Monthly Archives: May 2008

TRAVEL: DRIVING BACK INTO LOUISIANA’S HISTORY

Chris Ramirez for The New York Times
Leonard Julien Jr. by the home where he grew up in Donaldsonville, La. Mr. Julien’s father invented a machine to plant sugar cane.
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Published: May 25, 2008
 
 
STRIDING across the rain-soaked field of an abandoned Louisiana plantation, Mitch Landrieu, the state’s lieutenant governor, waved his hands impatiently. “C’mon, you’ve got to see this,” he called out, sounding more P. T. Barnum than politician. Marching beside him was the Whitney Plantation’s owner, John Cummings, a wealthy Louisiana lawyer turned preservationist who, with Mr. Landrieu’s help, hopes to prove that the old Southern plantation, or at least this one, is still very much in business.
May 25, 2008    

Chris Ramirez for The New York Times.

Natale Sers, first communicant at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Natchitoches, La. More Photos »
 
 

Centuries past its prime, the Whitney Plantation sits grandly beneath a canopy of oak trees along a dusty road in St. John the Baptist Parish, a sleepy river community 35 miles northwest of New Orleans. The estate, promoted as the most complete plantation in the South, is an antebellum gem. It includes, among other things, a Creole and Greek Revival-style mansion, an overseer’s house, a blacksmith shop and the oldest kitchen in Louisiana.
 
Built in the late 1700s by Jean Jacques Haydel Jr., the grandson of a German immigrant with a penchant for fine art, the house walls are adorned with murals said to be painted by the Italian artist Domenico Canova, a relation of the neo-Classical sculptor Antonio Canova.
 
Yet Mr. Landrieu is far less interested in the Haydels than the legacy of the 254 slaves who once inhabited the nearly dozen shacks behind the big house during Whitney’s reign among the largest sugar farms in Louisiana. His muddy shoes planted in front of a row of neatly situated sun-bleached shacks during a recent visit, Mr. Landrieu nudged a reporter toward what he likes to call a living museum:
 
“Go on in. You have to go inside. When you walk in that space, you can’t deny what happened to these people. You can feel it, touch it, smell it.”
 
He compared the experience to visiting the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.
 
Personal politics aside, in an era of proliferating theme parks and “Girls Gone Wild” spring breaks, it is entirely possible that hanging out in former slave quarters — or, for that matter, the adjacent so-called “nigger pen” lockup — runs counter to most Americans’ idea of a vacation. But in post-Katrina Louisiana, where an antidote to recent images of black disillusionment, despair and displacement has so far proven elusive, the recently started African-American Heritage Trail offers a disarmingly triumphant immersion into Louisiana’s rich black history and culture through such powerful juxtapositions of freedom and bondage and the creativity that sprung out of both conditions.
 
Served up in heaping gumbo-style portions, the African-American Heritage Trail is not always easy to digest: it spans 26 sites, wending its way through museums, marketplaces and cemeteries from New Orleans to Shreveport.
 
To be sure, this is one wandering, race-obsessed road trip: not even those tasty Cracklin or Boudin balls at Highway 190 truck stops, or the reassuring baritone of the actor Louis Gossett Jr., who narrates a fact-filled audiotape of people and places, can always cut the lull of hundreds of miles of often barren, rural highway. And if you’re toting kids as this trailee was, you might feel at points as if you’re driving the African-American Headache Trail.
 
But if you can hang in, there’s a realism to this traveling history lesson, with a richly tactile and authentic quality. You’ll find it as you stand in front of the childhood home of Homer Plessy, whose refusal to move from the “whites only” section of a rail car would lead to the landmark Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson; as you take in the story of Madame C. J. Walker, the hair-care entrepreneur who bootstrapped her way out of poverty to become the nation’s first black female millionaire; as you stroll through Armstrong Park in New Orleans, named to honor the jazz pioneering work of Louis Armstrong. And of course it’s there in the Cajun and Creole cooking that puts an exclamation mark behind each stop.
 
In a state that relishes its contradictions, Louisiana’s African-American trail is actually the brainchild of Mr. Landrieu, the white liberal scion of a famous Louisiana political family. In the 1970s, his father, Maurice Edwin Landrieu, known as Moon, made history, and his share of enemies, when as New Orleans mayor, he hired the first blacks into his administration. Mitch, a self-proclaimed champion of social justice, said he conceived the trail as a way of brokering dialogue between the races at a time when the nation sorely needed it, an idea that gained urgency in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
 
“We want to transform the discussion about race and poverty in America,” said the 47-year-old Mr. Landrieu, who served 16 years in the State House of Representatives (his father and sister, Mary Landrieu, also a Democrat and currently a United States Senator, held the same seat). “Many, many white people and black people of good will have been separated by ideological fights that have been powerful. But you can’t transform the discussion if you can’t remember what happened.”
 
Mr. Cummings puts it another way: “Is black men not caring for their children today in any way connected to slavery? These are the kinds of questions we should be asking. I want to get beyond the moonlight and magnolia myths of the plantation.”
 
There is a more practical basis for the trail also. “There’s not enough money to build a museum in every parish in Louisiana,” Mr. Landrieu said. So, over the past couple of years, he has spearheaded an effort to link private-sector cultural attractions into a network of state-sponsored tourism programs, from bird-watching to golf tours. The African-American Heritage Trail is but the latest example of fiscal creativity with Louisiana’s tourism program.
“The whole state of Louisiana really is a museum,” he said.
 
At the turn of the 19th century, Louisiana was a major player in the Deep South in international slave trade, thanks to its location on the Mississippi River and its rise as a sugar capital. Far more compelling than its robust slave population, though, was the culture that developed around it, as a blend of French governance, liberal manumission laws and tradition of racial mixing created an especially unique twist to an already peculiar institution.
 
A trail weighted with such historical crosscurrents could easily turn into a kind of four-wheel Rubik’s Cube in the wrong guide’s hands. That is why what appears at first blush a freewheeling journey that can begin and end virtually anywhere in Louisiana is best approached with a degree of conformity.
 
There are some obvious reasons to start the trail in New Orleans, including the fact that airfares to there will most likely be cheapest. But perhaps the most compelling reason to begin in New Orleans is that one of the oldest, richest strains of African-American culture flows directly from there, or more specifically, from Tremé, which according to historians, is the nation’s oldest surviving black community. On the northern fringe of the French Quarter, Tremé, also known as Faubourg Tremé, bears resemblance to a well-to-do Caribbean community, with pastel-colored Creole and shotgun-style cottages and Greek Revival-style homes lining narrow shaded streets.
 
Throughout the 19th century, Tremé (named after Claude Tremé, a Frenchman who split up the lots and sold them off) was populated by free people of color — many of them fair-skinned French-speaking Creoles — who identified more with their European than African ancestry as they dominated the trades as merchants, businessmen and real estate speculators.

Louisiana Travel Guide

 
May 25, 2008    
 
 
Chris Ramirez for The New York Times
Mass at St. Augustine Church in Natchitoches, La. More Photos >
The River Road African-American MuseumInteractive

The River Road African-American Museum

LouisianaMap

Louisiana

In many cases, their ascension up the social ladder was orchestrated through Cordon Bleu or quadroon balls, private soirees in which wealthy Creole families presented their daughters to white suitors for long-term relationships.
 
So fascinating are the quadroon balls that you’ll want to visit the African-American Museum, located in the heart of Tremé, for more nitty gritty on these affairs, as well as the lowdown on Tremé’s most infamous Creole woman, Marie Laveau, known as the voodoo queen, who is believed to have resided, at one point, in the Passebon Cottage on the museum’s property.
 
The centerpiece of Tremé, though, is St. Augustine Catholic Church, which embodies much of the community’s complex cultural narrative. Built in the mid 1800s at the request of people of color, St. Augustine remains the spiritual nerve center of the New Orleans black community.
 
The church also has the distinction of being one of the nation’s first integrated churches thanks to a legendary “War of the Pews” in which free people of color and whites one-upped one another in purchasing family pews for Sunday Mass. Free blacks not only nabbed two pews for every white family pew, but also gave them as gifts to their enslaved black brethren. After church, and filled with the spirit, colored congregants would migrate to Congo Square (today within Louis Armstrong Park) where they would sing, dance and play music in their native African traditions.
 
With the French Quarter so nearby, dinner at the Praline Connection, a black-owned, child-friendly Creole soul food joint in neighboring Faubourg Marigny, is a good way to cap the evening — and the New Orleans portion of the trail. While this unpretentious, affordable place, isn’t exactly historic — it was founded in 1990 — its gumbo has earned praise from locals, as have the smothered pork chops and other specialties. And kids, exhausted by now, will squeal as straight-faced waiters serve up fried alligator as nonchalantly as a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.
 
A few sites on the heritage trail veer from Mr. Landrieu’s “living museum” construct, though they are not necessarily any less satisfying. Among them is the River Road African-American Museum, in the town of Donaldsonville, about 65 miles north of New Orleans. The River Road area is brimming with historical significance: Donaldsonville elected the nation’s first African-American mayor, Pierre Caliste Landry, in 1868, Others who hail from the area include King Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s musical mentor, and a corps of enslaved African-American soldiers who fought with the Union at nearby Fort Butler.
 
The museum’s founder, Kathe Hambrick, a native of Donaldsonville, enthuses over their tales to audiences as though reminiscing over her own family scrapbook. Ms. Hambrick started the museum in 1994 after living for several years in California.
 
“Everywhere I turned, there was this word ‘plantation,’ ” Ms. Hambrick said. “And every time I heard it, I would get this knot in my stomach. One day I decided to take one of these plantation tours. It was all about antiques, furniture, architecture and the wealthy lifestyle. But I wanted to know how many lives of my ancestors did it take to produce one cup of sugar.”
 
Since then, Ms. Hambrick has assembled a collection that combines everything from shackles and plantation tools with antebellum maps and deeds from slave auctions. The production is heavy stuff, and its details, while fascinating to adults, may be less so to small children yearning to return to the open air.
 
But a couple of hours north, the Louisiana landscape opens wide, and as you travel along Highway 1 toward the town of Natchitoches (pronounced NACK-ah-tish), home of the Cane River Creoles, the hard stories in Donaldsonville fade under the great magnolias that shade the entrance of Melrose Plantation. This is where the love story of Marie-Therese, known as Coincoin, the grand matriarch of Melrose, took place.
 
Raised as a slave in the household of a Louisiana military commander, Marie-Therese was later sold to Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer, a French merchant. The two fell in love and she eventually bore him 10 children. Marie-Therese and her children eventually gained their freedom and became wealthy landowners in their own right. As the story goes, Marie-Therese Metoyer owned slaves but also bought many slaves their freedom along the way.
 
One of her sons, Nicholas Augustin Metoyer, financed the first Catholic church in the United States built for people of color. St. Augustine Catholic Church was founded in 1803 and is located in Natchitoches.
 
The story of the Metoyers seems to illustrate Mr. Landrieu’s belief that the trail “is about so much more than civil rights — it’s about hope.” He paused, and rephrased his thought for wider appeal. “This trail is really about how hope hits the streets.”
 
 
IF YOU GO
The Web site for the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, louisianatravel.com/explore/cultural_history/african_american_heritage_trail, offers maps and detailed information on the trail’s sites. You can also call (800) 474-8626.
 
WHERE TO EAT
The Praline Connection (542 Frenchman Street; 504-943-3934; www.pralineconnection.com) in the New Orleans neighborhood of Faubourg Marigny offers affordable local dishes like gumbo and smothered pork chops. Entrees $12.95 to $19.95.
In a restored Art Deco building in historic Donaldsonville, the Grapevine Cafe and Gallery (211 Railroad Avenue; 225-473-8463; www.grapevinecafeandgallery.com) offers arty atmosphere and lauded South Louisiana cuisine, like crawfish étouffée ($13.95) and seafood gumbo ($5.25).
 
WHERE TO STAY
The major hotel chains might offer convenience for families, but Louisiana boasts a wide array of B & B alternatives. In New Orleans, the Hubbard Mansion Bed and Breakfast (3535 St. Charles Avenue, 504-897-3535; www.hubbardmansion.com), set behind oaks along St. Charles Avenue, blends modern amenities with classic charm for about $160 a night.
Farther north, near Melrose Plantation along the Cane River in historical Natchitoches, there’s the cozy Creole Rose Estates Bed and Breakfast (318-357-0384; www.creoleroseestates.com), a three-bedroom waterfront getaway with scrumptious Creole meals cooked by the host, Janet LaCour. Rates range from $145 for two people to $250 for six people a night.
 
 
RON STODGHILL, a former staff writer for The Times, wrote “Redbone: Money, Malice and Murder in Atlanta.”
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com )

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ALBERT EINSTEIN ON ‘THE NEGRO QUESTION’

Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879- April 18, 1955) is most well-known for his famous Theory of General  Relativity (E = mc2 ) , an aspect that is important to the field of astronomy. Written in 1915, it postulates that mass can manipulate space and time thus making large masses such as stars emit light. His Theory helped astronomists understand and discover black holes, event horizons, gravitational waves, space-time continuum, wormholes, the Big Bang, warp speed, and special relativity’s importance (1905) in the realm of high relative velocities, among many other aspects of astronomy and as well as quantum physics and theoretical physics.

What is not well-known are his views on America’s so-called “Negro problem”.

Mr. Einstein wrote the following to address the blighting and damaging effects of racism on Americans. His cool insight and logic in how this sickness pervades the daily lives of all Americans is very succint and clear in his essay.

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I am writing as one who has lived among you in America only a little more than ten years. And I am writing seriously and warningly. Many readers may ask:

“What right has he to speak about things which concern us alone, and which no newcomer should touch?”

I do not think such a standpoint is justified. One who has grown up in an environment takes much for granted. On the other hand, one who has come to this country as a mature person may have a keen eye for everything peculiar and characteristic. I believe he should speak out freely on what he sees and feels, for by so doing he may perhaps prove himself useful.

What soon makes the new arrival devoted to this country is the democratic trait among the people. I am not thinking here so much of the democratic political constitution of this country, however highly it must be praised. I am thinking of the relationship between individual people and of the attitude they maintain toward one another.

In the United States everyone feels assured of his worth as an individual. No one humbles himself before another person or class. Even the great difference in wealth, the superior power of a few, cannot undermine this healthy self-confidence and natural respect for the dignity of one’s fellow-man.

There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”

I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery. The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.

The ancient Greeks also had slaves. They were not Negroes but white men who had been taken captive in war. There could be no talk of racial differences. And yet Aristotle, one of the great Greek philosophers, declared slaves inferior beings who were justly subdued and deprived of their liberty. It is clear that he was enmeshed in a traditional prejudice from which, despite his extraordinary intellect, he could not free himself.

A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.

It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude toward it, if human relations are ever to change for the better. We must try to recognize what in our accepted tradition is damaging to our fate and dignity—and shape our lives accordingly.

I believe that whoever tries to think things through honestly will soon recognize how unworthy and even fatal is the traditional bias against Negroes.

What, however, can the man of good will do to combat this deeply rooted prejudice? He must have the courage to set an example by word and deed, and must watch lest his children become influenced by this racial bias.

I do not believe there is a way in which this deeply entrenched evil can be quickly healed. But until this goal is reached there is no greater satisfaction for a just and well-meaning person than the knowledge that he has devoted his best energies to the service of the good cause.

Albert Einstein Head.jpg
Albert Einstein. Photo taken in 1947, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

RELATED LINKS:

“ALBERT EINSTEIN, RADICAL: A POLITICAL PROFILE”:  http://www.monthlyreview.org/0505jjs.htm

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MEMORIAL DAY: 5-26-2008

Fort logan national cemetery 5.jpg
FORT LOGAN NATIONAL CEMETERY, DENVER, COLORADO.

Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances eventually coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who had died while captive. The freed slaves reinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to individual graves, fenced in the graveyard & built an entry arch declaring it a Union graveyard – a very daring thing to do in the South shortly after North’s victory. On May 30, 1886? the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they’d picked from the countryside & decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the 1st Decoration Day. A parade with thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic:

 

First Reading: The First Memorial Day by David W. Blight

“During the final year of the [Civil] war, the Confederate command in … [Charleston, South Carolina] had converted the planter’s Race Course (horse-racing track) into a prison. Union soldiers were kept in terrible conditions in the interior of the track, without tents or other coverings. At least 257 died from exposure and disease and were hastily buried without coffins in unmarked graves behind the former judge’s stand. After the fall of the city, Charleston’s blacks, many of whom had witnessed the sufferings at the horse-track prision, insisted on a proper burial of the Union dead. The symbolic power of the planter aristocracy’s Race Course (where they had displayed their wealth, leisure, and influence) was not lost on the freedpeople. … [B]lacks planned a May Day ceremony that a New York Tribune correspondent called “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

The “First Decoration Day,” as this event came to be recognized in some circles in the North, involved an estimated ten thousand people, most of them black former slaves…. At nine o’clock in the morning on May 1, the procession to this special cemetery began as three thousand black schoolchildren (newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools) marched around the Race Course, each with an armload of roses and singing “John Brown’s Body.” The children were followed by three hundred black women representing the Patriotic Association, a group organized to distribute clothing and other goods among the freedpeople. The women carried baskets of flowers, wreaths, and crosses to the burial ground. The Mutual Aid Society, a benevolent association of black men, next marched in cadence around the track and into the cemetery, followed by large crowds of white and black citizens. All dropped their spring blossoms on the graves in a scene recorded by a newspaper correspondent: “when all had left, the holy mounds–the tops, the sides, and the spaces between them–were a mass of flowers, not a speck of earth could be seen; and as the breeze wafted the sweet perfumes from them, outside and beyond… there were few eyes among those who knew the meaning of the ceremony that were not dim with tears of joy.” While the adults marched around the graves, the children were gathered in a nearby grove, where they sang “America,” “We’ll Rally around the Flag,” and “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The official dedication ceremony was conducted by the ministers of all the black churches in Charleston. With prayers, the reading of biblical passages, and the singing of spirituals, black Charlestonians gave birth to an American tradition. In so doing, they declared the meaning of the war in the most public way possible–by their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of roses, lilacs, and marching feet on the old planter’s Race Course….

After the dedication, the crowds gathered at the Race Course grandstand to hear some thirty speeches by Union officers, local black ministers, and abolitionist missionaries…. Picnics ensued around the grounds, and in the afternoon, a full brigade of Union infantry, including the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts and Thirty-fifth and 104th U.S. Colored Troops, marched in double column around the martyr’s graves and held a drill on the infield of the Race Course. The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. But the struggle to own the meaning of Memorial Day in particular, and of Civil War memory in general, had only begun.”

SOURCE;  “THE FLAG OUR FATHERS SAVED”:  http://www.uufhc.net/s020526.html

 

“But such limitations do not release us from engaging filmmakers and helping them make good history. From my recent work on Civil War memory I came across a story that might provide an opening scene for some enterprising filmmaker eager to construct continuing answers to Birth of a Nation. It is a story worth telling not merely for its sentiment, but because it was all but lost in the historical record. After Charleston, South Carolina was evacuated in February 1865 near the end of the Civil War, most of the people remaining among the ruins of the city were thousands of blacks. During the final eight months of the war, Charleston had been bombarded by Union batteries and gunboats, and much of its magnificent architecture lay in ruin. Also during the final months of war the Confederates had converted the Planters’ Race Course (a horse track) into a prison in which some 257 Union soldiers had died and were thrown into a mass grave behind the grandstand.

In April, more than twenty black carpenters and laborers went to the gravesite, reinterred the bodies in proper graves, built a tall fence around the cemetery enclosure one hundred yards long, and built an archway over an entrance. On the archway they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” And with great organization, on May 1, 1865, the black folk of Charleston, in cooperation with white missionaries, teachers, and Union troops, conducted an extraordinary parade of approximately ten thousand people. It began with three thousand black school children (now enrolled in freedmen’s schools) marching around the Planters’ Race Course with armloads of roses and singing “John Brown’s Body.” Then followed the black women of Charleston, and then the men. They were in turn followed by members of Union regiments and various white abolitionists such as James Redpath. The crowd gathered in the graveyard; five black preachers read from Scripture, and a black children’s choir sang “America,” “We Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-spangled Banner,” and several spirituals. Then the solemn occasion broke up into an afternoon of speeches, picnics, and drilling troops on the infield of the old planters’ horseracing track.

This was the first Memorial Day. Black Charlestonians had given birth to an American tradition. By their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of roses and lilacs and marching feet on their former masters’ race course, they had created the Independence Day of the Second American Revolution.

To this day hardly anyone in Charleston, or elsewhere, even remembers this story. Quite remarkably, it all but vanished from memory. But in spite of all the other towns in America that claim to be the site of the first Memorial Day (all claiming spring, 1866), African Americans and Charleston deserve pride of place. Why not imagine a new rebirth of the American nation with this scene?

SOURCE: “THE BIRTH OF A GENRE: SLAVERY ON FILM:  http://www.common-place.org/vol-01/no-04/slavery/blight.shtml

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IN REMEMBRANCE: THE SOLDIERS SITE:  http://www.legacy.com/houstonchronicle/soldier/Home.aspx

SGT. MERLIN GERMAN: THE ‘MIRACLE MARINE’:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-05-24-miracle-marine_N.htm

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DIVERSITY AT THE OFFICE: POLICY VS. REALITY

Published: May 25, 2008
 
MINORITY employees may flee workplaces even when employers have so-called diversity programs in place, says Natalie Holder-Winfield, an employment lawyer turned diversity consultant.
 
 
 
A book by Natalie Holder-Winfield advises employers how to create and sustain diversity.
 

I recently talked with Ms. Holder-Winfield, the author of “Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce” (First Books), about how employers can create and sustain diversity. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation:
 
Q. How do you respond when people say that there aren’t enough talented women, people of color, gay men or lesbians and people of other underrepresented backgrounds to hire or promote?
 
A. I say, where are you looking? Are you dipping into your own social pool to fill particular positions? Or are you looking at alternate ways — for example, interviewing at historically black colleges and universities, tapping into women’s networks at the colleges where you are trying to interview, or connecting with professional and trade organizations that represent the underrepresented?
 
Then I’d ask if you’re aware of your company’s reputation when it comes to hiring and promoting people of different backgrounds. Maybe you should be looking at blog posts by disgruntled employees or company rankings within publications that cater to diverse audiences.
 
Q. Your book is loaded with frank and shocking reflections from minority workers who — under the protection of pseudonyms — described feeling marginalized in their workplaces.
One of them talked about the “irony” of his company being included in a list of top 50 best companies for diversity when his experience would suggest otherwise. Should we be cynical about “best company” lists?
 
A. These lists are a good place to start in terms of looking at what metrics and indicators a publication considered when compiling the rankings. Many of these surveys are mainly focused on numbers, that is, demographics.
 
While the number of professionals from different races or genders is important, for example, rankings do not necessarily assess the critical issues that affect retention and promotion opportunities: access to quality work assignments and people who are dedicated to your professional development.
 
Most people in the minority are less concerned with whether there are other minorities in their company than with whether there is someone in the company who cares about their career development.
 
Q. You were an employment lawyer for about six years, and when you left to start your own firm, you formed a group with about eight women of color who all left traditional law practice to start their own practices or businesses rather than trying to excel in a setting where they felt underappreciated.
Still, you say you are hopeful about opportunities for minorities in traditional institutions. How is that?
 
A. After 10 years of diversity initiatives that didn’t move the needle very far, many law firms are now hiring diversity managers whose sole responsibility is to make diversity not just an occasional event but a true initiative.
 
It’s the difference between buying a table at the Asian, Latino or African-American event, and having more programming to support the career development of their minority associates or employees. It is my hope that these managers will be active change agents and not spectators.
 
Q. So, if you were starting out again today, do you think you might have stayed in a traditional law firm?
 
A. The legal profession and corporate America still have work to do. There are savvy and forward-thinking consumer goods companies and accounting firms that have made diversity a part of the fabric of their business for over 20 years. In many law firms, it’s not quite part of the fabric yet, but at least we’re seeing it in the thread.
 
Q. In your book, you encourage wronged employees to get smart instead of getting mad. So, would you now stay in an environment where you — as you so politely put it — felt underappreciated?
 
A. A part of being smart is seeing how much an employer is valuing you.
Some employers are starting to provide professional skills that minorities are looking for, and if a firm showed me that it saw diversity and leadership development as compatible goals, then I might see a future with that company.
 
 
Shifting Careers, a blog by Marci Alboher, is at nytimes.com/shiftingcareers.
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com )

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 5-25-2008

 
‘There was no such thing as a bad child’

 

 

 

 
Karmolete Walker, who for about 40 years taught pupils at Burrus Elementary School in the Houston school district and specialized in dealing with troubled children, has died. She was 91.
 
For Walker, “there was no such thing as a bad child. Troubled children needed more love,” said her son the Rev. Luthur G. Walker, pastor of Covenant of Faith United Methodist Church in Houston.
 
“She would pick the worst child and make that person her assistant,” Luthur Walker said.
 
“She had a way of connecting with them that was unbelievable,” he said.
 
Karmolete Everyne Philio Walker was born July 27, 1916, in the Hopewell Community in Bedias in Grimes County, the daughter of George Philio and Gertrude Fairfax Philio.
 
She graduated from high school in Bedias and received a degree in elementary education from Prairie View A&M University.

Two-room schoolhouse

Her first teaching job was in Bedias in a two-room schoolhouse where her sister, Kermis Philio Gooden, also taught. During the summer, Karmolete Walker attended Texas Southern University and received a master’s degree in elementary education, her son said.
 
“The family was strong on education,” Luthur Walker said. “My grandfather was a farmer and had no education, but all of his children graduated from high school, and his three daughters graduated from college,” he said.
 
In the early 1950s, Karmolete Walker joined Burrus Elementary School on Houston’s North Side, teaching third and fourth grade. She taught there for the rest of her career.
 
After retiring in the early 1990s, Walker continued her work in the ministries of New Hope Baptist Church, where she taught a Sunday school class, was a deaconess and a trustee of the church.
 
“She was a devoted mother, the kind of person everybody wanted to be around.
 
“She was calm but had a witticism for every occasion,” Luthur Walker said.
 
Her husband of 62 years, Deloch Walker, died in 2003. Karmolete Walker died May 8.
 
In addition to her son Luthur Walker, survivors include another son, the Rev. Castro L. Walker Sr., pastor of Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church of Houston; and Linda Walker Layton, her mother’s chief caretaker for the past four years, both of Houston.
 
Services were held Thursday at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, 2201 Tuam. Burial was in Houston National Cemetery.
 
 
(Article courtesy of the Houston Chronicle:  http://www.chron.com )
Published: May 22, 2008
 
 
Zelma Henderson, a Kansas beautician who was the sole surviving plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark federal desegregation case of 1954, died on Tuesday in Topeka. She was 88 and had lived in Topeka all her adult life.
 
 
 
 
May 22, 2008    

Anthony S. Bush/ Topeka Capital Journal, via Associated Press

Zelma Henderson in 2004.
 
 

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her son, Donald, said.
 
The Brown case, which began as a Kansas class-action suit in 1951, was known formally as Oliver L. Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka et al. Mrs. Henderson was the last of the “et al.” on the complainants’ side in the original case. In the decades since, she appeared often at events commemorating the decision and was widely interviewed in the news media.
 
Considered one of the United States Supreme Court’s most seminal decisions, Brown outlawed segregation in the nation’s public schools. A cornerstone of the emerging civil rights movement, it paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed segregation in other public facilities.
 
Zelma Cleota Hurst was born on Feb. 29, 1920, in Colby, a rural community in western Kansas. The Hursts were one of two black families in town; Zelma’s parents raised cattle and wheat. When she was a girl, the family moved to Oakley, Kan., a bigger town with more black people, though still largely white.
 
At the time, Kansas law provided for the segregation of elementary schools only, and only those in towns of 15,000 or more. (Junior and senior high schools in the state were integrated.)
 
Colby and Oakley were too small for the law to apply, and Zelma and her siblings were educated alongside all the other children in town. Though the schools they attended were overwhelmingly white, Donald Henderson said in an interview on Wednesday that his mother “never had a problem out there.”
 
That changed when she moved to Topeka in 1940. There, she studied cosmetology at the Kansas Vocational School, a segregated institution. She was also a skilled typist, but found that whenever she applied for a clerical job, she was offered work as a domestic instead. In 1943, she married Andrew Henderson and opened a beauty salon in her home.
 
As young children, Donald Henderson and his sister, Vicki, were bused to an all-black school across town. This set Mrs. Henderson’s teeth on edge. As she told The Boston Globe in 2004, “I knew what integration was and how well it worked and couldn’t understand why we were separated here in Topeka.”
 
In 1950, the Topeka chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People began organizing the class-action suit. They asked 13 local black parents — Mr. Brown and 12 women — to serve as plaintiffs. Mrs. Henderson quickly agreed.
 
In 1951, the suit was brought before the United States District Court in Kansas. The court ruled against the plaintiffs, citing the Supreme Court’s finding in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 that “separate but equal” accommodations for blacks and whites were constitutional.
 
Before being appealed to the Supreme Court, the case was combined with four similar ones from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia under the general rubric Brown v. Board of Education. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision.
 
“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote in the court’s opinion. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”
 
Besides her son, Donald, of Topeka, Mrs. Henderson is survived by a sister, Mary Catherine Ponds, of Everett, Wash.; five grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Andrew, died in 1971; their daughter, Vicki, died in 1984.
 
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News in 1994, Mrs. Henderson reflected on Brown 40 years later. “None of us knew that this case would be so important and come to the magnitude it has,” she said. “What little bit I did, I feel I helped the whole nation.”
 
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
___________________________________________________________________
 
DICK MARTIN, WHO RODE ‘LAUGH-IN’, TO FAME
 
 
Published: May 26, 2008
 
Dick Martin, a veteran nightclub comic who with his partner, Dan Rowan, turned a midseason replacement slot at NBC in 1968 into a hit that redefined what could be done on television, died Saturday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 86 and lived in Malibu, Calif.
 
 
May 25, 2008    
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times
Dick Martin at home in Malibu, Calif., in January 2007.

Related

Video Clips From ‘Laugh-In’ (YouTube.com)

Associated Press
Dan Rowan, left, and Dick Martin on “Laugh-In” in 1969.
 
 

The cause was respiratory failure, a family spokesman, Barry Greenberg, said. Mr. Martin had lost one lung to tuberculosis as a teenager, and in recent years he had used an oxygen tank for much of the day.
 
“Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” the hyperactive, joke-packed show that Mr. Martin and Mr. Rowan rode to fame, made conventional television variety programs seem instantly passé and the sitcom brand of humor seem too meek for the times.
 
The show was a collage of one-liners, non sequiturs, sight gags and double-entendres the likes of which prime time had rarely seen, and it proved that viewers were eager for more than sleepily paced plots and polite song-and-dance. “Laugh-In” quickly vaulted to the top of the television ratings, and it spawned an array of catchphrases: “Sock it to me,” “Here come da judge” and Mr. Martin’s signature line, “You bet your sweet bippy.”
 
“People are basically irreverent,” Mr. Martin said in 1968, explaining the appeal of the show.
 
“They want to see sacred cows kicked over. You can’t have Harry Belafonte on your show and not have him sing a song, but we did; we had him climbing out of a bathtub, just because it looked irreverent and silly. If a show hires Robert Goulet, pays him $7,500 or $10,000, they’re going to want three songs out of him; we hire Robert Goulet, pay him $210 and drop him through a trap door.”
 
Though Mr. Martin had a respectable career in nightclubs before “Laugh-In” and enjoyed success as a television director after the show went off the air, his five years on “Laugh-In” elevated him to a different level of fame. The show won the Emmy Award for outstanding variety or musical series in both 1968 and 1969, and the special guests who dropped by to deliver one-liners included Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Cher, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Johnny Carson and, memorably with “Sock it to me?,” Richard M. Nixon. Mr. Martin and Mr. Rowan, who died in 1987, became international stars; in 1972 they were hosts of a variety show staged before Queen Elizabeth II at the London Palladium.
 
Thomas Richard Martin was born Jan. 30, 1922, in Battle Creek, Mich. His father, William, was a salesman; his mother, Ethel, a homemaker. In the early 1930s the family moved to Detroit, where Dick’s teenage years included the bout with tuberculosis, which would keep him out of the military.
 
At 20 Mr. Martin, with his older brother, Bob, headed for Los Angeles with hopes of breaking into show business. He worked fitfully as an actor, a comic, and as a writer for radio shows like “Duffy’s Tavern,” but he was plying another trade, bartending, one day in 1952 when the comic Tommy Noonan brought in Dan Rowan, a former car salesman with showbiz aspirations of his own. Mr. Noonan introduced the two, and they quickly found their shtick — Rowan the sophisticate, Martin the laid-back lunk. They took their act on the road, inching up the club-circuit pecking order.
 
“It had no real highs or lows, it was just straight-ahead work,” Mr. Martin recalled of those early nightclub years in a 2007 interview. “I don’t think we ever failed. We didn’t zoom to stardom, but we always worked.”
 
Some of that work was on the small-time television programs that had sprung up in local markets — “Every city had a show like that: ‘Coffee With Phil,’ whatever,” Mr. Martin recalled — and the duo achieved a comfort level in the medium that proved useful once they became nightclub headliners. National television shows came calling, including Ed Sullivan’s, where Rowan & Martin made at least 16 appearances.
 
Mr. Martin also had a recurring role on “The Lucy Show” in the early 1960s, playing Lucille Ball’s neighbor, Harry Conners. But it was his work with Mr. Rowan that held the big payoff: the two had appeared on Dean Martin’s variety show on NBC, and — this being the era when stars took the summer off but their shows didn’t — in 1966 they were asked to be the hosts of “The Dean Martin Summer Show” for all 12 episodes.
 
“They were so high-rated that NBC said, ‘We want you to do a show for us,’ ” Mr. Martin recalled in 2007, and that led to a pilot for “Laugh-In,” which was broadcast Sept. 9, 1967.
 
The show was well regarded — it won an Emmy as the outstanding musical or variety program — and when “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” began to falter in midseason, Rowan & Martin got their shot at a series. Replacing that spy drama, “Laugh-In” made its debut on Jan. 22, 1968.
 
The show, partly the brainchild of the producer George Schlatter (who would later get into a court battle with Mr. Rowan and Mr. Martin over the rights to it), pushed the envelope of topical humor, something “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” had begun doing the year before. “Laugh-In,” though, was more interested in creating a frenetic pace than in creating controversy. To do so it relied on a cast of young, largely unknown comics like Judy Carne, Henry Gibson and Jo Anne Worley — a risky approach that one writer who logged time on the series, Lorne Michaels, would use when he shook up television anew in 1975 with “Saturday Night Live.” And, just as with the “S.N.L.” cast, a few “Laugh-In” alumni went on to impressive careers, most notably Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin.
 
“Laugh-In” stayed No. 1 through its first two seasons, garnering 11 Emmy nominations in 1969 for Season 2. The novelty, though, began to wear off, and by 1973 it was no longer on the air. A string of specials in later years revisited the format but without the jolt that the show’s first two seasons caused, and a 1969 film featuring Mr. Rowan and Mr. Martin, “The Maltese Bippy,” was panned. Vincent Canby, in The New York Times, called it “a movie that cheapens everything it touches.”
 
Mr. Martin’s friend Bob Newhart helped him transition to the director’s chair. He directed a number of episodes of the long-running “Bob Newhart Show,” as well as episodes of shows like “Archie Bunker’s Place,” “Family Ties” and Mr. Newhart’s later series. Mr. Martin also continued to act, playing roles on shows like “The Love Boat” and “Diagnosis Murder,” and turned up frequently on game shows and celebrity roasts in the 1970s and ’80s. Among his occasional film roles was an appearance in “Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver,” a 1998 comedy directed by his son, Richard Martin.
 
In the early “Laugh-In” years Mr. Martin and Mr. Rowan were as opposite offstage as they seemed to be onstage. Mr. Martin, whose 1957 marriage to Peggy Connelly ended in divorce in the early 1960s, was the swinging bachelor, Mr. Rowan the quiet family man. But in 1971 Mr. Martin married Dolly Read, a former Playmate of the Month who had appeared in “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” After divorcing four years later, they remarried in 1978. She survives him, as do Richard Martin and, from his marriage to Ms. Connelly, another son, Cary, as well as one grandchild.
 
Despite the fame and wealth that “Laugh-In” brought, Mr. Martin always retained a fondness for the earlier part of his career.
 
“My life has been divided into three parts in the show-business world: nightclubs, television, and then I was a director for 30 years of television shows,” he said in a 2006 interview on “The O’Reilly Factor.” “And I think the most fun I ever had was nightclubs. I loved nightclubs.”
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times;  http://www.nytimes.com )
___________________________________________________________________
 
DICK SUTCLIFFE, BEGAN ‘DAVEY AND GOLIATH’ 
 
 
Published: May 25, 2008
 
 
Dick Sutcliffe, whose idea to use animated characters to teach religious principles resulted in the cartoon show “Davey and Goliath,” died on May 11 in Dallas, where he lived. He was 90.
 
 
 
May 25, 2008    
Photofest
 
 
A scene from “Davey and Goliath,” a television series that combined stop-action animation and religion in short parables.
 

He died shortly after suffering a stroke, said his daughter, Judy Towne Sutcliffe.
 
“Davey and Goliath” was a stop-action animated show about a boy and his dog finding their way in a world of temptation, filmed by Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby, and his wife, Ruth Clokey Goodell, who were pioneers in the technique known as Claymation.
 
But the show was not their idea. In the late 1950s Mr. Sutcliffe, a former newspaper reporter, was living in Massapequa, N.Y., and working in New York City for the United Lutheran Church in America as a producer of newscasts and other ecumenical radio programming when he was asked for his counsel on a new project.
 
“The Lutheran Church was interested in using this newfangled thing called television to reach folks,” his daughter said. The show that the church had in mind was a minister delivering brief sermonettes, “and my father said, basically, ‘The theology is fine but it’s not good for television.’ ”
 
Instead, using his younger child, Michael, as inspiration, Ms. Sutcliffe said, “Dad asked himself, ‘What would I say to Mike about God? And how would I say it to him?’ And he came up with the idea of these little parables.”
 
Mr. Sutcliffe hired the Clokeys, wrote the first script and was the show’s first executive producer. The Clokeys eventually made 65 15-minute episodes of “Davey and Goliath” and a handful of long specials, the last one first broadcast in the mid-1970s.
 
The show, which the church initially provided free to television stations around the country, usually to be shown on Sunday mornings, was known for its high production values and crisp, unpredictable scripts (most of them by Nancy Moore), as well as for its serious lessons in Godliness. Its comparatively few episodes made enough of an impression that it is still parodied on current shows like “The Simpsons” and “MADtv.” (The Clokeys’ son, Joe, produced another special for Christmas 2004.)
 
Richard Towne Sutcliffe was born on April 18, 1918, in Columbia, Pa., and grew up in Taneytown, Md. His father, the Rev. Alfred Towne Sutcliffe, was a Lutheran minister.
 
He attended Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and Catawba College in North Carolina, though he never graduated. He began his professional career in Roanoke, Va., as a reporter and photographer.
 
Mr. Sutcliffe moved to Dallas in 1969 and worked for the Dallas Chamber of Commerce and Southern Methodist University.
 
In addition to his daughter, who is known as J. T. and lives in Dallas, and his son, who lives in Morristown, N.J., he is survived by his wife of 65 years, Julia, who is known as Judy, and three granddaughters.
 
One of the distinctions of “Davey and Goliath” was that a frequently appearing character, Davey’s best friend, Jonathan, was black, among the first instances of an interracial friendship in a television series, whether animated or flesh and blood.
 
“I think it was a very honest attempt to get as many people as possible to see themselves in the show,” Ms. Sutcliffe said. “Dad would say if we’re going to talk about God loving all of us, we ought to get to see more than the Davey face.”
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
_______________________________________________________________
 
CATHERINE MULHERRIN, ACTIVIST BOSTON NUN
 
 
Published: May 22, 2008
 
 
Sister Catherine E. Mulkerrin, who lobbied ardently but in vain to persuade Roman Catholic leaders in the Boston Archdiocese to warn parishioners about priests who had been accused of sexually molesting children, died on Saturday in Framingham, Mass. She was 72 and lived in Brighton, Mass.
 
The cause was cancer, said Sister Joanne Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston. Sister Catherine first learned she had cancer in 1984, Sister Joanne said.
 
Sister Catherine entered the Sisters of St. Joseph, an order of vowed apostolic religious women, in 1954, when she was 18. (The sisters are commonly referred to as nuns, though they are not technically nuns, because they live in the outside world and not cloistered, Sister Joanne said.)
 
A charismatic woman, Sister Catherine grew to be a leading figure in the Boston order, which included about 1,500 women at its peak and now has just under 500. She reinforced her order’s commitment to the poor and spoke out forcefully on behalf of the order against nuclear arms proliferation.
 
“She spent 15 years on our leadership team and six as our president, no easy task among religious women,” Sister Joanne said.
 
From 1992 to 1994, Sister Mulkerrin worked for the Archdiocese of Boston in its office for victims of abuse. There, she repeatedly urged Bishop John B. McCormack to warn local parishioners about predatory priests, especially by posting announcements in parish bulletins.
 
As an aide to Cardinal Bernard F. Law, then head of the Boston Archdiocese, Bishop McCormack was in charge of ministerial personnel from 1985 to 1994 and was the official who handled the mounting number of sexual abuse complaints involving priests. Sister Mulkerrin’s pleas were never acted upon but became public after she gave depositions in 2002 and 2003 in lawsuits that accused archdiocesan officials of negligence in sexual abuse cases.
 
“I know I sound like a broken record,” she wrote in one memorandum to Bishop McCormack, “but we need to put in church bulletins ‘It has come to our attention a priest stationed here between 19XX and 19XX may have molested children.’ ”
 
Cardinal Law resigned in 2003. Bishop McCormack now leads the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., a post he assumed in 1998.
 
Catherine Elizabeth Mulkerrin was born in Medford, Mass., on Dec. 19, 1935; her brother, Joseph, of Virginia Beach, is her only survivor.
 
A teacher in several Massachusetts schools, she earned two master’s degrees, one in library science from Simmons College in Boston and the other in religious studies from Fordham University.
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
_________________________________________________________________
 
HAMILTON JORDAN, CARTER’S RIGHT-HAND
 
 
Published: May 21, 2008
 
 
Hamilton Jordan, a self-proclaimed “political animal” and campaign whiz-kid who, at age 26, ran a successful campaign for governor and, at age 31, a successful presidential campaign for Jimmy Carter, eventually becoming the president’s chief of staff and top confidant, died Tuesday at his home in Atlanta. He was 63.
 
 
 
 
May 21, 2008    

White House Photo, via Associated Press

President Jimmy Carter walked the White House grounds with Hamilton Jordan in this undated White House photo.
 

Mr. Jordan was surrounded by friends and family — including his son Hamilton Jr., who was able to make it from Europe to his father’s bedside — when he lost a long battle with cancer, according to a statement from the Carter Center.
 
Mr. Jordan, a thick-set and rough-hewn man with piercing dark eyes, thick black hair and a rapier wit that knew how to draw blood was one of a triumvirate of Georgians — along with Jody Powell and Bert Lance — who became known as the Georgia Mafia during the Carter presidency. They had dedicated themselves to the political career of Mr. Carter, the little-known peanut farmer from Plains, Ga., who reciprocated their loyalty, and it brought them all to the brink of power.
 
Together, they became a large part of the public face of the administration, distrustful of Washington traditions and disdainful of pomp. Although he began as President Carter’s top domestic adviser, as the administration’s concerns shifted to foreign policy in its final years Mr. Jordan was given larger responsibility in those areas, as well, including the successful push to pass the Panama Canal Treaty and the unsuccessful efforts to win the release of the United States Embassy hostages in Iran.
 
He also came to exemplify the laid-back, informal attitude of much of the president’s inner circle, often appearing at official functions in a Navy pea coat and blue jeans.
 
Mr. Jordan developed something of a difficult reputation during his White House years, as well. At one point, the White House felt compelled to release a 33-page statement denying that he spat a drink at a woman in a bar. Mr. Jordan once denied charges that he had insulted the wife of the Egyptian ambassador at a state dinner.
 
In 1979, a special counsel was appointed to investigate accusations that Mr. Jordan had snorted cocaine during a visit to the Studio 54 nightclub in New York. The investigation resulted in no charges.
 
In 1986, Mr. Jordan mounted his own campaign for a United States Senate seat in Georgia, but lost in the Democratic primary to Wyche Fowler, who went on to win the general election.
 
Subsequently, Mr. Jordan became increasingly disillusioned with the two major political parties and strongly pushed for a third-party movement, going so far as to become, with Ed Rollins, a co-chairman of the Texas businessman H. Ross Perot’s 1992 third-party White House bid.
 
Mr. Jordan also became well-known as an advocate for cancer research, largely because of his frequent and long-running battles with the disease, including bouts of aggressive lymphoma and prostate cancer. In 2001, he published “No Such Thing as a Bad Day: A Memoir,” the inspirational account of his successive battles with the disease, mainly urging those with cancer to take charge of their own treatment and offering “10 top tips for cancer patients.” In 1982, his book “Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency” was published.
William Hamilton McWhorter Jordan (pronounced “JER-dun”) was born in Charlotte, N.C., where his father was stationed during World War II, but after the war his family returned to their home in Albany, Ga., where he grew up, played sports and attended school.
 
His mother later said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that in school elections, “If he didn’t run himself, he’d run his cousin.” He came by his political bent naturally. His maternal grandfather had been president of the State Senate.
 
After high school, Mr. Jordan spent “five-and-a-half unspectacular but fun-filled years” at the University of Georgia, earning a degree in political science.
 
While there, he became impressed with Jimmy Carter, then just beginning his political career. He was drawn to Mr. Carter’s moderate racial attitudes, which set him apart from many Democratic politicians of the era in the South.
 
In 1966, Mr. Jordan was a volunteer in Mr. Carter’s first, unsuccessful run for governor. By 1970, he was running Mr. Carter’s second bid and became the new governor’s executive secretary.
 
Soon after Mr. Carter took office, Mr. Jordan wrote an 80-page memorandum in which he spelled out, year-by-year, how the little-known governor could become, by 1976, the Democratic candidate for president. Mr. Carter bought the plan, and it worked.
 
Mr. Jordan is survived by his wife, Dorothy Henry, a former pediatric nurse whom he married in 1981; his son; two other children, Kathleen and Alexander; a brother, Lawton Jordan, of Augusta, Ga.; and a sister, Helen Schroder, of Atlanta.
 
Appearing before the Atlanta Press Club in March, Mr. Jordan said he was sorry there would be no opportunity for a third-party presidential bid in 2008. He had expected there would be. “I saw a perfect storm of events,” he said.
 
But instead of choosing candidates to appeal to the extreme wings of their parties, he said, the Democrats and Republicans seemed destined to choose moderates in Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.
 
“So I think the oxygen for an independent candidacy or third-party movement basically is gone now,” he said.
 
Mr. Jordan became very emotional during his appearance, especially when the subject turned to his cancer battles.
 
“I’ve been to the edge of life,” he told the audience. “I’ve had to face my own mortality. But I’m here to tell you today that I’m not through yet.”
 
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
____________________________________________________________________
 
JESSE EDWARDS, PATHOLOGIST
 
 
Published: May 21, 2008
 
 
Dr. Jesse E. Edwards, a leading cardiac pathologist, who assembled a formidable collection of human hearts to let doctors study coronary disease, congenital defects and trauma, died on May 18 in Rochester, Minn. He was 96.
 
 
May 21, 2008    
Edwards Family
Dr. Jesse E. Edwards reviewed a heart specimen in about 1985 with medical students and advanced fellows in cardiology.
 
 

The cause was heart failure, his family said.
 
In the late 1950s, while he was a professor of pathology at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Edwards began to gather hearts and other tissue specimens that had been removed during autopsies. He housed the collection at United Hospital in St. Paul in 1960 and began a formal registry to allow pathologists, cardiologists and other scientists to study malformations and diseases of the heart.
 
The collection now includes 22,000 specimens of hearts, heart valves, lungs and blood vessels, many preserved in formalin in plastic bags.
 
Dr. Shannon M. Mackey-Bojack, acting director of the Jesse E. Edwards Registry of Cardiovascular Disease, said the hearts had become “a consulting laboratory” for specialists studying arterial disease, the heart’s enlargement called cardiomyopathy, wounds and other conditions. Every year, the registry’s staff examines 600 to 1,000 hearts referred by medical examiners and pathologists for forensic diagnosis.
 
From the 1960s until this year, Dr. Edwards himself used the registry to instruct medical students and visiting experts alike, and it became a principal resource for his three-volume illustrated reference, “An Atlas of Acquired Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels” (1961), the first volume of which appeared at the outset of modern cardiac surgery. He was later a co-author of a corresponding two-volume reference work, “Congenital Heart Disease” (1965), which showed the anatomy of many malformations.
 
Dr. W. Steves Ring, chairman of cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said Dr. Edwards’s atlas was a “key reference in its time, that described the nuances of pathology clearly and at a point before coronary bypass surgery had even come into play.”
 
Remarking on Dr. Edwards’s efforts to establish the heart registry, Dr. Ring added: “He actually allowed us to see examples of defects before we were to operate. Jesse Edwards was a pioneer in describing the effects of pulmonary hypertension, and his teaching may have been even more valuable than his publications.”
 
From 1967 to 1968, Dr. Edwards was president of the American Heart Association and led a panel of experts that guardedly approved a procedure for transplanting hearts. The six-member panel, which included Dr. Michael DeBakey, Dr. John H. Gibbon Jr., and other early practitioners of heart surgery, worried about immune rejection and ethical considerations involved in donating organs, but gave a “qualified yes” to going forward.
 
Jesse Efrem Edwards was born in Hyde Park, Mass. He received an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and earned his medical degree there in 1935.
 
Dr. Edwards did research at the National Cancer Institute and taught briefly at Tufts and Boston University before joining the Mayo Clinic in 1946. He moved to United Hospital in 1960, and subsequently taught at the University of Minnesota.
 
Dr. Edwards is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Marjorie Brooks. He is also survived by a son, Dr. Brooks Edwards, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, of Rochester; a daughter, Ellen Edwards Villa of Bethesda, Md.; and five grandchildren.
 
In 1997, Dr. Edwards reflected on how a small number of organs had grown into one of the largest registries of its kind.
 
“Every time I saw a heart,” he said, “it seemed so wasteful to let it go.”
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
___________________________________________________________________
 
 
LLOYD MOORE, PIONEERING NASCAR DRIVER
 
 
Published: May 22, 2008
 
 
Lloyd Moore, recognized by Nascar as its oldest living racecar driver, died Sunday at his home in Frewsburg, N.Y. He was 95.
 
 
 
 
May 22, 2008    

Doug Benz for The New York Times

Lloyd Moore with a photograph of himself in a 1947 jalopy race.
 

His wife of 61 years, the former Virginia Taylor, confirmed his death.
 
From 1949 to 1955, in sedans often driven out of a new-car showroom, Moore drove in 49 races in Nascar’s Grand National series, now known as the Sprint Cup. Moore finished in the top five 13 times and the top 10 23 times, racing against stars like Glenn Roberts, known as Fireball; Buck Baker; Curtis Turner; and Lee Petty, the father of Richard Petty.
Moore raced on dirt tracks, horse racing tracks and on the beach in Daytona Beach, Fla. One race site was an uphill, downhill, through-a-stream, through-the-woods course in Sugar Grove., Pa., known as Satan’s Bowl of Death.
 
In his first Nascar race, at age 18, Moore finished sixth behind Lee Petty and received $150 in prize money. His only Nascar victory came in Winchester, Ind., in 1950. That year, his teammate, Bill Rexford, won the season title and Moore placed fourth.
 
“Talking to him was like taking a trip down memory lane for me because he raced against my dad,” Richard Petty said in a statement. “He would come by our house after a lot of the races because he and Daddy were good friends.”
 
Lloyd Dennis Moore lived all his life in the farmhouse in which he was born, in western New York, about 80 miles south of Buffalo. When he was 5, his father lost a leg in a farming accident, so the boy took over some of the farming responsibilities and quit high school after a year and a half to keep the farm going. He also worked as a school bus driver in the early 1930s and as a mechanic in a Studebaker garage.
 
Moore’s career earnings as a driver were only $10,493, about half of which went to the cars’ owners, he told The New York Times this month in an interview. He said he had quit racing to provide a better living for his family. For 17 years, he ran the school bus garage for the Frewsburg Central School District, retiring in 1974.
 
Besides his wife, Moore is survived by six daughters, Luella Nordlund, Penny Rosenberg, Virginia Inglesby and Barb Lobb, all of Frewsburg; Mina Wilson of Sinclairsville, N.Y.; and Linda Bailey of Cassadaga, N.Y.; 14 grandchildren; and 32 great-grandchildren.
 
“I had been on the road long enough,” he told The Times about his decision to stop racing. “I never wanted to go back to racing. I haven’t been to a track since. It seems that when you give it up, you give it up. But there’s nothing like sliding into a car and competing. I like speed. I like the competition. I miss it.”
 
 
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
_________________________________________________________________
 
MICHAEL ROSSMAN, WHO FOUGHT FOR CAMPUS RIGHTS
 
 
Published: May 19, 2008
 
 
Correction Appended
Michael Rossman, an organizer of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, who was later known for his books on politics, society and education, died May 12 at his home in Berkeley. He was 68.
 
 
 
 
May 19, 2008    

Paul Fusco

Michael Rossman in 1964.
 
 

The cause was leukemia, his wife, Karen McLellan, said.
 
Mr. Rossman’s first book, “The Wedding Within the War” (Doubleday, 1971), was a collection of essays chronicling his experiences in the free speech, antiwar and counterculture movements. Reviewing the collection in The New York Times Book Review, the historian Martin Duberman called it “a dazzling, moving book,” adding: “I find the life Rossman is trying to fashion for himself admirable, and the book he’s written about it exhilarating.”
 
Mr. Rossman’s other books include “On Learning and Social Change” (Random House, 1972) and “New Age Blues: On the Politics of Consciousness” (Dutton, 1979).
 
Michael Dale Rossman was born on Dec. 15, 1939, in Denver and reared in Northern California. His father, Harold, was the editor of The Labor Herald, the weekly newspaper of the Congress of Industrial Organizations in California. Mr. Rossman studied at the University of Chicago before transferring to Berkeley, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1963.
 
Mr. Rossman was a graduate student in math at Berkeley when the Free Speech Movement burst into being on Oct. 1, 1964. He was among the hundreds of students who massed around a police car that day and the next to stop officers from taking away the civil rights organizer Jack Weinberg. (Mr. Weinberg had been arrested for violating a longstanding university ban on political advocacy on campus.)
 
A close friend of Mario Savio, the movement’s best-known leader, Mr. Rossman left graduate school in 1966 to devote himself to activism, lecturing on campuses around the country. The Free Speech Movement, which quickly spread to other universities, made political discourse a basic right on college campuses throughout the nation.
 
Mr. Rossman remained a community activist to the end of his life. For the last three decades, he also taught primary-school science in Berkeley.
 
In addition to his wife, Mr. Rossman is survived by two sons, Lorca, of Olema, Calif., and Jaime Kaszynski of Olympia, Wash; a brother, Jared, of Redway, Calif.; a sister, Devora Rossman of Mendocino, Calif.; and one grandchild.
 
As a consequence of his involvement with the Free Speech Movement, Mr. Rossman spent nine weeks in jail in 1967. There, he was assigned to garbage detail, a job far less punitive than his jailers must have imagined.
 
As Mr. Rossman explained in an essay in “The Wedding Within the War,” he had no sense of smell.
 
 
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 20, 2008
A picture caption on Monday with an obituary about Michael Rossman, an organizer of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley , misstated the photographer’s surname. The photograph of Mr. Rossman is by Paul Fusco, not Fresco.
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
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BARBARA SEARS ROCKEFELLER
 
Published: May 21, 2008
 
Barbara Sears Rockefeller, a Pennsylvania coal miner’s daughter who married one of the richest men in America and, after their divorce six years later, won a settlement regarded as a record in its day, died on Monday at her home in Little Rock, Ark. She was 91 and had lived in Arkansas for the last few years.
 
 
May 21, 2008    

Associated Press, 1948

Winthrop and Barbara Sears Rockefeller with their pastor.
 
 

The Ruebel Funeral Home in Little Rock confirmed the death, saying that Mrs. Rockefeller died of natural causes.
 
Familiarly known as Bobo, Mrs. Rockefeller was the former wife of a governor of Arkansas and the mother of a lieutenant governor. From 1948 to 1954, she had a highly public marriage to Winthrop Rockefeller, who went on to serve two terms as governor, from 1967 to 1971. He was a grandson of John D. Rockefeller, a founder of Standard Oil.
 
The couple’s only child, Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, was lieutenant governor of Arkansas from 1996 until his death from a blood disorder in 2006. Mrs. Rockefeller is survived by eight grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
 
The daughter of Lithuanian immigrants, Mrs. Rockefeller was born Jievute Paulekiute near Noblestown, Pa., in September 1916. (Jievute is a Lithuanian diminutive of Eva.)
 
Her father was a coal miner and a railroad worker. Jievute’s parents divorced when she was a child, and she spent her later girlhood with her mother and stepfather in the stockyard district of Chicago. The family later moved to Indiana.
 
Considered a beauty, Jievute was named Miss Lithuania at 17 in a pageant sponsored by The Lithuanian Daily News. She studied briefly at Northwestern University before becoming a model and actress.
 
Under her first stage name, Eva Paul, she appeared in a production of “Tobacco Road” in Boston. There, she met Richard Sears Jr., the son of a prominent Boston family. They were married in 1941, and afterward she changed her name to Barbara Paul Sears. As Barbara Sears, she had small roles in a few Hollywood films, including “That Night With You” (1945), starring Franchot Tone.
 
After World War II, Mr. Sears was named third secretary at the American embassy in Paris, and the couple became fixtures in the Parisian social whirl. They divorced in 1947.
 
Mrs. Sears met Winthrop Rockefeller at a dinner party in 1946. At the time, she was living in Manhattan with her sister in a fourth-floor walkup hard by the Third Avenue El. Mr. Rockefeller, who had never married, was considered the most eligible bachelor in the country. He soon gave her a square-cut diamond set in platinum. She later pawned the ring, said to be worth $30,000, and lived on the proceeds for five years while waiting for her divorce settlement to come through, The Associated Press reported in 1966.
 
Mr. Rockefeller and Mrs. Sears planned to marry, perhaps inauspiciously, on Friday the 13th of February, 1948.
 
But because of the 72-hour waiting period then imposed by Florida law, the wedding, at the Palm Beach estate of the sportsman Winston Guest, took place just after midnight on Valentine’s Day. The guests at the reception included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
 
The union of the miner’s daughter and the billionaire’s grandson was described widely in the news as a fairy tale straight from the pages of “Cinderella.” As Time magazine’s account said, “Bobo’s mother and stepfather, who were unable to attend the ceremony because they were making a batch of Lithuanian cheese on their Indiana farm, both announced that they were happy.”
 
But for Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller, there was no happily ever after, or even much of an “after.” They separated less than two years into their marriage.
 
Very public divorce proceedings ensued. Mr. Rockefeller offered his wife a settlement of $5.5 million. Mrs. Rockefeller requested $10 million instead. After all, she pointed out to Time magazine in 1954, a man had just tried to repossess her vacuum cleaner. She eventually took the $5.5 million.
 
For many years after her divorce, Mrs. Rockefeller lived on the Upper East Side in a six-story neoclassical townhouse that included a full-size, wood-lined squash court with an 18-foot ceiling. She also kept a home in Paris.
 
Mrs. Rockefeller, who did not marry again, learned early to economize, at least in the relative sense of the term. As The Associated Press reported in 1952, when she was already separated from her husband, Mrs. Rockefeller had a fail-safe tactic for striking a good bargain.
 
When a merchant demanded a price she considered too high, she would simply respond, “Who do you think I am, a Rockefeller?”
 
(Article courtesy of The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com )
____________________________________________________________________
 
FROM THE ARCHIVES:

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PRIMARY SEASON ELECTION RESULTS, PART 7

Show: DEMOCRATS   REPUBLICANS
All Dates Current Coming Contests Obama_65x45 Clinton_65x45 Edwards_65x45   Mccain_65x45 Paul_65x45 Huckabee_65x45 Romney_65x45 Giuliani_65x45
Date State Barack Obama Hillary Clinton John Edwards   John McCain Ron Paul Mike Huckabee Mitt Romney Rudy Giuliani
 
May 20 Kentucky results »
Reporting:  100% D | 100% R
30% 65% 2%   72% 7% 8% 5% 2%
May 20 Oregon results »
Reporting:  100% D | 100% R
59 41   85 15
May 17 Hawaii results (R) » See results below on February 19   Results not available.
May 13 West Virginia primary results » 26 67 7   76 5 10 4 2
May 6 Indiana results » 49 51   78 8 10 5
May 6 North Carolina results » 56 42   74 8 12
May 3 Guam results (D) » 50 50   See results below on March 8
Apr 22 Pennsylvania results » 45 55   73 16 11
Apr 5 Virgin Islands results (R) » See results below on February 9   31 3 19
Mar 11 Mississippi results » 61 37 1   79 4 13 2 1
Mar 8 Guam results (R) » See results above on May 3   Results not available.
Mar 8 Wyoming results (D) » 61 38   See results below on January 5
Mar 4 Ohio results » 44 54 2   60 5 31 3
Mar 4 Rhode Island results » 40 58 1   65 7 22 4
Mar 4 Texas primary results » 47 51 1   51 5 38 2 0
Mar 4 Vermont results » 59 39 1   72 7 14 5 2
Feb 23 American Samoa results (R) » See results below on February 5   100
Feb 19 Hawaii results (D) » 76 24 0   See results above on May 17
Feb 19 Wisconsin results » 58 41 1   55 5 37 2 0
Feb 12 District of Columbia results » 75 24 0   68 8 16 6 2
Feb 12 Maryland results » 61 36 1   55 6 29 7 1
Feb 12 Virginia results » 64 35 1   50 4 41 4 0
Feb 10 Maine results (D) » 59 40   See results below on February 1
Feb 9 Kansas results (R) » See results below on February 5   24 11 60 3 0
Feb 9 Louisiana results » 57 36 3   42 5 43 6 1
Feb 9 Nebraska results (D) » 68 32   Republican caucus: July 12
Feb 9 Virgin Islands results (D) » 90 8   See results above on April 5
Feb 9 Washington caucus results » 68 31 0   26 22 24 15
Feb 5 Alabama results » 56 42 1   37 3 41 18 0
Feb 5 Alaska results » 75 25 0   16 17 22 44
Feb 5 American Samoa results (D) » 42 57   See results above on February 23
Feb 5 Arizona results » 42 50 5   47 4 9 35 3
Feb 5 Arkansas results » 27 70 2   20 5 60 14 0
Feb 5 California results » 43 51 4   42 4 12 35 4
Feb 5 Colorado results » 67 32   18 8 13 60
Feb 5 Connecticut results » 51 47 1   52 4 7 33 2
Feb 5 Delaware results » 53 42 1   45 4 15 33 2
Feb 5 Democrats Abroad results (D) » 67 33    
Feb 5 Georgia results » 66 31 2   32 3 34 30 1
Feb 5 Idaho results (D) » 80 17 1   Republican primary: May 27
Feb 5 Illinois results » 65 33 2   47 5 16 29 1
Feb 5 Kansas results (D) » 74 26 0   See results above on February 9
Feb 5 Massachusetts results » 41 56 2   41 3 4 51 1
Feb 5 Minnesota results » 66 32 0   22 16 20 41 0
Feb 5 Missouri results » 49 48 2   33 4 32 29 1
Feb 5 Montana results (R) » Democratic primary: June 3   22 25 15 38
Feb 5 New Jersey results » 44 54 1   55 5 8 28 3
Feb 5 New Mexico results (D) » 48 49 1   Republican primary: June 3
Feb 5 New York results » 40 57 1   52 6 11 28 4
Feb 5 North Dakota results » 61 37 1   23 21 20 36
Feb 5 Oklahoma results » 31 55 10   37 3 33 25 1
Feb 5 Tennessee results » 40 54 4   32 6 34 24 1
Feb 5 Utah results » 57 39 3   5 3 1 89 0
Feb 5 West Virginia caucus results » Democratic primary May 15.   1 0 52 47
Feb 1 Maine results (R) » See results above on February 10   21 18 6 52 0
Jan 29 Florida results » 33 50 14   36 3 13 31 15
Jan 26 South Carolina results (D) » 55 27 18   See results below on January 19
Jan 19 Nevada results » 45 51 4   13 14 8 51 4
Jan 19 South Carolina results (R) » See results above on January 26   33 4 30 15 2
Jan 15 Michigan results » 55   30 6 16 39 3
Jan 8 New Hampshire results » 36 39 17   37 8 11 32 9
Jan 5 Wyoming results (R) » See results above on March 8   0 0 0 67 0
Jan 3 Iowa results » 38 29 30   13 10 34 25 3
 
 
Coming contests
May 27 Idaho (R) See results above on February 5   32 delegates
Jun 1 Puerto Rico (D) 63 delegates    
Jun 3 Montana (D) 24 delegates   See results above on February 5
Jun 3 New Mexico (R) See results above on February 5   32 delegates
Jun 3 South Dakota 23 delegates   27 delegates
Jul 12 Nebraska (R) See results above on February 9   33 delegates

 

SOURCE:   http://politics.nytimes.com/election-guide/2008/results/votes/index.html

THE CAUCUS: LATEST POSTS FROM THE TIMES POLITICS BLOG:

The White Working Class: Forgotten Voters No More

The man who wrote the book on blue-collar voters says Barack Obama “is clocking in where he needs to be” to win in the fall.

Clinton Weighs In on Cuba

The posture toward Cuba that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has outlined seemed to have more in common with the position of Senator John McCain than that of Senator Barack Obama.

Clinton Soaks Up Warmth in Puerto Rico

Hillary Rodham Clinton urged church goers in Puerto Rico not to be “deterred by the setbacks that often fall into every life” and also said if she had listened to naysayers “we would not be having this campaign in Puerto Rico.”

Clinton Defends RFK Remarks

The senator and her staff mount a campaign to contain the damage from her RFK remark.

Clinton Could Face Uneasy Return to Senate

Hillary Rodham Clinton ranks as only No. 36 out of 49 Senate Democrats, more of whom favored Barack Obama.

Obama Stands In for Kennedy at Wesleyan

Senator Barack Obama delivered the commencement speech at Wesleyan University in place of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Military Chief Warns Troops About Politics

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs has written an unusual letter to all those in uniform, reminding them to stay out of political debate.

Kennedy Comment Sends Clinton Into Damage Control

In trying to “set the record straight,” Clinton aides said the news media and the Obama campaign were partly responsible for fanning the flames.

Aide Sees Obama Clinching Nomination in June

Senator Barack Obama’s chief strategist said that he believed Mr. Obama would by the first week of June reach the absolute number of Democratic delegates needed to clinch the party’s presidential nomination.

Libertarian Party Picks Barr as Its Presidential Candidate

Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman, got the nomination in an election that was the end of another campaign for Mike Gravel.

CLINTON REMARK ON KENNEDY KILLING STIRS UPROAR:  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/24/us/politics/24clinton.html?ref=politics

SOURCE:  http://www.nytimes.com/pages/politics/index.html

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RELATED LINKS:

CHICAGO SUNTIMES ELECTION RESULTS:  http://www.suntimes.com/elections/results/index.html

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UNITED NATIONS RAPPORTEUR TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES TO DOCUMENT RACISM

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES
16 May 2008

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Doudou Diène, will undertake a country visit to the United States from 19 May to 6 June 2008 at the invitation of the Government of the United States.

The Special Rapporteur will visit the cities of Washington, New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico to gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. He is scheduled to hold meetings with representatives of the Government, both at national and local levels, and with members of the legislative and judiciary branches. Discussions will also be held with non-governmental organizations, community members, representatives of political parties, academics and other organizations and individuals working in the field of racism and discrimination.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a final report on the visit for consideration at a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council in 2009.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on racism was established in 1993 by the Commission on Human Rights to examine incidents of contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as governmental measures to overcome them. It was further extended by the Human Rights Council in its resolutions 5/1 and 7/34. A former director of UNESCO Department of Intercultural Dialogue, Mr. Diène is the second Special Rapporteur to hold the mandate. Since his appointment in 2002, he has conducted official visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Canada, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, Italy, the Russian Federation, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Dominican Republic and Mauritania.

For more information please go to http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/racism/rapporteur/index.htm

For use of the information media; not an official record

HR08056E
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Doudou Diene, a Senegalese attorney and United Nations Special Rapporteur on racism, will visit the United States for three weeks in order to “. . . gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”  Mr. Diene’s role as mandated by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, is to gather information on reports of racial abuse against U.S. citizens. His visit to the America is just one of many that he will make among many other countries throughout this year. The information that Mr. Diene gathers will result in a report to be released to the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009.

Okay, Mr. Diene will visit America on a fact-finding mission to gather evidence of racial xenophobic intolerance, information against a country which still runs like hell from its racist past.

So, America’s atrocities of the stark disparities of the prison industrial complex, racial disparities in the death penalty, the monstrous sentencing of youth to life without parole for crimes committed when they were under 18, the savage inequalities of residential segregation, the still separate-but-equal abysmal educational system, the police brutality of slaughtering black women and men in cities across America, the exceedingly high infant mortality rate, the subprime mortgage crisis (a heinous crime in itself, and the government’s rush to bail-out the perpetrators of this orgy of predatory lending, in this case, Bear-Stearns), the removal of industries (automotive, textile industries) from the inner cities out to the suburbs and rural areas, the inequalities in health care, the detention of non-citizens at Guantanamo, the systemic inadequacies in indigent criminal defense, which creates a devastating impact on racial minorities; the disenfranchisement of millions of U.S, citizens because they have been convicted of a felony, even though they have paid their debt to society or have been released on parole—just to name a few things—will Mr. Diene be able to investigate and complie hard-hitting, truth-telling documentation, against the most hypocritical country in the world?

And all in a mere three weeks?

Wow.

I tell ya’, three weeks is not enough to gather one billionth of the abominations that America has committed against her citizens.

Is this country ready for the truth to be told about itself, much less by a black man from Africa? Is this country ready to own up to its perversions of democracy, much less before the world? I do not think so. America has lied to herself for centuries, and she has created a web of deceit built on myths for so long, that she has come to believe her lies. She has fabricated the insanity that she is a true demcracy when she has been anything but a democracy.

If any country has practiced terrorism against its citizens, that country would be the United States of America.

She stills pays her black citizens less than her white citizens for the same job. Her racist policies of when Affirmative Action was overwhelmingly white, has created a legacy of white wealth which will take generations, centuries, for black citizens to catch up to.

Add to the fact that a black President may be elected this year, does not help at all. If anything this will be the chance that millions of racists have been looking for as an out. I can just hear many of them now:

“Electing a black president means America is no longer a racist country”.

A bigger lie could not be told.

Electing Obama will not in any way make racism go away, especially when that same racism is not acknowledged. And therein lies the rub. Yes. Elect Obama, then maybe those pesky black people will just shut up, or at least be quiet now that they have a black president. As if a black man being elected president means America has finally become a country that gives a damn about her black citizens. Electing Obama will not mean shit if whites still show nothing but contempt for their fellow black citizens. Electing Obama as president will mean nothing if blacks continue to remain America’s pariahs. As long as black Americans continue to face violence in education, economics, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war, America’s electing Obama will not eradicate the legacy of centuries of vicious racial oppression, the effects of which still live very visibly with us all.

Mr. Diene can come to America and do his information gathering. Fine. But, it remains to be seen if he will speak power to truth in his report. It remains to be seen if he will cower from the wrath of the American white majority and its rulers, or, if he will have the guts to tell the unvarnished truth of America’s racist two-faced at-home policies against her citizens.

It remains to be seen if America will be shown to the world for the Great Whore that she has been towards her non-white citizens. It remains to be seen if Mr. Diene/the United Nations will ream America out the way so many other countries with human rights abuses are castigated by the oh-so illustrious United Nations.

Will Mr. Diene shy away from the cold hard facts, or will he be no-holds-barred in his approach to America’s long reign of white supremacy?

Will Mr. Diene only talk to so-called leaders and ignore the local citizens of non-white communities across America? Will Mr. Diene ignore their plight? Will Mr. Diene treat them as if what they have to say has no bearing on his report? Afterall, it is the non-white people of America who truly know America for what she truly is:  a country founded on and maintained on the belief in white supremacy, the greatest motivating force in the known universe in the promotion of combined falsehoods, non-justice, and inhumane aberrations against the diginity and respect of all human beings.

Will Mr.Diene tell the truth? The whole truth. . . .and nothing but the truth?

No watered-down, half-truths?

No need to ask black Americans the truth of America.

We live within the maw of this roaring lion of a country.

No need to tell us what we already know.

Is white-run America ready for the truth?

I’m not holding my breath on that one.

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