the law, family and parenting issues, substance abuse, traumatic events and a variety of other issues. For example, GRAD asks how often they get into fights with adults in their homes, if they have friends who have been in trouble with the law, and how much trouble they have in controlling their anger.

Gavazzi said it is not surprising that family issues affect African-American children differently than they do white children.

"Researchers who study ethnicity and culture have long noted the primacy of family for African Americans," he said. "That's telling us that families matter in a different way for African-American youth than what we're finding for whites."

Gavazzi said he and his colleagues are now trying to identify exactly what is different in African-American families that affects whether youth internalize or externalize problems, and how to best help them.

They are looking, for example, at issues such as family conflict and the amount of monitoring parents do of their children.

"We want to find out if there is some different constellation of things happening in African-American families that can explain some of our findings," he said. ###

Gavazzi conducted the study with Jennifer Bostic, program manager at the OSU Center for Family Research; Ji-Young Lim, assistant professor at Miami University of Ohio; and Courtney Yarcheck, program director of the OSU Center for Family Research.

Contact: Stephen Gavazzi, (614) 292-5620;, Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457;, WEB: Ohio State University

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blacks Twice as Susceptible and More Likely to Die of Severe Sepsis Than Whites

Blacks Twice as Susceptible and More Likely to Die of Severe Sepsis Than Whites

Blacks have almost double the rate of severe sepsis—an overwhelming infection of the bloodstream accompanied by acute organ dysfunction—as whites, according to recent research.

“The difference in incidence was evident by age 20 and continued throughout the adult lifespan. After accounting for differences in poverty and geography, black race remained independently associated with higher severe sepsis incidence,” wrote lead authors Amber E. Barnato, M.D., M.P.H., M.S., of the Center for Research on Health Care at the University of Pittsburgh, and Sherri L. Alexander, Ph.D., of Genentech. Hispanics, on the other hand, have a lower incidence of severe sepsis than whites.

Amber  E.  Barnato  MD, MPH, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Policy and Management. Associate Director, Clinical Scientist Training Program

Office: 200 Meyran Ave. Suite 200. Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Phone: 412-692-4875 Fax: 412-246-6954 Email:
What is more, blacks die more frequently of severe sepsis that either whites or Hispanics.

The findings appear in the first issue for February of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Barnato and colleagues conducted a retrospective population-based analysis of race-specific incidence and ICU case fatality rates for hospital-based infection and severe sepsis in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia and Texas. They obtained demographic and socioeconomic data from the 2000 U.S. census and clinical data for hospitalized severe sepsis cases from the hospitals’ discharge data.
They compared incidence of severe sepsis, ICU admission and ICU case fatality among races, controlling for age and gender. The total analysis included more than 71 million people.

“Blacks do indeed have a higher rate of severe sepsis—almost double that of whites,” wrote Dr. Barnato.
Sherri Alexander, Genentech

Sherri Alexander, Genentech outcomes/research group, accepting Specialty Award
“Some, but not all of this increase was explained by blacks’ more frequent residence in ZIP codes with higher poverty rates, suggesting that social, rather than biological determinants, such as health behavior and access to primary care, may contribute to this disparity,” Dr. Barnato continued. “In contrast, Hispanic ethnicity appeared protective, conditional on similar regional urbanicity and poverty.”

The investigators considered several possible explanations for their results, including racial variation in susceptibility to particular types of infections or organ dysfunction, and overall health at baseline. “However, the severe sepsis syndrome characteristics were not markedly different among the groups with respect to the site of infection, microbiologic etiology and both the number and type of organ dysfunction,” wrote Dr. Barnato. Furthermore, “the burden of chronic conditions among severe sepsis cases did not differ substantially across racial groups.”

One factor that clearly differed among groups was the type of hospital facilities in which patients received care.

Blacks were more likely to be treated at hospitals with poorer outcomes for severe sepsis than whites. “If a black and white patient with the same clinical characteristics were treated at the same hospital,they would have identical case survival rates,” said Dr. Barnato. “Therefore,” she continued, “it may be that the hospitals that treat most black patients see black and white patients who are sicker than we can measure using these data sources, and/or that these hospitals are providing lower quality care.”

The study could not rule out unmeasured underlying differences such as behavior, pharmaceutical use, healthcare resources and within-hospital variations in treatment by race that may have contributed to the differences in case fatality observed, nor could they dismiss the possibility of a biological basis for racial disparities in susceptibility and outcome of severe sepsis, which could have “potentially important implications for treating sepsis.”

Despite possible explanations for the racial disparities that could not be ruled out, Dr. Barnato points out that “the overall mortality disparity among blacks could be partially ameliorated by focused interventions to improve processes and outcomes of care at the hospitals that are disproportionately black.”

American Thoracic Society

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Addressing resilience among black youth

Black children playing leap frog in a Harlem street

Black children playing leap frog in a Harlem street, ca. 1930. 3O6-NT-171.611c.
APA task force calls for reframing research to address resilience among black youth. Positive feelings about race crucial for resilience and healthy development, according to new report

WASHINGTON— African-American youth have proven they can bounce back after facing hardship and adversity,
yet the majority of studies on this population still focus on the negative outcomes of risk factors, according to a task force of the American Psychological Association.

A report released today by APA's Task Force on Resilience and Strength in Black Children and Adolescents calls for reframing research to better understand "how certain factors traditionally considered risk factors can be reconceptualized as adaptive or protective processes."

The seven-member task force reviewed 450 studies and surveys of African-American youth age 5 to 21 across all socioeconomic conditions and geographical areas to understand how factors such as racial identity, racial socialization, emotional regulation and expression, religiosity, and school and family support can prepare African-American children and adolescents to thrive in spite of various societal challenges.

The task force concluded that positive attitudes and behaviors that contribute to the strengths of these young people were de-emphasized in research and the current conceptions of African-American youth don't address healthy coping, adjustment and overall functioning. There is no clear template for how to ensure that African American children reach their full potential -- but there is hope, according to the task force. It called for future research to consider the complexities of racial, ethnic, and cultural factors as well as positive family environments and social support as key variables in identifying the "protective mechanisms" that are so important in promoting strength and resilience among African-American youth.

"Institutional racism and societal prejudice place all African-American youth, including well-resourced youth, at some degree of risk," said Stephanie Irby Coard, PhD, chair of the APA task force. "Understanding what makes them strong requires acknowledging their experience here in the United States and how discrimination affects their daily lives. The study of success is just as important as the study of failure."

Research has shown that diverse cultural groups have different ways of enhancing positive outcomes for their children. African-American family life often encompasses racial identity, spirituality, and a set of shared values that are crucial for children's resilience.

The report offered a portrait of thriving or optimal functioning for African American youth which encompasses four themes; active engagement, flexibility, communalism, and critical-mindedness. The report explored how these themes cut across five widely accepted developmental domains of functioning with the intent of providing researchers, policymakers, educators, practitioners, and the public with a useful lens through which to view African American youth:

Identity Development: Positive racial identity is essential to the well-being of African-American youth and they must be encouraged to develop a positive sense of self in a society that often devalues them through negative stereotypes.

Emotional Development: Coping with emotions effectively is directly related to self-esteem and better mental health. African-American youth need to be made aware of how their emotional expressions resonate across all situations and circumstances.

Social Development: Family and community interaction is crucial to these young people's social development, as is having access to high-quality child care, afterschool programs and religious institutions.

Cognitive Development: African-American youth must believe in their abilities in the classroom. Parents should avoid harsh parenting styles and schools should continue to look at ways to infuse culturally relevant themes into the classroom as a way to improve academic performance.

Physical Health and Development: A wide range of health conditions disproportionately affect African-American youth, including obesity, poor oral health, asthma, violent injury, sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Research has proven that improved physical health is more likely to lead to improved mental health as well. ###

Task force members:

Chair: Stephanie Irby Coard, PhD, University of North Carolina-Greensboro; Anne Gregory, PhD, University of Virginia; Yolanda Jackson, PhD, University of Kansas; Robert Jagers, PhD, University of Michigan; Le'Roy Reese, PhD, Morehouse School of Medicine; Caryn Rodgers, PhD, Johns Hopkins University; Anita Jones Thomas, PhD, Loyola University Chicago.

Full text of the APA Task Force report in PDF format is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and at

or more information/interview contact Stephanie Coard, PhD, RSBCA Chair, at (336) 334-4666 or by email at

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

Contact: Audrey Hamilton 202-336-5706 American Psychological Association

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr. PODCAST

Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey Image file information at Public Domain Clip Art
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., National Hero of Jamaica (August 17, 1887 – June 10, 1940), was a publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, Black nationalist, orator, and founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL).

Prior to the twentieth century, leaders such as Prince Hall, Martin Delany, Edward Wilmot Blyden, and Henry Highland Garnet advocated the involvement of the African diaspora in African affairs.
Garvey was unique in advancing a Pan-African philosophy to inspire a global mass movement focusing on Africa known as Garveyism.Promoted by the UNIA as a movement of African Redemption, Garveyism would eventually inspire others, ranging from the Nation of Islam, to the Rastafari movement (which proclaims Garvey to be a prophet).

The intention of the movement was for those of African ancestry to "redeem" Africa and for the European colonial powers to leave it. The idea that African Americans should return to Africa was known as the Colonist Movement. His essential ideas about Africa were stated in an editorial in the Negro World entitled “African Fundamentalism” where he wrote:
"Our union must know no clime, boundary, or nationality… let us hold together under all climes and in every country…"

Download the mp3 file marcus_garvey_speech_1921.mp3

"Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association" is a studio recording made by African-American leader Marcus Garvey in New York in July 1921, and adapted from his longer speech "A Membership Appeal from Marcus Garvey to the Negro Citizens of New York". It is one of two recordings of him speaking, the other being "Hon. Marcus Garvey on his return to the USA", which is on the opposite side of the 78 rpm record as "Explanation of the Objects of the Universal Negro Improvement Association".

Duration of recording: 3 minutes 38 seconds

This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923.

Transcript: Fellow citizens of Africa, I greet you in the name of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League of the World. You may ask, what organization is that? It is for me to inform you that the Universal Negro Improvement Association is an organization that seeks to unite into one solid body the 400 million Negroes of the world; to link up the 50 million Negroes of the United States of America, with the 20 million Negroes of the West Indies, the 40 million Negroes of South and Central America with the 280 million Negroes of Africa, for the purpose of bettering our industrial, commercial, educational, social and political conditions.

As you are aware, the world in which we live today is divided into separate race groups and distinct nationalities. Each race and each nationality is endeavoring to work out its own destiny to the exclusion of other races and other nationalities. We hear the cry of England for the Englishman, of France for the Frenchman, of Germany for the Germans, of Ireland for the Irish, of Palestine for the Jews, of Japan for the Japanese, of China for the Chinese.

We of the Universal Negro Improvement Association are raising the cry of Africa for the Africans, those at home and those abroad. There are 400 million Africans in the world who have Negro blood coursing through their veins. And we believe that the time has come to unite these 400 million people for the one common purpose of bettering their condition.

The great problem of the Negro for the last 500 years has been that of disunity. No one or no organization ever took the lead in uniting the Negro race, but within the last four years the Universal Negro Improvement Association has worked wonders in bringing together in one fold four million organized Negroes who are scattered in all parts of the world, being in the 48 states of the American union, all the West Indian Islands, and the countries of South and Central America and Africa. These 40 million people are working to convert the rest of the 400 million scattered all over the world and it is for this purpose that we are asking you to join our ranks and to do the best you can to help us to bring about an emancipated race.

If anything praiseworthy is to be done, it must be done through unity. And it is for that reason that the Universal Negro Improvement Association calls upon every Negro in the United States to rally to its standard. We want to unite the Negro race in this country. We want every Negro to work for one common object, that of building a nation of his own on the great continent of Africa. That all Negroes all over the world are working for the establishment of a government in Africa means that it will be realized in another few years.

We want the moral and financial support of every Negro to make the dream a possibility. Already this organization has established itself in Liberia, West Africa, and has endeavored to do all that's possible to develop that Negro country to become a great industrial and commercial commonwealth.

Pioneers have been sent by this organization to Liberia and they are now laying the foundation upon which the 400 million Negroes of the world will build. If you believe that the Negro has a soul, if you believe that the Negro is a man, if you believe the Negro was endowed with the senses commonly given to other men by the Creator, then you must acknowledge that what other men have done, Negroes can do. We want to build up cities, nations, governments, industries of our own in Africa, so that we will be able to have the chance to rise from the lowest to the highest positions in the African commonwealth.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article, Marcus Garvey SEE FULL License, Credit and Disclaimer

Friday, August 15, 2008


Keith Herman

Keith Herman Associate Professor 16 Hill Hall (573) 884-2419 E-mail:
Fostering Non-Academic Talents Can Help Build Self-Esteem and Protect Against Mental Health Problems

WASHINGTON—Black first-graders – especially girls – who are already performing poorly in school are at risk of being depressed by the time they reach junior high, according to an analysis of hundreds of African-American students in Baltimore. Therefore, researchers say, focusing early on what such youngsters are doing well may help build self-esteem and guard against a downward spiral.
The study's findings are in the July issue of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association. This is the first time psychologists have examined the link between academic performance and depressive cognitions for African-American children living in an urban setting. The study's lead author Keith Herman, PhD, says his findings are similar to previous studies findings on white children and children from other ethnic backgrounds.

“Given the well-documented achievement disparities between African-American children and other groups of children in the United States, these findings have strong implications for identifying and treating academic problems in African-American children,” said Herman. “Educators and parents need to understand that academic problems early on can be warning signs of distress. Mental health problems are less likely to develop if children are shown how to manage, or overcome, their anxiety, sadness and frustration from their academic challenges.”

Psychologists examined data from a longitudinal study of 474 African-American boys and girls in nine Baltimore public schools. The students were assessed in first, sixth and seventh grades for the study.

The authors examined the students' performance on a basic skills test administered in first grade to determine how well the students were doing in reading and mathematics. The first-graders were also asked how frequently they felt sad, anxious or upset. The authors compared these findings with the students' self-reports of depressive symptoms after they had entered seventh grade. The authors noted that prior research found that depressive symptoms in children and adolescents predicted the likelihood of using mental health services, of contemplating suicide, and of being diagnosed with depression later in life.

The authors found that the students who performed below average on the basic skills test in first grade were more likely to experience depressive symptoms by the time they had entered seventh grade, while controlling for conduct, attention and social problems.

The authors also looked at data collected in sixth grade, which measured how much control the students felt they had over their academic, social and behavioral skills. Using this information, the researchers determined that first-graders who were struggling in school were most likely to believe that they had less influence over important outcomes in their life. These beliefs, in turn, served as risk factors for depressive symptoms. The negative effects of low academic skills on future self-beliefs were roughly twice as strong for girls as for boys.

“Girls tend to internalize academic problems more than boys,” said Herman. “It is critical for counselors and psychologists who are working with underachieving African-American youth to find ways to highlight their nonacademic skills, such as social, music or art abilities, and work with their parents and teachers to do the same. This may help improve their present and future emotional well-being.”

Article: "Low Academic Competence in First Grade as a Risk Factor for Depressive Cognitions and Symptoms in Middle School," Keith C. Herman, PhD and Wendy M. Reinke, PhD, University of Columbia – Missouri; Sharon F. Lambert, PhD, George Washington University; Nicholas S. Ialongo, PhD, Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health; Journal of Counseling Psychology, Vol. 55, No. 3.

(Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office and in PDF format at

Contact: Audrey Hamilton Public Affairs Office (202) 336-5706

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare. ###

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gender and Culturally Tailored Interventions Help Curb STDs in Black Girls

Ralph J. DiClemente

Ralph J. DiClemente, Professor, Candler Professor. Associate Director, Prevention, Science, Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) for Behavioral Science. Co-Director of Graduate Studies, PhD Program. Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health. 1518 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30322
tel: (404) 727-0237
Black girls who undergo gender and culturally tailored HIV interventions are significantly less likely to contract a sexually transmitted disease.

The study by Emory University public health researchers is being presented at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. It analyzed the self-reported sexual behavior and condom usage among 439 sexually active black girls between the ages of 15 and 21.

Some of the girls participated in an HIV intervention called HORIZONS, a multi-modality, relationship-focused intervention emphasizing ethnic and gender pride, HIV knowledge, communication, condom use skills and healthy relationships.

The HORIZONS intervention was administered in two four-hour group sessions and augmented with four brief individualized telephone contacts designed to reinforce safer sex motivations. The group of young women in the comparison, or control group, participated in one HIV prevention group session.
The researchers found that girls who participated in the HORIZONS intervention were less likely to have contracted a STD and were more likely to consistently use condoms during sex when compared to the girls who did not undergo HORIZONS training.

"African-American adolescent females seeking treatment for STDs are at high risk for HIV. However, no interventions have demonstrated efficacy in reducing HIV-associated sexual behaviors among this vulnerable subgroup," says Ralph DiClemente, PhD, Candler professor of public health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, and study co-author.

"We found that gender-tailored and culturally-congruent interventions can reduce bacterial STD infections and enhance HIV-preventive behaviors," DiClemente says. ###

The HORIZONS intervention program was created at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health by researchers DiClemente and Gina Wingood, ScD, MPH. The program is now being used as a model nationwide.
Gina M. Wingood

Gina M. Wingood, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, PhD Program. Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road NE. Atlanta, GA 30322.
tel: (404) 727-0241

In addition to DiClemente and Wingood, study authors were Eve Rose, MSPH, Jessica Sales, PhD, and Delia Lang, PhD, MPH, all of the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University; Angela Caliendo, MD, PhD of the Emory University School of Medicine; and James Hardin, PhD, of the University of South Carolina, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Reference: WEPE0346 Development and Evaluation of an HIV Risk-Reduction Intervention Tailored for High-Risk African-American Female Adolescents Seeking Treatment at STD Clinics.

Contact: Ashante Dobbs 404-727-5692 Emory University

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bulging prison system called massive intervention in American family life

Becky Pettit

Becky Pettit Associate Professor Office: Condon 318. Phone: 206-616-1173, Office Hours: Wednesdays 10:00-12:00 and 3:00-5:00, Sociology of the Family, Social Demography, and Economic Sociology.
BOSTON -- The mammoth increase in the United States' prison population since the 1970s is having profound demographic consequences that disproportionately affect black males.

"This jump in incarceration rates represents a massive intervention in American families at a time when the federal government was making claims that it was less involved in their lives," according to a University of Washington researcher who will present findings Sunday (Aug. 3) at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Drawing data from a variety of sources that looked at prison and general populations, Becky Pettit, a UW associate professor of sociology, and Bryan Sykes, a UW post-doctoral researcher,
found that the boom in prison population is hiding lowered rates of fertility and increased rates of involuntary migration to rural areas and morbidity that is marked by a greater exposure to and risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV or AIDS.

These effects are most heavily felt by low-skill black males, and she said the disproportionately high incarceration rates among African-Americans suggest the prison system is a key suspect in these demographic results.

Bryan L. Sykes

Bryan L. Sykes Department of Sociology, 223J Condon Hall, Box 353340. 1100 NE Campus Parkway. Seattle, WA 98195-3340, 206-543-7060. Electronic Mail: BLSYKES@U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Pettit said well-documented facts -- one in 100 Americans is behind bars in 2008, about 2.4 million people currently are incarcerated and nearly 60 percent of young black males who dropped out of high school have served time in jail -- don't seem to register with Americans.

"These kinds of rates were not historically true 30 years ago. Today, we are giving people custodial sentences that we wouldn't have in the past for victimless crimes. Our justice system has become more punitive,"
she said, adding that most demographic data collection is decades behind the times and masks this racial disproportionality. That's because most surveys, which are federally funded, were begun in the 1960s and 70s and excluded the prison population, which was significantly smaller at that time.

In addition, she noted that the effects of an ever-growing criminal justice system extend beyond those who are serving sentences to include children, partners and even entire communities.

Among the findings outlined in Pettit's presentation are:

• Rates of positive or latent tuberculosis are 50 percent to 100 percent higher for inmates than for the general population. The TB rate among black inmates is 14.6 percent compared to 8.4 percent for white inmates. Despite substantial declines in the overall risk for TB in the U.S., blacks are eight times more likely to contract the disease than whites.

• Blacks both inside and out of prison have higher rates of HIV infection than whites. Inmate rates for HIV are 3.5 percent for blacks and 2.3 percent for whites, although Pettit said this data is weak because many inmates have not been tested for HIV or will not say if they are HIV positive.

• The number of black men living in rural, or non-metropolitan, areas increases dramatically when the inmate population is included because many jails and prisons are located in rural locations.

• Rates of childlessness are higher for both black and white inmates than the general population. Sixty-four percent of non-prison white men have children, but that number drops to 50.6 percent of jailed white men. Among blacks, 71.7 percent of the non-prison men have children while 61.7 percent of those in jail are fathers.

The survey focused on African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites because earlier surveys did not collect data about such groups as Hispanics or Asian-Americans or because the sample sizes from these groups were too small to draw valid statistical judgments. The study also only looked at men between the ages of 25 and 44 and broke them into three groups -- high school dropouts, high school graduates and those with a college degree or some college education

Pettit said she hopes her work can be a springboard for better and more inclusive data collection that paints a more accurate demographic picture of the U.S. population.

"We usually don't think of the prison system as something that is a policy shift. But the public health risks and the effects on migration and fertility show that it has had fundamental consequences for all of us," she said.

"It is in our own self-interest to be concerned. And certainly from a fiscal standpoint we have an interest. In times of financial difficulty, we have a fixed amount of money and for every dollar we spend on incarceration we have one dollar less to spend on education and other things. This is a challenging public policy question." ###

Contact: Joel Schwarz 206-543-2580 University of Washington, For more information, contact Pettit at (206) 616-1173 or

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sociologists explore 'emotional labor' of black professionals in the workplace

Marlese Durr, Ph.D.

Marlese Durr, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Sociology Work, Occupations, Race and Labor Markets HOMEPAGE
BOSTON — Black professionals make extra efforts in the workplace to fulfill what they believe are the expectations of their white colleagues, according to research to be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
Sociologists Marlese Durr of Wright State University and her co-author Adia Harvey Wingfield of Georgia State University argue that black professionals engage in two types of "emotional performance" in the workplace: General etiquette and racialized emotion maintenance.

"Our analysis of these aspects of workplace behavior reveals that women and men co-mingle etiquette and emotion maintenance to be accepted in the workplace and to fit white expectations," said Durr. "This emotional overtime in the workplace strengthens race/ethnic group solidarity."
Whether it's stressful, inauthentic or downright draining, Durr claims that emotional labor is "a crucial part of black women's self-presentation in work and social public spaces." These efforts to fit in can, in effect, make African American women feel isolated, alienated, and frustrated.

Durr and Wingfield illustrate emotional labor as performance with a quote from an African American woman who says of her workplace peers, "They…are careful to remember…'that's not professional.

Remember they got the s[hit] that'll get you bit! Keep your Negro in check! Don't let it jump up and show anger, disapproval, or difference of opinion. They have to like you and think that you are as close to them as possible in thought, ideas, dress and behavior.'"
Adia Harvey, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology.

Adia Harvey, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology. Office: 1070 GCB 404-413-6509 Email:

Teaches: Race, Class, and Gender in the Media, Social Theory, Research Methods, Race and Ethnic Relations Research Interests: Race, class, and gender inequality, work and occupations, social theory HOME PAGE
Marlese Durr, PhD, is an associate professor of sociology at Wright State University, in Dayton, Ohio, where she has taught for 14 years. Durr's research focuses on the area of organizations, work and occupations, and race and gender. She received her PhD in 1993 from the University at Albany, State University of New York, and is the author of The New Politics of Race: From Du Bois to the 21st Century (Praeger Press, 2002) and Work and Family, African Americans in the Lives of African Americans with Shirley A. Hill (Rowman & Litttlefield, 2006).

Adia Harvey Wingfield is assistant professor of sociology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where she has taught for two years. Her research focuses on the ways race, gender and class intersect to affect various groups in different occupations and workplaces. She received her PhD in 2004 from The Johns Hopkins University, and is the author of Doing Business with Beauty: Black Women, Hair Salons, and the Racial Enclave Economy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), a study of working-class black women entrepreneurs. ###

The paper, "Keep Your 'N' In Check: African American Women and the Interactive Effects of Etiquette and Emotional Labor," will be presented on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 2:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Boston at the American Sociological Association's 103rd annual meeting.

To obtain a copy of the paper by Durr and Wingfield; for more information on other ASA presentations; or for assistance reaching the study authors, contact Jackie Cooper at or (202) 247-9871. During the annual meeting (July 31 to Aug. 4), ASA's Public Information Office staff can be reached in the press room, located in the Sheraton Boston's Exeter AB room, at (617) 351-6853, (617) 351-6854 or (301) 509-0906 (cell).

About the American Sociological Association: The American Sociological Association (, founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

Contact: Jackie Cooper 202-247-9871 American Sociological Association

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Survey Finds More Blacks than Whites See Positive Effect of Central High Crisis

Little Rock Central High School

Little Rock Central High School Photographer: NPS photo Description: Front facade of Central High School.
More than fifty years after the Central High integration crisis, more blacks than whites in Pulaski County believe that the crisis has had a positive effect on race relations today.
In a newly released report by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 873 out of 1,666 people who participated in a racial attitudes survey conducted last fall believe the events of 1957 continue to impact Pulaski County race relations. Overall, 69 percent of their comments indicate that the Central High crisis is having a positive effect on race relations today.

Blacks were more likely to offer positive comments than whites (77 percent of comments from blacks, 61 percent of comments from whites). The researchers suggest that the reason for this may be that “the legacy of Central High has been more keenly felt by black members of the community because it has impacted their everyday lives and hopes for the future more directly.”

Researchers in UALR’s Institute of Government Survey Research Center reported these findings from a set of special questions related to the Central High crisis included in this year’s fourth annual survey of racial attitudes in Pulaski County. The survey also asked if black-white race relations still bear the impact of what happened 50 years ago.

“The free response nature of the questions yielded a deep pool of material for researchers to analyze,” researcher Siobhan T. Bartley says in the report. “Overall, these rich and varied data provide a fascinating snapshot of the attitudes of today’s Pulaski County residents toward one of the most infamous episodes in their collective history.”

The following themes surfaced from comments in the survey:
  • * The Central High crisis has been an inspiration: 25 percent blacks / 21 percent whites.
    - 48-year-old black female said, “A lot of those black students persevered, and it’s a good example for young blacks that even though obstacles come your way, you can still achieve what you put your mind to.”
    - 71-year-old white male said, “The black individuals that were involved are seen as positive role models and respected. Anytime we can generate black role models, that is very important.”

  • * The Central High crisis left a legacy of shame: 22 percent whites / 3 percent blacks.
    “It’s pouring salt in an old wound,” a white male, 65, commented.

  • * The Central High crisis resulted in new opportunities for blacks: 22 percent blacks / 14 percent whites.
    “Now there are black administrators, mayors, and governors in the U.S.,” said a black male, 45.

  • * The Central High crisis resulted in an increase in racial interaction: 17 percent blacks / 13 percent whites.
    “When kids go to school together they learn more about each other. You learn to respect each other,” said a black male, 66.

  • * The Central High crisis is a lesson from history: 13 percent blacks / 13 percent whites.
    “It helps people realize how bad it was and that… we will never make the same mistake again,” said a white female, 26.

  • * The Central High crisis resulted in no changes in racial relations: 13 percent blacks / 7 percent whites.
    “Racism is still here – it’s just covered up,” said a black female, 46.

  • * The Central High crisis resulted in a change for the worse: 10 percent whites / seven percent blacks.
    “The black culture is different in a negative way and I don’t want this influencing the white culture,” said a white female, 79.
The results of the survey were based on telephone interviews with a total of 1,666 black and white adult Pulaski County residents interviewed between Sept. 29, 2006, and Nov. 27, 2007, by the UALR Institute of Government Survey Research Center. For more information about the Central High portion of the racial attitudes survey, go to and click on “Central High Effects.”

University of Arkansas at Little Rock | 2801 S. University Avenue | Little Rock, Arkansas 72204 UALR is designated as "doctoral/research intensive" by the Carnegie Foundation.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Jazz Giant Louis Armstrong Was Born August 4, 1901

Louis Armstrong, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 4, 1901 (according to the most recent research), in the poorest section of town. He overcame poverty to become one of the most important people in the history of music.

Louis Armstrong was called "the single most important figure in the history of jazz" by Billboard magazine, a publication that tracks the recording industry. The jazz magazine Down Beat agreed.

No one before Armstrong had ever played the trumpet the way that he did. He was one of the first great soloists of jazz music. The solos he played were as interesting and innovative as any music written at the time. Rather than follow notes on a page, he improvised, playing what was in his head instead. This type of playing laid the foundation for all jazz to come.

The new style of singing that Louis Armstrong pioneered was called "scat." Scat singing is a lot like improvising on a musical instrument. Instead of singing real words, with scat one sings nonsense words to the melody.

Louis Armstrong playing trumpetArmstrong became as famous for his scat singing and gravelly voice as his trumpet playing. He recorded many songs with another jazz great and scat singer, Ella Fitzgerald.

In addition to all of his accomplishments, Louis Armstrong holds the record for being the oldest artist ever to have a Number 1 record.
He accomplished this when he was 63 years old with his version of the song "Hello, Dolly," from the musical of the same name. What is even more extraordinary is that he reached Number 1 in 1964 by toppling the Beatles from the top of the charts! Louis Armstrong had come a long way from his poor Louisiana beginnings.

IMAGE CREDIT: Public Domain Clip Art
TEXT CREDIT: Progressive Era (1890-1913)

Saturday, August 2, 2008


AMS Pictures partners with Wiley College on new documentary

Dallas, Texas, The real-life Wiley College experience will be captured on film thanks to a partnership between the College and AMS Pictures. The production of a documentary that will explore the story of the Wiley College debate team, whose remarkable defeat of an all-white champion debate team at the University of Southern California in 1935 inspired the 2007 film The Great Debaters starring Denzel Washington, is expected to be completed by September 2008.

The Great Debaters, which debuted in movie theaters across the country December 2007 and was released nation-wide on DVD this month, depicts the Wiley College debate team in its championship 1935 season and chronicles its amazing journey from obscurity and struggle to its historic victory, a triumphant achievement for a small black college in the Jim Crow South of the 1930s.

The new documentary The Real Great Debaters of Wiley College delves deeper into the real-life events that inspired the film chronicles the personal stories of the 1935 debaters, including Professor Melvin B. Tolson and debater James Farmer, Jr., as well as Henrietta Bell Wells, Nolan Anderson, Hobart Sydney Jarrett, Hamilton Boswell and Henry Heights.

Wiley College seal

The Real Great Debaters will also explore the legacy of their achievements and show how professors and students, skilled in oratory and rhetoric honed in black churches and debate societies, would take up the cause of social and political progress, become major figures in the Civil Rights Movement and make vast contributions to American society.

But the story does not end with the historic debate against USC, nor even the lasting influence of Tolson or his debate team. So inspired by the story of the 1935 debaters, in December 2007, Mr. Washington contributed $1 million to Wiley College to reestablish the famed debate program with a new generation of students. The Real Great Debaters, which will be a flagship addition to AMS Pictures� Black History Uncovered series of documentaries on African American history, also will chronicle the actual adventures of today�s Wiley College students as they form a new debate team and set out to re-claim the national debate title.

AMS Pictures is pleased to be chosen to partner with Wiley College on the production of this documentary. �I watched The Great Debaters in a movie theater last December and immediately thought this would make a great documentary. I am very proud to be able to tell the true story behind this inspirational movie,� said Andy Streitfeld, CEO of AMS Production Group and AMS Pictures.

Dr. Haywood Strickland, President of Wiley College, remarked �Wiley College is excited to be partnering with AMS Pictures on this documentary. Our college is proud of its history and working hard to bring that history into the present. We play an important role in educating students for the challenges they will face in a competitive work world. This documentary will tell that story as well.�

About AMS Pictures
AMS Pictures brings 25 years of experience in creative media and visual storytelling to create original programs that inspire, provoke and entertain. From inspiring original documentaries on forgotten people and events to controversial topics like electroconvulsive therapy and domestic violence, from entertaining peeks at American art and culture to informative hints on balancing body and mind, AMS Pictures delivers quality non-fiction entertainment. We make pictures that move you.

About Black History Uncovered
Black History Uncovered is a series that explores inspiring and untold stories in the African American legacy as seen through a contemporary perspective. The series currently includes: Rising from the Rails: The Story of the Pullman Porter, In the Shadow of Hollywood: Race Films & The Birth of Black Cinema, Flying for Freedom: Untold Stories of the Tuskegee Airmen; and A Colored Life: The Herb Jeffries Story.

Wiley College Public Relations 903-927-3201 Wiley College | 903.927.3300 | 711 Wiley Avenue, Marshall, Texas 75670 Contact Wiley College