Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty for Cross Burning

WASHINGTON – Kenneth Stiffey Jr. of Robinson, Penn., pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge related to the burning of a cross in the yard of an African-American victim in November 2009, the Justice Department announced today.

Stiffey, 21, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another in federal court in Pittsburgh before Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill. Information presented during the plea hearing established that a cross burning occurred on Nov. 14, 2009, at a residence in Robinson that was home to a family with three minor children, one of whom is African-American. The investigation revealed that Stiffey and his co-conspirators agreed to burn a cross in the backyard of the home of the African-American minor victim. After the cross was constructed and doused in accelerant, Stiffey transported the 6-foot wooden cross to a garage owned by Stiffey’s family. Together with co-conspirators, Stiffey carried the cross into his garage and supplied additional gasoline, which was poured on the cross. One of the co-conspirators then took the cross, jumped the fence onto the backyard of the victim’s property, stuck it into the ground and, using a cigarette lighter, ignited it around 11 p.m.

Department of Justice Logo“This defendant used an unmistakable symbol of hate to threaten a family with violence simply because the race of a child. These incidents are a reminder of the civil rights challenges we still face today,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute hate crimes of this kind.”

“This case underscores our commitment to prosecute those who commit crimes driven by hatred or intolerance,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania David J. Hickton.

On Feb. 9, 2011, co-conspirator Michael Francis Bealonis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Sentencing has been set for July 26, 2011. The law provides for a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by the FBI, together with the Pennsylvania State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Patricia A. Sumner from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

11-415 Civil Rights Division Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, April 1, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Indiana University professors take political, cultural stand

Collection of essays brings marginalized, oppressed voices of labor to forefront.

In his lifetime, Thandabantu Iverson, Ph.D., has worn many hats, including that of coal miner, auto worker, steel worker, butcher, stage hand, cab driver and teacher.

Each one of these experiences has shaped Iverson indelibly, contributing to his passion for justice, his pride in his working class roots and his heightened awareness of the forces at play in the pursuit of equity in work. In fact, he proudly attributes his current scholarly work and academic career as a political scientist in large part to his diverse work history.

Recently, the Indiana University Northwest Labor Studies assistant professor and coordinator added book editor to his collection of titles, with the release of “Trabalhadores, Noves Perspectivas e Comparacoes,” a collection of essays written in Portuguese and English by both Brazilian and American scholars on labor issues.

Trabalhadores, Noves Perspectivas e ComparacoesIverson defers a considerable amount of the accolades for the project to his colleague, William Mello, Ph.D., associate professor in the Labor Studies program at IU Kokomo, who invited Iverson to partner with him on the endeavor intended to bring oft-disregarded voices to the forefront of debates on labor and power.

Passionate about social justice, Iverson has much experience on the American social movement front, having been intensely involved in building crusades for civil rights, black political power, African liberation and worker empowerment. Mello was born in the U.S. but raised in Brazil, where he was an iron worker and labor activist. His research focuses on social movements in the U.S. and Brazil.

The two educators, who both have roots in ethnic groups they see as often being marginalized or oppressed, wanted to address what they perceive as a U.S.-centric way of interpreting and analyzing experiences of workers outside the United States. With their work, they hope to start a conversation from a vantage point much different than that of the status quo.

“We wanted to have people in Brazil have the opportunity to speak their own truth and say what they are doing and why they are doing it without having to look at it through the lens of U.S.-centered and European-centered experiences,” Iverson said.

The essays cover such topics as the absence and underdevelopment of labor’s capacity for independent organization; the impact of recent shifts in economic structure and public policies; the size and political strength of organized sectors of labor; elite forms of ownership and control; the history of trade unions in society; and much more.

Mello said the idea for the book came about two years ago while he was studying the organization of the Brazilian working class. He set out on a mission to advance the internationalization of his curriculum and opened the discussion to include scholars of different fields in different countries looking at different aspects of working-class organizations and working-class response.

“Very often, scholars from the U.S. have a tendency to avoid talking about some of the serious issues that working people from other countries confront,” Iverson says. “A lot of times as labor educators, we are working with people from unions who have a particular history with regard to power relations in this country. If we speak with complete candor about things, a lot of times, we create trouble for ourselves and we get into difficult situations because we are speaking to power. When you have to deal with power relations in this country, things are marginalized, obscured. We wanted to have a book that would open up discussion about what is happening in people’s countries and with people’s struggles and hear the voices of the people themselves.”

Through their work, Mello and Iverson sought to shun the role of “gatekeepers of the status quo” and, instead, consciously engaged others in thoughtful commentary that they hope will bring about a “culture of dialogue.” Less dominant cultures’ ideas are rarely understood and are therefore often dismissed, the editors say, unless exceptional measures are taken to foster understanding. That is what Mello and Iverson want to achieve – to get large numbers of people to speak, listen and think across boundaries and, ultimately, join in solidarity.

As the book’s introduction states, “(The essays) help us to rethink a broad range of conditions and factors through which political and social actors are exercising their individual and collective agencies to oppose the agenda(s) of neoliberalism.”

Neoliberalism, according to the authors, is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise and has led to increased inequality between working people and predominant elites in the U.S. Mello and Iverson are interested in what workers are doing to resist a neoliberal corporate agenda.

“We invite you to join us and our contributors in furthering the dialogue,” Mello and Iverson write in the book’s introduction, “for we know of no other pathway that we can pursue to end the long, dark night of neoliberal domination.”

Iverson earned his Ph.D. in political science from Clark Atlanta University in Georgia in 2007. His subfields include comparative politics, women’s studies and feminist theory, African American political theory, and labor studies. He has been an IU Northwest lecturer since 1996. His dissertation is titled, “Serving in the Shadows: African American women healthcare workers in Gary, Indiana – 1980-2000.”

Indiana University 3400 Broadway, Gary, IN 46408 | 888-YOUR-IUN (888-968-7486) Published: 04-1-2011 Media Contact Emily Banas Office of Marketing and Communications 980-6536

Friday, April 1, 2011

Washington’s African American Community Gathers at the National Zoo to Celebrate a Tradition on Easter Monday

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo will continue a Washington tradition that spans more than 100 years by hosting “Easter Monday: An African American Family Tradition” April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and will take place rain or shine.

This year’s celebration will include a variety of activities, featuring traditional Easter activities for families, such as an Easter egg hunt, Easter-themed games and a visit from the Easter panda. The event will also feature live entertainment, including performances by an a cappella gospel quintet, a husband-and-wife guitar and vocalist duo, a Caribbean and reggae band, a soloist and a children’s songwriter, musician and poet. In addition, the Zoo and various restaurant vendors will offer an array of delicious food.

Animal keepers will host 56 talks, feedings and demonstrations highlighting a variety of animals, including cheetahs, western lowland gorillas, sloth bears, kori bustards and Asian elephants. Visitors will also have the unique opportunity to “Meet-a-Curator” in various Zoo exhibit areas.

Washington’s African American Community Gathers at the National Zoo to Celebrate a Tradition on Easter MondayNew this year is Zoomagination Station!, a hands-on shopping experience that is engaging and fun for all age groups. This new concept features an assortment of products that allow visitors to customize their own items: from a glitzy butterfly wand to a tube filled with an assortment of PVC animal replicas. Zomagination Station! is located across from Lemur Island.

The 2011 “Easter Monday: An African American Family Tradition” event is sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Capital One Bank, United Airlines, WHUR Radio 96.3 FM and YellowBook. For more information, the public may visit or call (202) 633-3040. Parking charges apply. # # # SI-149-2011

Activity Schedule

Easter Monday 2011: Celebrating the African American Family Tradition

Children’s Easter Activities (Ongoing at Great Meadow)

* Easter egg hunt
* Easter panda

Children’s Easter Activities (Ongoing across from Lemur Island)

* Organized field games

Live Entertainment (Great Meadow from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

* Stevie Prather (12 p.m.)
* Easter panda (12:30 p.m.)
* Mr. Derby (1 p.m.)
* Easter Panda (1:30 p.m.)
* Stevie Prather (2 p.m.)
* Easter panda (2:30 p.m.)
* Mr. Derby (3 p.m.)
* Easter panda (3:30 p.m.)

Live Entertainment (Lion/Tiger Hill from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

* Mutual Agreement (12 p.m.)
* Michael George: The One Man Band (1 p.m.)
* Stone & Wright (2 p.m.)
* Steve Scott Project: Featuring Steve Scott and Leroy Greer (3 p.m.)

Additional Activities

* Zoomagination Station! (across from Lemur Island)
* Food court (across from Mane Restaurant)
* Merchandise vendors

Special Keeper Talks (Various Locations throughout the Zoo)

In addition to the usual schedule of keeper talks, animal feedings and demos that take place each day throughout the Zoo, Zoo staff from a variety of exhibits will make special presentations to visitors.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

University of Iowa College of Education's African American Awareness Program

Media advisory: Cedar Rapids students visit UI to learn about college life April 1

WHAT: The University of Iowa College of Education's African American Awareness Program (AAAP)

WHEN: Friday, April 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:55 p.m.

WHERE: 301 Lindquist Center in the UI College of Education from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Burge Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and the Blank Honors Center from 12:45 to 1:55 p.m.

WHO: The AAAP programs brings 100 Cedar Rapids middle school students of African descent and their teachers to the UI to visit with faculty, staff and students in the College of Education. This includes staff and faculty with the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A major component of the program will be a book discussion in small groups with College of Education faculty, staff and students at the Belin-Blank Center. This year's book is "Of Beetles and Angels" by Mawi Asgedom. Panel discussions and presentations will be held earlier in the day. The College of Education Diversity Committee, the UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment and the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development are sponsoring the visit. This is the fifth year for the program.

The University of Iowa LogoSTORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

The University of Iowa MEDIA CONTACTS: John Achrazoglou, 319-335-5620,; Clar Baldus, 319-335-6189; or Lois J. Gray, University New Services, 319-384-0077,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

National Institutes of Health has awarded Emory University $4.8 million over five years to study the genetics of Crohn’s disease in African Americans

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Emory University $4.8 million over five years to study the genetics of Crohn’s disease in African Americans. The principal investigator is Subra Kugathasan, MD, professor of pediatrics (gastroenterology) at Emory University School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“This will be the first large-scale, genome-wide association study of Crohn’s disease in African Americans,” says Kugathasan. “Previous genetic studies of Crohn’s disease were done in people of European descent, and genome-wide association studies have been successful in identifying dozens of variations responsible for contributing to disease risk. Unfortunately, most of these variations are not expected to contribute to Crohn’s disease risk in African Americans. This is due to the genetic differences that exist between the two populations.”

Scientists expect that finding genetic variations linked to Crohn’s disease will help doctors find new treatments and better choose between existing treatments for patients with the disease. In contrast to other complex conditions in which genomic approaches have been disappointing, Crohn’s disease is “the poster child” for successful genomic studies, Kugathasan says.

Subra Kugathasan, MD, professor of pediatrics (gastroenterology) at Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, often episodic, that can involve abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool and weight loss. It is estimated that approximately 500,000 North Americans are dealing with Crohn’s disease. Severe cases lead to blockage of the intestines, requiring surgery to remove part of the intestines. Having Crohn’s also increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, although it can be treated with various antinflammatory and immunosuppressant drugs. Doctors believe that the inflammation in Crohn’s disease comes from the immune system reacting against bacteria that are normally found in the intestines, and then being unable to turn the reaction off. Risk factors include family history, smoking, diet and environmental exposures.

Doctors have previously viewed Crohn’s disease as a condition predominantly affecting people of European descent. However, the number of reported cases in African Americans has been increasing, and more cases that were previously untreated because of disparities in health care are now being recognized, Kugathasan says.

“Future drugs for Crohn’s disease will be based on genetics, and more specifically tailored to the patient,” he says. “A greater understanding of genetics of Crohn’s in African Americans will complement existing studies and also provide population-specific information toward understanding, managing and treating the disease.”

Genomic studies of Crohn’s disease have already led to a shift in the field, with a greater emphasis on the bacteria that live in the gut and the genes that affect cells’ ability to recognize and respond to those bacteria, he says.

Kugathasan is scientific director of Children’s Combined Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease and an investigator in the Children’s Transplant Immunology and Immune Therapeutics Center, one of the priority centers established within the Emory-Children’s Pediatric Research Center.

For his clinical study he plans to recruit 1,500 patients with Crohn’s disease nationwide, along with 1,150 controls. Both pediatric and adult participants are eligible for the study. Top gastroenterologists at medical centers across the United States have pledged to recruit patients, he says.

Kugathasan will look for both single nucleotide polymorphisms (alternative spellings of one particular letter in someone’s genetic code) and copy number variations (longer duplications or deletions, whose detection is more complex) that contribute to Crohn’s disease risk in African-Americans.

At Emory, the investigators will collaborate with Michael Zwick, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics, who has developed “targeted sequencing” techniques for investigating the genetics of autism, and also with David Cutler, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics, who has developed techniques for large-scale genomic analysis.

This genomic study will cooperate with the ongoing Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics Consortium, which was created by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases in 2002 and is headquartered at Yale University.


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Contact: Holly Korschun: 404-727-3990

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cleveland State University Appoints Craig M. Boise to Law School Dean

Cleveland State University has named Craig M. Boise to dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. CSU President Ronald Berkman said Boise stood out among the impressive list of candidates for his academic and administrative credentials.

"Craig has published extensively and is well respected for his research in money laundering and offshore banking practices," Berkman said. "He brings an intellectual approach to law that clearly stands out among his peers."

Most recently, Boise served as law professor at DePaul University in Chicago, where he was director of the Graduate Tax Program. Prior to that, he was an associate law professor at Case Western Reserve University. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago and a master of law from New York University. Boise will be Cleveland-Marshall's 14th dean and the law school's first African-American dean.

Boise has practiced law with national and international law firms in New York, Cleveland and Kansas City. In Cleveland, he was a senior tax associate with Thompson Hine LLP.

Craig M. BoiseBoise has been active in a variety of civic and charitable organizations, including The Cleveland Clinic's Children's Hospital and Cleveland Bridge Builders. He is an accomplished classical pianist, and was named among the "40 Under 40" by Kaleidoscope Magazine in 2002.

"Cleveland-Marshall is an outstanding law school with strong faculty and loyal alumni," Boise said. "I'm looking forward to raising the school's national reputation."

About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for engaged learning. With an enrollment of more than 17,000 students, eight colleges and approximately 200 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2011 as one of America's Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

# # #

Cleveland State University 2121 Euclid Avenue, MM 206 Cleveland, OH 44115-2214

News Release #14888 | Contact: Joe Mosbrook, 216.523.7279,

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michelle Obama To Deliver Commencement Address To The Spelman College Class Of 2011

Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad to receive Honorary Degrees. Teach For America CEO Wendy Kopp to receive National Community Service Award.

ATLANTA (March 25, 2011) A dedicated proponent of service and working with young people, first lady Michelle Obama is an example of how one woman can positively influence the world. On Sunday, May 15, at 3 p.m., at the Georgia International Convention Center, Mrs. Obama will inspire more than 500 graduates to also leave their mark on the world when she delivers the commencement address to the Spelman College class of 2011. Mrs. Obama will also receive an honorary degree.

Honorary degrees will also be bestowed upon director, actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, and her sister, actress and director Phylicia Rashad. Wendy Kopp, CEO and founder of Teach For America will receive the National Community Service Award.

"Having Mrs. Obama as our 2011 Commencement speaker is a true honor because she embodies the Spelman College mission which is to prepare women to change the world in a meaningful way," said Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., president, Spelman College. "I know our students will be inspired by her powerful presence."

Michelle ObamaAs first lady, Mrs. Obama uses her platform to support military families, help working women balance career and family, encourage national service, promote the arts and arts education, and foster healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across the country. In 2010, she launched the Let's Move! Campaign, a nationwide effort to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

Underscoring the important contributions made by all the honorees, Dr. Tatum said "Our honorees have made a significant impact on the world just as Spelman women do. They offer our graduates empowered examples of excellence in action with game-changing results. We could not be happier!"

Honorary Degree Recipient: Debbie Allen, director, choreographer and author

Debbie Allen continues to be one of the most respected, relevant, and versatile talents in the entertainment industry today. She is an internationally recognized director, choreographer and author. Allen has received three Emmy awards honoring her choreography, and two Emmys and one Golden Globe for her role as "Lydia Grant" in the hit series "Fame." Allen has choreographed for artists such as Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson, and also holds the distinction of having choreographed the Academy Awards a total of ten times, six in consecutive years. She has accumulated a long list of directing and producing credits for television, including "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "The Parkers," "That's So Raven," "All of Us," "Girlfriends," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Hellcats" and "Grey's Anatomy." She also produced the Steven Spielberg epic film "Amistad" in 1997.

Honorary Degree Recipient: Phylicia Rashad, actress, director

Phylicia Rashad is an actress, director and singer, best known for her role as Claire Huxtable on the NBC sitcom "The Cosby Show." She is the first African-American actress to win the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her role in the revival of "A Raisin in the Sun." Rashad recently made her directorial debut at the helm of Seattle Rep's production of August Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean." Her other Broadway credits include "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Dreamgirls," "The Wiz" and "Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death." Rashad has received many awards, including an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her roles on "The Cosby Show" and the CBS sitcom "Cosby," on which she played Ruth Lucas. She has also been nominated for two Emmy Awards and has received two People's Choice Awards.

National Community Service Award Recipient: Wendy Kopp, CEO and founder, Teach For America

Wendy Kopp is CEO and founder of Teach For America, an organization established to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. Today more than 8,000 Teach For America corps members are in the midst of two-year teaching commitments in 39 regions across the country, reaching over 500,000 students. Last year, more than 20 percent of Spelman seniors sought Teach for America posts.

Kopp is the author of "A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education for All" (2011) and "One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way" (2000).

Baccalaureate Service:
Spelman will hold its Baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday, May 14, 2011 on the Spelman College Oval beginning at 9 a.m. This year's speaker will be Emilie M. Townes, Ph.D., Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African-American Religion and Theology at the Yale Divinity School.


Spelman College:

Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts an 83 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson. More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact(s) : Audrey Arthur (404) 270-5892 Terrilyn Simmons (404) 270-5822

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Education Summit for African American and Latino Youth: Preparing for College and Career Success

As part of ongoing outreach to increase the number of African Americans and Latinos attending college, California State University, East Bay will host its annual “Education Summit for African American and Latino Youth: Preparing for College and Career Success” Saturday, April 30 on the university’s Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.

The summit will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. and commence in Pioneer Gymnasium. More than 20 workshops and motivational presentations will be offered in addition to a college information and resource fair. Prospective college students in attendance can get information on possible fields of study as biochemistry, computer networking, engineering, environmental studies, mathematics, pre-nursing, business, and other majors.

“The Education Summit is designed to engage and motivate the youth of traditionally underserved communities and their families to pursue and live the dream of obtaining a college education by providing information and resources in a festive, family-friendly environment,” said Greg Smith, CSUEB associate vice president for Planning and Enrollment Management, who chairs the event.

The Education Summit, co-sponsored by Alameda County Office of Education, Hayward Chamber of Commerce, and Chabot College, will bring together a wide range of community resources and expertise to empower African American and Latino youth and their families. Those encouraged to attend include parents and families, high school and middle school students, school administrators, teachers, counselors and business and community leaders.

California State University, East BayThe summit will feature distinguished speakers, information sessions, and an educational resource fair. Topics to be covered in summit workshops and panels are student life experiences on campus; college admissions; and financing a college education through grants, scholarships and financial aid; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers; and community support programs.

The college resource fair will feature representatives of other Northern California CSU campuses, community colleges and community outreach groups.

Registration, as well as to get additional information about the event, is available at[5] or (510) 885-3516.

March 24, 2011 MEDIA CONTACT: Barry Zepel, Media Relations Officer, (510) 885-3884

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

March 24th "Dorothy Irene Height Day" in Virginia

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010 was an American administrator, educator, and social activist. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell has issued a proclamation marking March 24th as "Dorothy Irene Height Day" in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dorothy Height, who passed away last year, was a native of Virginia and a leading female Civil Rights leader of her time.

WHEREAS, Dorothy Irene Height, was born on March 24, 1912 to James Edward and Fannie Burroughs Height in Richmond, Virginia; lived in South Richmond as a child; died on April 20, 2010 in Washington, DC at the age of 98; and she continues to live in the hearts and minds of the people of our Commonwealth, these United States and the world; and

WHEREAS, determined and unwavering, Dorothy Irene Height, earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from New York University in 1933; participated in post-graduate work at Columbia University and the New York School of Social Work; later received 36 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the country, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Howard University, and Morehouse and Spelman Colleges; and her many achievements were recognized and honored by the University of Virginia's Explorations in Black Leadership project; and

Dorothy Irene Height

Portrait of Dr. Dorothy Height taken in June 2008. PHOTO CREDIT: Adrian Hood
WHEREAS, Dorothy Irene Height, a daughter of Virginia, began her nearly seven decade commitment to justice in 1933 by serving as the vice president of the United Christian Youth Movement of North America to fight against the segregated armed forces and the evil act of lynching; and in 1937, joined the National Council of Negro Women, an organization founded by Mary McLeod Bethune, that highlighted education, equal employment, and equal pay, issues that impacted the lives of all women across our Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, often noted as the founding matriarch or godmother of the Civil Rights Movement, Dorothy Irene Height, an unsung heroine, was a compelling advocate for women and children during the 1950s and 1960s, working alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitney H. Young, A. Philip Randolph, James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, and several others to masterfully advance racial and gender equality across our country;
was an associate of Virginia's civil rights trailblazer Oliver W. Hill and supported the struggle to desegregate schools in Virginia and America; advised each U.S. president from President Dwight D. Eisenhower to President Barack H. Obama on issues of social justice, education, and socioeconomics; and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President William J. Clinton in 1994 and presented with the Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush in 2004; and

WHEREAS, Dorothy Irene Height, who always exuded grace and poise in her grand hats, keenly dedicated her life to the betterment of African-American women and girls as she worked on the National Board of the Young Women's Christian Association from 1944 to 1977, led as vice president and later president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. from 1944 to 1956, and served as the national president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, from 1957 until 1998, when she became the Council's chair and president emerita; and founded the Black Family Reunion Celebration, which has welcomed Virginians to its programs and events since 1986; and

WHEREAS, Virginia is today a fairer and more just state because of the extraordinary life of Dorothy Height;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize March 24, 2011 as DOROTHY IRENE HEIGHT DAY in the COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

# # #

Contact: Jeff Caldwell Press Secretary (804) 786-2211

TEXT RESOURCE: Dorothy Height

TEXT CREDIT: Office of the Governor Robert F. McDonne

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Institute of African American Affairs Features Performances, Discussions by Artists-in-Residence This Spring

Institute of African American Affairs Features Performances, Discussions by Artists-in-Residence This Spring.

The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) at New York University will host a series of performances and discussions centered on the artistic collaborations of musician Meklit Hadero and filmmaker John Akomfrah this spring as part of its 2011 Artist-in-Residence program.

All events are free and open to the public, with the exception of the April 3 Meklit Hadero concert. RSVP for all free events at 212.998.4222 and include which event(s) you would like to attend. For more, click here.

To purchase tickets for the April 3 Hadero concert, go to the Skirball Center's Shagan Box Office, visit, or call 212.352.3101 or 866.811.4111.

Tuesday, March 29, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“Hyphen, Mnemosyne and Spaces-in-Between—A Conversation with John Akomfrah and Meklit Hadero”

Meklit Hadero

The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) will host a series of performances and discussions centered on the artistic collaborations of musician Meklit Hadero, pictured above, and filmmaker John Akomfrah this spring as part of its 2011 Artist-in-Residence program.
This introductory panel will address the questions of invisibility, memory in practice, productive nostalgia, and the archive in times of the post-national.

Location: NYU’s Silver Center, Hemmerdinger Hall, 100 Washington Square East (between Waverly and Washington Place)

Sunday, April 3, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

“Self-Representation in African and African Diaspora Photography, Film, Music and Literature”

Listen to artists in these different fields and learn how they address audiences with black images and from black and universal perspectives. At issue are questions of reception and aesthetics, but also genre, autonomy, and the specificity of black beauty. Participants include: John Akomfrah, Chester Higgins Jr., Hortense Spillers, and Tamar-kali. The event is organized with the Beauty and Fashion Symposium and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Photography and Imaging.

Location: NYU’s Silver Center, Jurow Lecture Hall/Silverstein Lounge, 100 Washington Square East (between Waverly and Washington Place)

Sunday, April 3, 7-9 p.m.

“Meklit Hadero and Friends in Concert”

General admission: $20; NYU students, faculty, and staff: $10; non-NYU students and seniors: $15

Location: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South)

Thursday, April 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“The Aesthetics of Vulgarity”

When the engines of change are unleashed a space can be created often defining modernity as a moment of vulgarity. This panel discussion, which includes Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Fred Moten, and Lesley Lokko, considers how the concept of change and liberation can be embraced as a “productive vulgarity” and asks if modernity can also function as a moment of beginnings, the time of the post-national, and the re-imagining of Pan-Africanism.

Location: Cantor Film Center, 36 East Eighth Street, Room 101 (at University Place)

Monday, April 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“The Tizita Chronicles: Memory, Archive and Longing in African Diaspora Cultural Practices”

Though the concept and the music of Tizita emerge from Ethiopia, its implications reach far beyond this region. Tizita frames one's relationship to the past and to one's origins, and allows a broad space for integrating the inevitable losses that, at least in part, define every human life. The Tizita Chronicles, which includes a combination of film, music, and short talks, uses the concept of Tizita as a lens to explore cultural memory, both collective and individual, as it evolves in the African Diaspora and its artistic expressions.

Location: Cantor Film Center, 36 East Eighth Street, Room 200 (at University Place)

Thursday, April 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

“Astro Black Hauntology”

This session re-imagines Pan-Africanism by considering the specters of African independences, black nationalism, and Afro-futurism. Participants include Coco Fusco.

Location: Cantor Film Center, 36 East Eighth Street, Room 101 (at University Place)

Monday, April 25, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

John Akomfrah and Meklit Hadero will present their collaborative works to fuse music with visuals using the themes and questions posed in the opening panel: invisibility, memory in practice, productive nostalgia and the archive in times of the post-national.

Location: Cantor Film Center, 36 East Eighth Street, Room 200 (at University Place)

Meklit Hadero, whose music combines jazz, folk, and East African traditions, released "On A Day Like This…" in 2010. For more, go to: John Akomfrah, born in Ghana and raised in England, has directed over a dozen films and won numerous awards. His latest film is “Mnemosyne” (2010), an essay exploring perceptions of belonging and alienation and the shifting boundaries of expectation and reality. For more, go to:


The Institute of African American Affairs

The Institute of African American Affairs (IAAA) at New York University was founded in 1969 to research, document, and celebrate the cultural and intellectual production of Africa and its diaspora in the Atlantic world and beyond. IAAA is committed to the study of Blacks in modernity through concentrations in Pan-Africanism and Black Urban Studies.

NYU Skirball Center

The Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is the premier venue for the presentation of cultural and performing arts events for New York University and lower Manhattan. Led by executive producer Jay Oliva (President Emeritus, NYU) and senior director Michael Harrington, the programs of the Skirball Center reflect NYU's mission as an international center of scholarship, defined by excellence and innovation and shaped by an intellectually rich and diverse environment. A vital aspect of the Center's mission is to build young adult audiences for the future of live performance. For more, go to:

Press Contact: James Devitt || (212) 998-6808

Monday, March 21, 2011

Florida Atlantic University to Host Multi Ethnic Literature of the United States Conference

BOCA RATON (March 21, 2011) – The department of English in Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will host the 25th Multi Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) Conference from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10, at the Renaissance Hotel in Boca Raton. The conference will feature a variety of educational panels, roundtables, readings and plenary speakers, including Karla Holloway, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim and Gary Shteyngart. All events are free and open to the public.

The keynote literary readings by Gary Shteyngart and Shirley Geok-lin Lim will take place in the Coral Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel on Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. Manjunath Pendakur, dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, will open the evening with welcoming remarks. Shteyngart, who teaches creative writing at Columbia University, will read from his new book, Super Sad True Love Story, which was named one of the top ten books of 2010 by Michiko Kakutani of the “New York Times.” Geok-lin Lim, professor of English at University of California, Santa Barbara, and winner of the American Book Award, will be reading from her book of poetry, Walking Backwards.

The keynote scholar, Karla Holloway, will be presenting her talk, “Bound by Law: The Literary Consequence of Constitutionally Conferred Equity,” on Saturday, April 9, at 11:30 a.m. FAU President Mary J. Saunders will give the welcoming remarks for this lecture. Holloway is the James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University. She also holds appointments in the Law School, Women's Studies, and African and African American Studies. Holloway’s research and teaching interests focus on African American cultural studies, biocultural studies, gender, ethics and law.

Karla FC Holloway

Karla FC Holloway. James B. Duke Professor of English and Professor of Law, Office Location: 304 F Allen, Office Phone: (919) 684-8993. Email Address:
“This promises to be an especially intellectually stimulating conference, since it marks the first formal collaboration between MELUS and the United States Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies,” said Wenying Xu, chair of the department of English. “The presentations by members of both organizations will engender productive and lively debates over the intersections of multi-ethnic American and postcolonial world literatures.”

Founded in 1973, MELUS’ mission is to expand the definition of American literature through the study and teaching of African American, Asian and Pacific American, Jewish American, U.S. Latino, Native American, and ethnically specific Euro-American literary works. MELUS has held a national conference annually every April at various sites across the country for the past 25 years.

More than 250 people are expected to attend this year’s conference, and many of the activities will center on the event’s theme, “Ethnic Canons in Global Contexts.” The attendees come from a variety of academic institutions in the United States, as well as from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
For more information about MELUS and the program for this year’s conference, visit -FAU-

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. In commemoration of its origin, FAU is celebrating its 50th anniversary throughout 2011. Today, the University serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and theCharles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information, visit:

MEDIA CONTACT: Polly Burks 561-297-2595,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Professor Jennifer Young Tait Dies

HOLLAND -- Dr. Jennifer Young Tait, a member of the Hope College English faculty since 2002, died Saturday (March 19) after suffering complications from premature childbirth.

The college has been advised that Professor Young began to feel unwell a few days ago. Her health began to deteriorate and she was taken to Grand Rapids for more advanced care. Her baby - Solomon - was delivered early and the college has been told that while he is small he is otherwise healthy and being care for at DeVos Children's Hospital.

"Jennifer Young was a fine teacher-scholar who modeled for students what it meant to find joy in learning. She was a wonderful mentor, a valued colleague, and a trusted friend. Her loss will be felt far beyond the confines of the English Department. Indeed, the entire Hope College community will miss her terribly," said Hope College Provost Richard Ray.

"Jennifer Young loved teaching, and she loved literature. I can't imagine a more joyful colleague, a more devoted professor, or a more promising scholar. I worked with her in Holland, Michigan, and in Liberia, West Africa; Jennifer was a star in whatever company she entered. She was my friend, and I will miss her terribly," said Dr. David Klooster, chair of the Department of English.

Jennifer Young Tait

Jennifer Young Tait
Added colleague Dr. Julie Kipp, Professor of English: "Jennifer was a devoted scholar, who loved to do research, and who was always juggling multiple writing projects, including creative writing projects. She was a gifted teacher, who started classes off with musical jam sessions as a way to create good energy and always thanked students for their comments in discussion. She was an amazing wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, granddaughter, goddaughter, and friend. She believed in ghosts. She loved music, yoga, old jewelry, chocolate martinis (in moderation), and raptivist music. She was incredibly excited about becoming a mother."

Hope College began its spring break on Friday so college officials have been communicating this news to faculty, staff and students by email.

The Hope College Class of 2008 named Dr. Young the recipient of the "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator" (H.O.P.E.) Award which is presented by the graduating class to the professor who they feel epitomizes the best qualities of the Hope College educator.

Young, who was an associate professor of English, was one of the first faculty members that the members of the the Class of 2008 encountered when they arrived on campus as freshmen in August of 2004. She co-delivered the address during that year's Opening Convocation, which marked the formal beginning of the academic year.

Her service to Hope College students has included serving on several campus committees and as a co-advisor to the Black Student Union student organization.

In 2009 she was appointed an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow to continue her scholarly work at the Huntington Memorial Library in San Marino, Calif. She recently had been awarded a New Directions Initiatives grant by the Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Prior to joining the Hope faculty she was a Preparing Future Faculty pre-doctoral teaching fellow during the 2002-03 school year, a program in which Hope participates with Howard University of Washington, D.C.

Her scholarly interests included early writers of the African Diaspora (pre-1865); African-American literature; jazz and hip-hop as literature; and creative writing. Her dissertation, which she completed in 2004, focused on the marketing from 1767 to 1865 of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley, who was kidnapped from Africa as a child and wrote as a slave in Boston, Mass.

Prior to coming to Hope, Dr. Young was a multicultural summer teaching fellow at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She had also taught at Howard, as well as at Touro College and the Center for Worker Education in New York City.

In addition to her Ph.D. from Howard University, Dr. Young held a bachelor's degree from Douglass College of Rutgers University and a master's from City College of CUNY of New York City.

She is survived by her husband, Ralph Tait, of Holland and family in Indianapolis, Ind.

A funeral service will be held Friday, March 25, at 11 a.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church in Holland.


Hope College Office of Public Relations || 141 E. 12th St. || Holland, MI 49423 || phone: 616.395.7860 || fax: 616.395.7991

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rosa Parks Middle School Targeted For Turnaround as Seventh ‘Priority School’

March 17, 2011 (Sacramento) – Rosa Parks Middle School has been named Sacramento’s seventh Superintendent’s Priority School, expanding SCUSD’s bold school improvement effort that is already seeing positive results on six other campuses, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond announced Thursday.

As a Priority School, Rosa Parks will get extra resources and innovations to boost learning though improved teaching, engaging curriculum and strong family and community connections.

Superintendent Raymond created the Priority Schools program last spring to improve low-performing schools through the use of proven strategies for raising student achievement. Already, principals at the six original Priority Schools report better attendance, greater family participation, fewer suspensions and generally happier students, which they attribute to a better learning environment.

“Rosa Parks has tremendous potential to be the kind of campus where every student enjoys coming to class every day because they know they’re going to learn something meaningful that will help them achieve their dreams,” said Superintendent Raymond. “Our Priority Schools are great examples of what can happen when a determined principal, an energized faculty and a caring community get the support they need.”

Jonathan P. Raymond

Jonathan P. Raymond Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District 5735 - 47th Avenue Sacramento, CA 95824 (916) 643-9000
Superintendent Raymond took the first step in Rosa Parks’ turnaround on Wednesday by naming John Sloat Elementary School Principal Robert Sullivan to lead the middle school next year. Sullivan has a successful track record of improving student learning, narrowing achievement gaps and forging relationships with students, staff and parents.

“It all starts with leadership and building a vision for this community,” Superintendent Raymond said. “I want our leaders to take risks for kids.” Sullivan began with SCUSD at age 17, when he landed a job as a custodian at Tahoe Elementary to help pay for college, eventually working his way up to instructional aide and then teacher. He was an assistant principal at John Still K-8 School until taking over as principal at John Sloat seven years ago.

Under Sullivan’s tenure at John Sloat, student test scores have risen dramatically. The school improved its Academic Performance Index (API) base from 664 in 2005 to 761 in 2009 – a 97-point gain.

John Sloat is ranked 9 out of 10 on the API scale when compared to similar schools. In 2005-06, 39.7 percent of students achieved proficiency on the California Standards Tests in math.

In 2009-10, that grew to 61.2 percent. In 2009-10, Hispanic student scores rose a remarkable 38 points.

Sullivan will remain at John Sloat for the rest of this school year. The district is now meeting with the John Sloat community to begin the process for finding his replacement.

The decision to include Rosa Parks in the Priority Schools program was made after weighing several factors, including student academic performance. The middle school, which serves about 475 students, dropped 33 points on the API scale last year. With an API of 624, it has the lowest student tests scores of any middle school in SCUSD. The school has also struggled to close achievement gaps. Scores for African American students plummeted 57 points last year; scores for students with disabilities fell 39 points. The school is in its fifth year of Program Improvement status.

Superintendent Raymond emphasized that funding for Rosa Parks’ addition to the Priority School program will come from so-called “categorical” funds – money from the federal government earmarked for high-poverty schools. At Rosa Parks, 100 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch, the federal poverty threshold. Because the Priority Schools are funded categorically, Rosa Parks’ inclusion will have no effect on the district’s anticipated budget deficit of $22.35 million – the projected shortfall if current temporary taxes are not extended by voters.

The Superintendent’s Priority Schools Program is a centerpiece of SCUSD’s Strategic Plan 2010-2014: Putting Children First. As “incubators of innovation,” Priority Schools are piloting research-based, successful instructional strategies and curriculum to be replicated later on other SCUSD campuses. The district’s other Priority Schools are: Father Keith B. Kenny Elementary, Jedediah Smith Elementary, Oak Ridge Elementary, Will C. Wood Middle School, Fern Bacon Middle School and Hiram Johnson High School.

“Despite budget uncertainty and pink slips, we can’t take our eye off of what is most important – quality teaching and learning in our schools, particularly in our most needy communities,” Superintendent Raymond said. “Now is the time to focus on eliminating achievement gaps. Our students cannot wait.” # # #

For Immediate Release Contact: Gabe Ross (916) 643-9145

Thursday, March 17, 2011

National Women's History Month Tennessee Tech University

In celebration of March as National Women's History Month, Tennessee Tech University's Women's Center has two special events planned.

They include a Tuesday, March 22, presentation about Tennessee women by Beverly Bond, a professor of African-American history at the University of Memphis, and a Tuesday, March 29, discussion about human trafficking and the sex trade by Norma Ramos, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

Diana Lalani of TTU's Women's Center said these speakers reflect the purpose of Women's History Month by looking back at women's past achievements and ahead to future accomplishments.

"Women's History Month is a time to celebrate our accomplishments together and a chance to envision more for ourselves," she said.

The theme of National Women's History Month this year is "Our History is Our Strength," and according to the National Women's History Project, the stories of women's achievements are integral to the fabric of history because those stories inspire more expansive visions for the future.

Beverly Bond

Beverly Bond
Stories of historic Tennessee women will be the topic of Bond's presentation, set for 7 p.m. on March 22 in the Multipurpose Room of the Roaden University Center.

Bond said, "I am particularly interested in the ways in which 19th-century African-American women negotiated the boundaries of race, class and gender in the urban South. My research focuses on black women in Memphis from the early 1800s to the beginning of the 20th century."

She is the editor and contributing author, along with Sarah Wilkerson Freeman, of a book titled Tennessee Women: Their Histories, Their Lives, Vol. 1 (University of Florida Press, 2009).

TTU Women's Center Director Gretta Stanger said, "[Dr. Beverly Bond] has contributed immensely to our knowledge of Tennessee women in her co-edited book by the same name. She is helping to write Tennessee women back into history."

Bond has also co-authored with Janann Sherman two other books, Memphis in Black and White (2003) and Images of America: Beale Street (2006), both from Arcadia Publishing.

She is the author of several other book chapters, journal articles and encyclopedia entries that explore various topics related to African-American women's history, and among her current projects is a second volume of Tennessee Women.

At the University of Memphis, she has taught African-American history, African-American women's history, African-American intellectual history, and other courses including a Capstone course in African and African-American studies.

Speaker Norma Ramos will focus on the current women's issues of human trafficking and the sex trade in a presentation at 7 p.m. on March 29 at Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

"We are pleased to welcome Norma Ramos," Stanger said. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, of which Ramos is executive director, "is considered to be the first international organization to be associated with human trafficking," she continued.

Because of her work with that organization, Ramos is the recipient of the Women's Committee Award and the Flor De Maga Award, both from the Puerto Rican Bar Association.

In 2009, she was awarded the Humanist Heroine Award from the American Humanist Association.

"We have discovered that there are several student organizations on campus that are interested in this very serious and widespread human rights issue, so we hope they will be able to attend her presentation," Stanger said.

Ramos is an eco-feminist who links the worldwide inequality and destruction of women to the destruction of the environment.

A Center Stage event, her presentation — like Bond's — is free and open to the public.

Tennessee Tech University For more information about either event, contact the TTU Women's Center at 931-372-3850.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

African-American women who live in more densely populated urban areas gain less weight than those in more sprawling auto-oriented areas

(Boston) - Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s (BUSM) Slone Epidemiology Center have found that African-American women who live in more densely populated urban areas gain less weight than those in more sprawling auto-oriented areas. The results, which appear in the current issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, were based on data collected in the Black Women’s Health Study, an ongoing study of the health of 59,000 African American women conducted by the researchers since 1995.

While studies conducted at a single point in time have found higher levels of obesity among residents of sprawling areas compared to residents of more urban areas, there has been little information on this topic from studies that have followed residents over time.

The researchers assessed the association of women’s residential environments with weight change and the incidence of obesity during a six year period of follow-up in the Black Women’s Health Study. They focused on nearly 18,000 women who lived in the New York, Chicago or Los Angeles metropolitan areas. The women’s residential neighborhoods were characterized by an “urbanicity score”— considered dense urban neighborhoods.

Patricia Coogan, MPH, D Sc

Patricia Coogan, MPH, D Sc
They found that both six year weight gain and the incidence of obesity were lower among women who had high urbanicity scores as compared to those with low scores. Women who lived in suburban or rural neighborhoods were considered to have low urbanicity scores.

According to the researchers, a previous study of these women, found those who lived in denser neighborhoods walked more than women in more sprawling areas. “Policies that encourage more dense and urban residential development may have a positive role to play in addressing the obesity epidemic,” said lead author Patricia Coogan, MPH, D Sc, a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Center and an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.

Funding for this study was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. — 30 —

Boston University For Release Upon Receipt - March 16, 2011 Contact: Gina M. Digravio, 617-638-8491,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dr. Kern Jackson will discuss the influence of Mobile native Albert Murray

USA Professor and Students to participate in Southern Literary Trail Festival 2011.

Dr. Kern Jackson, director of African-American Studies at the University of South Alabama in the College of Arts and Sciences, will discuss the influence of Mobile native Albert Murray, a noted author on Thursday, March 17 at 6 p.m. at the Ben May Library in Bernheim Hall. The event is free and open to the public. This is just one of a number of statewide events involved with the Southern Literary Trail Festival.

Also accompanying Jackson during his talk will be Barbara Baker, Jay Lamar and Paul Devlin of New York City. Baker and Lamar co-edited the recent book “Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation.” Devlin writes in the book about his personal association with Murray, whom the “New York” magazine recently named as one of Manhattan’s cultural icons over the age of 90. Devlin will discuss Murray’s extensive art collection.

Two of Jackson’s students from his introduction to African-American Studies class Travis Davis and Elijah McLaughlin will provide readings from Murray’s “Trading Twelve’s,” the collection of letters that Murray exchanged with fellow writer and friend Ralph Ellison.

Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a NationDavis, a native of Mobile is a senior majoring in history and McLaughlin of Montgomery is a junior majoring in social work. They are honored to be selected as dramatic readers, highlighting Mobile native Albert Murray.

The official festival of the Southern Literary Trail, features a tri-state and three-month celebration with plays, free programs, musical performances and film showings that showcase the south’s heritage as home to the country’s best writing and storytelling.

For more information about events listed on the Southern Literary Trail call William Gantt at (205) 297-8849, or e-mail him at

March 14, 2011 Contact: Joy Crawford-Washington, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6211

Sunday, March 13, 2011

14.7 percent of all African Americans age 20 years or older have diabetes


ATLANTA (March 11, 2011) According to the American Diabetes Association, 14.7 percent of all African-Americans age 20 years or older have diabetes. To address this alarming statistic and others, Spelman College in partnership with Novo Nordisk, a world leader in diabetes care, is hosting a town hall meeting, “Diabetes and Its Impact on the African-American Community.”

This event comes on the heels of a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifying a “diabetes belt” comprised of 644 counties across 15 mostly Southern states, with large African-American populations. Leading medical, health and fitness experts will candidly discuss the causes and preventative measures African-Americans need to take to fight against this growing epidemic. The event is free and open to the public.

• Kendall Simmons, former NFL guard
• A.J. Johnson, actress, fitness expert, founder, The AJ Zone
• Doxie Jordan, associate vice president, Diabetes Sales Southeast, Novo Nordisk
• Dr. Kathi Earles, MD, medical scientific director, Novo Nordisk
• Donna DeCaille, nutritionist, executive consultant, EnVision Nutrition Inc.
• Gail Richardson, diabetic nurse educator
• Dr. Reginald Fowler, Board Certified Internal Medicine

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
4 p.m.

Spelman College - Cosby Academic Center Auditorium
350 Spelman Lane, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314


Spelman College LogoSpelman College:
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective, liberal arts college that prepares women to change the world. Located in Atlanta, Ga., this historically black college boasts an 83 percent graduation rate, and outstanding alumnae such as Children's Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman; former U.S. Foreign Service Director General Ruth Davis, authors Tina McElroy Ansa and Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson.
More than 83 percent of the full-time faculty members have Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees, and the average faculty to student ratio is 12:1. More than 2,100 students attend Spelman. For more information, visit:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact(s) : Terrilyn Simmons (404) 270-5822

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Leonid McGill Mystery Novel’s Author Walter Mosley to talk about his work

Newest P.I. McGill Mystery Novel’s Author in Dallas - Tuesday, March 15.

(DALLAS) — Leonid McGill, private investigator, got the job done in Walter Mosley’s first two New York Times bestsellers. Now times are tough, he’s looking for work and his personal life is complicated in the third McGill series installment titled “When the Thrill Is Gone.”

Mosley, described by President Bill Clinton as one of his favorite writers, will be on hand to talk about his work and sign his latest novel on Tuesday, March 15, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in Lincoln Park, 7700 W. Northwest Highway, Suite 300, in Dallas at 7 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from copies of “When the Thrill Is Gone” sold through March 16 will benefit the Dallas County Community College District Foundation’s George Dawson Scholarship Fund. Book buyers should mention Bookfair ID code 10433746 to help benefit this fund. A voucher (PDF - 81KB) also is available to print and take to the store.

Walter MosleyMosley has written detective fiction, sci-fi and other works described as an edgy blend of literary and pulp fiction. A native of Los Angeles, he traveled east to college and first worked a number of jobs — computer programmer, caterer and potter — before discovering his talents as a writer. African-American PI Easy Rawlins was the character that Clinton discovered. The Rawlins works include thorough historic detail (1940s to the mid-1960s), excellent dialogue and detailed character development. “Devil in a Blue Dress” and “Black Betty” were the first two published novels in the Rawlins series (“Gone Fishin’ ” didn’t find a publisher).

The first two books in the McGill series are “The Long Fall” and “Known to Evil.”

DCCCD is a community partner with Barnes and Noble Booksellers, which is sponsoring the book signing and offering an opportunity for readers to enjoy Mosley’s book and donate to the George Dawson Scholarship Fund.

For more information, contact Allison Neal in the DCCCD outreach office at (214) 378-1722. # # #

Press contact: Ann Hatch 214-378-1819 (610);

Friday, March 11, 2011

Justice Department Obtains $110,000 Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit Against Summerhill Place Apartments in Renton, Wash

Justice Department Obtains $110,000 Settlement in Discrimination Lawsuit Against Apartment Complex Near Seattle.

WASHINGTON – The owners and operators of Summerhill Place Apartments, a 268 apartment complex in Renton, Wash., have agreed to pay $110,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle a lawsuit alleging that the complex had discriminated against African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Indian Americans and families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

“Working families already face enough challenges finding affordable housing,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Unlawful discrimination because of their race, their national origin, or because they have children, should not be one of them.”

“I am pleased that this settlement will both assist those who were discriminated against, and ensure rights are protected going forward,” said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny A. Durkan. “The fair housing training for Summerhill’s employees and the plan to provide a recreation area for all the tenants, including children, will provide a brighter future for all prospective residents.”

Department of JusticeThe lawsuit, filed on July 16, 2010, named as Summerhill Place LLC (the owner of Summerhill Place Apartments), Gran Inc. (the management company) and Rita Lovejoy (the former on site manager). Lovejoy is no longer employed by the other defendants.

The suit alleged, among other things, that defendants steered Indian tenants away from one of the five buildings at Summerhill, treated tenants from India less favorably than other tenants and discouraged African-Americans, Hispanics and families with children from living at Summerhill. The suit arose after the Fair Housing Council of Washington conducted testing at Summerhill, and the results of that testing were reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After an investigation, the secretary of HUD determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred, issued a charge of discrimination, and referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

“HUD has the authority to bring cases under the Fair Housing Act based on any credible evidence that discrimination is occurring at a housing development, even if no specific individual steps forward to file a formal complaint,” said John Trasviña, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Whenever HUD discovers that a housing provider is turning away potential tenants or mistreating current residents because of their race, ethnicity, or family composition, HUD will vigorously enforce the Fair Housing Act.”

Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants will:

Pay $85,000 to tenants and prospective tenants who were harmed by the discriminatory practices alleged in the lawsuit;
Pay $25,000 to the government as a civil penalty;
Maintain a common recreational area for all their tenants, including children;
Provide fair housing training to their employees; and
Develop and maintain non-discrimination policies at Summerhill.

Individuals who are entitled to share in the settlement fund will be identified through a process established in the settlement. Persons who believe they were subjected to unlawful discrimination at Summerhill should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743 mailbox # 9997 or e-mail the Justice Department at .

Fighting illegal discrimination in housing is a top priority of the Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex familial status, national origin and disability. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Project on History of Black Writing to showcase 100 Novels Project on March 16

LAWRENCE — On March 16, the Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas will present a first showing of selections from the 100 Novels Project.

The exhibit will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Alcove G in the Kansas Union.

The 100 Novels Project explores and celebrates the political, social, cultural and historical significance of 100 works of black literature. The temporal scope of the works is wide ranging, spanning from the late 19th century to the 21st century. Many of the works have been transformed into film and were staples on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Project on the History of Black Writing houses each of these texts within its archives. This is first of many exhibits that will highlight a small selection of authors and their works.

The Project on the History of Black Writing is one of KU’s important but often overlooked literary and historical resources. It has been in the forefront of research and inclusion efforts in higher education for 25 years.

William Wells BrownFounded in 1983 at the University of Mississippi-Oxford, the project has more than 900 novels in its collection published by African-American authors since William Wells Brown’s “Clotel; or, the President’s Daughter” (1853). The ultimate goal of the project is to collect every novel ever published by an African-American writer.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045 March 10, 2011 Contact: Maryemma Graham, Project on the History of Black Writing.