Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier to serve as interim president of Savannah State University

University System of Georgia Chief Academic Officer Susan Herbst announced today that she has appointed Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier, associate provost and chief diversity officer at the University of Georgia (UGA) since 2006, to serve as interim president of Savannah State University (SSU), effective May 9, 2011. Dozier will step in as interim president for current SSU president Dr. Earl G. Yarbrough Sr., who served from July 2007 and who was not reappointed.

“We are extremely fortunate to be able to call on Dr. Dozier’s strong leadership skills during this transition. Savannah State University has a great deal of momentum and I am confident that the institution will be in excellent hands under Dr. Dozier,” Herbst said, “Most of our university leaders across this state know her from superb leadership on the system wide diversity initiative, so like me, they are familiar with her tremendous intellect, her charisma, and most of all, her profound openness and humanity.”

Dozier previously served as assistant vice president of academic affairs at the Gwinnett University Center from 2002-2006. She is a tenured Professor in the School of Social Work. Dozier served as the director of the interdisciplinary Ghana Study Abroad Program from 2003-2010.

Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier

Dr. Cheryl Davenport Dozier
She has served as the lead co-principal investigator for the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, a $4.9M National Science Foundation (NSF) program with the goal of broadening participation of minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics since 2007. The partner institutions include Savannah State University, Fort Valley State University, Southern Polytechnic University, Georgia Perimeter College and UGA.

In addition, Dr. Dozier is a faculty researcher with the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and Research at UGA and recently served as the co-executive producer of the Donald L. Hollowell Documentary: American Freedom Fighter, which aired on Georgia Public Broadcasting. She recently co- chaired the 50th anniversary of the desegregation at UGA entitled “Celebrating Courage”.

Dr. Dozier is an affiliate faculty member of the African Studies Institute and the Institute of African American Studies. She has published widely in professional journals and books and is a well recognized public speaker.

Dozier is an active member of many professional and civic organizations, and was recently elected President of the Georgia Association for Women in Higher Education. Dr. Dozier earned a Doctorate in Social Welfare (DSW) from Hunter College, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and received a Masters in Social Work from Atlanta University (now Clark-Atlanta), School of Social Work and a Bachelors degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Plans regarding the search for a permanent presidential appointee at Savannah State will be announced at a later date.

University System of Georgia 270 Washington Street, S.W., Atlanta, GA 30334, U.S.A. Media Contact: John Millsaps 404-656-2250

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sylverster James Gates, Jr. Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Sylverster James Gates, Jr. Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Jim Gates, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at Maryland, is the first African American to hold an endowed chair in physics at a major research university in the United States.Gates has long been known for his groundbreaking, ongoing work in supersymmetry and supergravity, areas that are closely related to string theory. In 1983, he co-authored the book "Superspace or 1001 Lessons in Supersymmetry," which more than two decades later remains a standard in the field. String theory. Hailed by many physicists as the "Unified Field Theory" that was pursued unsuccessfully by Einstein, string theory is a leading candidate for what is commonly called the "theory of everything." Such a theory could explain the origins of all matter and energy in the universe and may one day form the basis for technologies that we cannot even imagine today.

"Professor Gates is just an extraordinary person," said Physics Chair Drew Baden. "His research is at the very cutting edge of theoretical physics, probing the fundamental structure of nature, looking for exotic connections between string theory and information theory and anything else he can think of.

Sylverster James Gates, Jr.On top of that, he finds the time and energy to give a huge number of invited public talks on science at all levels, communicating the excitement of science, and working hard to demystify. I believe that in 2005, the 100 year anniversary of Einstein's famous papers (one that introduced the theory of special relativity), he gave about 90 such talks in a single year! And on top of that, he finds the time contribute to society as a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), advising the President on science policy, and as a member of the Maryland Board of Education."

Gates said "It is a strange, humbling and numbing feeling to be considered among the company of one's own heroes. While I was growing up in the U.S., the names of the founding Academy 'class' including John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, to those of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Webster, and Ralph Waldo Emerson loomed like far distant mountain peaks marking the apex of accomplishment in the United States of America. So very many of my personal heroes like Einstein and Churchill have been members of this company. I am stunned to be in a class that includes so many accomplished individuals whose work has had such an impact on my life. It is the highest honor and recognition I have been accorded to be included among this new class of the academy. This could not have happened without the absolutely superb support I have received from the College Park campus. The election is also a signal of the recognition of the quality of the University."

The University of Maryland For Immediate Release April 19, 2011 Contacts: David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or

Monday, April 18, 2011

Soul Revue of Indiana University's African American Arts Institute will present its annual spring concert

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The IU Soul Revue of Indiana University's African American Arts Institute will present its annual spring concert on Saturday (April 23) at 8 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, located in downtown Bloomington at 114 E. Kirkwood Ave.

IU Soul Revue director Nathanael Fareed Mahluli said the theme for this year's show is "basement party."

"Friends and family show up with a set of records -- both LPs and 45s," he reminisced. "They take turns setting the groove and letting everybody know what the real hip song used to be. Dance-a-longs, sing-a-longs, and then there's the "Purple Hour" when lights are out and it's time for the children to go bed."

Mahluli, the IU Soul Revue director since 2005, promises a show featuring a vibe and vivacity like none other. "It will definitely pick you up from your seat and move your feet," he said.

Mahluli is an accomplished performer, educator, composer, producer and sound engineer who has contributed to the Sanfoka African Dance Company conferences and to recordings such as the charitable and poetic "Write to Heal." He has performed and recorded with such artists as Erykah Badu, members of BET's International Association of African American Music, the Stanley Paul Orchestra and many others.

IU Soul Revue

IU Soul Revue Photo by Eugene Siew
The IU Soul Revue is one of three ensembles of IU's African American Arts Institute, housed in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. AAAI is the only collegiate arts program with an emphasis in African American performance traditions through credit-bearing ensembles.

Over the years, the AAAI has made a vital contribution to the cultural diversity of IU by preserving, promoting and celebrating African American arts traditions. Its executive director is Charles E. Sykes, and it is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children and IU students with valid ID (limit 2 per IU I.D.). Tickets are available at the Sunrise Box Office, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., phone 812-323-3020.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 18, 2011 For more information and a calendar of AAAI events, visit the AAAI website at

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Michael Jacques found guilty of burning a predominantly African American church in Springfield Massachusetts

WASHINGTON –Michael Jacques, 26, of Springfield, Mass., was found guilty by a federal jury of three crimes related to the burning of a predominantly African-American church in Springfield on the morning after Barack Obama was elected as the first African-American President of the United States, the Justice Department announced today.

Evidence at trial established that in the early morning hours of Nov. 5, 2008, within hours of Obama being elected president, Jacques and his co-conspirators agreed to burn and succeeded in burning the newly-constructed Macedonia Church of God in Christ’s building where religious services were to be held. The building was nearly completed at the time of the fire, which destroyed the entire structure, leaving only the metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner intact. Investigators determined the fire to be incendiary in nature and caused by an unknown quantity of gasoline applied to the exterior and interior of the building.

Prior to the Nov. 4, 2008 presidential election, Jacques and his co-conspirators used racial slurs against African-Americans and expressed anger about the possible election of Obama as the first African-American President. On Nov. 4, 2008, Jacques and his co-conspirators agreed to retaliate against the election by burning the new church because the church members, congregation and bishop were African-American.

Department of Justice LogoJacques was convicted of damaging religious property and obstructing the free exercise of religion because of the race, color or ethnic characteristics of any individual associated with that religious property.

Jacques was also convicted of conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate the parishioners of the church in the free exercise or enjoyment of the right to hold and use real property, a right which is secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and for using fire in the course of a federal felony.

“Hateful acts of violence of this kind will not be tolerated in our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to vigorously prosecute hate crimes against all individuals.”

“This was a very serious case that affected the lives of hundreds of parishioners at the Macedonia Church of God in Christ. When I met with Bishop Bryant Robinson it was clear to me how much damage was inflicted on his community by this horrible act. It was not necessarily about the physical structure that was burned, it was about symbolic and personal nature of the crime”, said U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz. “We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict and want to reaffirm our commitment to defend our most fundamental rights, stemming the tide of hatred and discrimination.”

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2011.

Two other co-conspirators, Thomas Gleason and Benjamin Haskell, have previously pleaded guilty for their role in the offenses. Haskell was sentenced to nine years in prison and three years of supervised release.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Massachusetts State Police; Hampden County District Attorney’s Office and the Springfield Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul H. Smyth and Kevin O’Regan and Nicole Lee Ndumele, Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

11-483 Civil Rights Division Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Strengths and weaknesses of Christianity from the perspective of African American women

Diana L. Hayes, professor of theology at Georgetown University, will give a lecture on themes in her recent book, Standing in the Shoes My Mother Made: A Womanist Theology (Fortress Press, 2010), on Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m. in Rehm Library, Smith Hall at the College of the Holy Cross.

The lecture is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity presented by the College’s Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. It is free and open to the public.

In the book, Hayes combines personal reflection with theological analysis to explore strengths and weaknesses of Christianity from the perspective of African American women. A leading commentator and forger of womanist thought, Hayes is author of many books, including Were You There? Stations of the Cross (Orbis Books, 2000); And Still We Rise: An Introduction to Black Liberation Theology (Paulist Press, 1995); and Hagar’s Daughters: Womanist Ways of Being in the World (Paulist Press, 1995). She is co-editor, with Cyprian Davis, of Taking Down Our Harps: Black Catholics in the United States. (Orbis Books, 1998).

Diana L. HayesHayes is the first African American to earn a doctor of sacred theology degree from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. She received the 2001 U.S. Catholic Award for furthering the role of women in the church.

Hayes’s talk is supported by the Rehm Family Endowment and co-sponsored by the Women and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Holy Cross. For more information about this and other events hosted by the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, and to listen to lectures online, visit

College of the Holy Cross 1 College Street, Worcester, MA 01610 • (508) 793-2011 April 15th, 2011 Danielle Kane

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Anton V. Vincent Executive at General, will deliver the keynote address at Norfolk State University’s commencement ceremony

Norfolk, Va.— Anton V. Vincent, president of the Baking Products Division at General Mills food company, will deliver the keynote address at Norfolk State University’s commencement ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m., Saturday, May 7 at William “Dick” Price Stadium. The procession will begin at 9:30 a.m. More than 700 students will participate in the commencement exercises.

In addition to Vincent keynote address, William T. Mason, Jr., a long-time Norfolk attorney and philanthropist, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his contributions to the university and the community. For more than 40 years, Mason has been a part of the Norfolk State University family, serving as a member of the NSU Board of Visitors and the NSU Foundation Board. He has generously supported the university financially through the establishment and growth of the W.T. and Vivian Carter Mason Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“It is indeed a privilege to have Mr. Anton Vincent as our keynote speaker at Norfolk State University’s commencement,” said Kim Luckes, acting president of Norfolk State University. “Mr. Vincent’s history of success at one of our nation’s most profitable corporations is the result of hard work and determination, and one that our students will benefit from as an example.”

Anton V. VincentVincent is directly responsible for leading the profitable growth of some of America’s most storied brands including the Betty Crocker franchise. His General Mills career spans leadership roles on brands including Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks, Total Cereal, Pop Secret Popcorn, Chex Mix, Gardettos Snack Mix, Yoplait yogurt, Betty Crocker side dishes and new products. Prior to becoming president of the Baking Products Division, Vincent served as Vice President of Marketing for the Baking Products Division and Business Unit Director. He was also a founding member of General Mills’ Black Champions Network (BCN), the company’s largest employee network group.<.td>

In February, Black Enterprise named Vincent one of the Top 100 African Americans in Marketing and Advertising and in 2009 he earned the General Mills Champions Award, the company’s highest honor. His other honors include being named one of the “Top 50 Under 50” leaders in 2006 by Diversity MBA Magazine and the 2008 Minneapolis Business Journal Minority Corporate Executive of the Year award.

Outside of his executive duties, Vincent dedicates much of his time to philanthropic and enterprise efforts. He currently serves as vice chairman of the board at Milestone Growth Fund and a board of trustee member at the Breck School. He is also an advisory council member at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and the Center for Brand Leadership in Indiana. Other memberships include the Executive Leadership Council, Sigma Pi Phi Omicron Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

A native of Jackson, Miss., Vincent earned a bachelor of business administration degree with a concentration in finance from Sam Houston State University and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He considers himself to be a proud southerner turned Midwesterner, and resides with his wife, Lindy, and their three children in Minnetonka, Minn.

Norfolk State University For more information, call Communications and Marketing at 823-8373.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wayne State University's College of Nursing aims to improve the care of African Americans with cancer pain

DETROIT - Nearly all patients with advanced cancer experience severe pain, and almost half of all other cancer patients have some pain, regardless of the type or stage of the disease. Pain often limits a patient's daily activities and causes distress. A new study, led by Wayne State University's College of Nursing and funded by a three-year, $1,078,000 award from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, aims to improve the care of African Americans with cancer pain.

Prior research done by April Vallerand, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, associate professor of nursing at Wayne State University and resident of Novi, Mich., showed that African American cancer patients experience higher pain levels, resulting from a lower feeling of control over pain and a need for help with pain management. Pain care must be highly individualized and responsive to the rapidly changing needs of patients and caregivers trying to manage pain and symptoms at home. This is especially important because patients and caregivers are increasingly responsible for daily pain and symptom management due to shorter hospital stays.

April Hazard Vallerand

April Hazard Vallerand, PhD, RN, FAAN. Associate Professor. Wayne State University, College of Nursing. 364 Cohn. 5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202 (313) 577-0359 (313) 577-8451(FAX)
"Patients and caregivers are typically unprepared to manage cancer pain, so including both in teaching and coaching is essential to assure pain control," said Vallerand. "Our previous study was a one-time intervention that included medication management and pain advocacy information, and we are now expanding to a five-week program called Power Over Pain - Coaching or POP-C. We have also added a new element called Living with Pain that will help patients and families do more of the things they want and need to do in spite of serious illness."

The POP-C program will expand patients' ability to function and is designed specifically for African American cancer patients undergoing outpatient treatment. "We will address the challenges to pain care that have remained unsolved in this urban community by better managing cancer pain African Americans on a case-by-case basis," said Vallerand. "We are trying to reduce suffering, decrease patient and caregiver distress and burden, and help patients function in spite of cancer pain."

The program also aims to reduce current disparities in access, treatment and outcomes for patients and their families. When shown to be effective, this intervention can be adapted for diverse populations with pain so that patients and loved ones can live life to the fullest.

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry, and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the City of Detroit, State of Michigan, and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit

Contact: Julie O'Connor. Voice: (313) 577-8845 Email: Fax: (313) 577-362

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dr. Ancella R. Bickley will deliver the 2011 Charles Hill Moffat Lecture

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Ancella R. Bickley, professor emeritus of English and former Vice President of Academic Affairs at West Virginia State University, will deliver the 2011 Charles Hill Moffat Lecture Thursday, April 21 at Marshall University.

The lecture, which is free to the public, will take place at 4 p.m. in Room BE 5 of the Memorial Student Center on Marshall’s Huntington campus. The title of Bickley’s lecture is “African American History of West Virginia.”

Bickley also is the co-editor of Memphis Tennessee Garrison: The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman.

Dr. David Peavler Trowbridge, an assistant professor of African American history at Marshall, said Bickley is the reason African American history in West Virginia has been preserved.

“Students at Marshall have spent the past semester conducting original research on topics in African American history,” Trowbridge said. “Examples include the integration of Marshall University, Charleston and Huntington schools; lynching in West Virginia; the Barnett Hospital of Huntington; sit-ins in Huntington and Charleston; the 45th USCT (United States Colored Troops) – an Appalachian Civil War regiment composed of black troops from West Virginia; Affrilachian poets; race relations in law enforcement; the experiences of black teachers in one-room schools prior to integration and the integration of Mingo County schools.

The Remarkable Story of a Black Appalachian Woman“These topics were inspired by a list I was able to put together last semester based largely on the research of Dr. Bickley. As a newcomer to the state, I traveled to archives and spoke with librarians across the state and most of the secondary sources I found on black history in West Virginia were written or directed by Dr. Bickley. She has done more than any West Virginian since Carter Woodson to collect and preserve African American history. It is truly an honor to have Dr. Bickley come to Marshall to share her knowledge, and I hope everyone who can make it Thursday afternoon will come to hear Dr. Bickley discuss her life’s work.”

The lecture is named in honor of Dr. Charles Moffat, who taught history at Marshall from 1946 to 1977 and was recognized as one of the top professors in Marshall history by Marshall Magazine.

The lecture is sponsored by Marshall’s Department of History, Phi Alpha Theta and the College of Liberal Arts.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, April 11, 2011 Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications (304) 696-7153.

For further information, contact: Office of University Communications Marshall University 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090 Fax: (304) 696-3197

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lucille Bridges Ruby Bridges mother

In 1956 U.S. District Court Judge J. Skelly Wright ordered the desegregation of the New Orleans public schools. After a series of appeals, in 1960, Wright set down a plan that required the integration of the schools on a grade-per-year basis, beginning with the first grade. The School Board issued a test to black kindergartners to determine the best candidates. Six-year old Ruby Bridges was one of six children selected. Four agreed to proceed. On November 14, Bridges integrated the William Frantz Public School. In retaliation, white parents withdrew her classmates and Bridges's father was fired from his job. Ruby completed the first grade alone with the support of Barbara Henry, a Boston teacher, and Dr. Robert Coles, a child psychiatrist. Ruby's walk to school the first day, escorted by U.S. Marshals, inspired the 1964 Norman Rockwell painting, "The Problem We All Live With."

The "deliberate speed" called for in the Supreme Court's Brown decision was quickly overshadowed by events outside the nation's courtrooms. In Montgomery, Alabama, a grassroots revolt against segregated public transportation inspired a multitude of similar protests and boycotts. A number of school districts in the Southern and border states desegregated peacefully. Elsewhere, white resistance to school desegregation resulted in open defiance and violent confrontations.

Lucille Bridges Ruby Bridges motherRandolph AFB, TX, 3/31/2011: Lucille Bridges tells Randolph Air Force Base elementary school students about her first grade daughter, Ruby, being among the first African-American student to integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Bridges was invited to speak to various groups at the base on March 31, 2011 by the Women's History Month committee. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Terry)

Lucille Bridges Ruby Bridges motherStudents at Randolph Air Force Base elementary school listen as Lucille Bridges recalls events that led to her daughter Ruby, a first grader, being among the first African-American to integrate New Orleans public schools in 1960. Bridges was invited to speak at the base March 31, 2011 as part of Women's History Month activities. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Terry)

Lucille Bridges Ruby Bridges motherLucille Bridges, center, points to documents and photographs of her daughter Ruby, a first grader, entering school in 1960 in New Orleans under the protection of U.S. Federal Marshals. She was among the first African-American students to integrate New Orleans public schools. Listening to her, during a March 31, 2011 visit to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas are, (l. to r.) Sharon Holdipp, Felicia McCollum and Deanna Markovitch. The three are Care Managers with the Wounded Warrior Program at Headquarters Air Force Personnel Center. Bridges visited the base as part of Women's History Month. (U.S. Air Force photo/David Terry)

OPENING TEXT CREDIT: Brown v. Board at Fifty

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The basics of genealogy and the unique challenges of researching African-American family histories

SALISBURY, MD---The basics of genealogy and the unique challenges of researching African-American family histories are explored during the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture’s family history workshop.

The event is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, April 16 (rescheduled from April 2), at the center, in the East Campus Complex of Salisbury University, 190 Wayne Ave.

Kimberly Conway Dumpson, Esq., leads the discussion using examples of source materials from the Nabb Research Center and from Dumpson’s own family history. The director of alumni affairs and planned giving at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, she has has been researching her family history for much of her life. What began as a childhood fascination has grown into decades of work, taking her from the Eastern Shore to New England.

Her research of the Whitehaven area of Wicomico County, in particular, has helped more fully explain the African-American community of that region. Recent research has provided information about the links her family has with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Massachusetts.

Kimberly Conway DumpsonAdmission is free and the public is invited. Seating is limited to 35. For reservations call 410-543-6312. For more information visit the Nabb Research Center Web site at

Salisbury University · 1101 Camden Ave. · Salisbury, MD 21801 · 410-543-6000

Sheryl Gripper Film Industry Leader to be Honored by Spelman College Digital Moving Image Salon

Sheryl Gripper, C'72, founding director of the Black Women Film Network and executive director of the BronzeLens Film Festival, will receive the first annual Moving Image Award presented by the Spelman College Digital Moving Image Salon during the Reel Women Film Showcase at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 14, at Midtown Art Cinema.

Gripper will be recognized for her pioneering efforts to amplify the work of Black women filmmakers. A multi-Emmy Award winner, she is former vice president of community relations for the Networks of 11Alive, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate and WATL-36.

“Sheryl is a generous visionary in the moving image community who has opened many doors,” said Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., founder and director of the Digital Moving Image Salon. “She has been instrumental in helping Black women to tell their stories in front of and behind the camera.”

The Black Women Film Network (formerly the Black Women’s Film Preservation Network) was established in 1997 to increase the number of women of all cultures in the film and media industry. Since then, the organization has given funds for scholarships to women pursuing careers in film, broadcast and related areas and is undertaking a program to provide completion funding assistance in post production, marketing and distribution for established filmmakers.

Sheryl GripperThe BronzeLens Film Festival, a film festival for people of color, is part of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a collective that theatrically releases quality independent African-American films through simultaneous limited engagements.

Also on the same program on April 14, the Digital Moving Image Salon will present its seventh annual student film showcase, which will screen the following four films:

“Neks Wol No go Tan So (The Next World Won't Be So)”

* Producers: M'Ballu Tejan-Sie, Blaire Smith and Nekesa J. Smith. The memories of three women who survived the civil war in Sierra Leone are highlighted in this film. The women share their journey of leaving war-torn Sierra Leone and rebuilding their lives in Atlanta. Their stories attest to their trials, celebrate their personal triumphs and highlight their overwhelming desires to return home.

“By Any Other Name”

* Producers: Daniel Edwards, Roberta Stanfield and Khadijah Ameen. The traditional notion of family is challenged in this documentary portrait of Cindy Lutenbacher, Ph.D., a white English professor at Morehouse College, who mounts a host of personal challenges to create a family of her own. This intimate documentary portrait follows Lutenbacher and her family as she candidly shares the experiences that led to her choice to become a single mother, adopting three daughters from different ethnic backgrounds.

“Beyond the Storm”

* Producers: Janeé Chambers, Darlene W. Garcia and Lauren Brown Jarvis. Five years after Hurricane Katrina and the broken levees, many women in New Orleans have rebuilt their homes, but in too many instances, their lives and communities are still fractured. “Beyond the Storm” looks into the post-Katrina challenges that arose for women and how they are facing these challenges as they continue to rebuild their lives.

“The Shadow Behind the Rainbow”

* Producers: Je-Shawna Wholley, Moriah Thomas and Cyncere White. The activism of Black queer women often goes unnoticed in both the Civil Rights and Gay Rights Movements. This documentary highlights some of the historical contributions as well as current contributions by young Atlanta-based activists.

The award presentation and film showcase are free and open to the public. Midtown Art Cinema is located at 931 Monroe Drive, Atlanta. For more information, visit Reel Women Film Showcase.

About the Digital Moving Image Salon: The Digital Moving Image Salon (DMIS) began at Spelman College in the fall of 2004. Founded by internationally award-winning filmmaker and digital media artist, Ayoka Chenzira, it is a mechanism through which the College encourages and supports the growing number of students interested in creating stories for digital media platforms. For more information, visit DMIS.


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

IMAGE CREDIT: Sheryl Gripper Facebook

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Black New Jerseyans more likely than whites to support school choice vouchers

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J – Voters are split on the continuing growth of charter schools in New Jersey, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released today. Forty-four percent of all Garden State voters support increasing the number of charter schools in the state, while 42 percent oppose adding more charters. Fourteen percent say they don’t know if they support or oppose an increase. Black voters are stronger supporters: 52 percent favor more charter schools.

A majority of the state’s white voters would prefer to send a child to a public school, but black voters prefer charter schools by a narrow margin. While only 31 percent of whites choose charters, 48 percent of blacks feel the same. Public schools are favored by whites, 51 percent to 43 percent.

Black voters are also more likely than whites to support school choice vouchers which would allow children to attend private schools using taxpayer funding, 54 percent to 36 percent.

“As education issues continue to make headlines here, voters are mixed on their reactions,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University. “While there are traditional party-line differences, what really stands out is the difference between black and white voters. African-Americans, while not otherwise supportive of Gov. Christie, are generally behind his plans for charter schools and vouchers.”

Governor Chris Christie

Governor Chris Christie delivers remarks and answer questions at the Brookings Institution regarding New Jersey’s education reform agenda on demanding the most effective education force, creating career ready graduates with higher standards and providing room for innovation in teaching in New York, N.Y. on Thursday, April 7, 2011. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
Results are from a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of 773 registered voters conducted among both landline and cell phone households from March 28 to April 4, with a margin of error for the full sample of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

Garden Staters split on increasing charter schools

Among all voters, supporters of charter schools edge opponents, 44 percent to 42 percent. The numbers are essentially the same for those with at least one child under 18 at home: 41 percent in favor and 44 percent against. Black voters are more positive, however, 52 percent supporting the growth of charter schools and 39 percent opposing.

Those with a favorable impression of the governor also are stronger supporters, 57 percent to 29 percent. Voters unfavorable toward Christie strongly oppose more charter schools, 57 percent to 30 percent. Not surprisingly, only a minority of voters in public employee union households support increasing the number of charter schools, 30 percent to 58 percent who oppose. Support for charters is greater among those in non-union households, 46 percent in favor and 39 percent opposed.

“These data show an interesting split in traditional Democratic constituencies on this issue,” said Redlawsk. “As Governor Christie pushes for more charter schools as a lynchpin in his education plan, public employee union members resist, but African-Americans appear to be on his side.”

Charter schools seen equal to or better than public schools

Almost four-in-10 respondents (38 percent) say charter schools do a better job educating children than traditional public schools, while 30 percent say both types are equally good and 9 percent say charters do worse. Twenty-three percent are not sure. Among those with a child under 18, the results are similar: 36 percent say charter schools do better, 34 percent say both types do about the same, 7 percent say charter schools do worse than traditional public schools and 23 percent are unsure. Though supporting charters, blacks are no more likely than whites to say charter schools do a better job than public schools.

By better than 2 to 1 (54 percent to 24 percent), Christie’s supporters are more likely to say charters do a better job than traditional schools at educating students. Twenty-two percent of Christie supporters say the two types of schools are equally good, while 42 percent of Christie detractors believe they are equal. While 14 percent of those unfavorable toward Christie say charter schools do a worse job, only 4 percent of Christie supporters agree. Similarly, among public employee union households, 22 percent prefer charters; 41 percent of non-union households agree.

Seventy-eight percent who say charter schools do a better job, want more in New Jersey. Among those who say both types perform about the same, only 29 percent support more charter schools, while 62 percent are opposed. Most voters do not think the growth in charters has weakened traditional public schools; only 24 percent do so and 45 percent say it has made no difference.

Whites prefer to send children to traditional public schools while blacks are split

Though a majority of voters says charter schools are as least as good as public schools, most white respondents would prefer to send a child to a traditional public school, 51 percent to 15 percent; 15 percent are not sure. Black voters have a starkly different view, with 48 percent preferring a charter school and 43 percent preferring a traditional public school, with only 7 percent unsure.

Christie supporters are half as likely as detractors to say they would send a child to public school; 36 percent would send a child to a public school, while 45 percent prefer a charter. However, 64 percent of those not favorable toward Christie prefer a traditional public school, and only 21 percent would use a charter school.

Black voters support school choice vouchers

Fifty-four percent of black voters support school choice vouchers, another key part of the governor’s education reform plan. Christie has proposed publicly funded scholarships to enable school children to attend private schools with public funding. While black voters support this idea, only 36 percent of white voters agree. As with other parts of his education plans, those favoring the governor are stronger supporters of vouchers, 51 percent to 44 percent opposed. Among those holding an unfavorable view of the governor, only 30 percent support vouchers, while 65 percent oppose them.

“Vouchers are perceived to be of most benefit to families in failing urban school districts,” said Redlawsk. “Since most white voters do not perceive their schools as failing, few seem to support the idea of using tax dollars to allow children to move to private schools where public schools are failing. These results show a clear sense of localism – if my schools are ok, then why use tax dollars for someone else?

“The governor’s voucher plan is not overly popular among his core constituency. Though conservatives and Republicans strongly support charter schools, they are evenly split of vouchers,” said Redlawsk. “Democrats in general strongly oppose vouchers, except for African-Americans, who clearly want more choice of schools. The usual political coalitions have a hard time with this issue.”

Public school budget support unclear

About a month before the annual school elections, Garden State voters are not sure if they will vote for or against their local school budgets. Thirty percent say they will vote yes (34 percent in households with children, 27 percent childless households) while 16 percent say they will vote no (14 percent with children at home; 18 percent without). However, 39 percent say they are not sure how they will vote (38 percent children, 40 percent without.)

Christie backers are less likely to favor their district’s budget. Only 24 percent favor their school budget, while another 24 percent plan to vote against it, and 36 percent are not sure. Among those unfavorable toward the governor, 40 percent plan to vote for their budget, 8 percent oppose it, and 41 percent are unsure.

“Signs point to another contentious season for school budgets,” said Redlawsk. “As with most other things in New Jersey these days, where the governor comes down on the issue matters. If he makes another effort to defeat school budgets as he did last year, he’s likely to motivate his base and see some success.”

Media Contact: David Redlawsk 732-932-9384, ext. 285 E-mail: Contact: Steve Manas 732-932-7084, ext. 612 E-mail:

EDITOR'S NOTE: ATTENTION POLITICAL, ASSIGNMENT EDITORS, Professor David Redlawsk is available for interviews. He may be contacted at 319-400-1134, 732-932-9384, ext. 285, or Visit for more commentary.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at National Action Network’s 13th Annual Convention FULL TEXT

Attorney General Eric Holder Speaks at National Action Network’s 13th Annual Convention.

Thank you, Reverend Sharpton. It is a privilege to be included in this annual gathering, and I want to thank you for putting me in such good company – among so many old friends, committed partners, and distinguished community and religious leaders. I’m grateful to you all – especially to the pastors who let me know that you’ve been praying for me. Please, keep it up.

I’m also grateful for this opportunity to salute all that the National Action Network – and its many supporters – are doing to strengthen our nation, to protect its most vulnerable citizens, and to carry on – and carry forward – the work of America’s greatest “drum major for justice” – the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just two days ago, our nation marked the 43rd anniversary of Dr. King’s tragic and untimely death. Although I believe that Dr. King would be proud to see the America that he helped to create – and the extraordinary progress that’s been made in the last four decades – the unfortunate fact is that, in 2011, our nation’s long struggle to overcome disparities, to bridge long-standing divisions, and to eradicate violence has not yet ended. We have not yet reached the Promised Land that Dr. King spoke of so often. And we still have not realized his dream.

Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.But we can all be encouraged that, for two decades now, the National Action Network has been on the front lines of our nation’s fight to ensure security, opportunity, and justice for all. Today, this work goes on in your demands to those in power and in your aspirations for those in need. It goes on in your efforts to safeguard civil rights, to expand learning and employment opportunities, and to prevent and combat violence and crime – especially among our young people.

Throughout my life, I have seen the devastating effects of youth violence. While growing up in Queens, my brother William – who I’m glad is here with us today – and I witnessed the consequences of violence on the streets of this city.

Throughout my career, I have learned that exposure to violence early in life – not only as a victim, but also as an observer – can have devastating, long-term effects – increasing odds for depression, substance abuse, and violent behavior into adulthood.

Today, as Attorney General – and, above all, as the father of three teenage children – I am determined to make the progress that our children deserve.

In thinking about the challenges before us, I am reminded of a question that my most famous predecessor – and one of our nation’s greatest public servants – asked nearly half a century ago. In 1967, Robert Kennedy traveled to the Mississippi Delta, where – after stepping into a dilapidated shack – he came upon a young boy. Repeatedly, he tried to talk with this child. But his words were met with a blank, almost lifeless, gaze. Although that little boy had been born in the most powerful and affluent nation on Earth, he had been silenced – by hunger, by overwhelming need, by desperation, by hopelessness.

With tears in his eyes, Robert Kennedy turned away from that child and famously asked, “How can a country like this allow it?”

Almost half a century later, Robert Kennedy’s words still resonate and remain before us. And his question – How can a country like this allow it? – is still being asked, because people like you are still asking it.

People like you – and other community and religious leaders, elected officials and activists, and concerned citizens nationwide – are challenging our great nation to confront indefensible conditions and inequities. You are calling every American to examine our values and our priorities. You are speaking for the voiceless and standing up for the powerless. And, today, I want each of you – and the communities that you serve – to know that I am proud to stand with you.

As Reverend Sharpton – and so many of you have often said – protecting our children is not just our professional calling. It is our moral obligation.

Our nation will be defined, and its future will be determined, by the support that we provide – and the doors that we open – for our young people. In looking toward – and planning for – this future, we do not have a moment to waste. In fact, in many communities, the problem of youth violence has reached crisis proportions.

Today, the majority of America’s children – more than 60 percent of them – have been exposed to crime, abuse, and violence. And rates of exposure – as a witness to or victim of violence – are even higher in low-income and minority communities.

And while people often talk about the fact that African Americans are disproportionately jailed – why aren’t we also discussing the fact that black people are also disproportionately victimized by violent crime?

African Americans are now about 13 percent of the nation’s population – but nearly 50 percent of its homicide victims. More than ninety percent of black murder victims in this country are killed by other black people. That’s right – nine out of every ten. And the leading cause of death for young black men – those aged fifteen to twenty four – is homicide. Homicide.

How can our nation risk losing so many of tomorrow’s teachers and pastors, scientists and physicians, attorneys and artists? How – it is time to ask again – can a country like this allow it?

The answer, of course, is that we cannot. And my answer – to you and to every child who lives in fear or is struggling to heal or to find hope – is that we will not.

But how? How can we effectively prevent and combat youth violence? How can we remedy its symptoms? How can we overcome the obstacles before us and the odds against us?

These are critical – and complex – questions. And we can no longer answer them in vague platitudes and clichéd calls to action. My answer to these questions – and to how we’re going to address the causes and consequences of youth violence – is simple. And it’s something that you are already doing. Take it personally.

When you read that 1.5 million American children have a parent behind bars, and that the majority of African-American households nationwide do not include a father – and when you know that children in these households are more likely to live in poverty, to perform poorly in school, to commit crimes, and to abuse drugs – take it personally.

When you discover that Black and Hispanic 12th graders are, on average, reading at the same level as white 8th graders, take it personally.

We know that a good education holds the key to a better life. When you hear that in some neighborhoods many kids are more concerned with their jump shots than their report cards, take it personally.

When you see just how common – and widely accepted – it is for our young people to celebrate music, movies, games, and role models that glorify violence and denigrate women, take it personally.

When you understand how youth violence hurts local economies, lowers property values, drives up medical costs, and forces us to spend precious taxpayer dollars on prisons and jails – rather than on education, mentoring, and violence-prevention programs – take it personally.

And when you realize that, on average, 16 young people are murdered every single day in this country, take it personally.

Just imagine if more people viewed this problem – the problem of youth violence – as their problem. Imagine where we would be. Imagine the future we could build.

I have not – and I will not – give up on my vision for that future. In this great nation, we will simply not give up on our children. We must commit to building an America where every child has a chance – to learn and to unlock their potential; to develop their gifts and to find their passion; to know peace and to have hope.

We cannot stand by while our young people kill each other and ravage our communities. And we can no longer turn a blind eye to their suffering. We must protect our young people in every way we can; empower them as well as we know how; and challenge them to make good decisions – and to contribute to the work of strengthening our nation and honoring our founding principles.

I am proud that addressing youth violence is a top priority for this administration – and for today’s Justice Department. Just yesterday, as part of the administration’s National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, the Justice Department convened – and I took part in – a summit in Washington where leaders and community stakeholders from six different cities unveiled comprehensive youth violence prevention plans. And the Justice Department now is directing resources for the express purpose of reducing childhood exposure to violence. We’re also working to raise awareness of its ramifications; to advance scientific inquiry on its causes and characteristics; and, of course, to counter its negative impact.

But the simple truth is that government can’t do it alone.

We need your help to apply the lessons we’ve learned – like the fact that enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration – while key components in our fight to ensure public safety – are merely pieces of the larger puzzle for addressing and eliminating youth violence.

We need your help to develop and implement prevention, intervention, and reentry strategies; to launch new after-school programs; to create more summer jobs; and to build the adult support necessary to expand opportunities for achievement, contribution, and public service.

And we need your help to reach out to both parents and children; to provide teachers, civic leaders, and public health officials with up-to-date information about youth violence trends and indicators; and to train lawyers and law enforcement officers to respond more effectively when violence occurs.

Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to reach every child who needs our help. And, despite our best efforts, we know that some young people will start down the wrong path. But for them, we must provide opportunities to break destructive cycles and to grow still into productive members of society.

Equally important, we must not – and will not – excuse violent criminal behavior. Just as our crime prevention efforts must focus on alleviating the conditions that tend to breed crime, they must also concentrate on bringing those who seek to impose their will through violent means to justice. Personal responsibility and accountability are necessary ingredients in the struggle for the future of our children.

Now, I don’t pretend that the work of achieving our public safety goals – and fulfilling our responsibilities to our young people – will be easy. As we move forward, I know there will be obstacles and costs. And progress may not come as quickly as we would like.

I can accept that. But what I cannot accept is an America where parents no longer tell their children what my parents and grandparents so often told me, that “In this country, if you are willing to work hard and to play by the rules, you can achieve great things.”

Since America’s earliest days, this has been her creed. I cannot accept an America where these words no longer hold truth – an America were children can’t learn and play in peace, and where they are at risk in their own homes and schools.

No, I cannot accept that America. None of us can. None of us should. Never forget: This is a moral issue.

So let us seize this moment – and the extraordinary opportunities before us. Let us commit to the progress that we can, and must, make together – and, most importantly, let us commit ourselves to the children who are counting on us all. Their future is our future. Their fate is our own. If we are to be true to the rich legacy that is ours, we must do all that we can to ensure a future for our children that is steeped in responsibility and filled with opportunity and equality. This is the task before us. With hard work and with commitment we can make a better world for those for whom we have the ultimate responsibility.

Thank you.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

President Lyndon B. Johnson's Special Message to the Congress: The American Promise March 15, 1965 TEXT PODCAST VIDEO

[As delivered in person before a joint session at 9:02 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, Members of the Congress:

I speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy.

I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in that cause.

At times history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.

There, long-suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many were brutally assaulted. One good man, a man of God, was killed.

There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Selma. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our democracy in what is happening here tonight.

DOWNLOAD MP3 for PODCAST Special Message to the Congress: "The American Promise" PART 1 || Special Message to the Congress: "The American Promise" PART 2

For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great Government--the Government of the greatest Nation on earth.

Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country: to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man.

In our time we have come to live with moments of great crisis. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues; issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression. But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved Nation.

The issue of equal rights for American Negroes is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation.

For with a country as with a person, "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ?"

There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem. And we are met here tonight as Americans--not as Democrats or Republicans-we are met here as Americans to solve that problem.

This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal"--"government by consent of the governed"--"give me liberty or give me death." Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives.

Those words are a promise to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man's possessions; it cannot be found in his power, or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom, he shall choose his leaders, educate his children, and provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.

To apply any other test--to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race, his religion or the place of his birth--is not only to do injustice, it is to deny America and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom.


Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish, it must be rooted in democracy. The most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country, in large measure, is the history of the expansion of that right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.

Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting simply because they are Negroes.

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable has been used to deny this right. The Negro citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists, and if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name or because he abbreviated a word on the application.

And if he manages to fill out an application he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of State law. And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write.

For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin.

Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. No law that we now have on the books-and I have helped to put three of them there--can ensure the right to vote when local officials are determined to deny it.

In such a case our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting because of his race or his color. We have all sworn an oath before God to support and to defend that Constitution. We must now act in obedience to that oath.


Wednesday I will send to Congress a law designed to eliminate illegal barriers to the right to vote.

The broad principles of that bill will be in the hands of the Democratic and Republican leaders tomorrow. After they have reviewed it, it will come here formally as a bill. I am grateful for this opportunity to come here tonight at the invitation of the leadership to reason with my friends, to give them my views, and to visit with my former colleagues.

I have had prepared a more comprehensive analysis of the legislation which I had intended to transmit to the clerk tomorrow but which I will submit to the clerks tonight. But I want to really discuss with you now briefly the main proposals of this legislation,

This bill will strike down restrictions to voting in all elections--Federal, State, and local--which have been used to deny Negroes the right to vote.

This bill will establish a simple, uniform standard which cannot be used, however ingenious the effort, to flout our Constitution.

It will provide for citizens to be registered by officials of the United States Government if the State officials refuse to register them.

It will eliminate tedious, unnecessary lawsuits which delay the right to vote.

Finally, this legislation will ensure that properly registered individuals are not prohibited from voting.

I will welcome the suggestions from all of the Members of Congress--I have no doubt that I will get some--on ways and means to strengthen this law and to make it effective. But experience has plainly shown that this is the only path to carry out the command of the Constitution.

To those who seek to avoid action by their National Government in their own communities; who want to and who seek to maintain purely local control over elections, the answer is simple:

Open your polling places to all your people.

Allow men and women to register and vote whatever the color of their skin.

Extend the rights of citizenship to every citizen of this land.


There is no constitutional issue here. The command of the Constitution is plain.

There is no moral issue. It is wrong--deadly wrong--to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country.

There is no issue of States rights or national rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.

I have not the slightest doubt what will be your answer.

The last time a President sent a civil rights bill to the Congress it contained a provision to protect voting rights in Federal elections. That civil rights bill was passed after 8 long months of debate. And when that bill came to my desk from the Congress for my signature, the heart of the voting provision had been eliminated.

This time, on this issue, there must be no delay, no hesitation and no compromise with our purpose.

We cannot, we must not, refuse to protect the right of every American to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in. And we ought not and we cannot and we must not wait another 8 months before we get a bill. We have already waited a hundred years and more, and the time for waiting is gone.

So I ask you to join me in working long hours--nights and weekends, if necessary--to pass this bill. And I don't make that request lightly. For from the window where I sit with the problems of our country I recognize that outside this chamber is the outraged conscience of a nation, the grave concern of many nations, and the harsh judgment of history on our acts.


But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life.

Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

As a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil I know how agonizing racial feelings are. I know how difficult it is to reshape the attitudes and the structure of our society.

But a century has passed, more than a hundred years, since the Negro was freed. And he is not fully free tonight.

It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great President of another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact.

A century has passed, more than a hundred years, since equality was promised. And yet the Negro is not equal.

A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

The time of justice has now come. I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come. And when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American.

For Negroes are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated, how many white families have lived in stark poverty, how many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we have wasted our energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

So I say to all of you here, and to all in the Nation tonight, that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future.

This great, rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all: black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are the enemies and not our fellow man, not our neighbor. And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance, we shall overcome.


Now let none of us in any sections look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another section, or on the problems of our neighbors. There is really no part of America where the promise of equality has been fully kept. In Buffalo as well as in Birmingham, in Philadelphia as well as in Selma, Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom.

This is one Nation. What happens in Selma or in Cincinnati is a matter of legitimate concern to every American. But let each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities, and let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel to root out injustice wherever it exists.

As we meet here in this peaceful, historic chamber tonight, men from the South, some of whom were at Iwo Jima, men from the North who have carried Old Glory to far corners of the world and brought it back without a stain on it, men from the East and from the West, are all fighting together without regard to religion, or color, or region, in Viet-Nam. Men from every region fought for us across the world 20 years ago.

And in these common dangers and these common sacrifices the South made its contribution of honor and gallantry no less than any other region of the great Republic--and in some instances, a great many of them, more.

And I have not the slightest doubt that good men from everywhere in this country, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Golden Gate to the harbors along the Atlantic, will rally together now in this cause to vindicate the freedom of all Americans. For all of us owe this duty; and I believe that all of us will respond to it.

Your President makes that request of every American.


The real hero of this struggle is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this Nation. His demonstrations have been designed to call attention to injustice, designed to provoke change, designed to stir reform.

He has called upon us to make good the promise of America. And who among us can say that we would have made the same progress were it not for his persistent bravery, and his faith in American democracy.

For at the real heart of battle for equality is a deep-seated belief in the democratic process. Equality depends not on the force of arms or tear gas but upon the force of moral right; not on recourse to violence but on respect for law and order.

There have been many pressures upon your President and there will be others as the days come and go. But I pledge you tonight that we intend to fight this battle where it should be fought: in the courts, and in the Congress, and in the hearts of men.

We must preserve the right of free speech and the right of free assembly. But the right of free speech does not carry with it, as has been said, the right to holler fire in a crowded theater. We must preserve the right to free assembly, but free assembly does not carry with it the right to block public thoroughfares to traffic.

We do have a right to protest, and a right to march under conditions that do not infringe the constitutional rights of our neighbors. And I intend to protect all those rights as long as I am permitted to serve in this office.

We will guard against violence, knowing it strikes from our hands the very weapons which we seek--progress, obedience to law, and belief in American values.

In Selma as elsewhere we seek and pray for peace. We seek order. We seek unity. But we will not accept the peace of stifled rights, or the order imposed by fear, or the unity that stifles protest. For peace cannot be purchased at the cost of liberty.

In Selma tonight, as in every--and we had a good day there--as in every city, we are working for just and peaceful settlement. We must all remember that after this speech I am making tonight, after the police and the FBI and the Marshals have all gone, and after you have promptly passed this bill, the people of Selma and the other cities of the Nation must still live and work together. And when the attention of the Nation has gone elsewhere they must try to heal the wounds and to build a new community.

This cannot be easily done on a battleground of violence, as the history of the South itself shows. It is in recognition of this that men of both races have shown such an outstandingly impressive responsibility in recent days--last Tuesday, again today,


The bill that I am presenting to you will be known as a civil rights bill. But, in a larger sense, most of the program I am recommending is a civil rights program. Its object is to open the city of hope to all people of all races.

Because all Americans just must have the right to vote. And we are going to give them that right.

All Americans must have the privileges of citizenship regardless of race. And they are going to have those privileges of citizenship regardless of race.

But I would like to caution you and remind you that to exercise these privileges takes much more than just legal right. It requires a trained mind and a healthy body. It requires a decent home, and the chance to find a job, and the opportunity to escape from the clutches of poverty.

Of course, people cannot contribute to the Nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check.

So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates.


My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Tex., in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English, and I couldn't speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast, hungry. They knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But they knew it was so, because I saw it in their eyes. I often walked home late in the afternoon, after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.

Somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.

I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country.

But now I do have that chance--and I'll let you in on a secret--I mean to use it. And I hope that you will use it with me.

This is the richest and most powerful country which ever occupied the globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the President who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.

I want to be the President who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of taxeaters.

I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.

I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races and all regions and all parties.

I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth.

And so at the request of your beloved Speaker and the Senator from Montana; the majority leader, the Senator from Illinois; the minority leader, Mr. McCulloch, and other Members of both parties, I came here tonight--not as President Roosevelt came down one time in person to veto a bonus bill, not as President Truman came down one time to urge the passage of a railroad bill--but I came down here to ask you to share this task with me and to share it with the people that we both work for. I want this to be the Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, which did all these things for all these people.

Beyond this great chamber, out yonder in 50 States, are the people that we serve. Who can tell what deep and unspoken hopes are in their hearts tonight as they sit there and listen. We all can guess, from our own lives, how difficult they often find their own pursuit of happiness, how many problems each little family has. They look most of all to themselves for their futures. But I think that they also look to each of us.

Above the pyramid on the great seal of the United States it says--in Latin--"God has favored our undertaking."

God will not favor everything that we do. It is rather our duty to divine His will. But I cannot help believing that He truly understands and that He really favors the undertaking that we begin here tonight.

NOTE: The address was broadcast nationally.

Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965. Volume I, entry 107, pp. 281-287. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1966.

TEXT CREDIT: President Lyndon B. Johnson's Special Message to the Congress: The American Promise March 15, 1965

VIDEO CREDIT: MCamericanpresident

AUDIO CREDIT: The Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century

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.