Thursday, December 31, 2009

US Labor Department settles discrimination findings against Los Angeles Coca-Cola bottling company

Agency review determined employer failed to hire African-American applicants

SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Labor has agreed to settle findings of hiring discrimination at the BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co. plant located in Los Angeles, Calif.

The agreement settles allegations by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that BCI Coca-Cola engaged in hiring discrimination against African-American applicants for entry-level merchandiser positions between Jan.1 and Dec. 31, 2006.

OFCCP investigators found that the facility's selection process disproportionately rejected African-American applicants. Under the terms of the agreement, BCI Coca-Cola agrees to pay a total of $49,376 in back pay and interest, to be shared among 26 former applicants. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling also will hire seven of the previously rejected African-American applicants as merchandisers. Merchandisers work with retail outlets to maintain displays and stock inventory in order to maximize product sales.

"This settlement demonstrates the Labor Department's determination to prevent workplace discrimination by federal contractors," said William D. Smitherman, director of OFCCP's Pacific regional office in San Francisco. "With Coca-Cola's cooperation during the review, we were able to achieve a common goal of compliance."

BCI Coca-Cola also agrees to immediately cease any discriminatory practices and undertake extensive self-monitoring measures to ensure that all hiring practices fully comply with the law.

BCI Coca-Cola has federal contracts to sell beverages and food products to the Defense Commissary Agency.

OFCCP, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, enforces Executive Order 11246 and other laws that prohibit employment discrimination by federal contractors. The agency monitors federal contractors to ensure that they provide equal employment opportunity without regard to race, gender, color, religion, national origin, disability or veteran status. More information is available on the agency's Web at www.dol.gov/ofccp/.

OFCCP News Release: [12/21/2009] Contact Name: Deanne Amaden Phone Number: (415) 625-2630 Release Number: 09-1422-SAN

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leading author will keynote UMSL’s MLK celebration

Jabari Asim, an influential African-American literary and social critic and prolific author, will be the keynote speaker at the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 in the Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The program includes a dramatic performance, “Zooman and the Sign,” depicting a community’s response to violence directed by Adeniyi “Niyi” Coker, E. Des Lee Endowed Professor of African & African American Studies. In addition, the Dickson Quartet, talented sibling musicians from Oregon, will perform.

Asim, scholar-in-residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the author of the 2009 book, “What Obama Means, For Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Future.”

Jabari AsimAsim’s 2007 critically acclaimed and controversial book, “The N Word: Who Can Say it, Who Shouldn’t And Why,” generated speaking engagements on college campuses all over the country. He appeared on numerous television and radio shows including “The Today Show,” “The Colbert Report,” “Hannity and Colmes,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” “The Diane Rehm Show,” and more.
He is an accomplished poet, playwright and fiction writer with his first novel, “Nappy Days,” and three children’s books due out in 2010.

Asim’s distinguished journalism career includes 11 years at the Washington Post as deputy editor of the book review section and as a syndicated columnist writing on political and social issues. He also spent four years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the 1990s as a copy editor, book editor and then arts editor. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine.

He is a former vice president of the National Book Critics Circle and his reviews and cultural criticism have been published in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Phoenix Gazette, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Salon.com, the Detroit News, The Village Voice, Hungry Mind Review, XXL, Code, Emerge, Essence, Africana.com and BlackElectorate.com.

The Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on UMSL’s north campus. For more information visit www.umsl.edu/services/oeo/news_events/ or call 314-516-5695.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact: Maureen Zegel 314-516-5493 University of Missouri-St. Louis Media Services 414 Woods Hall One University Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63121-4499

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

IU community shocked, saddened by professor's death

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University is saddened by the loss of a professor.

Don Belton was an assistant professor in the IU Bloomington Department of English, and he was a member of the Creative Writing Program faculty.

"Assistant Professor Don Belton was an important African-American writer specializing in fiction and nonfiction who began teaching at IU Bloomington in fall 2008," said Provost Karen Hanson. "He was a generous and talented professor who had much potential. We were shocked and saddened by his death."

Jonathan Elmer, chair of the IU Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Belton was a well-liked and talented faculty member who was respected by faculty, staff and students.

Don Belton

Don Belton
"Don Belton's friends, colleagues and students in the English Department are shocked and terribly saddened by the news of his death," Elmer said. "His great talents as a writer, his extraordinary generosity to his students, and his warmth of personality were gifts to us all. We will miss him terribly."

Prior to his work at IU Bloomington, he taught at Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa. Belton was the author of the novel Almost Midnight, and was editor of Speak My Name, an anthology exploring the gulf between real and represented black masculinity.
His writings appeared in literary reviews, literature anthologies, cultural journals and popular magazines and newspapers. He had been a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference at Middlebury College, Macdowell and Yadoo artists colonies, the Rockefeller Center in Italy, and the Center for Media Studies at Brown University.

He has taught literature, fiction and world cinema at the University of Michigan, Macalester College and the University of Pennsylvania. He lectured on James Baldwin at the first African American Writers in Europe Conference at the Sorbonne; on black literature and black popular culture in the Ivory Coast of West Africa; and on Robert Mapplethorpe at the University of Sao Paulo, School of Communications and Arts, Brazil.

His writing and teaching interests include writers in community and exile, and writing about home.

Media Contacts: Susan Williams Office of University Communications sulwilli@indiana.edu 812-272-0667. Nicole Roales Office of University Communications. nroales@indiana.edu 812-325-6102

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Online Rice Library Image Collection features photos from the 1800s to present day

The University of Southern Indiana's University Archives and Special Collections has made its extensive image collection available online at www.usi.edu/library/Rice_Library_Image_Collections. The Rice Library Image Collection includes photographs from Evansville, New Harmony and the Tri-state area from the late 1800s to the present day.

The database features photographs from the African-American community in Evansville, more than 1,000 images of the 1937 flood, photographs of parades and fairs from the early 20th century, and a series of architectural photographs of the historic district in downtown Evansville from 1978 to 1979.

Shaving Parlor African-American Community

An image of the William H. Glover Shaving Parlor (1920) from USI's Evansville African-American Community image collection.
Also included are images from the Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company of residential homes, businesses, employees, and other locations from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The project will be expanded to include University photographs, celebrities who visited the area, historic structures that no longer survive, and intentional communities from around the United States.
Visit University Archives and Special Collections for more information about the collections.

Contact for more information: Wendy Knipe Bredhold, Media Relations Specialist, News & Information Services, 812/461-5259 email

Friday, December 25, 2009

Project will examine Former Slaves’ Writings during Emancipation Era

Christopher Hager Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant.

HARTFORD, Conn. – Only about 10 percent of the slaves during the Civil War era in the United States were literate, primarily because most Southern states had stringent anti-literacy laws. That has led to the mistaken notion that slaves and former slaves rarely wrote anything of value, and that there is little to be learned from what they did write.

Christopher Hager, an assistant professor of English, believes differently. Through his preliminary research, Hager, whose graduate work at Northwestern University concentrated on 19th century American literature in relation to slavery and the Civil War, says there is much to be learned from the diaries, journals, letters and other forms of writing that “marginally literate former slaves” penned during the years of emancipation.

Christopher Hager

Christopher Hager
As such, Hager, who has taught at Trinity since 2007, is working on the manuscript of a book to be called, “A Colored Man’s Constitution: Emancipation and the Act of Writing.” Hager’s efforts will be facilitated by a $50,400 stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the 2010-2011 academic year, when he will be on sabbatical.

The funding for Hager’s research was announced Thursday, Dec. 17 by the NEH. It is one of 319 humanities projects that will share $20 million in grant awards, and one of 11 in Connecticut to be selected.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. “The grants announced today highlight the broad spectrum of humanities projects funded by the Endowment,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “From small awards which enable institutions to better preserve and conserve their collections, to larger matching offers that assist organizations with capital improvements, NEH funding supports humanities scholarship and a variety of projects.”

Hager’s award is significant because the amount of the award is among the highest, reinforcing the notion that there is great interest in what Hager calls “this largely neglected moment in the history of African-American writing.”

“If we want to understand the transition from slavery to freedom, we have to understand what people thought, not only what they wrote but how they used their new skill,” he said.

In his proposal to the NEH, Hager points out that since the 1970s, scholars have dismissed the earlier presumption that it was impossible to understand slavery and emancipation from the perspective of slaves and former slaves because most of them could not write and left no reliable records.

“The emancipation of American slaves was not only a social and political revolution but also a singular moment in the history of written expression,” Hager said. “Untold thousands of African Americans who had been deprived of literacy gained unprecedented access to education at the same time they achieved their freedom.”

In fact, many of the documents that Hager will examine were written by black men who had enlisted in the Union Army. That’s where many received their first formal education.

Hager, who teaches upper-level courses in American literature, 1865-1945, at Trinity, said he has already uncovered materials that are surprising for the revelations they contain. For example, a man named John Washington wrote a memoir in 1873, but also wrote while still a slave, clearly demonstrating his literary ambition. Washington learned to read secretly, in part by reading Harpers Magazine.

Then there was a potter who wrote lines of poetry in the clay pots that he crafted before they were fired in kilns.

Hager said some of the materials he will be examining have been archived in universities and libraries, but others have been uncovered through “strokes of good fortune.” In some cases, descendents of the former slaves discovered the documents in attics and other locations.

In terms of completing his book, Hager has already gathered and transcribed most of his primary texts. They were written during or soon after the Civil War, and they range from a one-paragraph letter to a 100-page memoir.

“Upon publication,” Hager said in his proposal, “the book promises to interest scholars in the fields of African American Studies, 19th-century American literature, and the history of slavery and emancipation.”

Office of Communications 300 Summit Street Hartford, CT 06106, Phone: (860) 297-2140 Fax: (860) 297-2312 communications-office@trincoll.edu

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Defining 'Whose Black Politics' Focus of New Book VIDEO PODCAST

The era of post-Civil Rights era Black politics didn't start with Barack Obama, and they won't end with the 44th president. That's the message of "Whose Black Politics? Cases in Post-Racial Black Leadership," a new compilation of groundbreaking scholarship from Emory University political scientist Andra Gillespie.

In the book, just published by Routledge Press, contributors explore the contemporary cohort of black political leaders who came of age after the Civil Rights era who have been defined through the election of President Obama. While race may tie them together, the case studies from scholars around the country reveal philosophical and practical differences in how they view the world - and the importance of their own racial identity.



Listen to Gillespie talk about black political leaders (mp3)
"If there was a motto for the book it would be: Black politics is bigger than Barack Obama. It's important to acknowledge the trailblazing of the early cohort of African American politicians and give voice to the diversity that persists in African American politics, even amongst this new wave of black politicians," Gillespie says.

To explore these issues, "Whose Black Politics" presents for the first time a series of in-depth analyses of 10 leading young black politicians, including, among others, Newark, N.J.'s Cory Booker,
Civil Rights legacy Jesse Jackson, Jr., Massachusetts Gov. Duval Patrick, Tennessee's Harold Ford, and a look at the rise and fall of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Gillespie establishes a road map for defining new leaders in African American politics based on black leaders' crossover appeal, their political ambition and connections to the black establishment. The collection also explores what's missing with an examination of the underrepresentation of young black women in this new generation of politicians.

Gillespie defines the post-racial cohort as those born after 1960, give or take five years, who didn't experience the Civil Rights movement first-hand nor the codified racism of Jim Crow laws. They also benefitted from the gains of the Civil Rights movement with opportunities for education and integration not experienced by previous generations of African Americans.

"Their attitudes toward race are going to be very, very different. It's not going to be shaped through the crucible of struggle and through the crucible of protest," Gillespie says. "They are however, sympathetic to the struggle and history of their people and that could actually have an impact on how they approach politics, and what policies they espouse and how they reach out to other people and create the partnerships to address the problems in African American communities."

At the same time, "they are more likely to embrace deracialized campaign and governance strategies," she says. "Members of this new cohort have often publicly clashed with their elders, either in campaigns or over points of policy. And because this generation did not experience codified racism, critics question whether these leaders will even serve the interests of African Americans once in office." ###

Contact: Beverly Clark: 404.712.8780

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Auguste among top African-Americans in technology

Bioengineer named to the Tenth Annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology list

San Fransisco, California and Cambridge, Mass. - December 9, 2009 - Debra Auguste, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been named to the Tenth Annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology list.

"The honorees are each an example of the critically important role of African-American innovators, educators, policymakers and executives to shape the future of the global economy,” said John William Templeton, president/executive editor of San Francisco-based eAccess Corp., which has produced the list since 1999. “During a transformational national administration, they represent the role models to propel new generations into the careers of the future.”

Debra Auguste, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)

Debra Auguste, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)
Debra Auguste received her S.B. in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2005. Before joining Harvard, she was a postdoctoral Associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 2004-2006.

The focus of the Auguste lab is to develop novel biomaterials for drug delivery and tissue engineering. She is interested in directing the behavior and differentiation of cells, in most cases human embryonic stem cells, by controlling their three-dimensional cellular microenvironment.
The design criteria requires the synthesis of new, biomimetic materials in coordination with regulating the rate of molecule release, immune response, targeting, and degradation. These systems are investigated for potential use in cell-based therapies.

Auguste and her other Honorees will gather for a 10th anniversary symposium in San Francisco on Jan. 15, 2010 to design an innovation and equity agenda for the nation.

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Grandparents as Primary Caregivers and Their Effects on the Reading Achievement of Their Elementary-Age African-American Grandchildren

UMSL doctoral candidate compares grandparents to parents. Vanessa Garry has been an educator for more than 30 years. And in that time she has learned that reading is the foundation of academic achievement and can determine a student’s success. So when Garry, vice president of education for Confluence Academy in St. Louis, began her thesis project for her doctorate in education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, she decided to look at reading.

But not just reading per se, but the differences in the reading performance of African-American children raised by their biological parents versus those raised by their grandparents.

Her paper, "Grandparents as Primary Caregivers and Their Effects on the Reading Achievement of Their Elementary-Age African-American Grandchildren," was only a small sampling, but concluded that students raised by their grandparents outperformed those raised by their parents.

Vanessa Garry

Vanessa Garry
"This was just a small study," said Garry, of Chesterfield, Mo. "But it shows that parental involvement does impact a student’s achievement.

Grandparents who served as their grandchild’s primary caregiver participated and became involved more in the student’s academically life, therefore improving the child’s overall performance."
For her study, she collected data from three area charter schools, evaluating six types of parental involvement, including workshops, communications between school and home, parent conferences, assistance with homework, other meetings and tutoring classes for students.

Overall, grandchildren of grandparents who are primary caregivers out-performed their peers on the communication arts portion of the Missouri Assessment Program test. The conclusions drawn from the research indicate that weekly communication between school and home, teacher and parent meetings, and assistance with homework are three types of parental involvement that positively affected reading achievement.

Garry said she’d like the opportunity to expand the study, using more participants from various other areas and districts.

She is scheduled to receive her doctoral degree in education during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony Saturday (Dec. 19) in the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center on the North Campus at UMSL. -END-

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jennifer Hatton 314-516-6794

University of Missouri-St. Louis Media Services 414 Woods Hall One University Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63121-4499

Friday, December 18, 2009

DePaul King Day Events To Include Dramatic Re-enactment Of Key Speech

DePaul University will honor the living legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., with a series of events on Jan. 18, including a theatrical re-enactment of King giving one of his key speeches.

Austin Talley, an alumnus of The Theatre School of DePaul, will portray King delivering his 1967 speech “A Time to Break Silence” which includes an interpretation of the biblical parable “The Jericho Road.” The speech also infuses elements of the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul and of the black protest tradition of activist and writer James Weldon Johnson. The re-enactment is staged during an African-American church service, complete with musical selections performed by DePaul’s Gospel Choir.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

DePaul University Annually Hosts Public Events Examining the Legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The performance will cap a 7:30 a.m. prayer breakfast, which also will include an address by distinguished educator Lawrence Edward Carter Sr., dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel and professor of religion at Morehouse College. The breakfast will be held in the DePaul Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Room 120, Chicago. The event is sponsored by DePaul’s Cultural Center and The Theatre School.
From noon until 2 p.m., the commemoration will continue in the atrium of the Student Center with the screening of the documentary “Citizen King,” an in-depth look at King’s life and legacy featuring interviews with many of those who worked with him.

At DePaul’s Loop Campus, the College of Law will host a luncheon lecture and discussion titled “Defining the Dream: Health Care as a Civil Right, Human Right or Market Commodity?” The program begins at 10:30 a.m. with a welcoming reception and cultural performance. At 10:50 a.m., Dorothy Roberts, the Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Northwestern University Law School and a professor in Northwestern’s African-American studies and sociology departments, will deliver a keynote address. Roberts is the author of numerous books and articles examining the interplay of gender, race and class in legal bioethics issues. The luncheon will begin at 11:45 a.m. followed by a panel discussion at 12:45 p.m. featuring professors Freeman Farrow of DePaul, Kimani Paul-Emile of Fordham University and Ruqaiijah Yearby of the University of Buffalo. The event will take place in the DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 8005, Chicago.

On Jan. 21, a panel discussion, “Increasing Innovation and Productivity by Building a Diverse Workforce,” will tackle how to build and retain a diverse workforce in the 21st century among other topics. A panel from higher education, industry and the community will address these issues from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in the DePaul Center’s 8th floor conference center. This event is a collaborative initiative between the Diversity and Social Justice Committee of the School for New Learning. For more information, contact Shannon Stone-Winding at caea@depaul.edu or Ext. 312-362-6508.

All DePaul events celebrating King Day are free and open to the public. Breakfast reservations are required by Jan. 12. Call (773) 325-7759 or e-mail culturalcenter@depaul.edu to reserve a space. Luncheon reservations are required by Jan. 14 should be directed to lawevents@depaul.edu or (312) 362-6229.

Media Contact: John Holden holden2@depaul.edu (312) 362-7165 December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christopher Hager Awarded National Endowment of Humanities Grant

Project will examine Former Slaves’ Writings during Emancipation Era

HARTFORD, Conn. – Only about 10 percent of the slaves during the Civil War era in the United States were literate, primarily because most Southern states had stringent anti-literacy laws. That has led to the mistaken notion that slaves and former slaves rarely wrote anything of value, and that there is little to be learned from what they did write.

Christopher Hager, an assistant professor of English, believes differently. Through his preliminary research, Hager, whose graduate work at Northwestern University concentrated on 19th century American literature in relation to slavery and the Civil War, says there is much to be learned from the diaries, journals, letters and other forms of writing that “marginally literate former slaves” penned during the years of emancipation.

Seated black soldier with pistol and jacket

Seated black soldier with pistol and jacket. Photo from Public Domain Clip Art
As such, Hager, who has taught at Trinity since 2007, is working on the manuscript of a book to be called, “A Colored Man’s Constitution: Emancipation and the Act of Writing.” Hager’s efforts will be facilitated by a $50,400 stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for the 2010-2011 academic year, when he will be on sabbatical.

The funding for Hager’s research was announced Thursday, Dec. 17 by the NEH. It is one of 319 humanities projects that will share $20 million in grant awards, and one of 11 in Connecticut to be selected.
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the NEH supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. “The grants announced today highlight the broad spectrum of humanities projects funded by the Endowment,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “From small awards which enable institutions to better preserve and conserve their collections, to larger matching offers that assist organizations with capital improvements, NEH funding supports humanities scholarship and a variety of projects.”

Hager’s award is significant because the amount of the award is among the highest, reinforcing the notion that there is great interest in what Hager calls “this largely neglected moment in the history of African-American writing.”

“If we want to understand the transition from slavery to freedom, we have to understand what people thought, not only what they wrote but how they used their new skill,” he said.

In his proposal to the NEH, Hager points out that since the 1970s, scholars have dismissed the earlier presumption that it was impossible to understand slavery and emancipation from the perspective of slaves and former slaves because most of them could not write and left no reliable records.

“The emancipation of American slaves was not only a social and political revolution but also a singular moment in the history of written expression,” Hager said. “Untold thousands of African Americans who had been deprived of literacy gained unprecedented access to education at the same time they achieved their freedom.”

In fact, many of the documents that Hager will examine were written by black men who had enlisted in the Union Army. That’s where many received their first formal education.

Hager, who teaches upper-level courses in American literature, 1865-1945, at Trinity, said he has already uncovered materials that are surprising for the revelations they contain. For example, a man named John Washington wrote a memoir in 1873, but also wrote while still a slave, clearly demonstrating his literary ambition. Washington learned to read secretly, in part by reading Harpers Magazine.

Then there was a potter who wrote lines of poetry in the clay pots that he crafted before they were fired in kilns.

Hager said some of the materials he will be examining have been archived in universities and libraries, but others have been uncovered through “strokes of good fortune.” In some cases, descendents of the former slaves discovered the documents in attics and other locations.

In terms of completing his book, Hager has already gathered and transcribed most of his primary texts. They were written during or soon after the Civil War, and they range from a one-paragraph letter to a 100-page memoir.

“Upon publication,” Hager said in his proposal, “the book promises to interest scholars in the fields of African American Studies, 19th-century American literature, and the history of slavery and emancipation.”

Office of Communications, 300 Summit Street, Hartford, CT 06106. Phone: (860) 297-2140. Fax: (860) 297-2312 communications-office@trincoll.edu

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series Will Mark 30th Anniversary of NJ’s Largest Black History Month Conference

Save The Date: Pulitzer Prize-Winner Annette Gordon Reed Will Speak at Rutgers on Feb. 20

NEWARK, NJ – On Friday, February 19 and Saturday, February 20, 2010, the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series celebrates 30 years of bringing African American history and scholarship to public light during Black History Month.

Laboring in the Vineyard: Scholarship and Citizenship, a special two-day event in memory of John Hope Franklin and Giles R. Wright, II, will present previous Wright Lecturers from the past 30 years assembled to speak to the 2010 theme. Speakers include: David Blight, John Bracey, Spencer Crew, Eric Foner, Bob Herbert, James Oliver Horton, Wilson Jeremiah Moses, Nell Irvin Painter, Sterling Stuckey, Bettye Collier Thomas, Joe William Trotter, Jr., Cheryl Wall, and Deborah Gray White. They will look at how their work as a scholar has mattered in their lives as citizen, teacher, activist, and mentor. Rutgers Professor Annette Gordon Reed, a noted Jeffersonian scholar and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize recipient for her book The Hemingses of Monticello, will give the Wright Lecture on Saturday, February 20th.

The 2010 lecture program will take place both days in The Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University-Newark. It is free and open to the public.

Aspiration (1936) by Aaron Douglas

Aspiration (1936) by Aaron Douglas
The lecture series was co-founded in 1981 by Dr. Price and Giles R. Wright, from the New Jersey Historical Commission. Over the past 28 years, the conference has drawn thousands of people to the Rutgers-Newark campus in observance of Black History Month, and has attracted some of the nation’s foremost scholars and humanists who are experts in the field of African and African American history and culture.
One of the oldest and most prestigious events of its kind, the MTW lecture series offers a forum for scholars and non-academicians to share their thoughts and exchange ideas and sustains wide public interest in history, the humanities and life-long learning.

The annual conference was named for East Orange native Dr. Marion Thompson Wright, a pioneer in African American historiography and race relations in New Jersey, who served for many years on the faculty of Howard University. An honors graduate of Newark’s Barringer High School and Columbia University’s Teachers College Class of 1938, she was the first professionally trained woman historian in the United States.

The program, an important Rutgers University resource for public scholarship and civic discourse in greater Newark, is sponsored by the Institute; the Federated Department of History, Rutgers-Newark and the New Jersey Institute of Technology; and the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State, and it receives funding support from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and the Rutgers Committee to Advance Our Common Purposes.

The 2010 conference is being mounted with major funding support from the Prudential Foundation.

For additional information about the program, visit the Institute’s website at: http://ethnicity.rutgers.edu, or contact Marisa Pierson, Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, 973.353.3896, mpierson@newark.rutgers.edu

Robeson Campus Center is wheelchair-accessible, as is the Rutgers-Newark campus. Rutgers‑Newark can be reached by New Jersey Transit buses and trains, the PATH train and Amtrak from New York City, and by Newark City Subway. Metered parking is available on University Avenue and at Rutgers‑Newark's public parking garage, at 200 University Ave. Printable campus maps and driving directions are available online at: www.newark.rutgers.edu/maps/

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CARDIN ANNOUNCES $150,000 IN FUNDING FOR HAGERSTOWN'S DOLEMAN BLACK HERITAGE MUSEUM

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) announced today that the omnibus appropriations measure that has passed Congress includes $150,000 for the Doleman Black Heritage Museum in Hagerstown.

“This funding will help preserve history and make it possible for Marylanders and Americans to visit this outstanding collection of memorabilia detailing the rich African-American culture and history of Maryland,” said Senator Cardin.

The collection was started by Marguerite and Charles Doleman, Sr. who began collecting items of interest to the Washington County community as a hobby.

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)The collection is well known for featuring such items as clothing, household goods, photographs, documents and paintings used by Washington County African-American residents in the 19th and 20th Century. The Senator toured the collection in April.

Contact: Sue Walitsky: 202-224-4524 Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Congresswoman Kilpatrick Issues Statement on the Death of Ms. Erma Henderson

Detroit, MI – “I am deeply saddened by the death of Ms. Erma Henderson. She was my leader, confidante, and role model. She was a dedicated community leader and a trailblazer. She showed women around the world we could fly as high as we dared to dream.

“Early in my career, Council President Erma Henderson and I, along with Teola Hunter, led a group of women to the U.N. Conference on Women to Nairobi, Kenya. It was a trip I will never forget.

“During her life, Ms. Henderson celebrated many firsts. She was the first African American female elected to the Detroit City Council.

Erma Henderson: Michigan Women's Hall of Fame

Erma Henderson: Michigan Women's Hall of Fame
She was the first African American female to serve as President of the Council, a position she held for 12 years. Ms. Henderson was also the first female to serve as a trustee of Wayne County Community College.

“Ms. Henderson was the epitome of what it means to be a public servant. She was a voice for the voiceless and the defender of the defenseless.
Her passion for helping people was always evident. A staunch advocate for Detroiters and women, she possessed the wisdom, vision, and leadership needed to create positive change. Today and always, we embrace her spirit, her service, and her strength. She will live forever in our hearts and minds.

“I extend my deepest condolences to her family and friends. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick - Congresswoman Representing Michigan's 13th District:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Study Shows Menthol Cigarettes Are More Addictive for African American and Hispanic Smokers

NEW BRUNSWICK - African American and Hispanic adults who smoke menthol cigarettes may be less likely to quit smoking than those who smoke regular cigarettes, a new study by researchers at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health has found. The report, published in the December issue of Preventive Medicine, is believed to be the first to use national statistics to examine the association between menthol cigarettes and attempts at smoking cessation among adults.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey and identified 7,815 current and former cigarette smokers who had reported at least one attempt to quit smoking. Just 43.7 percent of African American adults and 48.1 percent of Hispanic adults who smoked menthol cigarettes were able to quit smoking. African Americans and Hispanics who smoked non-menthol cigarettes had quit rates that were similar to those of white adults (62.1 percent and 61.2 percent, respectively).

menthol cigarettes Overall, the researchers noted that non-whites tend to smoke fewer cigarettes per day and are about three times more likely than whites to smoke menthol cigarettes.
“Historically, tobacco companies have targeted minority populations when marketing menthol cigarettes,” said Cristine Delnevo, PhD, director of the Center for Tobacco Surveillance and Evaluation Research at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health and one of the authors of the study. “Although whites and non-whites have similar smoking prevalence rates, the fact that non-whites are more likely to smoke menthols, and those who smoke menthols are less likely to quit, could explain why minority populations continue to suffer disproportionately from tobacco-caused disease and death.”

Daniel Gundersen, lead author and a doctoral student at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, added, “With the substantial number of smokers smoking menthol cigarettes, particularly among minorities, this is serious cause for concern.”

The researchers noted that the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law earlier this year, banned the use of flavorings in cigarettes, but specifically exempted menthol, citing the need for further research into the impact of menthol cigarettes on youth and minorities.

Media interested in arranging an interview with the authors should contact Jerry Carey at 856-566-6171 or at 973-972-3000.

The UMDNJ-School of Public Health is the nation’s first collaborative school of public health and is sponsored by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in cooperation with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and New Jersey Institute of Technology.

UMDNJ is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,900 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Annually, there are more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/ Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a statewide mental health and addiction services network.

Press Release, Date: 12-02-09, Name: Jerry Carey, Phone: 856-566-6171, Email: careyge@umdnj.edu

Thursday, December 10, 2009

NIH Launches Program to Develop Innovative Approaches to Combat Obesity

The National Institutes of Health is launching a $37 million program that will use findings from basic research on human behavior to develop more effective interventions to reduce obesity. The program, Translating Basic Behavioral and Social Science Discoveries into Interventions to Reduce Obesity, will fund interdisciplinary teams of researchers at seven research sites. Investigators will conduct experimental research, formative research to increase understanding of populations being studied, small studies known as proof of concept trials, and pilot and feasibility studies to identify promising new avenues for encouraging behaviors that prevent or treat obesity.

The program is led by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), in partnership with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR).

"Obesity is a significant public health challenge raising an individual’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, and other conditions," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "These grants are intended to develop new and innovative ways to tackle this important problem. This approach differs from previous large clinical trials of behavioral interventions to reduce obesity by placing new emphasis on applying findings from basic behavioral and social sciences to improve behavioral strategies."

The program’s studies focus on diverse populations at high risk of being overweight or obese, including Latino and African-American adults, African-American adolescents, low-income populations, pregnant women, and women in the menopausal transition. The interventions being developed include creative new approaches to promote awareness of specific eating behaviors, decrease the desire for high-calorie foods, reduce stress-related eating, increase motivation to adhere to weight loss strategies, engage an individual’s social networks and communities to encourage physical activity, and improve sleep patterns. Brain scans will also be used to understand brain mechanisms in obesity that might guide the development of new interventions.

The research projects, principal investigators, study sites, and the NIH sponsors include:

• SCALE: Small Changes and Lasting Effects, Mary E. Charlson, M.D., Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York City, sponsored by the NHLBI.
This project will develop and refine a mindful eating intervention aimed at producing small, sustainable changes in eating behavior in overweight or obese African-American and Latino adults with a goal of achieving at least a 7 percent weight reduction in each participant.

• Translating Habituation Research to Interventions for Pediatric Obesity, Leonard H. Epstein, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, sponsored by the NIDDK.
This project will translate basic research on the reduced response to food after repeated exposure over time to identify and test strategies for reducing the intake of high-calorie foods while increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that children consume.

• Interventionist Procedures for Adherence to Weight Loss Recommendations in Black Adolescents, Sylvie Naar-King, Ph.D. and Kai-Lin Catherine Jen, Ph.D., Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich., sponsored by the NHLBI, co-funded by the NICHD.
This project will develop and refine a home and community-based intervention using findings from basic behavioral research on human motivation to improve adherence to weight loss strategies in African-American adolescents.

• Developing an Intervention to Prevent Visceral Fat in Premenopausal Women, Lynda H. Powell, M.Ed., Ph.D., Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, sponsored by the NHLBI.
This project will develop a multi-level intervention targeting the individual, her social network, and the community to increase physical activity and reduce chronic stress and depression in order to reduce unhealthy patterns of weight gain in women in the menopausal transition. This project focuses on reducing visceral fat because this is the type of fat most strongly correlated with health risks.

• Increasing Sleep Duration: A Novel Approach to Weight Control, Rena R. Wing, Ph.D., Miriam Hospital, Providence, R.I., sponsored by the NCI.
This project will translate basic research on sleep duration into a unique method to reduce obesity and obesity-related conditions in young and middle-aged overweight or obese adults.

• Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress-induced Non-homeostatic Eating, Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., Barbara A. Laraia, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D. and, Nancy E. Adler, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco, sponsored by the NHLBI.
This project will develop intervention strategies to reduce stress-induced eating in lower-income pregnant women, focusing on the reward and stress response systems that may influence eating behaviors and lead to unhealthy weight gain during pregnancy.

· Habitual and Neurocognitive Processes in Adolescent Obesity Prevention, Kim Daniel Reynolds, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, Calif., sponsored by the NHLBI, co-funded by the NICHD.
This project will develop intervention strategies to improve nutrition behaviors in adolescents based on basic behavioral research on the formation of habits, self-regulation of eating behaviors, and the influence of neurocognitive processes on dietary behavior.

A Resource and Coordination Unit (RCU), led by David Cella, Ph.D. of Northwestern University, Chicago, and funded by the NIH's OBSSR, will facilitate collaboration across the studies. As part of this program, the RCU will also organize an OBSSR-funded conference in 2010 addressing methods in behavioral intervention development.

To arrange an interview with an NHLBI spokesperson, please contact the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236 or nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov. To interview an NIDDK spokesperson, contact the NIDDK Office of Communications and Public Liaison at 301-496-3583 or at niddkmedia@mail.nih.gov. To interview an NCI spokesperson, contact the NCI Office of Media Relations at 301-496-6641 or ncipressofficers@mail.nih.gov. To interview an NICHD spokesperson, contact the NICHD Public Information and Communications Branch at 301-496-5133. To interview an OBSSR spokesperson, contact the OBSSR at 301-594-4574 or annb@nih.gov.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) conducts and supports basic and clinical research and research training on some of the most common, severe and disabling conditions affecting Americans. The Institute's research interests include diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. For more information, visit www.niddk.nih.gov.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI Web site at www.cancer.gov or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at www.nichd.nih.gov/.

The Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) opened officially on July 1, 1995. The U.S. Congress established the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR) in the Office of the Director, NIH, in recognition of the key role that behavioral and social factors often play in illness and health. The OBSSR mission is to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise, thereby improving our understanding, treatment, and prevention of disease. For more information, please visit obssr.od.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Resources:



FOR RELEASE December 10, 2009 9:00 AM

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Higher Risk of Miscarriage Found Among African-Americans, Nonsmokers Living Near Busy Roads

SACRAMENTO - Pregnant women who are African-American or nonsmokers are more likely to have miscarriages if they live near heavy traffic, according to a new state study.

Researchers examining health-care data on nearly 5,000 pregnant women in California found that African-Americans were about three times more likely to miscarry if they lived within a half-block of a freeway or busy boulevard than if they resided near lighter traffic. Among nonsmokers, living near busy roads increased their odds of miscarriage about 50 percent.

“This study adds weight to the growing body of evidence that constant, heavy exposure to traffic exhaust significantly increases the risk of reproductive harm,” said Dr. Joan Denton, director of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which led the research. OEHHA is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Several studies have shown links between exposure to air pollution or traffic and low birth weight, premature birth and birth defects. The OEHHA research is the first published study of the effect of residential traffic exposure on the risk of miscarriage, according to Dr. Shelley Green, who led the study.

The paper was published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Dr. Green specializes in the health effects of air pollution. Co-authors of the paper included researchers from OEHHA, the California Department of Public Health and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Green analyzed data from telephone interviews that Kaiser Permanente conducted in 1990-1991 when pregnant women called to schedule their first prenatal appointment at clinics in the East Bay and in the counties of Santa Clara and San Bernardino. The survey of residential, medical and pregnancy history was limited to volunteers who were no more than 12 weeks pregnant.

About 9 percent of the almost 5,000 women in the OEHHA study had miscarried, which is within the normal range. Researchers examined the miscarriages in relation to traffic exhaust, using residential proximity to busy roads as a proxy for exposure to vehicle pollution. The roads carried average traffic of at least 15,200 vehicles per day.

Pregnant women who lived within 50 meters or 55 yards of busy roads showed a higher rate of miscarriage compared with women who lived further away from roads with heavy traffic. The scientists found statistically significant associations between miscarriage and proximity to traffic for African-Americans and those who did not smoke while pregnant.
While the association with high traffic was more evident for the nonsmokers, their neighbors who smoked had a 10 percent higher risk of miscarriage.

”Because smokers already are exposed through their tobacco smoke to many of the same chemicals found in vehicle exhaust, the effect of traffic may be masked by the smoking effect,” Dr. Green said.

She said further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the findings and shed light on the biological causes of the effect.

Follow this link to download the press release as a pdf file.

The study can be downloaded at ehp.niehs.nih.gov/docs/2009/0900943/abstract.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: SAM DELSON (916) 324-0955 (office) (916) 764-0955 (mobile)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The appointment of William H. Smith as House Librarian December 09, 1881

On this date, William Henry Smith—a prominent African-American Washingtonian—was appointed Librarian of the House. Smith was a District of Columbia native, born in August 1833, and he lived in the city his entire life. House records show him on Clerk of the House Edward McPherson’s payroll as a library messenger as early as 1864, at the time that Whitelaw Reid (future editor of the New York Tribune and U.S. vice presidential candidate) served as House Librarian.

According to an article published decades later in the Chicago Tribune, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts helped Smith to secure the messenger’s job. He remained in that post until McPherson (who had left and returned as Clerk) elevated him to House Librarian in the 47th Congress (1881–1883). The appointment proved controversial for McPherson and the Republican majority because Smith became one of the highest-ranking African Americans in the federal government at a time when the hard-won rights of many freedmen in the South were being rolled back.

The appointment of William H. Smith as House Librarian

In this late 1891 Clerk Report, William H. Smith is listed as "Librarian." Annual Report of James Kerr, Clerk of the House of Representatives, Receipts and Disbursements of the House of Representatives From December 8, 1891, to June 30, 1892, 52nd Congress, 2nd sess., Misc. Doc. 7.
Despite some opposition from southern Representatives, the New York Times reported, “the generally expressed opinion that Smith was the ablest man possible to place in charge of the library, and his popularity as a capable and attentive official, carried the day and he kept the place.” Members of both parties regarded him as a reference “authority” with a “memory of speeches, and points made by different public men in debate, [that] was remarkable.”

In the following Congress, when Democrats regained control of the chamber, Smith was demoted to Assistant Librarian serving under William Butler (brother of Senator Matthew C. Butler of South Carolina, a former Confederate general).

When Republicans were returned to the majority in the 1888 elections and McPherson was reinstalled as Clerk, Smith was again elevated to Librarian. He retired from the House at the conclusion of the 51st Congress (1889–1891).
Smith and his wife, Annie, raised five children and led active civic lives. Smith served for years on the District’s school board, joining with Frederick Douglass to oppose the establishment of segregated schools. Smith also was a founding member of St. Augustine’s, the city’s oldest black Catholic Church. In 1892, he was named custodian of the library and art gallery of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Office of the Clerk - U.S. Capitol, Room H154, Washington, DC 20515-6601
(202) 225-7000 | info.clerkweb@mail.house.gov

Friday, December 4, 2009

Researchers find increased dairy intake reduces risk of uterine fibroids in black women

(Boston)- Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers at the Slone Epidemiology Center found that black women with high intake of dairy products have a reduced incidence of uterine leiomyomata (fibroids). This report, based on the Black Women's Health Study, appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus and are two to three times more common among black women than white women. They are the primary indication for hysterectomy in the U.S. and account for $2.2 billion annually in health care costs.

National surveys show that black women consume fewer servings of dairy than white women and have lower intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The causes of fibroids are poorly understood, but sex steroid hormones and growth factors are thought to play a role. The Slone researchers studied dairy products because of the possibility that they have antioxidant effects and may modify endogenous sex hormones.

Lauren A. Wise

Lauren A. Wise, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, Epidemiology, Harvard University, ScD. Harvard University, ScM. Office: Slone Epidemiology Center, Phone: (617) 734-6006. lwise@bu.edu
The study was based on data from the Black Women's Health Study. The 59,000 study participants, enrolled in 1995, completed biennial questionnaires on which they reported whether they were diagnosed with fibroids. Their diet was assessed at two points in time using a modified version of the National Cancer Institute's Block short-form food frequency questionnaire (FFQ).

Based on 5,871 incident cases of fibroids diagnosed after 10 years of follow-up, the study found that high dairy intake was inversely associated with fibroid risk after controlling for other risk factors.
Fibroid incidence was reduced by 30% among women who had 4 or more dairy servings a day, relative to women who had less than 1 serving a day. Intakes of calcium, phosphorus, and calcium-to-phosphorus ratio (an indicator of calcium bioavailability) were also inversely associated with fibroid risk. Because dairy intake is lower among blacks than whites, such differences in intake may contribute to the racial discrepancy in rates of fibroids.

"Although the exact mechanisms are unclear, a protective effect of dairy consumption on uterine fibroids risk is plausible, as calcium, a major component of dairy foods, may reduce cell proliferation," said lead author Lauren A. Wise, ScD, an associate professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health and a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center at BUSM. "This is the first report showing an inverse association between dairy intake and fibroid risk. If confirmed, a modifiable risk factor for fibroids, a major source of gynecologic morbidity, will have been identified," added Wise. ###

This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Contact: Allison Rubin allison.rubin@bmc.org 617-638-8490 Boston University Medical Center

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New FDIC Study Shows One in Four U.S. Households Currently Unbanked or Underbanked

Low-income and Minority Households Disproportionately Represented

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) today released the findings of its FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, breaking new ground in gaining understanding of which Americans remain outside the banking system. The survey, conducted on behalf of the FDIC by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, was a supplement to the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey during January 2009. The study, which is the most comprehensive survey to date of the unbanked and underbanked, reveals that more than one quarter (25.6 percent) of all households in the United States are unbanked or underbanked and that those households are disproportionately low-income and/or minority.

In addition to collecting accurate estimates of the number of unbanked and underbanked households in the U.S., the survey was designed to provide insights into their demographic characteristics and reasons why the households are unbanked and/or underbanked. The survey represents the first time that this data has been collected to produce estimates at the national, regional, state and large metropolitan statistical area (MSA) levels. Results of the study broken down regionally, by state and by MSA are now available online at a new Web site the FDIC has developed, www.economicinclusion.gov.

"Access to an account at a federally insured institution provides households with an important first step toward achieving financial security – the opportunity to conduct basic financial transactions, save for emergency and long-term security needs, and access credit on affordable terms," stated Sheila Bair, Chairman of the FDIC. "By better understanding the households that make up this group – who they are and their reasons for being unbanked or underbanked, we will be better positioned to help them take that first step."

"This survey will provide the information base for future efforts to address the financial services needs of unbanked and underbanked households in the United States," said FDIC Vice Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg. "It breaks new ground in the effort to expand access to basic financial services."

Of the households surveyed, 7.7 percent were unbanked, which translates nationally to 9 million households - approximately 17 million adults. An additional 17.9 percent – or 21 million households nationally (approximately 43 million adults) - were found to be underbanked. Households were identified as unbanked if they answered "no" to the question, "Do you or does anyone in your household currently have a checking or savings account?" Underbanked households were defined as those that have a checking or savings account but rely on alternative financial services. Specifically, underbanked households have used nonbank money orders, nonbank check-cashing services, payday loans, rent-to-own agreements, or pawn shops at least once or twice a year or refund anticipation loans at least once in the past five years.

Key findings of the study include:

* The proportion of U.S. households that are unbanked varies considerably across racial and ethnic groups with certain racial and ethnic groups being more likely to be unbanked than the population as a whole. Minorities more likely to be unbanked include blacks (21.7 percent of black households), Hispanics (19.3 percent), and American Indian/Alaskans (15.6 percent). Racial groups less likely to be unbanked are Asians (3.5 percent) and whites (3.3 percent).

* Certain racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be underbanked than the population as a whole. Minorities more likely to be underbanked include blacks (an estimated 31.6 percent), American Indian/Alaskans (28.9 percent), and Hispanics (24.0 percent). Asians and whites are less likely to be underbanked (7.2 percent and 14.9 percent, respectively).

* Households with income under $30,000 account for at least 71 percent of unbanked households. As income increases, the share of households that are unbanked declines considerably. Nationally, nearly 20 percent of lower-income U.S. households - almost 7 million households earning below $30,000 per year - do not currently have a bank account. In contrast, only 4.2 percent of households with annual income between $30,000 and $50,000 and less than 1 percent of households with yearly income of $75,000 or higher are unbanked.

* Households with an annual income between $30,000 and $50,000 are almost as likely as lower-income households to be underbanked.

This survey complements an earlier FDIC Survey on Banks' Efforts to Serve the Unbanked and Underbanked, published in February 2009, which found that most banks are aware that there are opportunities to serve unbanked and underbanked individuals in their areas, but that more can be done.

For more information, go to www.economicinclusion.gov. # # #

Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933 to restore public confidence in the nation's banking system. The FDIC insures deposits at the nation's 8,099 banks and savings associations and it promotes the safety and soundness of these institutions by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to which they are exposed. The FDIC receives no federal tax dollars – insured financial institutions fund its operations.

FDIC press releases and other information are available on the Internet at www.fdic.gov, by subscription electronically (go to www.fdic.gov/about/subscriptions/) and may also be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center (877-275-3342 or 703-562-2200). PR-216-2009

Last Updated 12/2/2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 2, 2009 Media Contact: Andrew Gray (202-898-7192) AnGray@fdic.gov

Monday, November 30, 2009

Atlanta's Mayoral Runoff: What to Expect

Emory political scientist Michael Leo Owens gives his views on the forthcoming Atlanta mayoral runoff set for Tuesday, Dec. 2:

Q: Will the voter turnout be any better? How much will GOTV matter on election day?

A: Atlanta is a city too busy or too listless to vote. Thus, voter turnout may or may not be any better for the runoff. On the one hand, many of the 75 percent of registered voters who stayed home during the last election did it because they anticipated a runoff. They bided their time. A good number of them will now vote in the runoff, and their numbers could be great enough to swing the election. Also, the policy differences and records of achievement and inaction between Norwood and Reed are clear and meaningful enough for greater numbers of registered voters to show up at the polls. On the other hand, turnout may be as low if not lower than before.

First, this is a runoff election. We should expect a drop in turnout, not an increase. Second, the length of the campaign has exhausted segments of the electorate. They voted once and they may not vote again. Third, there is a general dissatisfaction with both candidates, which contributed to the low turnout a few weeks ago. Fourth, neither campaign has an electoral machine capable of guaranteeing strong turnout.

At the end of the day, the winner will be the one who converts motivation into mobilization. The edge could go to Norwood.

Emory political scientist Michael Leo Owens

Emory political scientist Michael Leo Owens
Her partisans are extremely motivated and mobilized to see her win and to send an array of messages to City Hall (e.g., stop raising taxes, provide more efficient services, be accessible, etc.). Reed’s supporters are as motivated as Norwood’s but it’s unclear if they are as mobilized. Unless he can figure out how to increase turnout for him, especially in working-class Black neighborhoods and racial-transition neighborhoods where he did poorly, all the motivation in the world may not matter.

Q: What’s been most notable about each campaign this past month leading up to the run-off?

A: Both campaigns have flipped the political script. One, Norwood was the first to go negative in the runoff, implying that Reed was a tax scofflaw. Front-runners are expected to remain on the high road.

Two, Norwood went underground for the first week after the election. Front-runners are supposed to be out in front, literally and always. Third, the White candidate is the “racial” candidate. Norwood has subtly racialized the campaign by reminding the electorate that the election is “not about race” while making clear and overt appeals to Black voters, especially through Black surrogates and web-based videos. Fourth, Reed has focused less on paid advertisements and more on free media. He’s used his almost daily announcements of key endorsements to generate publicity, interest and momentum.

Q: How much has race been a factor in this campaign and how much will it matter in determining the winner?

A: Race remains an element of Atlanta politics, even in 2009. This explains, for example, why some White voters saw Lisa Borders' endorsement of Reed after her third-place finish as a "racial" endorsement -- one Black person supporting another Black person to prevent the election of a White person. It also explains why some White voters have publicly expressed support for Norwood because she’s White and thus deemed essentially different from the Black candidate and a break from the legacy of black mayors. Plus, race matters when some voters make choices based on “qualifications” and “experience.” None of this is to suggest that race is the dominant attribute of Atlanta politics. Rather, it is an enduring one, especially in light of 36 years of Black control of the city government, dramatic increases in the number of Whites moving into the city, and the reality of racial inequalities that politics seems incapable of reducing.

Surprisingly, race has played a far smaller role than many pundits anticipated. They feared (or hoped for) racial ugliness. They did not get it. Neither Norwood nor Reed wished to get bogged down in debates over race, even if some of those debates are necessary to understand their policy stances (e.g., racialized poverty in the city, redevelopment of public housing, contracts to minority firms, etc.). Also, neither candidate wanted to be painted as "racist" or be caught appealing to narrow racial interests.

Q: What would be the significance of a Norwood win?

A: If Mary Norwood wins, it will be by winning the most votes in a majority-Black city without winning the majority of votes from Blacks. In that way, she’ll be like Obama, who won the most votes in a majority-White nation without winning the majority of votes from Whites. ###

Contact: News Release: Law, Politics, Nov. 25, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

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

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- "Kwanzaa-in-Action," the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center's Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration on Dec. 2 at Indiana University Bloomington, will focus on community service. The event is designed to incorporate the seven principles of Kwanzaa through friendly competition among IU student organizations to benefit the university and Bloomington communities.

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

Admission is free to the public, but everyone is encouraged to bring a canned good, which will be donated to the local food pantry.

Kwanzaa CelebrationKwanzaa was first celebrated on Dec. 26, 1966, and is traditionally observed from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, with each day focused on Nguzo Saba, or the "seven principles." Derived from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits," Kwanzaa is rooted in the first harvest celebrations practiced in various cultures in Africa.
Kwanzaa seeks to reinforce a connectedness to African cultural identity, provide a focal point for the gathering of African peoples and to reflect upon the seven principles that have sustained them. The holiday has been observed at IU since the early 1990s.

Audrey McCluskey, director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, noted that previous Kwanzaa celebrations at IU have involved guest speakers, art exhibits, children's programs and even a food festival. However this year's planners wanted to do something more specific to the Kwanzaa principles, which include unity, faith, cooperative economics, and creative work and responsibility.

All student organizations at IU have been invited to enact one or more of these principles through a community service project. "This is an open and friendly competition," McCluskey said. "They all will win, in fact. Giving back is a valuable part of all students' education."

Examples of the projects that organizations have entered in the competition include fundraisers for African relief and the World Food Program, programs to help young people prepare for college and succeed as young adults, and a program to donate Thanksgiving baskets in the community.

The pre-Kwanzaa event also will feature entertainment by student performers and a gala reception.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 24, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Key Findings: African Americans in Wisconsin *

Social and Demographic Characteristics

• African Americans are the largest racial/ethnic minority group in Wisconsin, and constituted 6.1 percent of the Wisconsin population in 2007. African Americans were estimated to number 344,658 of the 5,641,581 residents of Wisconsin.

• African Americans are a younger population than Wisconsin as a whole, with a median age of 25. A younger median age means larger proportions of children and young adults, and a lower proportion of older adults, than the state as a whole.

• In 2007, the rate of poverty among African Americans in Wisconsin was 48 percent, four times greater than the poverty rate in the total state population (12%).

• Nearly 50 percent of black children in Wisconsin were living in poverty in 2007.
Mother and Infant Health

• In 2005, the low birthweight rate among babies born to African American mothers in Wisconsin was 13.7 percent, nearly twice the rate for all Wisconsin births (7.0%). Low birthweight means a weight of less than 5.5 pounds or 2,500 grams at birth.

• Other risks occurring at higher rates among African American births include the percent of births to teenagers (23%), and the percent of births to women who have not graduated from high school (35%).

• During 2003-2005, the infant mortality rate among African American babies was 16.5 deaths per 1,000 births. This was higher than the total infant mortality rate for Wisconsin during those years (6.4) and higher than the African American infant mortality rate in 1992-1994 (14.5).
Mortality

• Based on age-adjusted total death rates (all causes combined), African Americans have higher rates of death than the total state population after taking differences in population age structure into account.

• During the years 2001-2005, the five leading causes of death among African Americans in Wisconsin were cancer, heart disease, unintentional injury, stroke, and homicide.

• Causes of death with the largest disparities, where the age-adjusted mortality rate among African Americans was at least twice the white rate, were diabetes (2.3 times the white rate) and homicide (14.7 times the white rate).
Chronic Diseases

• In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from heart disease was 252 deaths per 100,000 population among African Americans, higher than the rate in the total Wisconsin population (202). Heart disease hospitalization rates were also higher for African Americans.

• Age-adjusted mortality and hospitalization rates for cancer were higher in the African American population than the total Wisconsin population. The African American cancer mortality rate was 248 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to 184 per 100,000 in Wisconsin as a whole.

• Stroke death and hospitalization rates were higher in the African American population compared to the total state population. In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate from stroke was 68 deaths per 100,000 among African Americans, and 53 per 100,000 among all Wisconsin residents.

• Diabetes deaths and hospitalizations also occurred at higher rates in the African American population. The age-adjusted mortality rate from diabetes was 49 deaths per 100,000 among African Americans, and 22 per 100,000 in the total state population. The age-adjusted rate of diabetes hospitalizations was 445 per 100,000 in the African American population, more than three times the rate in the total state population (125 per 100,000).
Injury

• In 2001-2005, the age-adjusted mortality rate for unintentional injuries (such as car crashes, falls, fires, and drowning) was 41 deaths per 100,000 population among African Americans, and 39 per 100,000 among the total Wisconsin population.

• The age-adjusted mortality rate from homicide was 26 deaths per 100,000 among African Americans, compared to 4 per 100,000 among the total state population. Among African Americans, the rate of death from homicide was 46 per 100,000 among males and 7 per 100,000 among females.

• The age-adjusted suicide death rate was lower in African Americans (7 per 100,000) than in the total state population (11 per 100,000).

Communicable Diseases

• In 2001-2005, African Americans accounted for 37.3 percent of new HIV infections in Wisconsin, while making up about 6 percent of the state’s population. The rate of new HIV infections in African Americans (46.9 cases per 100,000 population) was nearly nine times the rate in whites (5.3 per 100,000).

• For the years 2001-2005, African Americans accounted for 31.8 percent of reported Chlamydia cases, 51.2 percent of reported gonorrhea cases, and 45 percent of reported syphilis cases in Wisconsin.

• Between 2001 and 2005, the number of hepatitis C infections reported among African Americans declined annually (from 589 to 242), although the large number of cases with unknown race makes trends difficult to establish.

• The proportion of African American children aged 19-35 months who have had three or more doses of polio vaccine (92.5% in 2005) is similar to the proportion in all Wisconsin children of that age (94.9%). The proportion who have had three doses of hepatitis B vaccine is also similar.
Oral Health

• In 2001-2005, African Americans were less likely to have visited a dentist recently: 61 percent of African Americans had seen a dentist in the past year, compared to 73 percent of all Wisconsin residents.
Environmental Health

• An estimated 13 percent of African Americans in Wisconsin have been diagnosed with asthma; this is higher than the statewide percentage (9 percent).

• In 2005, 3.4 percent of Wisconsin children tested had elevated levels of lead in their blood. The proportion was higher among African American children tested (9.7%).
Behavioral Health Risks

• An estimated 29 percent of African American adults in Wisconsin smoke cigarettes, based on 2001-2005 survey results. This is higher than in the general Wisconsin population (22%).

• Binge drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion) occurred at a lower rate among African Americans in Wisconsin (16%) than in the total adult population of the state (24%).

• In 2001-2005, 59 percent of African Americans said they were physically inactive in the past month, compared to 45 percent of all Wisconsin adults.

• African Americans were also more likely to be overweight or obese: 70 percent, compared to 60 percent of the total population.
Access to Health Care

• In 2001-2005, the percent of people without health insurance at any point in time was more than twice as high among African Americans (13%) than in the total Wisconsin population (6%).

• Among women age 50 and older, the percentage who received a mammogram in the past year was higher among African American women (76%) than among all Wisconsin women (67%). Rates of other kinds of screening (cholesterol, Pap smear, clinical breast exam) were similar between the African American and total Wisconsin populations.

* Excerpted from: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Health Information and Policy. Wisconsin Minority Health Report, 2001-2005 (PPH 5716). January 2008.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justice Department Sues Chicago Area Landlord for Refusing to Rent to African Americans

WASHINGTON – The United States has filed a lawsuit against Terence Flanagan, a Chicago area property owner and rental agent, alleging that he refused to rent properties he owned or controlled to African-Americans, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, the Justice Department announced.

The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Chicago, alleges that Flanagan refused to rent a single-family house he owns in Orland Park, Ill., to Kamal Alex Majeid, who is African-American, because of his race. The lawsuit also alleges that Flanagan asked a white tester employed by the Justice Department whether her husband was African-American and admitted to her that he did not want to rent to African-Americans. The suit further alleges that Flanagan told this tester that he had numerous other rental properties in the Chicago area.

United States Department of Justice Seal

Testers are individuals who pose as applicants for housing and report on their interactions with housing providers to determine the providers’ compliance with fair housing laws. Since 1991, the Department has operated a Fair Housing Testing Program whereby it uses federal employees or contractors as testers to identify violations of the Fair Housing Act.

"Racial discrimination has no place in this nation, particularly when it stands in the way of an individual satisfying a basic need like housing," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division. "This lawsuit makes clear that such discrimination will not be tolerated, and we will use all tools at our disposal to root out unlawful discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities."

"We are committed to seeking out discrimination and acting forcefully to eliminate it in all its forms from the Chicago-area housing market," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

This lawsuit resulted from a complaint submitted to the Justice Department by the South Suburban Housing Center, a private suburban Chicago fair housing organization, after it was contacted by Majeid. Majeid filed a lawsuit against Flanagan in August. That lawsuit is currently pending in federal court before the Honorable Samuel Der-Yeghiayan. The United States’ complaint seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the defendant, monetary damages for those harmed by the defendant’s actions and a civil penalty.

Individuals who may have information related to this lawsuit should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, mail box number 93, or email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov. Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.

The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must be proven in federal court.

09-1271 Civil Rights Division: Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

National Suburban Poll Examines Diversity, Race Relations, Impact of Economic Crisis in Suburbs VIDEO

First Comprehensive Data on Opinions, Attitudes of Minority Suburbanites.

Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY -- A new National Suburban Poll for the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University (NCSS) brings into sharp focus the profoundly personal impact of the economic crisis on suburbanites, with three-quarters saying they or someone they know has lost a job, suffered a cut in pay, work hours or benefits.

The findings, when compared to a National Suburban poll in October 2008, offer compelling evidence that America’s suburbs have been at the epicenter of the recession. In 2009, for example, 76 percent of suburbanites said either they or someone they knew had lost a job since October 2007, up from 51 percent last year.


“Our poll shows that job loss and foreclosure are both hitting close to home for suburbanites,” said NCSS Academic Director Christopher Niedt, Ph.D. “And when we dig a little deeper, we find that suburban people of color are feeling the economic pain even more acutely.”

This latest poll, the third issued by the NCSS, focuses on diversity and the economic crisis in the suburbs and comes as Hofstra prepares to host a ground-breaking conference Oct. 22-24, 2009 called “The Diverse Suburb: History, Politics and Prospects”. The conference will bring together academics, activists and policymakers to examine the impact of shifting demographics, and hash out the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

The poll oversampled minority suburban residents, making it the first poll of its size to provide reliable, projectable data about the opinions and attitudes of blacks and Hispanics in the suburbs. It was designed and conducted for the NCSS by Princeton Research Survey Associates.

“I know of no other national poll that has sought to shine a light as intensely on black and Hispanic residents of suburban communities that are undergoing dynamic demographic change,” said Lawrence C. Levy, NCCS executive director. “That the poll focuses on minorities in particular adds a whole extra dimension to the Diverse Suburbs conference, which itself will present new data and perspectives from experts and activists around the world.”

The poll also reveals that President Obama’s support among suburban residents, which was so critical to his historic election, is eroding as the economy sours. Just 47 percent of suburbanites gave him a positive job approval rating, while 31 percent – more than double the number from 2008 – said they believe the federal government’s response to the economic crisis has hurt their family finances.
Race and ethnicity also play a major role in Obama’s approval ratings among suburban residents: only 39 percent of white suburbanites gave him a positive rating, compared to 66 percent of Hispanics and 91 percent of African-Americans.

“Obama has lost support in the suburbs, where his administration’s economic policies have been particularly unpopular,” Niedt said. “He has remained popular, though, among African-Americans and Hispanic residents – precisely the groups that are suffering most.”

And while the suburbs are more diverse than ever – large numbers of residents from all racial and ethnic groups now report living in mixed neighborhoods, suburbanites see less racial tension than those living in cities. Sixty percent of suburban residents say racial tension is not a problem, compared to 40 percent in urban areas.

Yet views about race relations vary by race and ethnicity, particularly among Hispanic suburbanites. About a third of whites and African-Americans in the suburbs believe racial tension is a problem, while 46 percent of Hispanics do. And Hispanics in the suburbs are less positive about how well they get along with African-Americans than their urban counterparts. While 63 percent of Hispanics living in cities agree that they generally get along with African-Americans, only 53 percent of Hispanics in the suburbs do.

“When President Obama was elected, we heard a lot about how America was entering a ‘post-racial’ era, and in the suburbs there are some hopeful signs,” Niedt said. “For example, whites and African-Americans said that they got along with each other and with Hispanics. But for many Hispanics, the perspective is quite different, and less optimistic. Almost half said that they did not generally get along with African-Americans.”

Among other findings of the poll:

--- More than a third of suburban residents – 36 percent – say they or someone they know has lost their home to foreclosure or because they could no longer afford their mortgage payments. That’s up from 28 percent in 2008.

--- Forty-seven percent of suburbanites say immigrants face some discrimination, but the same percentage believe state and local government treat illegal immigrants too leniently. Fifty-five percent say the federal government is too lenient.

The third national Suburban Poll is based on phone interviews in English and Spanish with 1,781 adults from Sept. 21 to Oct. 4, 2009. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus four percentage points. For results reflecting suburbanites, the margin is plus or minus five percentage points, and for urban and rural residents it is plus or minus six percentage points.

The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University is a non-partisan research institution dedicated to promoting objective, academically rigorous study of suburbia’s problems and promise. Rooted in the laboratory of Long Island’s diverse and aging suburbs, the National Center studies a broad range of local and national issues. The suburbs have emerged as the nexus of dynamic demographic, social, economic and environmental change. The tasks of identifying, analyzing and solving the problems of suburbia are key to the health of the country – and central to the Center’s mission.

Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from more than 140 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied health services, honor studies, as well as a School of Law, ###

Media Contact: Karla Schuster. University Relations Hofstra Hall 202 Phone: 516-463-6493 Fax: 516-463-5146 Send an E-mail