Monday, November 29, 2010

IU African American Dance Company's annual studio concert coming up on Dec. 7

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington's African American Dance Company will present its annual studio concert on Dec. 7 (Tuesday) at 7:30 p.m. at the Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose St.

The African American Dance Company conveys the spirit of dance styles of the African Diaspora. Its repertoire includes original choreography fusing modern, jazz, African and Latin American dance styles.

The company, based in IU's African American Arts Institute, seeks to widen the scope and appreciation of dance as a discipline through interdisciplinary projects that expose students and audiences to various aesthetic expressions.

This year's concert will include Collaboration 2011 dance pieces presented by students in two courses at IU.

Students of Bernard Woma's "African Performance" course will present two Ghanaian dance numbers. Woma has toured the world as xylophonist and lead drummer of the National Dance Company of Ghana. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and has been in residency with national and international performing groups. He is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in the African Studies Program at IU.

African American Dance Company

African American Dance Company Courtesy of Indiana University
Students of another course, "Dance in the African Diaspora," will perform African and Afro Cuban dances. It is taught by Iris Rosa, who directs the dance company and is professor of African American and African Diaspora studies.

There will also be a featured collaboration with IU HoosierRaas, the university's Indian dance team. Each dance piece will demonstrate the wide variety of expression from the African Diaspora with live and taped music.
General admission tickets are $5 at the door.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 29, 2010 Media Contacts Sam Davis African American Arts Institute 812-855-5427

Saturday, November 27, 2010

His Masters' Tools: Recent Work by Allan deSouza

His Masters' Tools: Recent Work by Allan deSouza—on view at the Fowler Museum from Jan. 23–May 29, 2011 explores the oeuvre of the San Francisco-based performance and photo-conceptual artist, Allan deSouza. The exhibition includes nearly thirty works that engage with the effects of Euro-American empire and the racial underpinnings of colonial power. The works on display run the gamut from large-scale, gorgeously colored and sensuous abstractions to modestly-sized photographic prints.

His Masters' Toolsfocuses on two new series created especially for this Fowler exhibition—Rdctns and The Third Eye—which explore issues of race in relation to western art history by reworking primitivist paintings by Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau and self-portraits by canonical artists such as Chuck Close, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol (left). Both series use digital manipulation to play with notionsof artistic and technological mastery and to blur the boundaries between photography and painting.

The exhibition also draws on work from earlier series, The Searchers (2003), The Lost Pictures (2004/5), and X.Man (2009), to provide a conceptual and formal context for deSouza’s newest experiments.

Work by Allan deSouza The Searchers, a series of landscape photographs that displace deSouza’s own anxieties and preoccupations onto those of a group of tourists on safari outside Nairobi,is the outcome of his efforts to reconnect with the country of his birth on a return trip to Kenya in 2002. The series also alludes to the colonial frontier and raises questions about the desire to view and encounter the cultural and ethnic other from a distance.
The Lost Pictures represents a related attempt to bridge a divide—this time a temporal one—as deSouza reworks his father’s archive of 35mm slides in an effort to reconcile family histories with his own fragmented memories of the family’s African past.

About the Artist

DeSouza, who is of South Asian descent, was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1958. He lives in San Francisco, where he is professor of new genres at the San Francisco Art Institute. His work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally, including at the Walther Collection, New York; Pompidou Centre, Paris; 2008 Gwangju Biennale, Korea; 3rd Guangzhou Triennale, China; ev+a Festival, Ireland; and in recent solo exhibitions at the Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL; Talwar Gallery, New York; and Photoworks 1998-2008, at Talwar Gallery, Delhi. DeSouza’s works have also been included in the large-scale traveling exhibitions Looking Both Ways (Museum for African Art, New York); Africa Remix (Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf), and Snap Judgments (International Center for Photography, New York).

Additional Information

His Masters' Tools: Recent Work by Allan deSouzawill be on view in the Fowler Museum’s Goldenberg Galleria. This exhibition is curated by Gemma Rodrigues, the Fowler Museum's curator of African arts, and Steven Nelson, associate professor of African and African American art history at UCLA. Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Dean’s Office, UCLA Humanities Division, and the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

The Fowler Museum at UCLAis one of the country’s most respected institutions devoted to exploring the arts and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas. The Fowler is open Wednesdays through Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m.; and on Thursdays, from noon until 8 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The Fowler Museum, part of UCLA Arts, is located in the north part of the UCLA campus. Admission is free. Parking is available for a maximum of $10 in Lot 4. For more information, the public may call 310/825-4361 or visit

Stacey Ravel Abarbanel Tel. (310) 825-4288

Friday, November 26, 2010

Smoking attributable mortality (SAM) rate 18% higher for blacks

Racial Disparities in Smoking-Attributable Mortality and Years of Potential Life Lost --- Missouri, 2003--2007 Weekly November 26, 2010 / 59(46);1518-1522

An estimated 443,000 deaths in the United States occur each year as a result of cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke (1). These deaths cost the nation approximately $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in health-care costs (1). During 2000--2004 in Missouri, smoking caused 9,600 deaths, 132,000 years of potential life lost (YPLL), $2.4 billion in productivity losses, and $2.2 billion in smoking-related health-care expenditures annually (2). To limit the adverse health consequences of tobacco use, states implement comprehensive tobacco control programs that identify disparities among population groups and target those disproportionately affected by tobacco use (3). This report compares the public health burden of smoking among whites and blacks in Missouri by estimating the number of smoking-attributable deaths and YPLL in these population subgroups during 2003--2007. The findings indicate that the average annual smoking-attributable mortality (SAM) rate in the state was 18% higher for blacks (338 deaths per 100,000) than for whites (286 deaths per 100,000). The relative difference in smoking-attributable mortality rates between blacks and whites was larger for men (28%) than women (11%). For Missouri, these estimates provide an important benchmark for measuring the success of tobacco control programs in decreasing the burden of smoking-related diseases in these populations and reaffirm the need for full implementation of the state's comprehensive tobacco control program (3).

Smoking-Attributable Mortality

Smoking-Attributable Mortality

The adult module of CDC's Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Morbidity, and Economic Costs (SAMMEC) system* was used to calculate the SAM and YPLL rates for 19 disease categories.† Five-year average annual SAM and YPLL rates were computed from annual reports generated through SAMMEC. These estimates only cover deaths among persons aged ≥35 years. Deaths attributable to secondhand smoke or from smoking-related fires were not included. Sex-, race-, and age-specific smoking-attributable deaths were calculated by multiplying the total number of deaths in each of the 19 disease categories by the estimate of the smoking-attributable fraction (SAF) of deaths for each demographic group.§ These deaths were then grouped into three cause-of-death categories (malignant neoplasm, circulatory disease, and respiratory disease). Both races were assumed to have the same relative risk for dying from a particular disease among the 19 disease categories attributable to smoking. Missouri data for 2003--2007 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) were used to estimate the age-, sex-, and race-specific annual prevalence of current and former smoking in the state.¶ Missouri death records for 2003--2007 were used to calculate the age-, sex-, race-, and disease-specific number of deaths each year (4). The life expectancy (average remaining years of life) by age group and sex was calculated using the abridged life table,** and absolute and relative disparity indexes were computed for each smoking-related disease category (Tables 1--3) comparing SAM rates for blacks to SAM rates for whites. T-tests were used to evaluate the statistical significance (p≤0.05) of differences in SAM/YPLL rates between blacks and whites for the three major disease categories and major diseases.††

During 2003--2007, smoking caused an estimated average of 9,377 deaths (8,400 among whites and 853 among blacks§§) annually among adults in Missouri (Table 1). An estimated 18.1% of deaths among persons aged ≥35 years in Missouri were the result of cigarette smoking (total number of deaths for this age group was 51,856). Smoking caused 32.1% of all deaths from cancer, 15.3% of all circulatory deaths, and 46.5% of all respiratory deaths in Missouri during this period (4). In the cancer category, the major cause of death was cancer of the trachea, lung, or bronchus; in the circulatory category, the major cause was ischemic heart disease; and in the respiratory disease category, the major cause was chronic airway obstruction (Table 1). For both blacks and whites in Missouri, regardless of sex, the leading cause of SAM was cancer, followed by circulatory and respiratory diseases.

Although SAM for blacks represented only 9.1% of the total SAM, the SAM rate for blacks in Missouri was 18% higher than for whites (Table 2). This disparity was larger (28%) for black men than for black women (11%). SAM rates for blacks were 26% higher than for whites for malignant neoplasm and 53% higher for circulatory diseases but 32% lower for respiratory diseases.

The smoking-attributable YPLL rate for blacks also was 18% higher than for whites and differed most for men. Black men had a YPLL rate 25% higher than white men, and the rate for black women was 15% higher than for white women (Table 3). Similar to the SAM results, the YPLL rates for the three major disease categories showed that the YPLL rates for blacks were higher than for whites for malignant neoplasm and circulatory diseases but lower for respiratory diseases. The YPLL rate resulting from smoking-related cancer deaths for blacks was 19% higher than for whites, but 26% higher for the SAM rate. For circulatory deaths, the YPLL rate for blacks was 54% higher, similar to the disparity in the SAM rate (53%). For respiratory diseases, the YPLL rate for blacks was 33% lower than for whites, and similarly, 32% lower for the SAM rate. For specific diseases, blacks had a 14% higher YPLL rate for lung cancer, 35% higher rate for ischemic heart disease, and 38% lower rate for chronic airway obstruction than whites.
Reported by

N Kayani, PhD, SG Homan, PhD, S Yun, MD, PhD, Missouri Dept of Health and Senior Svcs. A Malarcher, PhD, Office on Smoking and Health, CDC.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

US Department of Labor sues Meyer Tool Inc. for systemic discrimination against African-Americans

Complaint seeks remedies for affected machinist applicants

CINCINNATI - The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has filed an administrative complaint against Meyer Tool Inc., a federal contractor that manufactures engine parts for the aerospace industry. The suit alleges that Meyer Tool systematically rejected African-American job applicants who sought entry-level machinist positions at its plant in Cincinnati.

The complaint was filed today with the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C., after OFCCP was unable to secure a fair resolution from Meyer Tool during conciliation efforts with the company.

This defendant has a contractual obligation to provide equal employment opportunity," said OFCCP Director Patricia A. Shiu. "The company failed to meet that obligation. So we will enforce the law and hold Meyer Tool accountable to the fair and reasonable standard that it not discriminate against any group of workers.

The company's discriminatory practices and recordkeeping violations were discovered by OFCCP during a scheduled review to determine the company's compliance with Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race when making hiring decisions. OFCCP's investigation revealed that Meyer Tool failed to implement an internal audit and reporting system to ensure nondiscriminatory policies were carried out as required by law; retain employment applications for the required two-year period; implement an applicant tracking system to determine selection disparities; and develop action-oriented programs to address the adverse impact against African-Americans in the machinist job group.

Department of LaborThe complaint seeks a court order requiring Meyer Tool Inc. to hire at least 14 African-American applicants from the affected class list and to provide them with lost wages and retroactive seniority.
Should the company fail to provide such relief and remedy its violations, OFCCP believes Meyer Tool should face cancellation of its existing government contracts and debarment from entering into future ones.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP's legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. As amended, these three laws prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For more information, call OFCCP's toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251. Additional information is available at

Solis v. Meyer Tool Inc. Case Number: 2011-OFC-3 # # #

News Release OFCCP News Release: [11/23/2010] Contact Name: Rhonda Burke or Scott Allen Phone Number: (312) 353-6976 Release Number: 10-1605-CHI

Monday, November 22, 2010

IU's Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center promotes community service through 'Kwanzaa-in-Action'

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Kwanzaa-in-Action," the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center's Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration on Dec. 1 at Indiana University Bloomington, will again focus on community service. The event is designed to incorporate the seven principles of Kwanzaa through friendly competition among IU student organizations to benefit the community.

The public is invited to the event, where a panel of IU faculty and staff will judge the participating organizations' service projects and award a $500 prize to the winning organization. The event will feature entertainment and food, and will begin at 6 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

Admission is free with a canned good for local food pantry.

"Kwanzaa-in-Action is a practical and uplifting way to extend the social and utilitarian principles of this culturally rich celebration to the broader community," said Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Director Audrey T. McCluskey.

Kwanzaa-in-ActionNow in its second year, Kwanzaa first was celebrated on Dec. 26, 1966, and is traditionally observed from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, with each day focused on Nguzo Saba, or the "seven principles" -- unity, self-determination, work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits," Kwanzaa is rooted in the first harvest celebrations practiced in various cultures in Africa.

Participating student organizations choose one of the seven principles to develop their service project. Last year seven organizations performed service projects that included outreach and mentoring to homeless teens, a fashion show to raise funds to eradicate world hunger, a step-show to raise funds for local HIV/AIDS organizations, and an African bazaar that offered hand-made crafts for sale to support African relief.

The program also will include interactive entertainment led by Betty Dlamini, of Swaziland, who is a singer, actress and playwright in addition to being a IsiZulu instructor at IU's African Studies Program. She will lead the audience in inspirational songs derived from the Zulu/Nguni cultures. A reception will follow in the Bridgwaters Lounge.

Kwanzaa seeks to reinforce a connectedness to African cultural identity, provide a focal point for the gathering of African peoples, and to reflect upon the seven principles that have sustained them. The holiday has been observed at IU since the early 1990s.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 22, 2010 Media Contacts Audrey T. McCluskey Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center 812-855-9271

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WVU professor, students to launch interactive exhibit honoring state's African-American veterans

The West Virginia University P.I. Reed School of Journalism is sharing the forgotten story of African-American soldiers who fought in World War I.

Associate Professor Joel Beeson and his students will unveil the exhibit, Forgotten Legacy: Soldiers of the Coalfields, which examines the story of African-Americans who migrated to McDowell County, W.Va., from the rural South in the early 1900s to work in the coal mines and who served in the U.S. military during wartime.

Beeson says the exhibit will feature artifacts, photographs and documents that provide an interactive experience for visitors.

“Instead of telling someone the story, we’re letting them piece the story together themselves,” said Beeson. “This will allow people to talk about race and the history of race relations in a much more complex way than the one dimensional stereotypes that sometimes dominate such conversations.”

The exhibit will officially open to the public following a dedication ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 5 p.m. and will be housed in the Kimball War Memorial Building in Kimball, W.Va.

African American soldiers World War I

Some of the African American soldiers of the 369th (15th New York)who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action during their World War I service overseas.

(National Archives Photo)
The display will contain a room for veterans to tell their stories and be recorded, as well as two full wall exhibits of photographs from the World War I time period.

As director of the West Virginia Veterans History Project, Beeson has acquired and edited more than 500 photographs, including historical World War I images and a photographic social survey of McDowell County coal miners by the famous Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee.

Beeson says the images demonstrate that Southern coalfields were more integrated than many people might realize.
“The miners bonded together under dangerous conditions – their jobs often trumped skin color,” said Beeson. “One of the quotes often heard from school children was ‘when our fathers came out of the mine they were all black.’ It was this kind of economic opportunity that drew African-Americans to McDowell County and Kimball.”

The Kimball War Memorial Building, where the exhibit will be housed, is the nation’s first and only war memorial honoring the 400,000 African-American soldiers that fought in World War I. The building itself has been through tough times. Dedicated in 1928, it served as a center for community life until the early 1970s when it began to deteriorate. Vandalism and a fire in 1991 left the building in ruins.

It took nearly 20 years to restore the building, and Kimball War Memorial Board member E. Ray Williams says he has high hopes for the project’s impact on the community.

“I would love to see this building bring communities together,” said Williams. “This building is so important to what’s happening in America now . . . the coming together of all races and cultures.”

In addition to the building’s exhibit, there will be an online component as well. The project website will debut on Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at

Beeson became acquainted with the McDowell County memorial and its board members in 2004 while working on his documentary, Fighting on Two Fronts: The Untold Stories of African-American WWII Veterans.

In the fall of 2009, Beeson shared the idea of creating a photo exhibit for the memorial with students in his visual storytelling class. What started out as a class assignment evolved into the exhibit.

Brianna Swisher (BSJ, 2010), one of the students who helped start the project, is now continuing her work as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer.

“We started asking questions, and we needed to know more about Kimball, so Professor Beeson planned a trip for us,” said Swisher. “We just became connected to the town and the people there. After that trip, I knew that I wanted to be the person to hang the pictures on the wall – I wanted to finish this project.”

Work on the project was initially funded through a 2010 WVU Public Service Grant. This fall, the project has also been awarded a mini grant through the West Virginia Compact- Campus Community LINK project and a Major Grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

The project team is also managing an active Soldiers of the Coalfields Facebook page and a Kimball Memorial Twitter account detailing updates on the progress of the installation and more. -WVU-

CONTACT: Kimberly Brown, School of Journalism 304-293-3505 ext. 5403;

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Navy to Commission Guided Missile Destroyer Gravely

The Navy will commission its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, Gravely, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in Wilmington, N.C.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Alma Gravely will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late husband. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

Designated DDG 107, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Gravely was born in Richmond, Va., June 4, 1922. After attending Virginia Union University, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve in September 1942. In 1943 he participated in a Navy program (V-12) designed to select and train highly qualified men for commissioning as officers. On Dec. 14, 1944, Gravely successfully completed midshipman training, becoming the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. He was released from active duty in April 1946, but remained in the Naval Reserve.

Gravely was recalled to active duty in 1949. As part of the Navy’s response to President Truman’s executive order to desegregate the armed services, his initial assignment was as a Navy recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C. area. Gravely went on to a Navy career that lasted 38 years and included many distinguished accomplishments.

Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.

Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.
Gravely’s performance and leadership as an African American Naval officer demonstrated to America the value and strength of diversity. Gravely’s accomplishments served as watershed events for today’s Navy. He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (Third).

Gravely is the 57th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection. Gravely will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests.

Cmdr. Douglas Kunzman will become the first commanding officer of the ship and lead the crew of 276 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Gravely was built at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. More information on Arleigh Burke-class destroyers can be found at

IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2010 No. 1060-10 U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) News Release

WEB: Media contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132 Public contact: or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

‘In the Lion’s Mouth’ Rewrites Chapter of African-American History

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The collapse of Reconstruction was not the end of African-American political activism in the South during the late 19th century as it is often portrayed – far from it, argues Dr. Omar Ali in his new book, “In the Lion’s Mouth: Black Populism in the New South, 1886-1900.”

Black populism, an independent political movement of African-American farmers, sharecroppers and agrarian workers distinct from the white populist movement of the same period, was the largest black movement in the South until the rise of the modern civil rights movement, says the historian and associate professor in the UNCG African American Studies Program.

“After Reconstruction ended in 1877, African-Americans in the South regrouped,” says Ali. “Black populists formed alliances with white populists and challenged the Democratic Party, a party of wealthy interests and white supremacy. They failed, but many of their demands would be enacted within a generation by the New Deal – so in some ways they were laying the groundwork for changes that came to pass.”

‘In the Lion’s MouthPublished by University Press of Mississippi, “In the Lion’s Mouth” describes how the independent movement grew out of established networks of black churches and fraternal organizations in the region. From 1886 to 1900 African-Americans established farming cooperatives, raised money for schools, published newspapers, lobbied for legislation, protested the convict lease system and helped to launch the People’s Party.

“Ali correctly resists the common tendency to either see black populists as an offshoot of the white populist movement, or a failed effort at interracial organizing,” writes Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley in the book’s foreword.
“Rather, he paints a compelling portrait of an independent movement. … Ali flips the script, if you will, and compels us to rethink the entire history of late 19th century Southern politics.”

In North Carolina, black and white populists formed an alliance that won control of the state legislature in 1894 and the governor’s office in 1896. The bloody Wilmington Riot of 1898 was a response by the Democratic Party to retake state control. The incident would signal the demise of black populism in North Carolina, and soon across the region.

A frequent commentator in the national media, with political analysis offered on CNN and NPR, among other networks, Ali sees similarities between the Democratic Party’s virtual monopoly in the South during the late 19th century and the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties in the nation today. In both cases, entrenched parties have blocked important reforms, he says.

“It’s been the outsiders, the independents, who have been at the forefront of critical changes in American history, from the abolition of slavery to labor rights, from women’s right to vote to civil rights. All of these things came from outside forces, independents and third parties, until they were co-opted by the parties in power.

“What independents, black and white, are doing now is challenging the political control of the two major parties on the electoral process. In that way, they share a history with the populists of a century ago.”

Ali, a former Fulbright scholar with research awards from Harvard University and the University of South Carolina, previously taught in the History Department at Towson University in Maryland and has served as a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, where he wrote his dissertation on black populism under the supervision of Dr. Eric Foner.

Ali is also the author of “In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third Party Movements in the United States” (Ohio University Press, 2008), which was described as a “landmark work” by The National Political Science Review.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro By Dan Nonte, University Relations University Relations Location: 500 Forest Street Mailing Address: PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 Telephone:336.334.3783 Fax:336.334.4602

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Howard Surgeon Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick Named to EBONY Power 100 List

WASHINGTON (Nov 15) -- Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, director of the Howard University Cancer Center and division chief for General Surgery at Howard University Hospital, this month joined A-list celebrities, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Michael Jordan, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, Alicia Keyes, Brown University President Ruth Simmons and U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, as one of EBONY Magazine’s Power 100 for 2010.

Frederick, who also serves as associate dean for Clinical Strategy and Operations at Howard University College of Medicine, was cited for “working to educate and save lives when it comes to cancer” in the December issue of the magazine.

The annual list is a chance for the magazine to profile the nation’s African-American “power players” whose “accomplishments are of special significance to us, because you serve as both proof of our power and as role models to the next generation,” the magazine’s editors said.

The magazine’s editors said in making this year’s list, they looked for people who consistently challenged the status quo, are forging new paths to opportunity and success, have an impact because of the breadth of their sphere of influence and whose efforts have positively benefited African Americans.

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick
Frederick earned his bachelor of science degree from Howard University in 1992 and his medical degree from Howard’s College of Medicine 1994.

Dr. Robert Taylor, dean of the Howard University College of Medicine, praised Frederick and his rise from student to associate dean.

“I think that Dr. Frederick is truly one of our exceptional graduates,” Taylor said. “He trained in our residency program and has been on our faculty for four years, where he has truly excelled in teaching, research and service. He’s an extremely gifted surgeon and is well deserving of being on this list.”
Before returning to Howard, Frederick completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He then completed his surgical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he spent his final year as the Chief Administrative Fellow.

In 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn., where he became the associate director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, the director of Surgical Oncology and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery.

He held the position of associate program director of the Integrated Residency Program, where he was awarded the residents’ “Teacher of the Year Award” and the students’ “Teacher of the Year Award” in all three of the years that he was on the faculty. In April 2006, The University of Connecticut integrated Surgical Residency issued a proclamation naming their mock oral examinations monthly sessions, “Frederick Rounds.”

He is currently a member of several national organizations, including the Association of Academic Surgeons, the Society of Black Academic Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, where he is an Executive member of the Committee of Young Surgeons, and the Society of Surgical Oncology where he is a Member of the Diversity Committee.

In 2006, Frederick joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Howard University as associate professor, fulfilling a career aspiration of working with his mentor, world renowned cancer oncologist and surgeon Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr.

He is a reviewer for several scientific journals. Recently, he was appointed vice chairman of the District of Columbia Board of Medicine. He also has served as an Associate Board Examiner for the American Board of Surgery.

His research has been published in well-known peer reviewed journals. Frederick currently resides in Washington with his wife and two children.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Howard University Media Contact: Ron Harris Director of Communications 202.683.0182

Chauncey Spencer - Aviation and Civil Rights Pioneer VIDEO

Chauncey Spencer was a member of the National Airmen Association of America and played a key role in the advancement of minority participation in the air services. This is part of an interview done at his home in October 2000. The segments here are part of a documentary entitled "Through Our Eyes: Reflections of America's Eldest Generation" which explored the changes - social, technological, economic and political - in America throughout the 20th century as experienced by people born before 1910.

Chauncey and his wife, Anne, invited a group of strangers into their home in Lynchburg, Virginia and treated us so wonderfully, that even now, seven years later, I consider those three hours some of the most memorable of my life. I only wish more people could have had the opportunity to sit down and talk with this terrific man the way we were able to. Putting this small segment on here will hopefully provide an appreciation of what we were able to experience.

TEXT and VIDEO CREDIT: mccahans

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vitamin D deficiency does not increase stroke risk among blacks

Abstract 9478 This abstract will be featured in a news conference.

Study Highlights:

* Vitamin D deficiency doubled risks of fatal stroke among white people, but had no effect on stroke death in blacks.
* Researchers were surprised by the results because blacks are generally at higher risk both for stroke and for vitamin D deficiency than whites.
* Unrelated research presented also found correlations between low levels of vitamin D and death.

CHICAGO, Nov. 14, 2010 — While vitamin D deficiency is associated with fatal stroke among whites, it is not linked to more stroke deaths among blacks, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010.

Analyzing the health records of a nationally representative group of 7,981 black and white adults, researchers found that whites with deficient vitamin D levels had a doubled risk of dying from a stroke compared to whites with higher vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol
In contrast, researchers found no relationship between fatal strokes and vitamin D deficiency among blacks, even though blacks in the study generally had a 60 percent higher risk of dying from stroke compared to whites.

These results held true after researchers accounted for various socioeconomic and stroke risk factors in both groups. Nearly 7 percent of whites in the study were vitamin D deficient, compared to slightly over 32 percent of blacks.

Researchers are surprised because previous studies have indicated blacks are both more likely to have low levels of vitamin D and more likely to have strokes compared to whites.
“We thought maybe the lower vitamin D levels might actually explain why blacks have higher risks for stroke,” said Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., the study’s lead researcher and an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Md. “But we did not find the same relationship between vitamin D and stroke in blacks.”

The study further shapes an emerging body of research about the potential health benefits of Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin involved in bone health that helps prevent rickets in children, protects against severe bone loss in adults, and potentially lowers the risks of heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and other medical conditions. Sources of vitamin D include exposure to ultraviolet B rays in sunlight, and eating fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified foods such as milk products and breakfast cereals.

Researchers, using data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of Americans (NHANES-III) conducted between 1988 and1994, followed the study participants for a median of 14 years. They measured vitamin D amounts based on blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a form that represents vitamin D stored in the body.

Average levels of vitamin D were significantly lower in blacks compared to whites. By 2006, according to the National Death Index, there were a total 176 deaths from fatal stroke (116 among whites and 60 among blacks).

Through regression analysis, researchers estimated the risks of fatal stroke based on low vitamin D blood levels 15 ng/ml and race, eliminating the effects of socioeconomic status (including age, sex, income and education) and stroke health factors (including diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, smoking, physical activity and alcohol use).

Blacks may have a natural resistance to the negative effects of low vitamin D levels, which might also explain the lower frequency of bone fractures despite the higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among blacks, Michos said.

“Since stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in the United States, it’s important for us to consider low vitamin D as a possible risk factor for stroke at least among whites,” Michos said.

Clinical trials are needed to determine whether treating vitamin D deficiency will help lower stroke risks, she said.

Researchers only had access to death records and thus couldn’t account for stroke survivors, which potentially limits the study’s reach. Since blood levels of vitamin D were only measured at the beginning of the study, this may not have been an accurate reflection of the participants’ lifetime vitamin D status, Michos said.

Co-authors are: Jared P. Reis, Ph.D.; Wendy S. Post, M.D., M.S.; Pamela L. Lutsey, Ph.D.; Rebecca F. Gottesman, M.D., Ph.D.; Thomas H. Mosley, Ph.D.; Albert Richey Sharrett, M.D., Dr.P.H.; and Michal L. Melamed, M.D., M.H.S. No authors reported any disclosures.

NHANES-III is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics.

(Note: Actual presentation time: 9:45 a.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010)

Also Note These News Tips also for release at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010

Abstract 21058 – A cross-sectional study of more than 9,000 adults in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-III) noted a positive association between low blood levels of vitamin D and rates of prehypertension. Prehypertension is a stage of blood pressure where prevention efforts may delay the onset of actual hypertension. Researchers say future randomized trials are needed to determine if vitamin D supplementation can prevent or delay the onset of hypertension.

(Note Actual presentation time: 4:15 p.m. CT, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010)

Abstract 12680/P2074 — While vitamin D deficiency is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure and heart attack risk factors, a new study found that low levels of Vitamin D was also associated with reduced survival from these conditions. Vitamin D supplements improved survival rates.

(Note Actual presentation time: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010)

Abstract 10321 — Researchers analyzing the causes of death among a group of post-menopausal women found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with higher risks of dying from cardiovascular disease and other causes. However, the risks appeared to be substantially lowered once heart disease risk factors were considered, with waist circumference being the most prominent.

(Note Actual presentation time: 2 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 17, 2010) ###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oregon Man Sentenced for Threatening Lima, Ohio Civil Rights Leader by Mailing Noose

WASHINGTON—Daniel Lee Jones, a Portland, Oregon white supremacist, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and three years supervised release for threatening the president of the Lima, Ohio chapter of the NAACP by mailing him a noose. Jones entered a guilty plea on May 17, 2010, to using the U.S. Postal Service to send a threatening communication.

In the plea agreement, Jones admitted to mailing F.M. Jason Upthegrove a hangman's noose, which arrived at Mr. Upthegrove's home on or about Feb. 14, 2008. Jones stated in the plea agreement that he mailed the hangman's noose in order to convey a threat to Mr. Upthegrove because he was an African-American who publicly advocated for better police services for African-Americans in Lima, Ohio. The indictment indicated that Mr. Upthegrove also spoke out in the media against Jones's white supremacist group's mailing of hate flyers related to the shooting of an African-American woman by a member of the Lima Police Department.

"A noose, an unmistakable symbol of hatred in this nation, was used by this defendant as a threat of violence aimed at silencing a civil rights advocate," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute those who use threats of violence to attempt to silence proponents of racial equality."

Daniel Lee Jones

Daniel Lee Jones Image Credit: Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
"We will not tolerate those who use threats of violence, such as by mailing a noose, to intimidate individuals who are advocating for racial equality," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach.

The case was investigated by Special Agent Brian Russ of the FBI, and the prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Bauer from the U.S. Attorney's Office, and Special Legal Counsel Barry Kowalski and Trial Attorney Shan Patel from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Department of Justice Press Release. For Immediate Release November 8, 2010 U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Reinvention Center Hosted by University of Miami Enters 10th Year with Ambitious Goals

November 11, 2010 — Coral Gables — “The Reinvention Center, hosted by the University of Miami, heads into its national conference with a new director and ambitious goals.

Ten years after the creation of the national center aimed at improving undergraduate education at leading research universities around the country, a growing number of those institutions have initiated programs to enhance the freshman experience while also ramping up opportunities for baccalaureate students to conduct laboratory research alongside top scientists.

Still, colleges and universities must do a better job of offering those students more research opportunities in the humanities and performing arts and in making sure that they are educated as global citizens, said Patricia A. Turner, a leading scholar in African and African-American studies and the newly named director of the Reinvention Center, a consortium of 65 public and private schools hosted by the University of Miami.

Dr. Patricia Turner

Dr. Patricia Turner
“We’ve done a lot more in the past ten years of actually getting students into laboratories working with faculty and in some instances being listed as co-authors on faculty publications,” said Turner, vice provost of undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis. “But we’ve still got some work to do to improve that experience for students who mix humanities with research.”
The Reinvention Center’s two-day national conference begins this week in Crystal City, Virginia. University faculty, provosts, deans, and department chairs will attend, as will the center’s executive board members, including William Scott Green, senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at UM. Sanjeev Chatterjee, vice dean and executive director of the Knight Center for International Media at UM’s School of Communication, will give a talk on visual storytelling.

Turner says that some of the improvements in undergraduate education over the past decade can be linked directly to the Boyer Commission, which in 1998 issued a report calling for sweeping reforms in baccalaureate education—among them, a greater emphasis on research-based learning, the removal of barriers to interdisciplinary education, and the creative use of information technology.

The creation of academic positions like Turner’s and Green’s that are charged with addressing undergraduate education is one result of the commission’s recommendations, Turner explained. But the baccalaureate experience still needs to improve in other areas. Keeping global education programs like foreign-language classes afloat, for example, is critical, she said.

An African American who was the first in her family to go to college, Turner said she is committed to increasing the percentage of first-generation and underrepresented minority students in higher education. She wants the Reinvention Center to be the source to which media and public policy officials turn for matters related to undergraduate education.

University of Miami Media Contact: Contact Person: Barbara Gutierrez. Email:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


(Boston) - The Boston University (BU) College of Communication (COM) will host Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, noted author and Director of the Narrative Nonfiction Program at BU, Isabel Wilkerson, to discuss her latest book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.

The discussion will be moderated by John Stauffer, Chair of the History of American Civilization program, and a Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

The event will include a book reading, reception and book signing.

Voices of the Great Migration: Isabel Wilkerson discusses The Warmth of Other Suns

Moderated by John Stauffer, Chair of the History of American Civilization program, and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University

The Warmth of Other SunsHosts:
Boston University College of Communication

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Program at 4:30 PM; Reception and book signing at 6:00 PM

Boston University Photonics Center, Room 206
8 Saint Mary’s Street, Boston, MA
Free and open to the public

Wilkerson, former Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for her coverage of breaking news and human interest pieces in Chicago. She is the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first black American to win the prize for individual reporting. She also won the George Polk Award for her coverage of the Midwest and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists also in 1994. The Warmth of Other Suns is a New York Times best seller and has received rave reviews by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe and many others.

Stauffer is a well-known book reviewer and accomplished educator of varying topics including the Civil War era, anti-slavery, social protest movements and visual culture. His written work has been published in The Washington Post, Time Magazine, The New York Post and The Harvard Review. Stauffer reviewed The Warmth of Other Suns for The Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission. — 30 —

For Release Upon Receipt - November 10, 2010 Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

IU's Guterl honored by American Studies Association

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Matthew Guterl, professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies and director of the American Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, has been named the recipient of the American Studies Association's 2010 Mary Turpie Prize.

The award honors Guterl for his distinguished teaching, advising and program development, and his achievements and contributions to the field at the local, regional, national and international levels. He will be presented with the award at the ASA meeting in San Antonio on Nov. 19.

"This is a richly deserved honor," said Michael Steiner, chair of the selection committee. "We received an almost overwhelming outpouring of heartfelt testimony, including eloquent letters from some 40 colleagues at Indiana University and nine other campuses across the country as well as from 16 of his current and former students. Time and again, these letters praise his intellectual creativity and energy, his devotion to program building in path-breaking areas of American studies and his tireless efforts to enhance the careers of your students and colleagues."

Matthew Guterl

Matthew Guterl
A historian of race and race relations in the United States, the Americas and the world, Guterl is the author of two books published by Harvard University Press. His first book, The Color of Race in America, 1900-1940, was named Best Book of 2001 on the History of Race and Ethnicity by the American Political Science Association. He is currently at work on two books: a biography of Josephine Baker, focusing on her adopted family, and a critique of the visual culture of race

Guterl is an adjunct professor in the Department of History and in the College of Arts and Sciences' Cultural Studies and African Studies programs; he is also an affiliated faculty member in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program..
He earned his Ph.D. in history at Rutgers University in 1999 and joined the Indiana University faculty in 2003.

"Matt Guterl is a tremendously successful director, universally admired for his administrative skill, his intellectual depth, and his complete honesty and thorough decency," said Karen Hanson, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. "I congratulate him on receiving this recognition from his peers in the field."

David Zaret, interim dean of the IU College of Arts and Sciences, said, "Matt Guterl is one of the best of the best. He is a respected scholar, a popular teacher with a strong commitment to undergraduate students, and an effective academic leader. We're proud to have him as our colleague in the College of Arts and Sciences."

For more information on the American Studies Association, see

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 9, 2010 Media Contacts: Steve Hinnefeld University Communications 812-856-3488

Monday, November 8, 2010

UGA to mark 50th anniversary of desegregation in 2011

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia will mark the 50th anniversary of its desegregation with a series of events starting on Jan. 9—the date in 1961 when Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) became the first African Americans to register for classes—and continuing for 50 days through Feb. 28, the end of Black History Month.

Hunter-Gault will return to campus for a kick-off reception on Jan. 9 that also will include the family of the late Hamilton Holmes and Mary Frances Early, who transferred to UGA as a graduate student in the summer of 1961 and the next year became the first African American to earn a degree when she received her master’s in music education.Holmes and Hunter-Gault graduated in 1963.

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will be from 6-8 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.

On Jan. 10, Hunter-Gault will deliver a 50th anniversary lecture at 3 p.m. in Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel.Overflow seating will be available in Masters Hall, with a live video feed.

Charlayne Hunter Gault

Charlayne Hunter Gault
A panel discussion of the legal issues involved in the university’s desegregation will follow in Masters Hall at 5 p.m. Participants will include Horace Ward, who first challenged UGA’s discriminatory admissions policies after being denied admission to the School of Law in 1950, and Robert Benham, who earned a law degree from UGA in 1970 and later became the first African-American chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.Ward, who served on Holmes and Hunter’s legal team, was appointed a U.S. District Judge in 1979 and is currently a Senior District Judge.
At 8 p.m., the premiere campus screening of a documentary on Donald Hollowell, who led the legal team that secured admission for Holmes and Hunter, will be held in Masters Hall.The documentary was produced by Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work, and Derrick Alridge, director of the Institute for African American Studies.

Hunter-Gault also will participate in a conversation with students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, from which she earned her degree, on Jan. 11.The event will be recorded.The Grady College is promoting a college-wide read of her 1992 memoir In My Place prior to her return to campus.

Also on Jan. 11, noted poet, author and activist Sonia Sanchez will participate in a dialogue moderated by Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Writer-in-Residence in the Grady College, and featuring poet Reginald McKnight, who holds the Hamilton Holmes Professorship in English.The event is at 2 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center with a reception and book-signing following.

Another panel discussion is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. that day in 101 Miller Learning Center with UGA faculty authors Maurice Daniels, who wrote a biography of Horace Ward; Robert Pratt, who chronicled UGA’s desegregation in We Shall Not Be Moved; and Thomas Dyer, who included a chapter on the event in his bicentennial history of UGA.Joining them will be Robert Cohen, professor of history and social studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, who also has written about UGA’s desegregation.

The week concludes with the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Breakfast with Mary Frances Early as the speaker. Co-sponsored by the university, the Athens-Clarke County Government and the Clarke County School District, the event will be at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 14 in the Grand Hall of the Tate Student Center.Advance reservations are needed and should be made through the Office of Institutional Diversity (706/583-8195).

Early also will visit with students at J.J. Harris Elementary Charter School on Jan. 13 for an event sponsored by UGA’s College of Education and the Institute for African American Studies.

Additional details about these and the many other events planned throughout January and February are available on the 50th anniversary of desegregation website (, which also includes historical information as well as “milestones and achievements” of the past 50 years.

“We really want to encourage the campus community and the local community to participate in this landmark occasion,” said Cheryl Dozier, associate provost for institutional diversity, who co-chairs the planning committee with Derrick Alridge. “There are so many ways to do so and we are excited to see the creativity being shown by UGA departments and student groups in finding ways to celebrate the courage of Hamilton Holmes, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Mary Frances Early, as well as those who supported them and those who have followed in their footsteps.” ##

UGA News Service Writer: Sharron Hannon, 706/583-0728, Contacts: Cheryl Dozier, 706/583-8195,; Derrick Alridge, 706/542-5197, Nov 8, 2010, 07:46

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ruston, Louisiana, Man Sentenced for Federal Hate Crime

WASHINGTON– Robert Jackson, 37, of Ruston, La., was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for placing a hangman’s noose under the carport of the home of a Honduran immigrant who moved to Ruston from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Jackson was also sentenced to one year of supervised release upon his release from prison. Today’s sentence was handed down by U. S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes in Monroe, La.

Jackson entered a guilty plea on June 24, 2010, to violating the Fair Housing Act by intimidating and interfering with another’s housing rights because of race. According to court testimony, the victim and her children arrived home on June 13, 2008, and found a hangman’s noose suspended from a bird-feeder underneath the carport of her home. Jackson admitted that he hung the noose in order “to send a message” to African-American males who visited the victim’s home.

“A noose is an unmistakable symbol of hate in our country, and using this symbol to intimidate a family will not be tolerated.” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute those who resort to violent acts motivated by hate.”

Hangmans Noose“When a noose is used to interfere with federally protected rights, it is a crime which will be prosecuted by this office” said Stephanie Finley, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “The victim and her family sought nothing more than to live in their home peacefully. Everyone should feel safe in their homes without being subjected to hateful acts.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, Monroe Resident Agency; and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick and Trial Attorney Myesha Braden of the Civil Right Division of the Department of Justice.
10-1259 Civil Rights Division Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, November 5, 2010

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Burning African-American Church VIDEO

WASHINGTON—Benjamin Haskell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor in Springfield, Massachusetts to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in the 2008 burning of the Macedonia Church of God in Christ, a predominately African-American Church, on the morning after President Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American president of the United States. In addition, Haskell will pay more than $1.7 million in restitution, including $123,570.25 to the Macedonia Church.

On June 16, 2010, Haskell, 24, of Springfield, pled guilty to conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate the mostly African-American parishioners of the Macedonia Church in the free exercise of the right to hold and use their new church building, which was under construction, and to damaging the parishioners’ new church building through arson and obstructing their free exercise of religion because of their race, color, and ethnic characteristics.

At the earlier plea hearing, a prosecutor told the court that had the case proceeded to trial, the government’s evidence would have proven that in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, within hours of President Barack Obama being elected, Haskell and his co-conspirators agreed to burn down, and did burn down, the Macedonia Church’s newly constructed building where religious services were to be held. The building was 75 percent completed at the time of the fire, which destroyed nearly the entire structure, leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner intact. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by arsonists who poured and ignited gasoline on the interior and exterior of the building.

Mass. Governor Deval Patrick toured work site with Macedonia Church of God In Christ Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr. and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. They thanked volunteers who have been working to rebuild the church. The church was torched hours after Barack Obama was elected the nation's first black president in 2008.

Haskell confessed to the crime and admitted that prior to the presidential election, he and his co-conspirators used racial slurs against African-Americans and expressed anger at the possible election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president. Haskell admitted that after Obama was declared the winner of the election, he and his co-conspirators walked through the woods behind the Macedonia Church to scout out burning it down. Then, in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, Haskell and his co-conspirators went back to the church, poured gasoline inside and outside of the church, and ignited the gasoline.

“The freedom to practice the religion that we choose without discrimination or hateful acts is among our nation’s most cherished rights,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “As seen here today, the Department will prosecute anyone who violates that right to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The burning of the Macedonia Church because of racial hatred and intolerance was a vicious attack on one of our most cherished freedoms—to worship in the religion of our choice safely and without fear of discrimination,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz. “The successful investigation, prosecution, and punishment of those who committed this hateful act is a clear statement that law enforcement will do all in its power to protect our citizens’ civil rights.”

“While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is charged with investigating some of the most violent crimes, I consider the arson to be one of the most serious and dangerous offenses. Not only was this case about the burning of a house of worship, it cut to the very heart of our most valued rights, that of religious freedom. I want to acknowledge all of our partners who assisted in bringing the individuals responsible for this fire to justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Guy Thomas.

“Today’s sentencing represents just one more step toward closure and healing, not only for the victims of this hate crime, but for the Springfield community as a whole. The FBI, along with its federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, remains committed to protecting each and every citizen’s civil rights, and will aggressively investigate any violation of those rights, bringing the perpetrators to justice,” said Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul H. Smyth and Kevin O’Regan of the U.S. Attorney's Springfield Office, and Nicole Lee Ndumele, Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

TEXT CREDIT: Department of Justice Press Release. For Immediate Release. November 1, 2010 U.S. Department of Justice. Office of Public Affairs. (202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888


Friday, November 5, 2010

Arthur Miller Dialogue on Sports, Media and Race: The Impact on America, Nov. 11th

On Thursday, Nov. 11th Arthur R. Miller, one of the nation’s most distinguished legal scholars and a renowned commentator on the law and society, will moderate a panel discussion on “Sports, Media and Race: The Impact on America.”

The panel will feature a group of participants with national, regional and local perspective and resonance, including Harry Edwards, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. Edwards is the author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” and architect of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, which led to the Black Power Salute protest by African-American athletes at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Edwards has taken vocal and dissonant positions on the relationship of African American athletes to American culture and has been a proponent of black participation in the management of professional sports.

The panel will also include:

* Otis Birdsong, four-time National Basketball Association all-star
* Bob Boland, professor of sports management and sports business at New York University

Arthur Miller* Talmage Boston, author and baseball historian
* Clayborne Carson, professor of history and director of the MLK Research and Education Institute at Stanford University
* Rob Fink, assistant professor of education at Hardin Simmons University and author of “Playing in Shadows: Texas and Negro League Baseball”
* Fran Harris, Longhorn women’s basketball player who led her team to its first NCAA championship with the first perfect season in women’s NCAA history
* Norm Hitzges, radio host at KTCK 1310 AM in Dallas
* Jane Leavy, author of “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle”
* Ted Shaker, former executive producer of CBS Sports
* Craig Watkins, associate professor of radio-TV-film at The University of Texas at Austin
* Julius Whittier, Dallas County assistant district attorney and the first black athlete to letter in football at The University of Texas at Austin.

The dialogue will take place from 3:30 to 5pm in the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on The University of Texas at Austin campus. Free parking is available in lot 38. University maps are available online.

The event is sponsored by the Texas Program in Sports and Media, the College of Communication and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. It is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, College of Communication, 512 475 8071, or Christopher Hart, 512-471-2431, christopher.hart at

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Arkansas Men Indicted for Burning Cross to Intimidate African-American Resident

WASHINGTON – James Bradley Branscum, Tony Branscum, both of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee of Batesville, Ark., were indicted this week by a federal grand jury on charges related to their roles in burning a cross in the yard of an African-American resident in Salado on Aug. 28, 2010.

In the three-count indictment, the three were charged with one count of conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another, one count of interfering with the housing rights of another and one count of using fire in the commission of a felony.

If convicted, the three face a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI with cooperation from Independence County, Ark., Sheriff Alan Cockrill and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Independence County Sheriff‘s Office. The case will be prosecuted by Trial Attorney Cindy Chung from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White from the U.S. Attorney ’ s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Department of Justice logoThe charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, November 2, 2010