Monthly Archives: July 2008


Published: July 25, 2008
Barbara Ann Teer, who gave up a promising career in commercial entertainment to concentrate on developing African-American culture in Harlem and who founded the National Black Theater there, died on Monday in Harlem. She was 71.
Librado Romero/The New York Times
Barbara Ann Teer in 2003.

She died of natural causes, said her daughter, Sade Lythcott.
Ms. Teer, who first went to Harlem in the 1960s as a teacher at Wadleigh Junior High School, became, over four decades, a Harlem nurturer, a Harlem cheerleader, a Harlem developer and a Harlem fixture.
A dancer and actor who appeared frequently in New York productions, on Broadway and off, she had grown tired of being offered stereotypical roles by white producers and became a fierce and eloquent advocate for black artists and a black culture independent of the white-dominated mainstream.
She announced her philosophy in a 1968 article in The New York Times, writing a call to arms to black artists in general and black theater artists in particular to declare and define themselves.
“For those brothers and sisters who are still tied to whitey and have not yet seen the need to shape their own black cultural art expression,” she wrote, “let’s look at one of whitey’s institutions: the American theater, an establishment developed, owned and operated by him for the sole purpose of making money.”
“We must begin building cultural centers where we can enjoy being free, open and black,” she added, “where we can find out how talented we really are, where we can be what we were born to be and not what we were brainwashed to be, where we can literally ‘blow our minds’ with blackness.”
For Ms. Teer this was not idle rhetoric. That year she founded the National Black Theater, an institution dedicated to the performing arts, community advocacy and the appreciation of the history and lifestyle of black Americans. The theater, which bought its own building at 125th Street and Fifth Avenue with financing she arranged, produces shows, lectures and other special events, presents art exhibits, conducts workshops and holds classes.
As executive director, not only was Ms. Teer in charge of fund-raising and administration, she also wrote and directed for a music, dance and theater troupe that appeared at Lincoln Center and on the public television program “Soul.” The company toured in Bermuda, Guyana, Haiti, South Africa and Trinidad, as well as in the United States.
Ms. Teer was especially drawn to the Yoruba people of Nigeria, which she visited many times and from which she brought Yoruba artists to New York to create works for the theater building.
Ms. Teer was born in East St. Louis, Ill., on June 18, 1937, and moved to New York City after earning a bachelor of arts in dance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. On Broadway, Ms. Teer was dance captain in “Kwamina,” a 1961 show choreographed by Agnes de Mille, and appeared in 1966 as an actor in William Inge’s comedy “Where’s Daddy?”
She had an early, brief marriage to the actor and comedian Godfrey Cambridge, who died in 1976. In addition to her daughter, who lives in Manhattan, she is survived by a son, Michael Lythcott, also of Manhattan.
After receiving honorary doctorates in the mid-1990s from the University of Rochester and the Southern Illinois University, she referred to herself, and was known to colleagues, as Dr. Teer. “She had a deep appreciation for the historical significance of the African presence in the Harlem community,” said Howard Dodson, director of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. “She touched thousands of lives here, bringing to some the consciousness of their African origins that they’d either forgotten or were never in touch with, and providing for others a self-affirmation that was needed as they tried to navigate the waters of the American nation state.”
SOURCE: The New York Times:
Published: July 26, 2008
Randy Pausch, the professor whose “last lecture” made him a Lou-Gehrig-like symbol of the beauty and briefness of life, died Friday at his home in Chesapeake, Va. He was 47, and had lived five months longer than the six months a doctor gave him as an upside limit last August.
July 26, 2008    

Kaylin Bowers/Daily Progress, via Associated Press

A crowd filled an auditorium at the University of Virginia in November to hear from Randy Pausch, a former professor there.

The cause was metastasized pancreatic cancer, Carnegie Mellon University announced.
Professors are sometimes asked to give lectures on what wisdom they would impart if they knew it was their last chance. Soon after Dr. Pausch (pronounced powsh), a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, accepted that challenge, he learned he had months to live.
He hesitated, then went ahead with the lecture, on Sept. 18, 2007. He said he intended to have fun and advised others to do the same. He spoke of the importance of childlike wonder.
But Dr. Pausch did not omit things that would break just about anybody’s heart. He spoke of his love for his wife, Jai, and had a birthday cake for her wheeled on stage. He spoke of their three young children, saying he had made his decision to speak mostly to leave them a video memory — to put himself in a metaphorical bottle that they might someday discover on a beach.
As the video of his lecture spread across the Web and was translated into many languages, Dr. Pausch also became the co-author of a best-selling book and a deeply personal friend, wise, understanding and humorous, to many he never met.
“His fate is ours, sped up,” wrote Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal columnist who covered the lecture on the chance it would be a good story, and helped bring it wider awareness. The book he wrote with Dr. Pausch, “The Last Lecture,” was published this year and became a No. 1 best seller; last week it was still No. 1 on The New York Times list of advice books.
Some of the millions who saw Dr. Pausch on YouTube and elsewhere wrote letters and e-mail to The Journal and many blogs. Some said he inspired them to quit feeling sorry for themselves, or to move on from divorces, or to pay more attention to their families. A woman said the video gave her the strength to escape an abusive relationship; others said they decided not to commit suicide because of it.
The effort and the effect, even before the book, have been likened to Mitch Albom’s book on lessons he learned from his dying college professor, “Tuesdays with Morrie” (1997).
Dr. Pausch said in an interview with USA Today that he had never read that book.
“I didn’t know there was a dying-professor section at the bookstore,” he said with typical sardonic wit.
Time magazine named Dr. Pausch one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and ABC declared him one of its three “persons of the year” for 2007. Oprah Winfrey promised him 10 minutes of uninterrupted speaking time, and he used it to give a condensed version of the lecture.
Randolf Frederick Pausch was born in Baltimore on Oct. 23, 1960. In his lecture, he praised his parents for letting him paint pictures on the walls of his room. Dozens of parents wrote him to say they followed this example and allowed their children to decorate in the same way.
Dr. Pausch graduated from Brown University, earned his Ph.D. in computer science from Carnegie Mellon, taught at the University of Virginia for a decade and joined Carnegie Mellon’s faculty in 1997. In addition to working in the computer science department, he had appointments in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the School of Design.
His passion was creating programs he called computer worlds that students could use to create games. In fact, they were learning sophisticated computer skills. His annual virtual reality contest was highly anticipated, and work on virtual reality by some of his students won them the chance to experience weightlessness on an aircraft. They then used virtual reality techniques to mimic weightlessness.
Dr. Pausch received awards from academic and industry groups. Carnegie Mellon named a footbridge between its computer science and arts building for him to commemorate his efforts to link the fields.
Carnegie Mellon had a tradition of asking professors near the ends of their careers to deliver what it called “The Last Lecture,” but the name had been changed to “Voyages” when Dr. Pausch gave his. He bet with friends that no more than 50 people would attend. There was standing room only in the 400-seat auditorium.
Using images on a giant screen, he began by showing a slide of CT scans revealing 10 tumors on his liver. He then said he never felt better, and dropped to the floor to do push-ups, some one-handed.
He showed photos of himself as a boy, then listed his youthful dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry (on virtual reality). He said he had accomplished them all.
But it turned out that other aspirations remained. When the director of the new “Star Trek” film heard that Dr. Pausch was a Trekkie, he invited him to appear in a cameo role, including a spoken line. When the Pittsburgh Steelers heard he had dreamed of playing pro football, they let him participate in a practice.
This March, Dr. Pausch testified before a House committee in Washington in favor of more money for researching pancreatic cancer. He held up an 8-by-10 picture of his three children and his wife, whom he noted would soon be his widow.
Dr. Pausch is survived by his wife, the former Jai Glasgow; his sons, Dylan and Logan; his daughter, Chloe; his mother, Virginia Pausch of Columbia, Md.; and his sister, Tamara Mason of Lynchburg, Va.
Dr. Pausch gave practical advice in his lecture, avoiding spiritual and religious matters. He did, however, mention that he experienced a near-deathbed conversion: he switched and bought a Macintosh computer.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: July 26, 2008
Johnny Griffin, a tenor saxophonist from Chicago whose speed, control and harmonic acuity made him one of the most talented American jazz musicians of his generation yet who spent most of his career in Europe, died Friday at his home in Availles-Limouzine, a village in France. He was 80 and had lived there for 24 years.
Steve Berman/The New York Times
Johnny Griffin at the Blue Note in New York in 1997.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Miriam, who did not give a cause. He played his last concert on Monday in Hyères, France.
Mr. Griffin’s modest height earned him the nickname the Little Giant; his speed in bebop improvising marked him as the Fastest Gun in the West; a group he led with his fellow saxophonist Eddie (Lockjaw) Davis was informally called the Tough Tenor band, a designation that was eventually applied to a whole school of hard-bop tenor players. And in general, Mr. Griffin suffered from categorization.
In the early 1960s, embittered by the critical acceptance of free jazz, he stayed true to his identity as a bebopper. Feeling that the American marketplace had no use for him (at a time when he was also having marital and tax troubles), he left for Europe, where he became a celebrated jazz elder.
“It’s not like I’m looking to prove anything anymore,” he said in a 1993 interview. “At this age, what can I prove? I’m concentrating more on the beauty in the music, the humanity.”
Indeed, Mr. Griffin’s work in the 1990s, with an American quartet that stayed constant whenever he revisited his home country to perform or record, had a new sound, mellower and sweeter than in his younger days.
Johnny Griffin was born in Chicago on April 24, 1928, and grew up on the South Side. He attended DuSable High School, where he was taught by the famed high school band instructor Capt. Walter Dyett, whose other students included the singers Nat (King) Cole and Dinah Washington and the saxophonists Gene Ammons and Von Freeman.
Mr. Griffin’s career started in a hurry: at age 12, attending his grammar school graduation dance at the Parkway Ballroom in Chicago, he saw Ammons play in King Kolax’s big band and decided what his instrument would be. By 14 he was playing alto saxophone in a variety of situations, including a group called the Baby Band with schoolmates, and occasionally with the blues guitarist and singer T-Bone Walker. At 18, three days after his high school graduation, Mr. Griffin left Chicago to join Lionel Hampton’s big band, where he switched from alto to tenor. From then until 1951 he was based in New York City but mostly on the road.
By 1947 he was touring with the rhythm-and-blues band of the trumpeter Joe Morris, a fellow Chicagoan, with whom he made the first recordings for the Atlantic label. He entered the United States Army in 1951; stationed in Hawaii, he played in an Army band.
Mr. Griffin was of an impressionable age when Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie became forces in jazz. He heard them both with Billy Eckstine’s band in 1945 and, having first internalized the more balladlike saxophone sound earlier popularized by Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster, became entranced by the lightning-fast phrasing of bebop, as the new music of Parker and Gillespie was known. In general his style remained brisk but relaxed, his bebop playing salted with blues tonality.
Beyond the 1960s his skill and his musical eccentricity continued to deepen, and in later years he could play odd, asymmetrical phrases, bulging with blues honking and then tapering off into state-of-the-art bebop, filled with passing chords.
In the late 1940s he befriended the pianists Elmo Hope, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk; he called these friendships his “postgraduate education.” After his Army service he went back to Chicago, where he worked with Monk for the first time, a job that altered his career. He became interested in Monk’s brightly melodic style of composition, and he ended up as a regular member of Monk’s quartet in New York in 1958. In 1967 he toured Europe with a Monk octet.
Mr. Griffin joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers for a short stint in 1957. The following year he began recording a series of albums as a leader for the Riverside label. On “Way Out!,” “The Little Giant” and other Riverside albums, his rampaging energy got its moment in the sun on tunes like “Cherokee,” famous vehicles for testing a musician’s mettle.
A few years later he hooked up with Davis, a more blues-oriented tenor saxophonist, with whom he made a series of records that act as barometers of taste: listeners tend to find them either thrilling or filled with too many notes. The Griffin-Davis combination was a popular one, and the two men would sporadically reunite through the ’70s and ’80s.
Mr. Griffin left the United States in 1963, settling in Paris and recording mostly for European labels — sometimes with other American expatriates, like the drummer Kenny Clarke, and sometimes with European rhythm sections. In 1973 he moved to Bergambacht, the Netherlands. He moved to the Côte d’Azur with his second wife, Miriam, in 1980, and then in 1984 to Availles-Limouzine, near Poitiers in midwestern France, where he lived thereafter.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Griffin’s survivors include four children: his daughters Jo-Onna and Ingrid and a son, John Arnold Griffin, all of the New York City area, and another daughter, Cynthia Griffin of Bordeaux, France.
Mr. Griffin stayed true to the small-group bebop ideal with his American quartet, including the pianist Michael Weiss and the drummer Kenny Washington. The record he made with this group for the Antilles label in 1991, “The Cat,” was received warmly as a comeback.
Every April for many years, Mr. Griffin returned to Chicago to visit family and play during his birthday week at the Jazz Showcase. During those visits he usually also spent a week at the Village Vanguard in New York, before returning home to his quiet house in the country.
SOURCE: The New York Times:
Published: July 25, 2008
Eugene A. Foster, a pathologist who helped establish genetically the long-alleged liaison between Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, and his slave mistress Sally Hemings, died July 21 in Charlottesville, Va. He was 81.
Leslie Close/The Daily Progress, 1999
Eugene A. Foster

His death followed a long bout with prostate cancer and leukemia, his wife, Jane Foster, said.
Dr. Foster spent most of his career at the University of Virginia Medical School and at the New England Medical Center at Tufts University. It was only after his retirement and return to Charlottesville that he burst into the public eye with his project on Jefferson.
As early as 1802, the second year of his first term, Jefferson was accused in an article in The Richmond Recorder of having fathered a family with Hemings, a slave on his estate. Such an affair was denied, Jefferson’s family later spreading the story that any physical resemblance between the president and the slave children could more probably be laid at the door of his young nephews Peter and Samuel Carr.
A long line of Jefferson historians, most recently Joseph Ellis, had concluded that an affair was unthinkable.
“After five years mulling over the huge cache of evidence that does exist on the thought and character of the historical Jefferson, I have concluded that the likelihood of a liaison with Sally Hemings is remote,” Mr. Ellis wrote in 1996.
The following year, Annette Gordon-Reed, a black lawyer, sized up the same evidence and reached the opposite conclusion: a liaison was very likely, although it could not be proved, Ms. Gordon-Reed wrote in her book “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy.”
Dr. Foster played a remarkable role in helping substantiate this challenge to the consensus view. He had resumed a project to test whether Jefferson was the father of Hemings’s children, after hearing of a new genetic technique of tracing ancestry through the Y chromosome, which descends through the male line.
Jefferson had no male descendants, but blood samples from five descendants of his uncle, Field Jefferson, provided Dr. Foster with the authentic Jefferson Y chromosome. He also tested descendants of the Carrs and of Hemings’s son Eston.
Dr. Foster found in 1998 that the Jefferson Y chromosome differed from that of the Carr family, but was identical to that of Eston Hemings’s lineage.
His report was a model of scientific caution, saying that he could not rule out the possibility a Jefferson other than Thomas was the father of Eston.
But that seemed unlikely, he said, after taking account of all the historical evidence, which included Jefferson’s recorded presence at Monticello at the conception of all Hemings’s known children, a fact noted by the historian Winthrop Jordan.
Dr. Foster’s report, Ms. Gordon-Reed said, “was an enormous boost to my book,” because it ruled out the Carrs, the historians’ favorite candidates as fathers of the Hemings children. The report, and her study, “helped change the consensus on the Jefferson and Hemings story, from a belief it could not possibly have happened to a belief that it did happen,” she said.
Dr. Ellis was one historian who admitted error and said he had changed his mind in light of the new evidence.
The consensus was not achieved without some attacks on Dr. Foster’s findings. But he took them “pretty much in stride.” Ms. Gordon-Reed said.
Besides his wife, Dr. Foster is survived by three children, Susannah Baxendale of Culver City, Calif.; Ethan Foster of Sedona, Ariz., and Rebecca Foster of Charlottesville; and a brother, Roger Foster of Long Beach, N.Y.
In a 1998 interview about the Jefferson case, Dr. Foster expressed surprise that people had so willingly let him take specimens of their blood.
“The whole business has been a coming together of improbable events,” he said.
SOURCE: The New York Times:
Published: July 25, 2008
Correction Appended
Paul Bentley, the Dallas police detective who snapped the handcuffs on Lee Harvey Oswald 80 minutes after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died Monday at his home in Dallas. He was 87.
Jim MacCammon, courtesy of Howard Upchurch
Paul Bentley, right, with Lee Harvey Oswald in custody outside the Texas Theater in Dallas.

His death was confirmed by Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the exhibit that occupies the floor in the former Texas School Book Depository from which Oswald fired his 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at the 35th president.
When Detective Bentley hurtled over several rows in the Texas Theater that day, Nov. 22, 1963, to get to the slim man pointing a pistol at another police officer, he had no idea that the man was Kennedy’s killer.
“At the time of the arrest, I had no knowledge whatsoever that this might possibly be our suspect in regards to the assassination of the president,” Detective Bentley told WFAA-TV in Dallas in a 1963 interview.
But he did know that the man might be a suspect in the shooting of Officer J. D. Tippit, who had been killed half an hour earlier when he confronted Oswald on a nearby street some 45 minutes after Kennedy was shot.
The assistant manager of a shoe store near the theater, in the Oak Cliff section southwest of downtown, had told the ticket taker that a man acting suspiciously had sneaked into the theater.
“The person who saw him suggested that she call the police, because he might be connected to either the shooting of the president or of Officer Tippit,” Mr. Mack said in an interview on Thursday.
Detective Bentley was at a police station when reports arrived that someone had fired on the president’s motorcade and, soon afterward, that an officer had been shot. He went to the site of the Tippit shooting, then to the theater.
“Bentley and several other officers went up to the balcony,” Mr. Mack said. “Officer Nick McDonald went through the back door, behind the screen, and stood on the stage. The shoe store manager was with him and pointed out the guy who had been acting suspiciously. As McDonald approached, Oswald stood up and said, ‘Well, it’s all over now.’ ”
When Officer McDonald came close, Oswald punched him and drew a pistol. Detective Bentley raced down from the balcony.
“That’s when I tried to get as close to him as possible, trying to grab the weapon,” he said in an oral history given to the museum in 1994. “I came over the backs of seats,” twisting his right ankle between two of them, and, along with other officers, subdued Oswald.
Photographs of Oswald in custody show a cut over his eye. It was caused by the Masonic ring Detective Bentley was wearing during the scuffle, about 20 rows back from the movie screen.
Seated in the patrol car to the left of Oswald during the ride downtown, Detective Bentley heard a dispatcher say Oswald was the prime suspect in the Kennedy shooting. “I turned to him, and I said, ‘Did you shoot President Kennedy?’ ” Detective Bentley recalled. “He said, ‘You find out for yourself.’ ”
Paul Lester Bentley was born in Dallas on June 29, 1921. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II and joined the Dallas police in 1947. He retired from the department in 1968, then became security director for First National Bank in Dallas.
He is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Mozelle Robertson; a sister, Mildred Waldroop; a son, James; and one grandson.
Two days after the Kennedy assassination, while being escorted through the basement of the Dallas city jail, Oswald was shot to death by Jack Ruby. At Ruby’s left at that moment, memorably captured by cameras, was Detective Jim Leavelle, wearing a light-colored Resistol. Clutching Ruby’s right arm, trying to wrench away his pistol, was Detective L. C. Graves — Detective Bentley’s brother-in-law.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: July 26, 2008
An obituary on Friday about Paul Bentley, a Dallas detective who helped capture the presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald , included an incorrect identification from a museum curator, in some editions, for the brand of hat worn two days later by Jim Leavelle, a Dallas police detective photographed escorting Oswald when he was killed. It was a Resistol, not a Stetson.
SOURCE: The New York Times:
Published: July 25, 2008
Sidney Craig, who with his wife, Genevieve, founded Jenny Craig Inc., the chain of weight-loss centers, which would eventually open more than 600 centers in four countries, died Monday at his home in Del Mar, Calif. He was 76.
Cara Thomas-Maskell/Associated Press
Sidney and Genevieve Craig cheering on one of their racehorses in 1992. They established a chain of weight-loss centers.

The death was confirmed by Patti Larchet, who is now chief executive of the company.
Mr. Craig was a partner in a small chain of women’s weight-loss salons called Body Contour in the 1970s when he met Genevieve Guidroz Bourcq, who was working at one of those salons, in New Orleans. Soon after, she became national director of operations for Body Contour, and in 1979, they married.
Three years later, the couple sold their interest in Body Contour and moved to Melbourne, Australia, where — using the diminutive of Ms. Craig’s given name — they opened the first Jenny Craig center.
Emphasizing long-term weight reduction through lifestyle changes, and offering counseling as well as prepared calorie-controlled meals, the company eventually opened centers in New Zealand, Canada and the United States. There were 655 Jenny Craig locations in 2006, when the company was bought by Nestlé for $600 million.
The Craigs were also owners of thoroughbred horses. In 1995, they bought a 237-acre breeding ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Five years ago, one of their horses, Candy Ride, won the $1 million purse at the Pacific Classic at the Del Mar racetrack.
A longtime goal of Mr. Craig’s was to win the Kentucky Derby. To that end, in 1992, Ms. Craig bought her husband a $2.5 million present for his 60th birthday: a horse named Dr Devious. The colt finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby but went on to win the Epsom Derby in England.
Sidney Harvey Craig was born in Vancouver, B.C., on March 22, 1932. His family later moved to California. For a time, Mr. Craig attended California State University, Fresno. Then, after serving in the Navy, he became an instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios. He eventually owned five Arthur Murray franchises.
His successful investments led to his stake in the Body Contour chain and the meeting with his future wife.
Besides his wife, Mr. Craig is survived by three daughters, Denise Merlone, Michelle Weinger and Susan McKenna; two sons, Steven and Jason; and 13 grandchildren.
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Published: July 25, 2008
Eleanor Friede, the book editor who sent “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” on its nonstop flight to publishing glory in 1970, died on July 14 at her home in Charlottesville, Va. She was 87.
Her death was confirmed by her stepdaughter, Kennedy Friede Golden.
In 1969, while working as an editor at Macmillan, Ms. Friede agreed to look at a much-rejected, very short tale by Richard Bach, a retired Air Force pilot and aviation writer. The fable, about a seagull named Jonathan who veers from his flock to seek freedom and flying perfection, charmed her.
“I think it has a chance of growing into a long-lasting standard book for readers of all ages,” Ms. Friede wrote in a memo to senior editors.
It was a good hunch. “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” for which Mr. Bach received a $2,000 advance, became one of the biggest successes in publishing history, selling more than 3 million copies in hardcover.
Eleanor Kask was born in Rochester, N.Y., and grew up in Valley Stream on Long Island, where she haunted the town’s public library. Just weeks after graduating cum laude from Hofstra University, she got a job at World Publishing and began working her way up the ladder in publicity and marketing.
She married Donald Friede, an editor at World, in 1951. He died in 1965.
In 1968, when she was marketing director at Macmillan, Jeremiah Kaplan, the company’s president, coaxed her into moving to the editorial side. A keen amateur flier, she published aviation books, and, by serendipity, found her way to Mr. Bach.
In 1974 Ms. Friede was offered her own imprint at Delacorte Press, where she continued to publish flying books as well as works by writers like Françoise Sagan, Jorge Amado and Hugh Downs. In the early 1980s, after Doubleday acquired Delacorte, she started Eleanor Friede Books, a literary agency.
Inevitably, the soaring seagull hovered over her career right to the end, but Ms. Friede did not seem to mind. “You know, I really am very fond of the little creature,” she told The New York Times in 1981. “I have done and am doing other things. It’s really O.K. to be the seagull lady.”
SOURCE:  The New York Times:
Frank Peto taught at Lamar High School and Texas Southern University.
For the Chronicle
July 15, 2008, 11:13PM

Frank Peto, a teacher and philosopher who fled his native Hungary in 1948 during the Soviet occupation and made a new life in Houston, died Friday in a Houston hospital. He was 96.
In Houston, Peto taught at Lamar High School and Texas Southern University.
In the 1960s, Peto took African-American students at TSU to services at white churches in Houston in an attempt to racially integrate the churches, said his daughter Miranda Peto, of San Francisco.
“They walked in defiantly,” she said. “At some churches, they were cold-shouldered, but at others, they were welcomed.”
Peto ran unsuccessfully for the Houston Independent School District board in the 1960s and in 1972 in a 22nd Congressional District race as a candidate of the Sophocratic Party, which he founded. The party was based on a philosophical movement.
Frank D. Peto was born in Szeged, Hungary, on Jan. 23, 1912.
He earned a doctorate in German and educational psychology in 1936 from the Francis Joseph University in Szeged and a doctorate in philosophy in 1940 from the University of Paris-Sorbonne.
In May 1940, Peto voluntarily joined the French army as it struggled against the Germans.
After the French surrender, Peto returned to Hungary.
In 1948, the Communists learned he had been secretary general of the Liberty Party, an anti-Communist group. Before they could arrest him, Peto fled to Austria.
In 1950, Peto was admitted to the United States.
After struggling in menial jobs, Peto came to Houston in 1956, the same year he was naturalized.
From 1956 to 1959, he taught French, German and Latin at Lamar High School. From 1960 to 1977, he taught French language and literature at TSU.
Peto defined Sophocracy as “the rule of the best thoughts” and an outgrowth of another of his concepts, the Cosmic Way. Not a religion, the Cosmic Way rejected the idea of a deity as a personality and father image and was based on the ability of man to shape his own destiny, he once said.
Peto, however, did not reject religion. He recognized it as “a potent, deep-seated force in man.”
Other survivors include his wife, Ulrike Fritsch Peto of Houston; a son, Lel Peto, of Houston; daughter, Melinda Peto Delmonico of Golden, Colo.; his son-in-law, Scott Delmonico; and a sister, Lilly Parducz of Szeged.
A memorial service and reception are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bradshaw-Carter Memorial & Funeral Services, 1734 W. Alabama.
SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:
Deane Hlavaty
Handout photo
July 18, 2008, 10:54PM

She also traveled world as long-time travel agent
Deane Hlavaty, one of the famed carhops at Prince’s Hamburgers in the 1930s and who later worked for decades for a Houston travel agency, died Thursday in a Houston hospice. She was 89.
When she was 17, she joined the carhops at Prince’s on what was then called “the end of Main” Street near Brays Bayou.
Prince’s soon became a popular spot in Houston for hamburgers, milkshakes and carhops after it opened in 1934.
The carhops wore scanty shorts, towering hats and served customers on trays braced on their cars’ doors.
Hlavaty later worked in reservations for Braniff Airways in downtown Houston.
In the 1940s, she worked for Stoddard’s Tours & Travel Service in downtown Houston and later near the Texas Medical Center. Hlavaty stayed with the company until she retired in 1994.
As a travel agent, Hlavaty traveled extensively, visiting virtually every part of the world, said her daughter, Sonja Earthman Novo of Houston.
Deane Hlavaty was born Eva Homerine Dean Jan. 1, 1919, in Emerson, Ark., the youngest of six children of Homer and Jessie Dean. Her father died before she was born, and she grew up in the homes of relatives, Novo said.
Hlavaty disliked her first name and later used Deane instead, her daughter said.
She married Henry “Hank” Hlavaty, a violinist and member of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. They were divorced in 1963.
“She was intelligent, loved jokes and fun, and was great with her grandkids,” said her other daughter, Carole Deane Christensen of Willis. She also is survived by grandchildren, great-grandchildren, cousins and nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today at All Saints Catholic Church, 215 E. 10th St. Burial will be in Earthman’s Resthaven Cemetery.
SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:
Dorothy Sinclair also wrote an elementary-grade Texas history textbook.
Family Photo
July 14, 2008, 10:53PM

She developed educational shows at the nation’s first public TV station
Dorothy Sinclair, a pioneer in the University of Houston’s KUHT (Channel 8), the nation’s first public TV station, and a producer of educational TV programs for children, died Wednesday at her daughter’s Houston home. She was 93.
Sinclair also wrote an elementary-grade textbook, Early Days in Texas, and another children’s book, Tales of the Texians, which she published herself.
Dorothy Elliott Tutt Sinclair was born Nov. 26, 1914, in Spartanburg, S.C., the daughter of George and Maude Yarborough Tutt. She grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C., graduating from R.J. Reynolds High School.
She attended Converse College in South Carolina and Mars Hill College in North Carolina before earning a degree from the University of North Carolina in 1935. She later earned a master’s degree in communications from the University of Houston.
At UNC, Sinclair studied the violin before switching to English, French and Latin. She later taught Latin in rural Hamlet, N.C., where she met Brownlow “Brownie” Wilson Sinclair. They married in 1938.
During World War II, Dorothy Sinclair worked as a reporter in Georgia and as a continuity writer for a women’s radio show. She later landed a job as an advertising director for a women’s department store in Winston-Salem.
After the war, the Sinclairs moved to Lubbock and then to Houston, where Dorothy was an advertising copy writer.
In 1952, she began producing educational TV programs with the Houston Independent School District and UH. This effort evolved into KUHT (Channel 8), the university’s public broadcasting station, said her granddaughter, Ashley Laumen Willett of Houston.
In 1965, Sinclair became executive director of Gulf Region Education Affiliates, which in its first year produced 105 programs for school districts in the region, according to the station’s Web site. By 1968, the organization served more than 468,000 students through a full daily Channel 8 program, according to the Web site.
Brownie Sinclair died in 1978. Dorothy Sinclair retired in 1984.
“She was very elegant, always,” Willett said. “She spoke eloquently, always witty and pithy.
You couldn’t help but like her. She had a calm, positive energy.”
Survivors include three sons, George Lott Sinclair of Humble, Brownlow Wilson Sinclair Jr. of Katy and Douglas Elliott Sinclair of College Station; and a daughter, Diane Yarborough Sinclair Laumen of Houston.
A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Memorial Drive United Methodist Church, 12955 Memorial.
SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:
July 18, 2008, 5:58PM
FORT WORTH, Texas — B. Don Magness, the colorful, cigar-chomping showman dubbed Mr. Miss Texas and credited with shaping the state’s beauty pageant into the nation’s largest state pageant, has died.
Magness, 75, died Thursday at a hospice care center following complications from an April stroke, according to Thompson’s Harveson & Cole funeral home.
He was the former director of the Miss Texas pageant. His ability to create beauty contest winners and run the organization that featured them was legendary. Over the decades, contestants he coached were crowned Miss Texas and went on to wear Miss America tiaras, too.
“He was very well respected,” Richard La Boon, an associate produce for the Miss Texas pageant, said in a story in Friday’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He was like the patriarch of the group. I will miss seeing his good smile and a cigar sticking out of his mouth.”
Friends and associates recalled his flashy personality, razor-sharp wit and sense of humor. A 1990 Life magazine article showed him posing in a bubble bath while gnawing on his trademark cigar.
The story, which described him as charming, quick and clever, noted his interest in what was best for the Miss Texas program and said he “sounds like Archie Bunker with a Texas twang.” Soon after that, allegations were raised that he made lewd remarks to contestants and he resigned under pressure as pageant director.
He said he regretted the article and apologized.
His family said he continued to volunteer for the organization.
Magness, a former Haltom City mayor pro tem, initially became affiliated with beauty pageants while working on the local level with the Miss Haltom City pageant in 1962. He began working at the state pageant level three years later. He went on to serve as director of the Southern Region of the National Association of Miss America Scholarship Pageants as well as treasurer and president.
A member of the Miss Texas Hall of Honor, he created the Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen program.
Magness, who attended Texas Christian University, worked as a sports reporter for the Fort Worth Press. He held numerous positions in promotion, advertising and concessions management, which helped him land a job as manager of the Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium and Coliseum in 1965.
For 33 years he worked for the city of Fort Worth, eventually becoming the city’s public events director.
“He served the city well and did it with style and flamboyance,” former Fort Worth Mayor Kenneth Barr said. “He was in entertainment, and he had a promoter’s flair for what the public wanted to see.”
The funeral will be 11 a.m. Thursday at what is now known as Will Rogers Memorial Center.
Survivors include his wife, Jean Magness; son Scott Magness, of Fort Worth; stepson Brian Jones, of Keller; three stepgrandsons and a sister.
SOURCE:  The Houston Chronicle:


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Here is a beautiful article from The New York Times on Toni Morrison’s dedication of the “Bench of Memory”, located on Sullivan’s Island. S.C., a place of disembarkation of enslaved Africans, to commemorate the 10-15 million black Africans who were brought to this hemisphere for a lifetime of enslavement. Ms. Morrison discusses why she worked to bring about the bench, what it means to her, what it means to black Americans. . . .and what it can mean to white Americans and others as well.

The bench honors the memory of the millions of enslaved black Africans who would never see their homes again, but, it acknowledges all they suffered through so that today’s black Americans would never have to again endure such atrocities. All across America, there are no plaques, monuments, statues or memorials where America acknowledges the memory, the pain, the suffering, the survival of Africans under American slavery.

This loving gesture by Ms. Morrison and the many individuals and groups who came to together to make this testament to all the Africans who were torn from the only world they ever knew will be seeking out individuals who can help locate 10 more places of locations for more Benches of Memory.  To remember that though they may be faceless to many people, these were women, men, children, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and many millions of innocent people who never did anything wrong to deserve such a cruel and brutally inhumane fate. They deserve to be remembered for all they endured, and for all their descendants continue to accomplish and contribute to America.

Lest we forget.



Anne McQuary for The New York Times
At Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, S.C.: Toni Morrison, far left, led the procession during a ceremony dedicating her “bench by the road,” honoring the memory of slaves who arrived there.
Published: July 28, 2008
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, S.C. — Toni Morrison has said that her acclaimed novel “Beloved,” which features the ghost of a baby killed by her enslaved black mother, came out of the need for a literature to commemorate slaves and their history. “There is no suitable memorial, or plaque, or wreath or wall, or park or skyscraper lobby,” Ms. Morrison said in a 1989 magazine interview. “There’s no 300-foot tower, there’s no small bench by the road.”
Anne McQuary for The New York Times
For those who survived the Middle Passage and those who didn’t: Toni Morrison on her bench on Sullivan’s Island, S.C.

This weekend, on Sullivan’s Island, off the South Carolina coast, Ms. Morrison, the Nobel laureate, and some 300 people held a memorial ceremony to dedicate her long-awaited “bench by the road.” The crowd included members of the Toni Morrison Society, National Park Service rangers, Ms. Morrison’s friends and family, and people from Charleston and nearby areas. They gathered Saturday afternoon under a blazing sun, accompanied by the rhythms of African drums, for a service that included the pouring of libations and a daisy wreath cast into the water to remember their ancestors.
“It’s never too late to honor the dead,” said Ms. Morrison, 77, the author of eight novels, as she sat down on the 6-foot-long, 26-inch-deep black steel bench facing the Intracoastal Waterway. “It’s never too late to applaud the living who do them honor,” she said. “This is extremely moving to me.”
Sullivan’s Island, home to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, was a point of entry into North America for about 40 percent of the millions of Africans who were enslaved in this country. Carlin Timmons, a park ranger, said that all the estimates were rough, but that historians believe 12 million to 15 million Africans came to the Americas and the Caribbean. Of those 4 to 10 percent were brought to North America.
The bench was secured by the National Park Service, which laid the foundation that included a bronze plaque explaining its significance. It was the first entry in the “Bench by the Road” project, created by the Toni Morrison Society, a nonprofit group of scholars and readers dedicated to examining Ms. Morrison’s work. The society, which was also holding a conference in nearby Charleston, plans in the next five years to call on individuals, corporations and community groups to help them place benches at 10 sites.
The spots under consideration have significance in Ms. Morrison’s novels and in black history. They include Fifth Avenue in Harlem, where the Silent Parade protesting the East St. Louis, Ill., riots was held in 1917 (featured in the novel “Jazz”) and the site of Emmett Till’s 1955 murder in Mississippi, which helped galvanize the civil rights movement.
“We have come back to the place we started from,” Carolyn C. Denard, a founder and the board chairwoman of the Toni Morrison Society, told the audience sitting under a big white tent, some furiously fanning themselves. Dr. Denard, a dean at Brown University, said groups like the Carolina Committee on Remembrance helped with the project.
At its founding in 1993 the society adopted as its motto “a bench by the road,” based on Ms. Morrison’s comments in the 1989 article in World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. On Saturday part of that interview was read, along with a passage from “Beloved,” which calls on black people to love one another in the face of oppression and brutality.
“When I wrote those words that they read, I was just reminiscing about the necessity for literature, the necessity for African-Americans to make their own art in their own words,” Ms. Morrison said in an interview after the ceremony.
One of her favorite sites for a bench would be in Oberlin, Ohio, a stop on the Underground Railroad near her hometown of Lorain, she said. While a number of museums dedicated to black history have sprung up around the country since 1989, as well as much new scholarship about black history Ms. Morrison said she liked the idea of an “unpretentious” bench for its simplicity and accessibility.
“Well, the bench is welcoming, open,” she said. “You can be illiterate and sit on the bench, you can be a wanderer or you can be on a search.”
And that search is for anyone, not just black people, she added. If anything, with all the talk about race in this year of Senator Barack Obama’s historic candidacy, Ms. Morrison said, she would like to see white people hold a conversation among themselves about the legacy of slavery.
“African-Americans don’t own slavery,” Ms. Morrison said. “It’s not a brand because there were slave masters and there were abolitionists and there were other people who died to see to it that justice was done.”
But before there is reconciliation or healing, there needs to be a better acknowledgment of the past, said many of the participants in Saturday’s ceremony and the society’s conference. That meeting’s theme was “Modernism,” with scholarly sessions like “ ‘Tar Baby’ and Global Capitalism” and “A Modernist Look at Milkman and Hagar in Morrison’s ‘Song of Solomon.’ ”
July 28, 2008    

Anne McQuary for The New York Times

A plaque on the bench created by the Toni Morrison Society.

Thomalind Polite, a 34-year-old speech therapist from Charleston who helped Ms. Morrison throw the wreath into the water, said she came to honor her seventh-generation ancestor Mrs. Polite’s distant relative, whose name was Priscilla, was 10 when she was stolen from Sierra Leone in 1756 and brought to Sullivan’s Island, Mrs. Polite said. She wiped away a tear as she held the hand of her 6-year-old daughter, Faith.
“I feel like a circle closed,” Mrs. Polite said of the ceremony to honor Priscilla and the mostly nameless, faceless people who came to the island, surviving the Middle Passage, the brutal trans-Atlantic journey from West Africa. “She’s finally getting the honor she deserves.”
By next summer an exhibition on the African presence is planned for the visitors’ center in Fort Moultrie, said Michael Allen, an education specialist with the National Park Service. He noted that the first plaque commemorating Africans like Priscilla was placed in 1999, the money raised by, among others, graduates of black high schools in Charleston.
Mr. Allen spoke to the audience about the lives of those Africans. They were quarantined in so-called “pest houses” on Sullivan’s Island — long torn down — before they were sold into slavery. Many in the crowd wept as they read the plaque on the ground, which says that the bench honors the memory of enslaved Africans who arrived on Sullivan’s Island and of those who died during the Middle Passage. It concludes, “Nearly half of all African-Americans have ancestors who passed through Sullivan’s Island.”
On Friday night Ms. Morrison treated conference attendees to a reading from her ninth novel, “A Mercy,” to be published in November by Alfred A. Knopf. In the late 17th century a slave mother has given up her daughter Florens to an Anglo-Dutch trader as partial payment for a debt from a Maryland plantation owner.
Ms. Morrison said in the interview that the novel was her chance to uncouple notions about race from the experience of slavery. Many white indentured servants had an experience that was not so different from that of the enslaved Africans, she said.
“There is a certain history that the historians know about and artists, I think, know less about,” Ms. Morrison said.
“There is no topic on anybody’s table which does not involve black people,” she continued, mentioning education and health care. “And when that disappears in time, then they have to do what they have been avoiding, which is talk about poor people.”
SOURCE;  The New York Times:



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By Farah Aziz
24 March, 2007
March 21st 07 . It had been a hectic day for her, her first day in India, but Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel peace prize, will not undermine any of her priorities. Invited to India by Rajiv Gandhi foundation and Indian council for cultural relations to deliver lectures on linkages between environment, governance and peace, Wangari has little more to say. At Navdanya, she opens up a bit more.
Wangari Maathai potrait by Martin Rowe.jpg
Wangari Mathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Beginning with biodiversity and the coexistence of natural varieties of seeds, she soon progresses into a wider arena of diversity and peaceful coexistence people on earth.
“Our earth is a given territory, it can not be furthered, auxiliary stations can’t be created to accommodate the growing masses. The only tonic is harmony, and coexistence. We are given with limited resources and we all have to share it and manage responsibly and accountably. Power equations have not to engulf the share of the minority. We can’t live in a world where some are very rich and the others are very poor and remain despondent. There has to be a system where the voices of the minority are listened. Equal distribution of resources is indispensable; otherwise we will be in hands with numerous conflicts that we are actually facing in the present world. There is a constant rise in demand and so newer conflicts of interest are evident. We have fights on land, water, oil, minerals, seed, fruit, and even micro organisms”, says Wangari.
Coming back to biodiversity and the contemporary fight for the patenting of seeds, as well as the right of India to protest the production of Genetically Modified crops, she says that seed is one of the most important resources we have, because we all need to eat, and that India has a glorious history of an age old civilization when various seeds were developed by the ancient farmers, and then it is totally unacceptable that some external body comes and decides to change the complete system and dominate.
According to Wangari, it is sheer encroachment and the violation of human rights, what Monasanto has tried to propagate in India. “He has no right to decide what India will produce and what the masses will consume. This dominance has to end”, says Wangari.
Wangari further dismisses the corporates as ‘mere profiteers’. “Corporates act on the impulse of demand. This they do by first creating false demands, and once they succeed, they get the product patented and earn windfall profits. This is what Monsanto wanted in Canada, and here in India, too. Its time now that we demand for an international law to preserve natural seeds. There are some countries like Italy who already have formulated laws banning the production of GMO seeds so that the sovereignty of choice of the people is respected”, she furthers.
Coming a step further on privatization and patenting of seeds, Wangari envisions that private appropriation of seeds will spell hunger and that companies control resources through patents, the moment this control will be complete, the ones who will not be able to pay the falsely appreciated private prices will die.
When asked about her views on the controversy over SEZs in India, Mathai sited the example of her own nation where chronic underdevelopment sometimes forces the government to experiment all sorts of extortive policies. According to Mathai, there is only a thin line between development and destruction and when development is conferred to the private hands, exploitation generates and development becomes the prime mode of exploitative profit generation.
 “Sometimes governments have to make tough decisions for the sake of development which are often expedient on alternate parties, because ofcourse there are conflicts of interests, but the same government endlessly fails to take a tough decision in the favour of the poor, because they are vulnerable and their voices can easily be oppressed”, she adds.
Drawing attention to the common problems that the developing countries are facing, Wangari expresses that to be able to exist is the major test for all the developing countries today. “Globalization has marketised the world, cut throat competitions prevail, powerful are fighting to emerge as the super powers and there is likelihood that the poor and the weak will be wiped away. To stand somewhere in the market, poor nations are compelled to depend on the developed ones for technological assistance. This makes them all the more vulnerable to be controlled. They face economic exploitation, sanctions in research and military power, and in capacity to access and control resources. Their week economic structure doesn’t allow them to break away from this dependence, and the vicious circle of poverty, of widening income disparities continues. Rich get richer and poor get poorer,” she takes a sigh.
She takes a sigh, but it was not a defeated one. Wangari believes in the strength of togetherness and doesn’t agree that the dismal situation of economic exploitation and increasing income disparities is eternal. Her own life has been full of struggles and successes. It was while she served in the National Council of Women that she introduced the idea of planting trees with the people in 1976 and continued to develop it into a broad-based, grassroots organization whose main focus is the planting of trees with women groups in order to conserve the environment and improve their quality of life.
However, through the Green Belt Movement she has assisted women in planting more than 20 million trees on their farms and on schools and church compounds. In 1986, the Movement established a Pan African Green Belt Network and has exposed over 40 individuals from other African countries to the approach. Some of these individuals have established similar tree planting initiatives in their own countries or they use some of the Green Belt Movement methods to improve their efforts. So far some countries have successfully launched such initiatives in Africa ( Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, etc). In September 1998, she launched a campaign of the Jubilee 2000 Coalition. She has embarked on new challenges, playing a leading global role as a co-chair of the Jubilee 2000 Africa Campaign, which seeks cancellation of the unpayable backlog debts of the poor countries in Africa by the year 2000.
Her campaign against land grabbing and rapacious allocation of forests land has caught the limelight in the recent past.
Maathai and Obama in Nairobi.jpg
Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai with Sen. Barack Obama in Nairobi, Kenya, August 28, 2006.
Wangari Maathai is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. She has addressed the UN on several occasions and spoke on behalf of women at special sessions of the General Assembly for the five-year review of the earth summit. She served on the commission for Global Governance and Commission on the Future. She and the Green Belt Movement have received numerous awards, most notably The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize.
Others include The Sophie Prize (2004), The Petra Kelly Prize for Environment (2004), The Conservation Scientist Award (2004), J. Sterling Morton Award (2004), WANGO Environment Award (2003), Outstanding Vision and Commitment Award (2002), Excellence Award from the Kenyan Community Abroad (2001), Golden Ark Award (1994), Juliet Hollister Award (2001), Jane Adams Leadership Award (1993), Edinburgh Medal (1993), The Hunger Project’s Africa Prize for Leadership (1991), Goldman Environmental Prize (1991), the Woman of the World (1989), Windstar Award for the Environment (1988), Better World Society Award (1986), Right Livelihood Award (1984) and the Woman of the Year Award (1983).
Wangari Maathai.jpg
Professor Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan enviromentalist and political activist (who won the coveted Nobel prize for her effort towards sustainable development, democracy and peace) receives a trophy awarded to her by the Kenya National Human Rights Commission for her contribution towards humanity.
For women, Wangari says “I am also a women, a black woman, and I don’t think that any body could ever control and determine my ways”. “Globalisation has an inherent dent of marginalisation of the incompetent, and so it can marginalise women too, if they fall easy prey. It’s now our only job to explore more inside ourselves and get it patented for ourselves”, she cheers.

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March 12, 2007 |
The final battle in the continent

Alex B. Hill,
February 10,2007
The noise will make all else inaudible, not even the whisper of, “here they come,” will be understood. The noise will be unbearable. TICK TOCK, time is running out to stop and realize the impending doom. CHING, money is flowing so fast and smoothly for anyone to truly care and take notice. RATTA-TATTA, RATTA-TATTA, anti-terrorism gunships will tear through the sky and open fire marking holes on the cratered dirt roads, the cargo shipments will crash and the cheap goods will burn as the bombs fall, KABOOM, refugees will run from camp to camp to avoid the madness of it all, AHHHH, disease will run rampant as systems of infrastructure are torn apart, rebel groups and religious sects will race to claim control before they are cut down in the streets, RATTA-TATTA, buildings and factories will be constructed and destroyed all in the same day, BOOM KA-BLAM, the force of trade will combat the force of military imperialism in the last great epic battle for the African continent.
Africa has already faced two huge battles between superpowers on its soil, this I am telling you will be the last and the greatest. The first great battle for Africa was during and after the Berlin Conference of 1884-5. As the Western powers of the day argued and squabbled over land rights to various parts of Africa, the African pie was sliced and later devoured. After the conference many of the Western powers preceded to lay claims to more of the continent slowly moving Africa in to the period of colonialism or maybe a better term would be pure exploitation of land and people. Leopold II of Belgium ravaged the Congo Free State’s people for rubber, the Firestone Tire company established itself in Liberia, Brazil perpetuated the slave trade in Senegal, France’s blatantly promoted colonial racism, the British imposed custom and culture, and the list goes on of colonial atrocities and wrong-doings. The division of the ‘African pie’ led to the failure seen in later years and in the future created by colonialism. The Great Western powers of that age saw Africa only as an opportunity to gain territiory and resources, to exploit being who walked the earth for their own good and nothing else, to be bigger, stronger, and more impressive. However, this was not always the Western European view of Africa.
Africans and Europeans worked and lived as equals in the Ancient and Renissance eras. Europe depended on Africa for its economic stability. In the Greek, Roman, and European Renissance societies ‘blacks’ and ‘whites’ were treated as equals as evidenced in paintings from the time periods. Africa was an ancient center for learning, religion, and wealth (ie: Timbuktu). Ships from the Swahili coast reached farther than any European vessel and the Swahili people mastered sailing techniques before the Europeans. This spread the sale of goods, cultures, and ideas. This is evidenced by porcelain from China embedded in East African tombs and Chinese paintings of an African giraffe, given as a gift to Chinese emperor.
This wealth and power of Africa lasted up until Vasco de Gama’s voyage around the tip of Africa, when he noted the great gold wealth of Africa. This prompted the return of Western fleets to plunder and pillage African Islands and coasts for the wealth and gold.
The Second great battle for Africa came with the end of the Second World War and the rise of the Cold War. With the ‘threat’ of spreading communism through the Soviet Union and the US’s mandate to halt that spread the greatest proxy wars were waged on the African continent. Angola, Mozambique, Rhodeisa (Zimbabwe), Zaire (DRC), Guinea Bissau, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Benin were all hot spots for the tug-of-war in the continent.
“When two elephants are either making love or fighting, the grass perishes. And when the Third World countries become the hotbed of struggle, they suffer.”Angola and the Cold War
Most African countries gained their independence during the height of the Cold War and so the terms of independence were dicated by either the Soviet Union or the US. The African people lost the opportunity to set up their own governments and systems. The lasting effects of this are evidenced in the current civil wars and conflicts happening today (ie: Sudan). Many African countries are now moving towards adopting democratic governance and conflict resolution. The ill effects of the Cold War are being reversed and yet there is an ever growing presence of foreign dominance on the continent.
This brief background moves us into the third and what I believe will be the last epic battle in the African continent. This third battle involves the use of neo-colonialism, mercantilist trade, military intervention, and resource exploitation. The battle in the African continent pits China’s production and trade poweress over the US’s seeming military might.
At this stage China is winning the battle. With its history of supporting the African independence movements and its current bi-lateral trade agreements set-up in twelve African countries, China is well on its way to taking the continent by storm. The US has seen this rise of Chinese investment in Africa and has come back with actions against terrorism.
The new AFRICOM, or Africa Command, is now official. The US has been involved militarily in Africa for a long time. Many believe that since the Somalia 1993 conflict where 18 servicemen died, that the Pentagon is un-interested in Africa. Ethiopia has received extensive US military support in the way of training and supplies. The US has also led efforts to attack Islamist terrorist groups and has used Ethiopia’s support. Many Sahelian countries have recieved support as part of a Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative focusing on Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Morocco, the US has become more involved in West Africa where US energy interest is growing.
The Pentagon is taking on more humanitarian roles usually filled by USAID, however I would argue that this may be a better approach. Adding aid to military support brings good governance and stability of the people. What does bother me is that this is being initiated through the Pentagon and through military means with a goal of US national security as the underlying issue motivating the anti-terrorism actions and support.
While the US works to gain militarily for national interest, China is developing more peaceful trade gains for its national interest. President of China, Hu Jintao, has been touring the continent looking to make investments and partnerships to give the Chinese market a place to trade more. Recently in South Africa, where diplomatic ties of nine years ago have strengthened trade, Jintao announced huge loans for the country, increase in trade, and increases in South Africa’s tourism industry.
Agreements were signed in South Africa and Namibia to increase the “brotherly friendship” between the countries. Also recently in Nigeria nine Chinese oil workers were freed from Nigerian gunmen. This comes as President Jintao is touring eight African countries. There was no reported ransom paid. Many foreign workers are held hostage in the Niger Delta as the region wrestles with poverty and an uncaring oil industry. Even as the Chinese are working to increase trade and investment, their workers are not free from the conflicts and issues of the continent.
As the US and China are increasing investments and military actions other countries are joining the battle to gain influence and power in Africa. Brazil is hot on China’s heels. Brazilian President Luiz Inicio Lula da Silva apologized for almost 400 hundred years of slave trade on a visit to Senegal. Brazil is seen as being in contention with China and India as the next superpower. Engaging Africa is the centerpiece of Lula’s diplomacy. He has visited 13 African countries and has opened 12 embassies in Africa during his term. Brazil is slightly ahead of the game in regards to China with bi-lateral agreements with Ghana, Nigeria, and Mozambique.
Lula is interested in “digging beneath the layers of guilt and sorrow to find commercial and geo-political issues.”
The German government is also joining the iniative to increase African investment. Germany’s plan is to create African Bond markets: “Berlin has presented its initiative, part of its agenda as president of the G8 group of industrial nations, as part of an effort to help African countries to insulate themselves against rapid swings in international exchange rates. However, Thomas Mirow, deputy finance minister, said the move would also address concerns fuelled by Beijing’s policy of granting generous, unconditional loans to African countries as a way of securing access to these countries’ resources and markets.”
So as the country is over-run by Western powers seeking to increase their trade options and other forces are working to gain a military influence I wonder what lasting effect this will have on the continent. As you can gather from my introduction I cannot see this initiative as being completely positive. While China is offering great loans and investment to Africa, but on the flip side China is one of the world’s premier arms suppliers. Countries cannot afford expensive Western arms and so they line up to buy from China. China is heavily invested in Sudan where there is an intense internal conflict, a genocide – fueled by Chinese arms deals. China often ignores the impact of its arms deals.
China claims to not mess with the internal affairs of countries, but these arms deals can have massive impacts on internal affairs. However China is concerned with being viewed as a responsible world power, so it may make efforts to invest positively. China, Brazil, Germany, the US, who is next to join in this last rush for the resources of the African continent? Will this last ‘battle’ and investment tear the continent apart?

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July 22, 2008
“From Nigeria in the north, to Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola in the west, across Chad and Sudan in the east, and south through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” writes Andrew Malone, “China has seized a vice-like grip on a continent which officials have decided is crucial to the superpower’s long-term survival.”
In fact, it would seem China’s following the same model that Britain first employed to colonize Africa; particularly that expressed by the highly respected and equally racist cousin of Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, just over 130 years ago.
In an 1873 letter to The Times, Galton wrote, ‘My proposal is to make the encouragement of Chinese settlements of Africa a part of our national policy, in the belief that the Chinese immigrants would not only maintain their position, but that they would multiply and their descendants supplant the inferior Negro race.’
‘I should expect that the African seaboard, now sparsely occupied by lazy, palavering savages, might in a few years be tenanted by industrious, order-loving Chinese, living either as a semidetached dependency of China, or else in perfect freedom under their own law.’
With over 750,000 Chinese settling in Africa over the past ten years, and suggestions that anywhere up to 300 million will need to be sent in the future (to offset over-population and pollution), Malone says that Galton’s vision of a colonized Africa is now coming to pass.
Across Africa, the red flag of China is flying. Lucrative deals are being struck to buy its commodities – oil, platinum, gold and minerals. New embassies and air routes are opening up. The continent’s new Chinese elite can be seen everywhere, shopping at their own expensive boutiques, driving Mercedes and BMW limousines, sending their children to exclusive private schools.
The pot-holed roads are cluttered with Chinese buses, taking people to markets filled with cheap Chinese goods. More than a thousand miles of new Chinese railroads are crisscrossing the continent, carrying billions of tons of illegally-logged timber, diamonds and gold.
The trains are linked to ports dotted around the coast, waiting to carry the goods back to Beijing after unloading cargoes of cheap toys made in China.
Confucius Institutes (state-funded Chinese ‘cultural centres’) have sprung up throughout Africa, as far afield as the tiny land-locked countries of Burundi and Rwanda, teaching baffled local people how to do business in Mandarin and Cantonese.
“The Chinese are all over the place,” says Trevor Ncube, a prominent African businessman. “If the British were our masters yesterday, the Chinese have taken their place.”
Meanwhile, Russia tries to get its own foot-hold in Africa; over-eager Americans and civil society groups barrage the continent with good will gestures; and the governments of the world, as always, undermine it with old-fashioned Christian charity and promises of better days… so long as they “play nice.”
Thanks to Shashi for passing on Andrew Malone’s article.
(Hattip to The Angry Indian: )

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Bobby Brewster is sentenced in the Megan Williams Case
(Hattip to Ms. Phyllis Dugas of “Phyllis V. Du’Gas Blog”  ( ).
“In addition, Brewster will have to register for life as a sex offender on the West Virginia Sex Offender registry.”
There is some justice in this world.
Brewster may unfortunately not have received life in prison for the brutal inhumane atrocities he committed against Megan (kidnapping, malicious wounding, and assault during commission of a felony, in addition to the threats he made against Megan’s life to kill her), but, as a sex offender, he will have a predator tag for life. . . .and there is no way he can ever remove that.
By J.D. CHARLES, Staff Writer
Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:01 AM CDT
One of the defendants in the infamous Big Creek Six kidnapping and torture case won’t be going to trial this month after all.
Brewster was set to go to trial on July 28, and a jury pool selection began on Monday. Brewster was one of six suspects arrested on Sept. 8, 2007 after local police responded to a phoned-in tip and were confronted by the victim, Megan Williams who had reportedly been slashed, beaten and sexually abused by six local residents. Williams had reportedly been held against her will and tormented by the defendants who referred to her with racial epitaphs during the crime.

Bobby Brewster was charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, malicious wounding and assault during commission of a felony. Police reports filed at the time stated Brewster “held the victim against her will at the defendant’s residence” and “forced the victim to have sexual intercourse”. The reports stated that Brewster made threats that if the victim left the residence, he would kill her, and that he did stab the victim who was forced to eat dog and rat feces and to lick up blood from the toilet.

Bobby Brewster and Megan Williams had reportedly had a relationship prior to the incident and at one point previous to the arrests Brewster had been arrested on a domestic violence call where Williams was the reported victim on July 18, 2007.

Earlier that year on March 6, 2007, Brewster had been arrested following an intense stand-off with police after he allegedly attacked his mother, Frankie Brewster, with a machete. Brewster was a juvenile when he reportedly shot his father. His mother, Frankie Brewster was one of the co-defendants in the Williams case, which garnered national attention.

Bobby Ray Brewster, 25, of Big Creek, entered a guilty plea to sexual assault in the second degree and conspiracy to commit kidnapping charges in Logan Circuit Court on Tuesday. Brewster also waived his pre-sentencing investigation and was sentenced immediately by Judge Roger Perry.

Brewster was sentenced to 10-25 years in prison on the sexual assault charge and 2-10 for the conspiracy charge.

In addition, Brewster will have to register for life as a sex offender on the West Virginia Sex Offender registry. Both sentences are consecutive (one after the other) meaning that Brewster faces a minimum of 12 years in prison and a maximum of up to 35.

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In my first post, I addressed the situation of the Cherokee Nation disenrolling the black Cherokee Freedmen/Women form the Cherokee Nation. I spoke of the Dawes Roll and its racist implications for the Freedmen/Women, and how the white-run government put “full-blood/quantum-blood Indians” on the Dawes Roll, but visibly “black/African-looking Indians” on the Freedmen/Women’s roll. This separation of families based on how “Cherokee-looking” an individual was as opposed to how “Negro/African/Black-looking” a person was tore apart many families with some family members put on the Dawes Roll, and some family members put on the Freedmen Rolls. This started the racist dichotomy that would for generations fester and boil over until we have the present situation now in the Cherokee Nation.
I continue my post on this situation by revisiting news article excerpts from my previous post, and my assessment of the situation so far.
“In a statement late Saturday, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith said he was pleased with the turnout and election result.
“Their voice is clear as to who should be citizens of the Cherokee Nation,” Smith said. “No one else has the right to make that determination. It was a right of self-government, affirmed in 23 treaties with Great Britain and the United States and paid dearly with 4,000 lives on the Trail of Tears.”
He also conveniently forgot all the black slaves who were drug, with chains around their necks, walking behind the horses of the slave-holding Cherokees, many of whom also died along the infamous Trail of Tears with the Cherokees.
“The petition drive for the ballot measure followed a March 2006 ruling by the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court that said an 1866 treaty assured freedmen descendants of tribal citizenship.”
But, of course, they are black “Indians” not worthy of respect, not worthy of legal recognition. And the flagrant disregard of the 1866 treaty shows that Indian people are not strangers to practicing racism against their fellow human beings.
After all, they did copy the white man’s most hated form of racism.
Enslavement of black people.
And some people wonder why the Cherokee, Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creek were called the “Five Civilized Tribes?”
Didn’t act so civilized then.
Aren’t acting so civilized now.
Many black Americans have Indian blood flowing through their veins.
That is where the majority of Indian blood resides in 2008 America.
But, as the Cherokees, and the Seminoles, so obviously showed, it is easier to degrade, attack and disrespect your own blood. After all, the black Indians are just descendants of black slaves. Never to be respected by either white America, nor “Indian America.”
“Miller, the tribal spokesman, defended the Cherokees against charges of racism, saying that Saturday’s vote showed the tribe was open to allowing its citizens vote on whether non-Indians be allowed membership.”
Seventy-six percent of the voters kicked out the 2,800 members.
Obviously, that 76 per cent being white-skinned wanted nothing anymore to do with their black brethren.
“More than 75 percent of those enrolled in the Cherokee Nation have less than one-quarter Cherokee blood, the vast majority of them of European ancestry.”
The “Cherokee Tribe” has spoken.
And white blood is worshiped and enshrined into their minds, behaviour and the final tallying of their votes.
“The United States, when posed the same situation with the Seminoles, would not recognize the election and they ultimately cut off most federal programs to the Seminoles,” Velie said. “They also determined the Seminoles, without this relationship with the government, were not authorized to conduct gaming.”
“TAHLEQUAH, Okla., March 1 — The casinos here are crowded by midmorning; busloads of tourists stroll the streets, and construction crews are everywhere. But peace of mind eludes the prospering Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.”
It’s not just racist hatred of black blood that has caused the Cherokees to vote black Indians out of the Cherokee tribe.
Greed and love of money, and the desire to cheat black people who have been Indians all this time, out of their rightful claim to tribal membership, is the real underlying major reason why the “white” Indians have pushed the “black” Indians out of the tribe.
Anytime money enters the situation, always bet on reason and sanity to go out the window, and be prepared to see avarice, gluttony and selfish self-preservation that denies black Indians their rightful claim to tribe member status to bite the dust every time.
“And yet, three-quarters of a century after the death of Cherokee legend Stick Ross, there’s no room for his great-grandson in the Cherokee Nation. Leslie Ross has been denied citizenship in the tribe on the grounds that he is not truly Indian. “They said I don’t have any Indian blood. They say blacks have never had a part in the Cherokee Nation,” says Ross, his usually calm voice swelling with anger. “The thing is, there wouldn’t be a Cherokee Nation if it weren’t for my great-grandfather. Jesus, he was more Indian than the Indians!”
“Ross is just one of at least 25,000 direct descendants of Freedmen who cannot join Oklahoma’s largest tribes. Once paragons of racial inclusion and assimilation, the Native American sovereign nations have done an about-face and systematically pushed out people of African descent. “There’s never been any stigma about intermarriage,” says Stu Phillips, editor of The Seminole Producer, a local newspaper in central Oklahoma. “You’ve got Indians marrying whites, Indians marrying blacks. It was never a problem until they got some money.”
Which is what happened when the Seminoles received a $56 million reparations settlement from the United States government:
“These are boom times for the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma – the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole – due in no small part to the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act that allowed the tribes to construct their own casinos. The Chickasaw’s net assets have more than doubled to $315 million in the two years since it opened the mammoth WinStar Casinos complex in Thackerville. The corporate arm of the Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Nation Enterprises, is on track to make nearly $70 million this year thanks to a new casino in Catoosa. Then there’s the government reparations fund. In 1990, the Seminoles received a $56 million settlement as compensation for the seizure of the tribe’s ancestral lands in Florida almost 200 years ago.”
“For the better part of the 20th century, black Indians were permitted to vote in elections, sit on tribal councils, and receive benefits. Tribal leaders now insist that the Freedmen were never actually citizens and that they will never attain the honor of membership because they don’t have Native American blood. In 1983, the Cherokee tribe established a rule requiring citizens to carry a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood. This federal document is available to anyone whose ancestors are listed on the Dawes Roll – a 1906 Indian census that excludes Freedmen.
“In 2000, the Seminoles expelled all 2,000 black members and denied their families a cut of the reparations money – never mind that their ancestors joined the tribe in the 18th century, endured the march from Florida to Oklahoma in the 1830s, and have considered themselves Indian for generations. “But US courts have repeatedly refused to meddle in Indian affairs, noting that the sovereign nations determine their own membership criteria. Davis suffered a serious – and perhaps final – setback last year, when the Supreme Court refused to consider her appeal of a lower court’s ruling that the Seminoles could not be sued in federal court.
“(The Bush administration filed a brief on behalf of the tribe.)”
Of course the Bush administration would side with the “White Indians”.
Anything that means the continued insult and degradation of “Black Indians”, and anyone black, would be just fine with George Bush’s administration. Anything that would help anyone considered black, would be crushed and curtailed by the racist divide and conquer- favor one race over another administration of Bush.
Greed knows no bounds, no race, no color.
And, when MONEY and material wealth/gains enters the picture, all humane consideration bites the dust.
Especially when racism is involved.
And what the Indians are doing to the black Freedman/Women who stood by them all these centuries, decades and generations, is beyond sick.
Why would a race of people, in this case, so-called Indians, want to practice and live by the racist standards and cruelties of white Americans?
The white man and the white woman are the last race of people on this Earth that ANYONE should emulate.
After all that the white race has done to every race they have come into contact with, why imitate all that is hateful, vicious and anti-human behaviour that the white race has practiced for over 500 years?
Why further become like a race that has foisted upon the whole world the biggest murderers, the biggest liars, the biggest thieves, the biggest rapists, the biggest destroyers of all non-white cultures, the biggest practitioners of perversions, filth, desecration’s, and abominations the world has ever known?
Why, “Cherokee” Indians, do to the black Freedmen/Women what the white men and women have done to your race for generations?
Since the white Indians have spoken and have shown their love of the most hated ways of the white race, they might as well go over completely to the white race, proclaim themselves white, and get it over with.
Talk about a marriage made in hell.
Many people have the erroneous belief that Five Tribe slavery was not as bad as American slavery practiced against enslaved black people, many people consider NA slavery similar to indentured servitude. In some very limited respects, some of it was in the beginning, a form of indentured servitude, where enslaved black people could become free and intermarry and become a part of the tribe. But, the slavery adopted by the Five Tribes eventually became the same type of slavery practiced by the whites who enslaved black people for over 400 years.
Many people think that the Five Tribes were most humane in their enslavement of black people. But, questions have to be asked:
Which tribe?
Choctaw? (Notorious for their inhumanity towards their slaves)
-Seminole? (somewhat better, but, they turned their backs on ex-slaves after the enactment of the Dawes Roll).
In the end, all of the Five Tribes turned on their former black slaves.
Marriage or induction into a tribe does not lessen the “sting” that Native Americans enslaved black people.
Would not slavery of ANY kind be wrong, no matter how benign (”indentured”?) or cruel (chattel)?
If the Cherokee Nation (which sided with the white Confederates of the Civil War) and the Southern whites had won the Civil War, blacks would have not only the white man’s boot on our necks, we would also have the Cherokees, as well.
But, things turned out differently.
Somewhat, differently.
I do not see how any kind of slavery can be justified or excused away—no matter who did it:
-European whites
-Native Americans
-Mulatto offspring of enslaved black mother/white slave father (”free persons of color”)
-Past/present-day Arab slave traders
I am sure those black people enslaved by BOTH red and white, would have given anything to be allowed to live freely from anyone’s enslavement. To have lived their lives free of someone leeching off of their free labor, like fat, engorged ticks.
No matter what color, race or excuse they would have given to justify enslaving another human being.
Yes, Indians kept each other as slaves (pre-Columbus, etc.).
Even Indians themselves were kept as slaves by European whites:
Yes, Cherokees walked the infamous the Trail of Tears, known as the Indian Removal:
Trails of Tears en.png
Trail of Tears route.
Yes, Jacksons’ destruction of native peoples east of the Mississippi……was an atrocity that decimated the former tribes of the eastern part of North America.
Regardless, the Five Tribes hands are not guilt free in their mistreatment of black people during slavery:
“The move to Indian Territory significantly transformed the relationships of blacks and Indians. Slavery became more profitable, and slave-owning Cherokees hardened their attitudes as well as their laws. Not surprisingly, some Indian slaveholders treated their enslaved blacks with abject cruelty. The Cherokee mixed-blood James Vann, for example, is reported to have buried a slave alive as punishment for robbery. The newly enacted slave codes adopted restrictive provisions similar to those in southern states: a member of the Cherokee nation could be expelled for teaching blacks to read, and the death penalty was instituted for any slave convicted of raping a Cherokee women.
“Cherokee leaders encouraged, moreover, full cooperation with the Federal Government in enforcing the new fugitive slave law enacted as part of the Compromise of 1850, designed to stem the flow of escaped slaves to the northern free states.
“The harsher treatment of blacks by the Five Civilized Tribes, including the Seminoles, possibly stemmed in part from the larger number of enslaved blacks held by Indians after the removal. The number of enslaved blacks among the Creeks increased from 502 to 1,532; among the Cherokees, the number grew from 1,592, to 2,511; among the Choctaw, from 512 to 2.349; and among the Chickasaw, the number climbed from several hundred to around 1,000. For the Seminole, the number increased from 500 to less than 1,000, although most scholars dispute this figure as too high in view of the many who are known to have been stolen and sold by slavers or else who had run off to Mexico.
“For whatever reasons, enslaved blacks began running away in record numbers after the removal to the Indian Territory. In 1846, an editorial in the Cherokee Advocate warned that:
“…our country is traversed by numbers [of slaves], who have escaped from their rightful owners; either of the nation or the State, or the Creek country, we have every reason to believe. Some of these have become associated with the band of Seminole slaves under the guardianship of Gen. Jessup—and the mere fact of being thus protected, has infused into them a spirit which leads them with the most bare faced impunity to trespass upon peaceable Cherokees.
“Cherokee newspapers frequently ran advertisements placed by Indian slaveholders seeking fugitive slaves, something uncommon before 1835. The formerly enslaved Betty Robinson, remembered later in life the 1842 slave revolt in Cherokee Territory, when 35 slaves, aided by Seminoles, ran way from their masters, stole firearms, and fled to the Creek Nation, stealing clothes, horses, and mules. They were soon apprehended, however, and returned to the Indians who claimed ownership of them.”
So much for benign treatment.
Native Americans were not so humane towards their black slaves, especially after the white man forcibly kicked them out of their lands. Looks like their change of behaviour occurred about then. Looks like they took their rage and anger out on defenseless black slaves—who were afforded no protection from anyone who sought to enslave them: WHITE OR RED.
And the irony of their adopting white-ways (slavery)—-they did such a good successful job of doing it that greedy, jealous whites drove the Five Tribes from their ancestral land towards Oklahoma. Some Cherokee slavers grew wealthy from the free labor of their slaves, and lived in mansions:
Like this:
Gingerbread House Essex CT.jpg
And this:
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello Estate.jpg
They were also able to amass the following:
Gold watches, as well as the other finer things of life:  jewelry, exquisite clothing, high-quality furniture, etc.
Cherokee slavers also obtained wealth from major crops, which were produced by enslaved black men and women, working on labour-intensive crops:
US long grain rice.jpg


Wealth. . . . built from the backs of enslaved black people’s labor.
The Cherokee grew to become too powerful, and whites wanted them out of the way….and their land.
Today, the Cherokee Nation still shows its contempt for a race of people who have never done them any wrong.
On that note, there is not much of a world of difference between whites and Cherokees, in their shameful mistreatment of their fellow black human beings.
And this from the previous link:
“Imagine what might have happened to enslaved blacks had the Confederacy won the Civil War.”
That is a nightmare I do not want to envision.
The Seminoles started out doing right by formerly enslaved black people:
“The Seminole, Creeks, and Cherokee generally adopted their formerly enslaved blacks fully into their tribes shortly after the Civil War ended; but it was only the Seminoles that immediately extended to them the full rights of citizenship. The Choctaw put off embracing the formerly enslaved as tribal members until 1885; only the Chickasaw, however, refused to take this step, never recognizing their formerly enslaved blacks as full tribal members. (For more a more in-depth look at the Seminoles and formerly enslaved blacks, read the Seminoles and Slaves: Florida’s Freedom Seekers essay.”
Therefore, AFTER slavery the Seminoles gave full-citizenship to their ex-slaves. Now look what has happened decades later with the Seminoles attempting to rescind citizenship to their black “citizens”. Because of their callous treatment of their black citizens, the federal government had to step in and force them to do right by their black citizens.
The Chickasaw mistreated slaves the most, with the Choctaw running a close second. The Creeks were no better.
In fact, in the 1970s, Choctaws did what the Cherokee nation has done, only earlier. The Choctaws did this when no one was the wiser, and with blacks coming off the exhaustion of fighting for the Civil Rights Movement, unfortunately, this inhumane tactic by the Choctaw went under the radar.
I just consider any kind of slavery wrong.
-Sex slavery
-Chattel slavery
-Adopted slavery (Five Tribes)
We all will have to stand before God for all the wrongs we all do.
No matter how big, no matter how small.
Now, we have come to this, so-called “Indians” kicking other “Indians”out of their tribes.
White people are not the only ones who have been contaminated by white capitalist racist patriarchy.
So too have many non-black races in America, and the Cherokee Nation has shown it fullest contempt against its black citizens—-the Freedmen/Women, by disenrolling them and thereby disenfranchising  them of their legal citizenship.
This is no different than America eradicating the 14TH Amendment and taking black American’s right to citizenship.
The Freedmen/Women went to the CBC to exercise their rights to protect their citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. Good.
I would have rather they took their case to the United Nations, and brought both the United States and the Cherokee Nation to the world court for this perverted injustice against the Freedmen/Women. They still can do this by enlisting the services of a UN rapporteur to investigate these racial pogroms against the Freedmen/Women black Cherokees.
They may not have won.
Or, they may have won.
And set a precedent.
We will never know.
I would have preferred instead that instead of the black Cherokees going to the government that has sought their destruction, they should instead have taken their case to the UN.
Why continue to go to a government which has sought for over 400 years to destroy you(slavery, white supremacy, lynching, segregation), and is still trying to destroy you any way it can and now the Freedmen/Women have to face virulent racism from those who have suffered from the same white supremacy of the U.S. government? From those who have adopted the worst ways of racist whites?
This is a case of the Cherokee Nation stealing the citizenship of black Cherokees.
The Freedmen/Women have put just as much into the Cherokee Nation, as have black citizens done for America.
Wrong is wrong.
No matter who does it:
 (Even though this site states that this is a treaty with the Cherokees, the original Treaty included ALL of the Five Civilized Tribes:  Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole, who had enslaved black people.
(Created in 1896-1897, the Kern-Clifton Roll was created to fill in the omissions of the Wallace Roll.CENSUS of the Freedmen and their descendants of the Cherokee Nation taken by the Commission appointed in the case of Moses Whitmire, Trustee of the Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation vs. The Cherokee Nation and the United States in the Court of Claims at Washington, D. C., the said Commission being composed of William Clifton, William Thompson and Robert H. Kern, the same being made from the testimony taken before said Commission in the Cherokee Nation between May 4th and August 10th, 1896.

First, Authenticated Freedmen and their descendants.)


(The Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory was created due to the citizenship of many ex-slaves (freedmen) being disputed by the Cherokee Tribe. To the freedmen, the ability to establish their status was important, not only for the sharing of the Cherokee lands, but also the payments and annuities the Cherokee Tribe was to receive in the future. A series of investigations were conducted by John W. Wallace, 1889-1890; Leo E. Bennett, 1891-92; Marcus D. Shelby, 1893; James G. Dickson, 1895-96; William Clifton, William Thompson, and Robert H. Kern, 1896-97. These investigations resulted in the Cherokee Freedmen Rolls known as the Wallace Roll, and the Kern-Clifton Roll.

A schedule of names of Cherokee freedmen created by Special Agent John W. Wallace. Individuals on the schedule were entitled to share with the Shawnee and Delaware in the per capita distribution of $75,000, appropriated by Congress in October 1888, and issued under the supervision of his office. Because of discrepancies, additional supplements were added. In 1896-1897 the Kern-Clifton Roll was created to fill in the ommissions of the Wallace Roll. Genealogists not finding their Cherokee ancestor in the Wallace Roll, should search the Kern-Clifton Roll   to insure that this ancestor was not one of those originally ommitted by Wallace.

Many names appear more than one time in a district, and some appear in all districts.)


Here are links where the Cherokee Nation gives biased, one-sided statements about the Cherokee Freedmen/Women, the Cherokee Constitution/Treaty of 1866, and the legal rights the Freedmen/Women have as citizens of the CN:
Black Indian Slave Narratives (Real Voices, Real History) by Patrick Minges (Paperback – Jun 2004)
4.0 out of 5 stars (1)
4.2 out of 5 stars (5)
For more information on the Seminole $56 million reparation case, click here:
  • Editorial Observer; The Black Seminole Indians Keep Fighting for

    The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs took a step toward fairness recently when it made some black Seminoles eligible for a few low-level benefits — though

  • The Black Seminoles

    They were referred to as Black Seminoles, and were so interrelated with the tribe that Chief Micanopy took up official residence among them.

  • Who Is a Seminole, and Who Gets to Decide?

    The black Seminoles are represented by a New York lawyer, In legal papers, the black Seminoles‘ lawyers say federal officials and blood Seminole leaders

  • Black Seminoles‘ Fight

    Sylvia Davis’s struggle on behalf of black Seminoles places her alongside Rosa Parks, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Frederick Douglass.

  • Editorial Observer; The Seminole Tribe, Running From History

    In Oklahoma, where the Seminoles were settled, the residents — black, A similar fate has befallen aging and disabled black Seminoles who have been

  • Who Is a Seminole, and Who Gets to Decide?

    The battle over the place of the black Seminoles is now at the center of two It was here that both black and blood Seminoles were forced to move from

  • Editorial Observer; When Racial Discrimination Is Not Just Black

    Both the Seminole and the Cherokee tribes have employed discriminatory policies to prevent black members from receiving tribal benefits — and to strip them

  • Mineral-Rights Money And Political Realities

    The court fight over the black Seminoles is being watched in Washington, Even while black Seminoles and blood Seminoles are battling over the millions

  • Who Is a Seminole, and Who Gets to Decide?

    EXCLUDED Polly Gentry, top, and her nieces Polly Jackson and Molly Morrison, above, are among the people who call themselves black Seminoles but have been

In conclusion of my trilogy, I will address Sen. Barack Obama’s stance that he has “against any congressional interference at this point”, in the ongoing controversy over Cherokee Nation citizenship for the descendants of former slaves. 


  • An Unjust Expulsion

    The so-called blood list contained nonblack Cherokees, listed with their percentage of Indian ancestry. The freedmen’s list included the names of any black

 See also these links on other Afro-Indian groups, many denied Native American status due to their black/African blood lineage:


-“Lumbees Clash With Cherokee At Senate Hearing

Buffalo Ridge Cherokee




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Wednesday, 16 July 2008
by BAR executive editor Glen FordCynthiaFront
The Green Party’s brand new Cynthia McKinney-Rosa Clemente ticket is off and running, having captured an overwhelming proportion of delegates at the national convention, in Chicago. Two Black women, one a Latina, are challenged to garner five percent of the national vote while transforming the Greens “into a vehicle for 24-7 movement politics.” Former Georgia congresswoman McKinney vowed, “A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the movement that will turn this country right-side-up again.” Said Clemente, a Hip Hop political organizer: “I don’t see the Green Party as an alternative. I see it as an imperative.”

McKinney & Clemente: Black, Brown, Green and True

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The overarching necessity for Black America – and therefore, for the entire nation – is the rebirth of a Black-led mass movement for peace and fundamental social change.”
“The Green Party was against the war when it started, is against the war now, and is against any military action against Iran that might take place tomorrow,” declared former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, accepting the Green Party’s presidential nomination, in Chicago, this weekend. “The Green Party is a peace party. A Green vote is a peace vote.”
McKinney’s statement is unequivocally true, a verity beyond question, as is her own deep commitment to social justice, tested and manifested during her 12-year sojourn in Congress. The 53-year-old activist and educator, whose last act as a U.S. Representative was to submit Articles of Impeachment against George Bush, not only speaks “truth to power” (or, as she puts it, “truth to empower), but demands that truth be the essential element of all American political discourse.
There is nothing quaint or convenient about The Truth. In a nation ruled by the raw power of money, the Lords of Capital market their own versions of truth designed to make wrongs seem right, and criminality appear normal. The corporate casting couch supplies political actors to mouth attractive untruths as required by the imperatives of Capital. Some of these actors are extremely talented, compounding the dangers they present to society. At every opportunity, they stomp on truth as if it were vermin – and for each vanquished truth they are paid a bounty in parceled power and prestige. U.S. presidents are manufactured in this way.
“The corporate casting couch supplies political actors to mouth attractive untruths as required by the imperatives of Capital.”
Truth thus becomes a precious commodity in 21st Century America. At the Green Party podium, Cynthia McKinney reached back to the year 1851, when Black abolitionist Sojourner Truth asked a white crowd a rhetorical question for which only one answer was conceivable: “Ain’t I a woman?” Having focused her audience on a simple truth, Sojourner proceeded to explicate the burning issues of the day: “Well children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter.” 
Truth is compelling, in any epoch. “In 2008, after two stolen Presidential elections and eight years of George W. Bush, and at least two years of Democratic Party complicity, the racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against the American people, and crimes against the global community,” said Cynthia McKinney, relating well-known but relentlessly suppressed truths.  “The racket is even about values that we thought were long settled as reasonable to pursue, like liberty and justice, and economic opportunity, for all.  Yes, Sojourner, there’s a lot out of kilter now, but these two women, Rosa and me, joined by all the men and women in this room, are going to do our best to turn this country right side up again.”
The truth alone cannot set you free, but it will at least tell you what time it is.
“The only way I can even begin to accept this nomination is that I must understand that I am just a vessel, a representative of the work of an entire generation, and the Hip-Hop radical activist movement,” said vice-presidential nominee Rosa Clemente, a South Bronx native of Puerto Rican parentage. The 36-year-old journalist was a key organizer of the 3,000-strong, 2004 Hip Hop Political Convention, in Newark, New Jersey. The delegates, all of whom paid their own way, drew up a Hip Hop Political Agenda that remains eminently compatible with the Green Party and “Power to the People” platforms under which Clemente and McKinney are currently campaigning. (A second Hip Hop Political Convention took place in Chicago in the summer of 2006.)
 “The racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against the American people, and crimes against the global community.”
“I stand on the shoulders of a generation of young people of color that are united, that clearly understand that we are suffering form structural racism, institutional racism and capitalism,” said Clemente. These are truths that Barack Obama, the corporate Democrat, would rather end 20-year friendships than accept. Obama allows the celebration of his candidacy to serve as a vindication of historical and contemporary racist rule. In fact, his ascension is fully endorsed (and financed) by the overwhelmingly white Lords of Capitol.
No recess of reality is safe from corporate sanitization. In this election cycle, conducted amid overlapping, terminal crises of late-stage capitalism, the heroes are those who challenge the corporate media’s endlessly looped lies – key elements in the structural supports that keep the evil edifice from crumbling outright. Heroines like McKinney and Clemente.
“I don’t see the Green Party as an alternative,” said Clemente. “I see it as an imperative.”
A True Choice
“We are in this to build a movement,” McKinney told her jubilant Chicago crowd. “A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the movement that will turn this country right-side-up again.”
Had she chosen to do so, McKinney could have remained in the Democratic Party and attempted to recapture her House seat, outside Atlanta, as she did in 2004 after a two year absence. But the overarching necessity for Black America – and therefore, for the entire nation – is the rebirth of a Black-led mass movement for peace and fundamental social change. Without a movement, the corporate version of reality triumphs by default – not just through the two-business-party electoral racket, but in all aspects of life in which human beings must somehow locate themselves in the real world.
Much more is at stake than the Green Party’s goal of garnering five percent of the presidential vote, which would make the Greens eligible for federal election funds next time around. Corporate hegemony is the enemy of the self-determination of peoples and individuals. It seeks to subdue every relationship except those of corporate ownership and control, and capriciously alters the terms of even those shrunken arrangements, at will.
The current multiple crises afflicting humanity are all rooted in the commodification of the Earth’s resources – including human beings. There is no choice but to resist the crushing grip, at every level of human activity.
“National Black politics has effectively disintegrated, stripped of all issues other than Obama’s own fortunes.”
In Black America, which is the vital epicenter of any progressive national politics, the Obama phenomenon – a species of seductive invading organism that feeds on centuries of pent-up Black aspirations – has already dangerously disrupted the African American political consensus on peace, social justice and the validity of the Black historical narrative, itself (the Obama-Rev. Wright clash). Obama has caused Blacks to suspend the disbelief (healthy distrust) that has been at least a partial defense against white snake oil salesmen over the years. National Black politics has effectively disintegrated, stripped of all issues other than Obama’s own fortunes. It is as if an entire people were reduced to the property of one, thoroughly dishonest man – in the service of another Man.
Obama’s cynicism, his deliberate ambiguity and outright manipulation of ALL people – but especially African Americans –  debases the morals of his desperate followers. In a remarkably short period of time they have come to accept half-lies as clever, and well-crafted untruths as things to be admired. To justify Obama’s behavior, Blacks accept that all “politicians” say whatever they must in order to win office, and attach no moral onus to that, even when it is Blacks who are the ones being lied to and defamed.
Obama has sanctioned – sanctified! – opportunism of the most base kind. He has brought corporate and anti-Black values into the African American house, in ways that no combination of previous scoundrels could have dreamed.
“Those who delivered us into this mess cannot be trusted to get us out of it.”
The McKinney-Clemente message is one of struggle, not blind hope and amorphous change. In the presidential candidate’s words:
“Today’s reality is harsh.  But what’s even harder for many to accept and admit is that our quality of life today is the making of the Democratic and Republican Parties.  What our country has become through their public policy is reflective of their values.  We will never get a United States that is reflective of different values if we continue to do the same thing.  Those who delivered us into this mess cannot be trusted to get us out of it. That’s why I signed up to do something I’ve never done before so I can have something I’ve never had before:  My country, made in the likeness of the values of the Green Party.”
That party is now headed by two Black women, one a Latina, who consciously seek to transform it into a vehicle for 24-7 movement politics PLUS effective electoral activity. That is the historic opportunity. The Democrats would have you waste your vote on an actor employed by corporations.
As Rosa Clemente reminded the Greens in Chicago: “We must remember the words of the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass: ‘I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false.'”
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at 
Former Georgia U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, and Ms. Rosa Clemente, a hip-hop political organizer, are two women who aspire to make a difference in the political arena, but, how many of you know of Cynthia McKinney or for that matter, Rosa Clemente? Many people do not consider alternative political parties, going back over and over to the same ol’ Democratic/Republican well, and many people are unaware of the alternatives. But, if faced with an alternative party, would you vote for that party’s candidates, if you knew of their platform on various issues?
How many progressive Left Wing voters would vote for Ms. McKinney and Ms. Clemente? How many know of her questioning 9/11; pushing for the impeachment of Bush/Cheney; to end the War in Iraq immediately and bring the troops home now; opposes torture of imprisoned inmates; opposes government eavesdropping and surveillance of citizens, without civil oversight; opposes the Patriot Act, among her many positions. To find out where Ms. McKinney stands on abortion, Civil Rights, crime, corporations, drugs, and other issues, click here:
But, Ms. McKinney, I do have to ask you this one, teeny, tiny, itty-bitty question. Ms. McKinney, I appreciate your taking a stand and running against the two partys, but, I will ask the same question of you that I have asked of Obama:
Where are YOU on issues of relevance to black Americans?
Issues such as
-racial disparity in the criminal (in)justice system that incarcerates black women at an alarmingly higher rate into prisons than white women;
-what is your position on the high infant mortality rate for a so-called developed nation such as America;
-fair housing
-sub-standard, separate-but-still-unequal abysmal education
-predatory lending of subprime loans and the atrocities it created in massive foreclosures, especially among black and brown first-time homeowners
-where have you spoken out on the silence of rape and domestic abuse against black women in the BC;
-the continued disparity in black women’s earnings, where black women make just $0.62 for every $1.00 a white man earns;
-where have you spoken out on America’s Third World poverty rate for the so-called richest nation on Earth;
-where do you stand on micro-loans that create abilities/opportunities for those mired in poverty to raise themselves up out of poverty;
-where do you stand on the sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powdered cocaine?
Just a few questions to find out where you stand ON THE ISSUES.
I realize that you and your party have been pushed to the margins, but, people do need to know that they do have an alternative to the same ol’ rigamarole of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, that has been dished out to citizens for decades.
More knowledge of what all citizens have a choice of is better than no knowledge at all.
Cynthia mckinney  presidential candidacy.jpg

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July 11, 2008, 11:15a.m. EDT
  • Black community denied water for decades, jury says
  • Residents were denied public water service for decades out of racial discrimination
  • Plaintiffs awarded $15,000 to $300,000, depending how long they lived in Coal Run
  • Residents either paid for wells, hauled water for cisterns or collected rain water
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Residents of a mostly black neighborhood in rural Ohio were awarded nearly $11 million Thursday by a federal jury that found local authorities denied them public water service for decades out of racial discrimination.
President Kennedy urged civil rights in 1963. An Ohio community was discriminated against from 1956 to 2003.
President Kennedy urged civil rights in 1963. An Ohio community was discriminated against from 1956 to 2003.
Each of the 67 plaintiffs was awarded $15,000 to $300,000, depending on how long they had lived in the Coal Run neighborhood, about 5 miles east of Zanesville in Muskingum County in east-central Ohio.
The money covers both monetary losses and the residents’ pain and suffering between 1956, when water lines were first laid in the area, and 2003, when Coal Run got public water.
The lawsuit was filed in 2003 after the Ohio Civil Rights Commission concluded the residents were victims of discrimination. The city, county and East Muskingum Water Authority all denied it and noted that many residents in the lightly populated county don’t have public water.
Coal Run residents either paid to have wells dug, hauled water for cisterns or collected rain water so they could drink, cook and bathe.
“As a child, I thought it was normal because everyone done it in my neighborhood,” said one of the plaintiffs, Cynthia Hale Hairston, 47. “But I realized as an adult it was wrong.”
Colfax described the verdict as unique among civil rights cases nationally, both in the nature of the ruling and the size of the award.
The jury in U.S. District Court found that failing to provide water service to the residents violated state and federal civil rights laws. The lawsuit was not a class-action. Colfax said 25 to 30 families live in Coal Run now.
The water authority must pay 55 percent of the damages, while the county owes 25 percent and the city owes 20 percent, plaintiffs’ attorney Reed Colfax said. The water authority no longer exists, and the county would be responsible for paying that share of the judgment.
Zanesville attorney Michael Valentine said in court that he intended to appeal but declined to comment further. The county commission also plans to appeal.
Attorney Mark Landes, who represented the county and water district, called the verdict disappointing. He said jurors were not allowed to hear defendants’ testimony that neighborhood residents were offered water service years ago and refused it.
Colfax said he was unaware of any evidence that was excluded from the trial.
“This was a case that was started and fired by out-of-town lawyers who saw an opportunity for a cash settlement,” Landes said.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys will receive a separate amount to be decided later by a judge, Colfax said.
John Relman, a civil rights attorney based in Washington, D.C., who represented the residents, said the jury heard hours of testimony and saw hundreds of pages of documentation over the seven-week trial.
“This verdict vindicates that this (treatment) was because of their race,” he said. “The jury agreed with that and issued a verdict based on a full airing of the facts.”
Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers said she was pleased.
“This decision speaks firmly about the importance of treating citizens with equal respect, regardless of race,” she said in a statement.
Plaintiff Frederick Martin said the long wait was worth it.
He and his nine siblings shared two tubs of water between them on bath nights when he was growing up. He left Coal Run, built on a former coal mine, in 1970 so his children wouldn’t have to endure the same living conditions, he said.
“Today I feel that we are really blessed, to know and to see justice being met,” Martin said.
“And to see, regardless of who we are, there is a price to pay if you discriminate against people.”
The plaintiffs’ attorneys successfully argued that the decision not to pipe water to the plaintiffs was racially motivated, painting a picture of a community with a history of segregation. Black residents of Coal Run Road were denied water over the years while nearby white neighbors were provided it, they said.
Landes countered that about half of Muskingum County residents are not tied into the public water system even today. Among those without it are county commissioners, judges and other prominent officials, he said.
Zanesville has about 25,000 residents on the edge of the state’s Appalachian region. One in every five families is below the federal poverty level, and the unemployment rate in Muskingum County in May was 7.4 percent. The national unemployment rate that month was 5.5 percent.

I have been keeping up with this case for sometime, and now the verdict is in.
Justice, in this case, has been served.
And many people still do not want to believe the atrocities still being visited upon black people who are citizens of this country. Many people got enraged at Michelle Obama when she stated that now in this year, was the first time in her life that she could truly be proud to be an American.
Well, Michelle, this story proves that there is still very little to be proud of in America, especially when black Americans still have to go against racist hatred just to get the bare necessities of drinking water, when the local authorities of Coal Run, Ohio denied the black citizens public water service for decades due to racial discrimination
Drinking water.
Racist hatred in this depraved act of institutionalized racism was an abomination that denied water to the residents of Coal Run for over 47 years. Racist hatred  that denied water service to the residents of Coal Run and not only denied them access to clean, fresh water for cooking, bathing, drinking and cleaning, but, also violated the state and federal civil rights of Coal Run residents.
“This was a case that was started and fired by out-of-town lawyers who saw an opportunity for a cash settlement,” Landes said.
Yes, those monstrous “out-of-towners”. In the days of the Civil Rights Movement, they were called “Communists”. No, this case was filed due to the evidence that the resident’s attorneys had proof of the callous disregard the local water authorities had in denying potable water to citizens. The third-class mistreatment the residents of Coal Run suffered deprived them of the basic amenities of running water, three years into the New Millennium, and that was unconscionable and pathetic.
“This verdict vindicates that this (treatment) was because of their race,” he said. “The jury agreed with that and issued a verdict based on a full airing of the facts.”
Ohio Attorney General Nancy H. Rogers said she was pleased.
“This decision speaks firmly about the importance of treating citizens with equal respect, regardless of race,” she said in a statement.”
All citizens should be treated with equal respect. But, so many still live in this country who seek and desire to continue to keep the seeds of racist hate ongoing, even in denying access to fresh water, a necessity that all citizens should enjoy in the richest country on earth, not as if they are living in a Third World country.
America the brave. America the beautiful. America the hypocrite that still denigrates and vilifies her black citizens.
“Today I feel that we are really blessed, to know and to see justice being met,” Martin said. “And to see, regardless of who we are, there is a price to pay if you discriminate against people.”
There will always be a price to pay for hatred. And these local water authorities learned that sad lesson the hard way.
Published: February 17, 2004
In January, a strange thing happened when people along Coal Run Road turned on their taps. Drinking water came out. Not the sulfur-tinged, bug-infested stuff that collected in their cisterns or swirled in their wells. Cool, clean, straight-from-the-pumping-station city water.
For most of their lives, residents of this tiny hollow on the edge of town lived a bit like frontiersmen, keeping drinking water in jugs, collecting rainwater in barrels, even occasionally melting snow from their yards, all because they did not have city water service.
”I never thought I’d live to see it,” said Helen McCuen, an 89-year-old widow who has lived in the hollow for 57 years.
The story of how they got that water, and were for years denied it, seems anachronistic in 21st-century America. But it speaks volumes, the residents contend, about disparities in living standards that are related to the color of one’s skin.
For years, decades really, residents of the hollow had been asking local officials to extend water lines down their narrow, twisting roads. Not enough water pressure, they were told. Too expensive. Too hilly.
Yet just up the hill, not 200 yards away, homeowners have had running municipal water for years. One new homeowner even installed a hot tub and routinely sprinkled his lawn, something residents of the hollow could never do with their 1,000-gallon cisterns, which were constantly running dry.
Almost all the people living at the top of the hill are white. Almost all the people in the hollow are racially mixed: white, black and American Indian. And it increasingly seemed to residents of the hollow that this had something to do with their plight.
”The water stopped where the black folks started,” said Saundra McCuen, 49, one of Helen McCuen’s seven children. ”I don’t want to use the race thing, but what else could it be?”
In 2002, two dozen residents filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, asserting that they had been denied water service because of racial discrimination. Last summer, the commission agreed.
The commission found that on Coal Run Road, none of the 17 black or mixed-race homes had city water service, while two white homes did. On nearby Langan Lane, all of the 18 white homes on top of the hill had city water, while five of the eight black or mixed-race homes in the hollow did not. (The other three families had connected to the municipal lines by themselves.)
The commission concluded there was probable cause to believe that the city, county and local water authority had ”failed to provide the complainants with access to public water service because of their race.”
One month after the report was released, Muskingum County announced it had found enough money to issue a $730,000 contract to extend water lines into the hollow. (Officials had used a much higher estimate — $2 million — when they told hollow residents a few years ago that it was too expensive to connect them to the water system, residents said.)
Government officials say race had nothing to do with the lack of water service in the hollow.
But they have also begun blaming one another.
City officials contend that a now-defunct water authority removed the hollow from its service area many years ago, leaving responsibility for water to the city. But Zanesville, a city of 28,000 people, decided it could not extend lines into the hollow because it lies just outside the city limits, said Scott Hillis, the city’s law director. The city assumed that the county would provide the water.
But Muskingum County officials contend they did not become aware of the hollow’s situation until two years ago. (Zanesville officials said they told the county of the hollow’s requests at least eight years ago.)
County officials also contend they have not had enough money to meet the county’s needs, since about half of its residents — most of whom live in remote rural areas — do not have running water.
”As far as I’m concerned the suit is ludicrous,” said Dorothy Montgomery, a Muskingum County commissioner. ”There is nothing done by the commissioners that is based on black or white.”
Zanesville, 60 miles east of Columbus, was founded 200 years ago as a way station for migrants moving from Virginia to Kentucky. It became famous for its clay pottery and Y-shaped concrete bridge over the Muskingum and Licking Rivers, but fell on hard times after World War II as many of its kilns and mills closed.
Before the Civil War, the underground railroad ran through the city. But city businesses remained segregated until the late 1950’s, residents said. And the Ku Klux Klan has been active for decades, holding small rallies in the region as recently as the late 1990’s.
The denial of water service ”wasn’t in-your-face racism,” said Vincent Curry, executive director of Fair Housing Advocates Association, a group based in Akron that helped the residents file their complaint. ”This was more, ‘We won’t respond to you because we don’t care about you.’ ”
Until January, Helen McCuen paid a ”water man” to fill a cistern buried in her front yard twice a month. And until the 1980’s, when she finally bought an electric pump, she and her children used a hand pump and pail to bring water into the house. Drinking water was bought by the jug. And if supplies ran low, the family rationed baths and caught rain in barrels.
”I didn’t think I could get used to drinking water out of the tap,” Ms. McCuen said, sitting in her cozy living room surrounded by photographs of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. ”But I did.”
For Jerry Kennedy, 54, the indignity of hauling water struck home a few years ago when he offered a friend a cup of coffee. His cistern was empty, so he opened the door and walked into the winter air to gather snow.
”What are you doing?” his friend asked.
”Getting water for your coffee,” he replied.
She was stunned, he said, to learn that he did not have water service.
A few residents drilled wells for drinking water. But most local wells have been polluted by iron and sulfur runoff from abandoned mines that turns the water red and makes it smell like rotten eggs in the summer.
John P. Relman, a lawyer in Washington representing residents of the hollow, said they spent 5 or 10 times as much as other people in the area for water because they had to buy or haul it themselves. Mr. Relman has filed suit for the homeowners, seeking compensation from local authorities for those higher costs.
”They stereotyped us as poor, uneducated black folks who didn’t have enough sense to ask for water,” said Cynthia Hairston, a nurse who grew up along Coal Run Road, left for two decades and then returned with her husband three years ago. ”And then we did. And they said: ‘Where did they come from? We thought we had pushed them back into the corner.’ ”
Racist Water law Suit Zanesville Ohio
To this day, Jerry Kennedy only does laundry when it rains. For the first 54 years of his life, he lived without running water, and rainstorms were the only way he could collect enough water to wash his clothes. But Kennedy isn’t from some far-off rural outpost. He was born and raised in the Coal Run neighborhood of Zanesville, Ohio — a former coal-mining center of 25,000 in the eastern part of the state — just a few hundred feet from a municipal water line. Kennedy, now 58, is black. His neighbors, who did not have running water for more than 50 years, are also black. On July 10, the U.S. District Court of Ohio awarded them almost $10.9 million, ruling that they had been denied access to public water because of their race.
The decision comes four years after the water started flowing in Coal Run, a black community of some 25 homes in overwhelmingly white Muskingum County, following a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) and 67 Coal Run residents.
According to the suit, the community had repeatedly requested water service since 1956, the year the city built a water main that ended just short of the neighborhood, and had watched as the East Muskingum Water Authority built new water lines and increased county water efforts in surrounding areas while their requests went unanswered. When he built his house in the early 1980s, Kennedy says, his water request was denied. He can’t even remember the number of times he asked the city’s service director for help, only to have nothing happen. Then a house went up next door. A white family moved in, and one day Kennedy saw his new neighbors watering their lawn. “They’d be out there with a hot tub out on the porch,” he says, “and I was still going down the road [to the local water treatment plant] with a pickup truck every day.”
Like many Zanesville area residents, he couldn’t drill a well because the surrounding coal mines have contaminated the water, rendering it undrinkable. The mines have been closed for years, but the ground is so full of sulfur that residents say the water runs red. In Coal Run, Kennedy and his black neighbors would either pay to have water hauled in from the treatment plant two miles away or catch the rainwater that ran down their gutters.
“When I was growing up, I thought that everyone had water hauled in,” says Cynthia Hairston, a 47-year-old nurse, who was born in Coal Run. “I had no idea that outside my neighborhood, [running water] was even possible.” When she discovered that her white neighbors’ request for a water hookup had been approved in 1999, she began agitating for equal rights — talking to other black neighbors, attending city council meetings and lobbying government officials. Then one morning, she woke up to find a severed pig’s head in her driveway. “It was very upsetting,” she says. “I was very scared.” She doesn’t know what the pig’s head was supposed to mean or who put it there, but is convinced that the act was racially motivated.
The city, the county and the Water Authority, for their part, deny any discrimination and say Coal Run’s lack of water was due to a lack of demand. The neighborhood went without water for so long, they argue, mainly because its residents didn’t go through the correct procedures to request it. According to Mark Landes, a Columbus attorney representing Muskingum County, the only official water requests from Coal Run residents came in the form of a 1973 petition and 2001 public hearing. “No one ever showed up and asked for water,” he says, adding that a large part of Muskingum County still doesn’t have running water today. Hairston agrees that’s true but claims that those areas are all very rural, whereas Coal Run is a 10-min. drive from the city center — “a stone’s throw away.” And while Coal Run is not technically within Zanesville’s city limits, neither are several surrounding white communities that have had access to the municipal water supply since the line was installed in 1956.
On Aug. 18, 2003, two months after the OCRC issued its report alleging racial discrimination, Muskingum County decided that the residents of Coal Run finally qualified for water. By January 2004, the last pipelines were laid, but the discrimination trial was already in motion. Resident after resident testified about years of personal conversations held with city and county officials who did nothing to keep their promises to help. Kennedy, Hairston and two other residents stated that in 2001, Muskingum County Commissioner Dorothy Montgomery told them that even their “grandchildren’s grandchildren would not have water.”
Montgomery could not be reached, but Landes says she denies making the comment.
Last Thursday’s verdict represents a sweeping acknowledgement of the Coal Run community’s suffering. “This case is a throwback to the type of discrimination everyone thinks is long gone,” says John P. Relman, a Washington civil rights attorney who represented the Coal Run residents. Relman calls the case a “landmark” because of the number of individual plaintiffs found to have suffered discrimination at the hands of their own government. “You lift up some rocks and find a couple of pretty ugly things,” he says.
Kennedy, Hairston and the other plaintiffs will receive between $15,000 and $300,000 each in damages, depending on how long they had lived in the neighborhood. “This has been a long saga for lots of these people,” says G. Michael Payton, the OCRC’s executive director.
“The humiliation, the feeling of being treated like second-class citizens — that shouldn’t happen today. We’re supposed to be past that.”
Columbus attorney Landes, however, isn’t so sanguine about the case’s result. “This is a bad day for taxpayers and a bad day for race relations,” he says. He believes the plaintiffs sued solely for the money and blames “out-of-state lawyers” for coming in and whipping up a “frenzy” that the residents of Muskingum County will now have to fund. Attorneys for the city and county say they plan to appeal.
Jerry Kennedy, for his part, says he’s just glad it’s over. “I finally had a peace of mind, it was only fair that the Lord had seen that we got taken care of,” he says. The day his water was turned on in 2004, he took three baths. He doesn’t have to worry about the water levels in his cistern anymore, but he can’t break the habit of washing laundry when it rains. “It’s just something I do,” he says. “No matter what time of day or night, I get up and I have to do it.”


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A survey of 452 New York City men who had had sex with other men within the past year found that 39 percent had not disclosed their sexual orientation to their doctors, a problem particularly acute among black, Hispanic and Asian men, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced on Wednesday.
Health officials said the survey results had troubling implications for H.I.V. prevention. The survey found, for example, that men who disclosed their sexual activity with other men were twice as likely as men who did not to have been tested for H.I.V. (63 percent versus 36 percent).
The survey found a striking distinction: While 78 percent of the men who had sex with men and identified themselves as homosexual said they had discussed their sexuality with their doctors, none of the men who had sex with men but identified themselves as bisexual had told their doctors.
The survey also found wide racial and ethnic variation in disclosure rates. Sixty percent of black men who had sex with other men said they had not discussed their sex lives with their doctors, compared with 48 percent of Hispanic men, 47 percent of Asian men and 19 percent of white men.
Other differences in disclosure were also observed. Men who were 28 or older were more like than younger men (69 percent vs. 52 percent) to be out to their providers. Those born in the United States were more likely than immigrant men to disclose their practices, and those who were better educated disclosed at higher rates than the less educated.
Dr. Monica Sweeney, the assistant health commissioner for H.I.V. prevention and control, said the findings reflected a strong stigma against homosexuality in minority communities. (About three-quarters of the men in the survey who described themselves as bisexual were black and Hispanic.)
“There is a frequent phenomenon in the black community in which a man who is gay, by the conventional ways that we all know to identify somebody as gay, identifies himself as bisexual,” Dr. Sweeney said, referring to the phenomenon known as the “down low.”
The survey results, published this month in The Archives of Internal Medicine, examined data from the National H.I.V. Behavioral Survey conducted in 2004-5 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The New York segment of the study involved data from 452 men who were interviewed anonymously at gay bars and clubs, tested for H.I.V., and offered medical and social services as needed.
Officials not only urged patients to be forthcoming about their sexual behavior, but also urged doctors to ask about sexual history.
“Health care providers should screen patients routinely for H.I.V.,” said Dr. Elizabeth Begier, director of H.I.V. epidemiology at the health department. “They should also ask their patients about behavior that may put them at risk. And New Yorkers shouldn’t hesitate to talk openly with their health care providers.”
In a phone interview, Dr. Sweeney said that doctors are often squeamish about asking personal questions.
“When the doctor initiates the subject, no matter how sensitive, most people talk about these things,” said Dr. Sweeney, who is trained in internal medicine and geriatrics. She added that she was not surprised by the survey findings; if anything, she said, she was surprised that the overall disclosure rate — 61 percent — was as high as it was.
Marjorie J. Hill, chief executive of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, a nonprofit advocacy group, offered a similar assessment in a phone interview. “While distressed, I am not at all surprised,” she said of the findings. “Medical providers are not sufficiently trained in outreach and engagement with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.”
Outside of obstetrician-gynecologists, she said, “doctors are not encouraged to have conversations about sex.”
First off, I am surprised that this study included Asian men in it, and not just the obligatory black and Latino men.
Patients should not be made to feel that disclosing their sexual preference should be something that can hinder their receiving adequate medical care. Nor should a gay patient have to fear ramifications that can bite them somewhere down the road in the future, especially from medical insurance companies.
Doctors took a Hippocratic Oath, and all doctors should adhere to that tenet of philosophy.
“In a phone interview, Dr. Sweeney said that doctors are often squeamish about asking personal questions.
“Medical providers are not sufficiently trained in outreach and engagement with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.”
With the HIV-AIDS crisis still endemic in this country, with the continued prevalence of STDS there should be no “squeamishness” on the part of any doctors. Doctors who went into the medical profession not expecting to discuss aspects of patient’s sexuality had no business studying to become doctors. Doctors should assess whether a patient is at risk for STDS/HIV-AIDS, by asking questions that find out if the patient is engaging in risky behaviour. It can be done with tact and consideration.
Welcome to the real world, doctors,  where many patients can and will be sexually active. It would help to know how to ask patients questions about any sexual activity they may be engaging in. Ask, “Have you been sexually active with men/women?”, as opposed to blurting out, “Are you gay?” Some patients can discuss with their doctors their sexual activities; some patients cannot. Exercise respect, not disdain; care, not derision. But, unfortunately, a patient’s sexual orientation remains a no-man’s land in this country, in the medical world, and especially in the insurance companies. And don’t forget that HIV positive drug users should be acknowledged as one way that AIDS can be contracted. Also, question the patients if they have unprotected oral/anal sex; there is more than one way a person can contract an STD or HIV-AIDS.
On the other hand, it helps no one if gays, bi-sexual and trans-gendered males/females are forced to stay in the closet. Men having sex with wives/girlfriends, especially if those men are infected with HIV-AIDS/STDS are harming not just themselves, but the women in their lives. Knowing your HIV-AIDS/STD status helps not only yourself (whether gay, straight or bi-sexual), but it helps those close to you and others you may meet down the road and become intimate with. The stigma of gay hurts not only gays, it hurts all of society. Less bashing of gays, and more empathy in seeing them recieve good health care should be of paramount concern to us all.
Societal fears and contempt towards homosexuals and lesbians only forces many underground and away from the medical help they need.
Castigating, reviling and shunning them hurts not only them, but much of society in the long run.
It is not for doctors to pass judgment on their patients who come to them, but, for doctors to medically treat their patients.
Let God do the judging on Judgment Day.
We all have enough to contend with in this world without having to worry about the prejudicial preconceptions of gays of those who took up the medical practice to help their patients and to  “First do no harm”.



REPORT:   “Health Department Study Shows Doctors Are Often In the Dark About Patients’ Sexual Behavior”

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