Monthly Archives: May 2011

IN REMEMBRANCE: SHERRICE IVERSON

It is hard to believe, but, today, little Sherrice Iverson would be 21-years-old today if she had lived.


SHERRICE IVERSON

Her short life was ended brutally on May 25, 1997 by Jeremy Strohmeyer in the Primadonna Resort, a Las Vegas, Nevada casino.

Strohmeyer still lives in solitary confinement lockdown, in the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada where he is classified as “medium” custody. The witness to the vicious crime, David Cash, Jr., still lives his life.  In fact, Cash,  still showed little remorse when in a radio interview he stated the following:

“I have a lot of remorse toward the Iverson family. It was a very tragic event…The simple fact remains I don’t know this little girl … I don’t know people in Panama or Africa who are killed every day, so I can’t feel remorse for them. The only person I know is Jeremy Strohmeyer”, but still insisted that he did nothing wrong.[3][12]

Sherrice never got the chance to live the rest of her girlhood, nor grow from a teenager into a young woman.

She is gone forever from us, and we will never know the many gifts she could have given us if her life was not taken from her. But her life was not in vain. After pressure was put on them by Sherrice’s parents, the Sherrice Iverson Bill was passed requiring witnesses to such a crime to report it to the police.

Rest in peace, Sherrice.

Rest in peace.

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DIANE BAILEY KEEPS HAIR AU NATUREL

Diane Bailey, a stylist, who owns Tendrils Hair Spa in Fort Greene, NY has been on a mission since 1987 to help Black women learn to love the beauty of their hair, as well as to properly care for their gravity-defying tightly coiled tresses.

Perms which do so much damage to Black women’s hair have caused hair loss, burns on the scalp, as wells as thinning and brittle hair. Not to mention the fact that little girls should never be subjected to the harsh and caustic chemicals that are in perms.

Caring for natural, multi-textured hair can be done, once one learns the proper way to wash, comb and style it.

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May 24, 2011, 4:39 pm  Updated: 9:03 am

Diane Bailey Keeps Hair Au Natural

By SHANNON CARLIN, CUNY J-School

For many women beauty is pain, but Diane Bailey says it doesn’t have to be so bad when it comes to hair care, at least.

Since 1987, the stylist, who owns Tendrils Hair Spa in Fort Greene, has offered specialty services that help women keep their hair natural without having to use harsh chemicals.

When Ms. Bailey first started her salon there weren’t many options for women with multi-textured hair.

“If you wanted to express yourself, you had to get a perm,” she said. “We wanted healthier options, options that would give a different type of aesthetic, a different type of beautiful.”

Now, Ms. Bailey wants to help parents figure out the best way to care for their children’s hair.

On May 15, Ms. Bailey offered a workshop called “Mommy and Me: An Introductory Guide to Multi Textured Hair Care” at Still Hip in Clinton Hill. The goal of the workshop, which Ms. Bailey intends to make an ongoing series, was to teach parents and their children that all hair types are beautiful — especially when you know how to care for it properly.

A lot of Ms. Bailey’s clients are African-American mothers who have had negative experiences with their own hair. From sores on their scalps caused by relaxing chemicals to traction alopecia, which is hair loss from constant pulling on the hair, these women want to keep their children’s hair chemical free.

She also said that she fields a lot of questions from mothers who are not of the same race as their children and do not have the same type of hair.

In the last ten years, the number of people in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill who identify themselves as multiracial has increased from 4.4 percent in 2000 to 4.9 percent in 2010. Although the 10-year increase was not significant, that percentage remains one of the highest in the city.

Nicole James, a mother of three, came to the workshop from Queens in hopes to learn how to style her daughters’ hair. She also felt that it was important to break the negative cycle of African-American women who hate their hair. “I want my kids to know there’s no such thing as good and bad, it’s just hair,” Ms. James said.

Ms. Bailey echoed that sentiment, saying that the 2010 Sesame Street video above, called, “I Love My Hair”, was ultimately the inspiration for the workshop.

“Just that little song that says, ‘Whether it’s straight or braided or locked, I am beautiful.’ She’s talking about the inside, rather than the outside,” Ms. Bailey said. “When I was a little girl no one said that to me…now these young women have that.”

SOURCE

Rock your hair, little girl!

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THE DOVE COUNTERBALANCE GENERAL INTELLIGENCE TEST

Also known if somewhat less delicately as the “Chitlin’ Intelligence Test”, the Dove Counterbalance Test was designed by Black sociologist Adrian Dove, in 1971, and is used for instructional and educational purposes and to also highlight that so-called IQ tests generally rate the knowledge of people who grew up cognizant of the information that particular IQ tests covers. Intelligence quotient tests seek to find the level of capability designed to test learning capability, memory, innovative and creative thinking and the ability to simultaneously address multiple problems that the test subject has on certain kinds of information and knowledge, but, many IQ tests reveal the weaknesses of cultural bias that lurk in so many IQ tests.

The Dove Counterbalance Test is based on Black American specific history and knowledge. The test requires knowledge on the familiarity of Black American community life in the 1950s and 1960s.

Created to test one’s knowledge of Black people’s food, culture, traditions, history, language, attitudes, and lifestyles, the test shows that IQ tests divulge a dissimilarity in people’s cultural backgrounds.

What may be known as a breakfast nook to many White people, as well as a bidet, may be something unknown to many Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and Black Americans.

What may be known to many Black Americans as talking out the side of your neck, and the dozens, may not be known by many other non-Blacks.

Some IQ tests are visual and spatial, as well as verbal and mathematical. The following IQ test item, is modeled after items in the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test:

Other IQ tests are as follows:  Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, (aka, WAIS Test);  Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Stanford-Binet, Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, and Raven’s Progressive Matrices (take the test   here.)

IQ tests can also contain cultural influences that reduce their validity, especially in any supposed cultural fairness of the test when given to groups of people not familiar with the tests, creating what is known as Stereotype Threat. Claude Steele discusses stereotype threat.

Some IQ tests, such as the WAIS, cannot measure the cognitive ability of some groups of people such as children suffering from autism; or, groups not familiar with the cultural and linguistic modes of American and Western Europe society, such as the Khoi and San people of South Africa. On the other hand, if the Khoi and San people devised a test for non-San people, I am sure many of us would fail it miserably.

 

Getting back to the Dove Intelligence Test.

Some questions on the Dove test are as follows:

“A gashead is a person who has a…?” Or this one:  “Jet is…?”

If you wish to go further, test your knowledge here on the Dove Test.

If you want to go even further, here are other IQ tests that show the cultural dissimilarities that occur when trying to assess a person’s cultural knowledge of groups or societies that are different from their own:

-the Elliott Discrimination Inventory Test, devised by Jane Elliott of the famous “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Experiment”. The test items are about life in various countries in the United Kingdom;  the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity (aka, the B.I.T.C.H.-100 Test), created by Robert Williams in 1972; and the Koori Test, ( aka, Knowledge Of Operative Reflective Intelligence), created in 1982 by James Wilson-Miller, in which the test questions are about Australia’s Aboriginal people’s culture, tradition, lifestyle, and linguistics.

Other tests:  the Redden-Simons Rap Test, a 50-item, multiple-choice test of vocabulary items typical of “street language” in 1986, in Des Moines, Iowa. On the short version of the Redden-Simons “Rap” test (12-items), “street” individuals averaged eight correct items, and college students averaged only two correct items.);  Australian/American Intelligence Test, drawn from typical items on standard Western-European intelligence tests; and the 10-item Original Australian Intelligence Test, based on the culture of the Edward River Australian Aboriginal community in North Queensland.   [SOURCE]

The purpose behind the aforementioned tests is to give people an idea of what it is like to be tested, assessed, and graded on test criteria that would be foreign to the test subjects, since it is not part of their cultural history.

Intelligence is not just book learning. It is more than learned knowledge.

Intelligence is also skills one has learned to handle the twists and turns that life throws them.

It is good to be able to utilize calculus, geometry, basic math, English grammar, and fractions, but, it would also be a testament to one’s knowledge and skills to know how to make a Dakota fire hole, to know how to make a snare to trap birds, to know how to build shelter on a beach, in the Sahara desert, in the snows of Northwest Alaska, or in the deep innermost reaches of the Amazon rain forest.

People’s intelligence increases as they age. (Well, it should.)

What one knew as a child becomes more as one grows older.

The true test of a person is not what they learned only in books.

The true test of a person’s intelligence is in the ability to acquire knowledge, to develop critical thinking skills, to think and reason effectively, how they make their way through life’s toils and travails, as well as how they evolve and adapt to life’s ever-changing dynamics in their environment.

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WEEK OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES: MAY 25-JUNE 1, 2011

WEEK OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLES OF NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES: MAY 25-JUNE 1, 2011

(OBSERVED ANNUALLY: MAY 25, AFRICAN LIBERATION DAY)

MUCH CAN BE DONE TO ASSIST NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES, ASSEMBLY

PRESIDENT SAYS IN MESSAGE FOR WEEK OF SOLIDARITY

 

Following is the text of a message from General Assembly President Harri Holkeri (Finland) on the occasion of the observance of the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of Non-Self-Governing Territories, beginning 25 May:

The international community annually observes the week beginning on 25 May, as the Week of Solidarity with the Peoples of the Non-Self-Governing Territories.

This year, we begin the Second Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. In this context, the Plan of Action presented by the Secretary-General in 1991 and updated this year, in document A/56/61, constitutes a principled reminder of the work that remains to be done in order to reach the objectives of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples which the General Assembly adopted in December 1960, over four decades ago.

 

It is thus a time to renew the commitment of the world community to support the aspirations of the peoples of the remaining Territories for the full implementation of resolution 1514 (XV) containing the 1960 Declaration.

 

The United Nations has made a significant contribution to decolonization. During its existence, many Non-Self-Governing Territories have achieved a self-governing status and many of them have become independent nations. Since 1961, the work of the Organization in the area of decolonization has been carried out by the Special Committee of 24, entrusted by the Assembly with the historic mandate of examining the application of the Declaration and making suggestions and recommendations on the progress and extent of its implementation.

 

As we observe the Week of Solidarity, the Special Committee of 24, the policy-making organ of the General Assembly on decolonization, is holding its Caribbean Regional Seminar in Havana with the participation of representatives of Member States, the peoples of the Territories, organizations within the United Nations system, experts on the Caribbean as well as representatives of civil society. It should be a unique opportunity to learn more about the current situation in theTerritories, particularly those in the Caribbean region, and listen to the views of their inhabitants.

 

Just a few months ago, I had the privilege of paying a visit to East Timor, a Territory currently administered by the United Nations, which is just emerging into independent life. Although it was a relatively short visit, I was able to

 

experience first hand, the sense of expectation and hope of the East Timorese as they look to the future. The immense challenges a nascent East Timor will face, however, are not greater than the determination with which the Timorese are preparing to assume full responsibility for their destiny as an independent nation.

 

On this commemorative occasion, we look back with satisfaction at the achievements of the United Nations in the area of decolonization, but more importantly, we look ahead at the concerted work that must be carried out to fulfil the objectives of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. Obviously, these tasks will require the cooperation of the administering Powers with the Special Committee. There is also much that can be done to assist the Territories, many of which are small islands, by the specialized agencies and United Nations programmes.

 

In my capacity as President of the General Assembly, I take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of supporting and implementing the decisions of the Assembly on decolonization in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the Second Decade: a world free of colonialism.

SOURCE

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BLACK AMERICAN WOMEN INVENTORS

Black women inventors are the unknown and unsung among American inventors.

The following are Black women who made inventions past and present—inventions which touch our lives daily.

Inventors such as Patricia Bath, M.D.; Sarah Boone; Joan Clark; Ruane Jeter;   Betty Brown and Annie Minter.

Black women inventors who have contributed so much to America.

SALUTARE.

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Black American Women Inventors

Inventor Invention Patent Date
Virgie M. Ammons Fireplace Damper Sept. 30, 1975
Louise H. Andrews Lens Holder Accessory Pending
Patricia Bath, M.D. Apparatus for Ablating & Removing Cataract Lenses May 17, 1988
Miriam E. Benjamin Gong & Signal Chair for Hotels and the Like July 17, 1888
Sarah Boone Ironing Board April 26, 1892
Henrietta Bradberry Bed Rack May 25, 1943
Torpedo Discharger Means Dec. 11, 1945
Marie V. Brittan Brown Home Security System Utilizing Television Surveillance Dec. 2, 1969
I.O. Carter Nursury Chair Feb. 9, 1960
Joan Clark Medicine Tray April 1, 1987
Holder for Bras and Like Aug. 31, 1976
Beatrice L. Cowans Embroidered Fruit Bowl April 5, 1977
Virginia E. Hall Wall Hanging & Kit
Gertrude Downing Corner Cleaner Attachment April 5, 1977
Ellen Elgin Clothes Wringer 1880s
Cathleen McCoy Garrett Siren/Horn Light Indicator Pending
Sara E. Goode The Cabinet Bed July 14, 1885
Bessie V. Griffin Portable Receptable April 24, 1951
Julia Terry Hammons Apparatus for Holding Yarn Skiens Dec. 15, 1896
Joanna Hardin Keyboard Stand Feb. 23, 1993
Lydia M. Holmes Knockdown Wheeled Toy Nov. 14, 1985
Ruane Jeter Digital Toaster April 14, 1987
Marjorie S. Joyner Permanent Waving Machine 1928
Mary B. Kenner Sanitary Belt May 15, 1956
Sanitary Belt with Moistureproof Napkin Pocket April 14, 1959
Carrier Attachment for Invalid Walker May 18, 1976
Bathroom Tissue Holder Oct. 19, 1982
Backwash Mounted on Shower Wall & Bathtub July 29, 1987
Mary Kies Weaving Straw with Silk May 5, 1809
Anna Mangin Pastry Fork 1892
Lyda D. Newman Hair Brush Nov. 15, 1898
Natalie R. Love T-top Roof Cover May 5, 1992
Alice H. Parker Improvement on the Heating Furnish Dec. 23, 1919
Brothella Quick Pocketed Underwear Nov. 17, 1981
Carol Randall Ear Clips Nov. 17, 1981
Tissue Tote Nov. 20, 1990
Judy W. Reed Improvement in Dough Kneader & Roller Sept. 20, 1884
Mary J. Reynolds Hoisting/Loading Mechanism April 20, 1920
Mildred A. Snow Family Relationship Card Game Oct. 28, 1980
Maxine Snowden Rain Hat 1983
Theora Stephens Pressing/Curling Iron 1983
Valerie Thomas Illusion Transmitter Oct. 21, 1980
M. Toland Float-operated Circuit Closer May 4, 1920
Madeline M. Turner The Fruit Press 1905
Madame C.J. Walker Hair Care Products with Straightening Comb 1905

 

Honorable Mention—Future Inventors
Arizona
Irene Dixon Charlotte Oliver
California
Jean Kimpson Loretta H. Hones
Washington, D.C.
Debrah Akewei
Lelia Crowders
Sonja King
Sabrina R. Moornor
Mary Halen Patton
Holly Reed
Annette Santiago
Florida
Glenda Broswell-Moore
Louise H. Andrews
Angela Atkinson
Cheryl Pitts
Geraldine Pettis
Dotty Slaughter
Carol Morris
Michigan
Deborah Graham Deborah Mallory Jacqueline Smith
Missouri
Robin Holmes
New York
Mrs. C. Askew
Angela Edmons
Denise Grant
Lois Henman
Ealine Jackson
Marilyn Jones
Dr. Lenora Leach
Stephanie S. McDaniels
Corrine Page
Sandy Sanderlin
Deborah Singletary
Allison Williams
Jackie Young
Pennsylvania
Priscilla James Kathryn Williams Connie Young
Texas
Brunetta Pearson
Virginia
Roxie E. Johnson Rosa Singleton

Information Source: Black Inventors Museum

SOURCE

RELATED LINKS:

1.
Product Details
Black Stars: African American Women Scientists and Inventors
– Hardcover – Abridged (Oct. 12, 2001) by Otha Richard Sullivan and Jim Haskins
4.8 out of 5 stars (6)

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“YOU’RE PRETTY, FOR A BLACK GIRL”

“You’re pretty, for a Black girl.”

Sometimes said to someone a Black person knows, often said to the Black girl (or woman) herself, this compliment brings with it so much racialized sexist baggage where Black women’s beauty is concerned.

Why would anyone even state such a comment?: What must be their image and idea of what a Black woman should look like?

Is it the subconscious parameter they are working with when they think of Black women that out of all the Black women in America, you stand out as different and better and more beautiful than what they think a Black girl or woman should look like, while saying this to you? Or that Black women, among all women, can never be pretty—that pretty is an aberration for them? That pretty for a Black woman is some fluke of nature? That Black women as a whole cannot possibly be attractive?

My question to the Black ladies:

 
Have you ever had someone say to you that you are pretty for a black girl?
 
Did you consider it a genuine compliment, a backhanded compliment, or a straight-up demeaning insult, if stated by a Black man or even a Black woman?
 
If stated by an Arab, Asian, Native American, Latino, or White  (man or woman) would you consider it racist?
 
Why should Black women’s beauty have to have a qualifier to give it acknowledgement?
 
“Pretty for a Black girl”.
 
Black ladies, how do you respond?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Joy-bryant-bronx
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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PARK FOREST, ILLINOIS: A COMMUNITY THAT REPRESENTED THE BEST OF AMERICA

 

Moving In by Norman Rockwell
New Kids in the Neighborhood, by Norman Rockwell

Many people think of the American South when they picture rampant racism against Black Americans. The segregated restrooms, water fountains, movie theaters, restaurants, and having to ride in the back of the bus.

 
The image of the South as an unending land of racial apartheid for Black Americans is constantly taken for granted. But, the North had its own form of venom it heaped on Black Americans, and its system of segregation was more pernicious.
 
Racial gerrymandering. Racial discrimination in jobs.
 
Restrictive covenants concerning housing.
 
Sundown towns.
 
When Black families attempted to move into all-White neighborhoods in suburbs like the Levitttowns, they were met with the hostility of the White residents.
 
Slurs, written in graffiti spray paint were left on homes. Verbal abuse of racist pejoratives were hurled at Black home buyers. Vandalism against personal property of Black families occurred. Trash and debris were thrown onto the lawns of Black families. Entire Black families were ostracized by their White neighbors.
 
RELATED LINKS:
 
 
But, one community stood out from the rest and decided that they would be a city on the hill and not commit atrocities against their fellow Black citizens who sought to move in.
 
That community is Park Forest, Illinois.
 
The Village of Park Forest, incorporated in 1949, was started as a post-World War II community and has been integrated for over 52 years. In 1959, when Black families started to move in, the community of Park Forest was faced with a decision:
 
-integrate peacefully, or do as so many other all-White communities did by attacking and making life a living hell for their new Black neighbors.
 
Park Forest decided to peacefully integrate.
 
How was Park Forest different from so many planned communities built after WWII that welcomed ethnic Whites, but shut out Blacks? Where so many Whites were given GI loans to obtain homes, federally subsidized highway construction, and amenities and facilities that made commuting to work and living in the suburbs easier?
 
A visit to the Park Forest website gives an indication:
 
It is the first fully-planned, post-World War II suburb, with schools, churches, shopping and homes incorporated into the original plan. It was not a subdivision like the Levittowns in New York and Pennsylvania.Park Forest was also home to one of the first two shopping centers. The architecture and planning firm, Loebl, Schlossman and Bennett laid out the plans and designed the townhomes, shopping centers, many of the schools and some of the churches.The builders were innovators in home construction and in city planning. They set up methods of efficiency in mass production of homes that were imitated throughout the country. Park Forest was the largest project and one of the very first to use natural gas. Thanks to Chief Engineer, Charles Waldmann, they were one of the first communities to put their utilities underground.American Community Builders, when they still had about 15 years of building ahead of them on Park Forest, went to the residents in November 27, 1948 and asked them to incorporate as a Village. In effect, ACB put itself under the rule of its own tenants, while it still had years of building left on the project. The Villagers turned out to be highly educated and took developing a Village government very seriously. They also took very seriously the future planning of the community, the schools, social organizations and everything else they did. The fact that they were given the reigns of the village so early deeply affected the way the citizens developed into such a socially proactive group. There were almost no citizens over the age of 30. Everything the residents wanted to do, they had to learn how to do on their own, or go to experts in how to set up the best case scenario of anything they were trying to do.The village was integrated, peacefully, in December 1959. This happened at a time when other suburbs across the country, including the Levvittowns, were experiencing serious acts of discrimination against their first African American residents. The Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Church helped bring the first African American, Dr. Charles Z. Wilson, and his family to Park Forest. The Human Relations Commission joined the SAC in going into the neighborhoods to ease the way of each African American family for many years after that. Later, Park Forest instituted a program of Integration Maintenance to avoid block-busting and white flight, successfully maintaining a well-balanced, integrated village.
 
Not all was a bed of roses for Blacks who wanted to move to Park Forest. Some met with hostility after they moved there, and some may have faced what this famous scene from A Raisin in the Sun evoked so beautifully:
 
 
But, by large, the community welcomed Black families and sought to work with them and help them become a part of the community. Park Forest would not allow white-flight and block-busting to occur to destroy their community. By approaching racial and ethnic diversity as positive, they have created a community that endures because of its community relations department, housing authority, mediation task force, and national coalition building institute.
 
RELATED LINKS:
 
 
Today, Park Forest still maintains its mandate of being a community for all, as shown by the following:
 
Initial efforts of a black family moving to town were thwarted by neighborhood resistance. A few years later the first African-American family moved to the Village in 1959. The Commission on Human Relations advised the Village government to assume a low news profile and high local communications plan. Community leaders established the practice of meeting with neighbors of black families about integration. The ability to talk about such issues through the Commission on Human Relations and local churches and synagogues made people comfortable with integration. The Village government, at the same time, made a strong effort to make minority families feel welcome and insured that all persons would receive equal protection and services.

Realizing that racial integration does not continue without positive intervention, the Village has pursued a variety of programs to promote and serve the community in a manner that attracts people of different races, ethnic groups, religious affiliations and economic means. These programs have included, but are not limited to, affirmative marketing, Realtor education, housing counseling, and resident surveys.

During the 1960’s Park Forest pursued an informal policy of discouraging all white or all black neighborhoods. These strategies helped the Village avoid rapid racial change, maintain strong housing values, and achieve long-term racial and economic integration.

In an effort to dispel the myth that integrated communities decline physically and economically, the Village maintains; a high level of municipal services; aggressively enforces housing codes; supports the Park Forest Housing Authority; provides a wide variety of recreational and cultural activities. To facilitate positive interaction among Village residents Park Forest: established a Community Mediation Task Force (which deals with neighbor conflicts) and took the lead in forming the Illinois Chapter of the National Coalition Building Institute (a leading Prejudice Reduction Workshop). Workshops are offered on an ongoing basis to residents, Boards and Commissions, the faith community, schools and the business community.

SOURCE

Park Forest has been studied for integration, city planning, sociology, and the history of suburbia in the mid-20th century. Books on the history of sociology, city and neighborhood planning and historic preservation of architecture use Park Forest as a reference. Museums have also done exhibits on Park Forest.

Park Forest is an example of how one community decided to see the humanity in their fellow citizens.

Park Forest decided that they would be a community for all, a place to live in , a place to thrive in, a place to put down roots in–a place to stay and make a home in.

They succeeded in the shining example that they set.

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IN REMEMBRANCE: 5-22-2011

SAMMY WANJIRU, MARATHON CHAMPION

By

Published: May 16, 2011

 

Sammy Wanjiru, who set a blistering pace to shatter the 24-year-old Olympic record in the marathon, becoming the youngest winner of the event, died on Sunday in Nyahururu, Kenya. He was 24.

May 17, 2011

Ruben Sprich/Reuters

Samuel Kamau Wanjiru of Kenya celebrates winning the men’s marathon during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

His death was reported by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field. News reports from Kenya quoted the police saying that Wanjiru had jumped from the balcony of his home after his wife, Triza Njeri, arrived to find him with another woman.

The reports said investigators were trying to determine why Wanjiru, who died from internal injuries, had jumped.

He had been going through a troubled period in his life. Last December, he was charged with threatening to kill his wife and with illegal possession of an AK-47 assault rifle. His wife withdrew the attempted-murder charge against him, saying they had reconciled. He was scheduled to appear in court later this month on the firearms charge.

In January, Wanjiru sustained minor injuries from a crash when he swerved to avoid a truck, hit a pothole and rolled his car.

For all of Kenya’s dominance in long-distance running, no Kenyan had won the Olympic marathon until Wanjiru in Beijing in 2008. He became, at 23, the youngest person to win four major marathons: Chicago in 2009 and in 2010 and London in 2009, in addition to the 2008 Olympics.

In 2008, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races named Wanjiru the world athlete of the year. In 2008-9 and 2009-10, he won the World Marathon Majors, a competition based on combined performance in the world’s major marathons.

Raila Odinga, the prime minister of Kenya, called him one of his country’s “sure bets for gold” at next year’s London Olympics. His death, he said, “is therefore a big blow to our dreams.”

Wanjiru broke the world record for the half-marathon three times, and his time of 58 minutes 33 seconds at the Hague in March 2007 is still the second best, behind the current world record of 58:23, set by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea in 2010.

Wanjiru won the Chicago Marathon in 2009 with a time of 2 hours 5 minutes 41 seconds, a record that still stands. His 2:05:10 in the London Marathon that year, his best marathon time, set a race record that has since been surpassed. His Olympic time was 2:06:32.

But he never achieved his goal of running the marathon in less than two hours. The present world record is 2:03:59 set by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia in Berlin in 2008.

David Bedford, the race director for the London Marathon, said, “He was in my opinion the best marathon runner ever and was likely to break the world marathon record.”

Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, who is survived by a daughter in addition to his wife, grew up in Nyahururu, the rural village where he died. He started running as a means of transportation and impressed people with his speed.

But his family could not afford to send him to training schools for running, and he dropped out of school in the seventh grade. A Japanese scout somehow spotted him, and he ended up going to Japan to complete high school and become a champion runner.

He became known for starting races fast, darting ahead of runners worried about using up their energy too quickly. In the hot, humid conditions in Beijing, he said, “I had to push the pace to tire the other runners.”

Wanjiru won the Olympics in warm-up shoes because he had left his racing shoes in Kenya. He was made an elder of his village when he returned.

SOURCE

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DON BARDEN, A LEADING BLACK BUSINESSMAN

By NICK BUNKLEY

Published: May 19, 2011

 

DETROIT — Don H. Barden, who rose from poverty to build one of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses through casinos and cable television, died on Thursday in Detroit. He was 67.

May 20, 2011

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

After Detroit began to allow casinos, Don H. Barden, right, tried to get one of the licenses, proposing a $1 billion project in partnership with Michael Jackson.

 

The cause was lung cancer, his lawyer, Henry Baskin, said.

Mr. Barden’s business empire started with a record store in Lorain, Ohio, that he opened at 21 with $500 in savings. Last year, the magazine Black Enterprise ranked Barden Companies as the 10th-highest-grossing black-owned company, with $405 million in revenue. Mr. Barden was the founder of Barden Cablevision, which built the cable television system serving Detroit and several suburbs. Comcast bought the system for more than $100 million in 1994, and Mr. Barden used the proceeds to open the Majestic Star, a riverboat casino in Gary, Ind.

In 2001, Mr. Barden became the first black owner of a Las Vegas casino with his purchase of Fitzgeralds.

But he remained bitter about being denied the opportunity to open a casino in Detroit. Several years after the city began to allow casinos, he tried to get one of the licenses, proposing a $1 billion theme park and resort in partnership with Michael Jackson.

In recent years, he faced setbacks in his businesses and in his personal life. His gambling company, Majestic Star Casino, which operates casinos in Indiana, Colorado, Mississippi and Nevada, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. Earlier this year he and his third wife, Bella Marshall, separated after 23 years of marriage. She said he was no longer competent to handle his investments, an assertion he denied.

Mr. Barden was widely known for his charitable work. He organized a series of regional economic peace conferences to address Detroit’s crime problem, national reputation and need for economic development.

“He faced a lot of long odds,” said the Wayne County executive, Robert A. Ficano, who often consulted Mr. Barden for advice. “He knew how to run a business and have a heart for the community. He remembered where his roots were and never gave up wanting to improve this area.”

Donald Hamilton Barden was born on Dec. 20, 1943, in Inkster, Mich., a mostly black suburb of Detroit. The ninth of 13 children, he grew up sharing a bed with three brothers and left for college in the hope of becoming a business owner rather than an autoworker like his parents and an older brother.

“I figured I’d give myself 10 years trying to be an entrepreneur,” he said in a 2007 profile in The New York Times. “If I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, I could always go at 30 to 32 and get a job in the factory.” He dropped out of Central State University in Ohio because he lacked the money to continue and in 1965 opened Donnie’s Records, which he promoted through appearances by the Jackson Five and James Brown. During his 20 years in Lorain, west of Cleveland, Mr. Barden became the first black member of its City Council, founded a newspaper, The Lorain County Times, worked as a news anchor and hosted a weekly television talk show.

Mr. Barden began developing real estate in Ohio before turning his focus to cable television in the 1980s, when he returned to Detroit and won the contract to install a system throughout the city.

Besides his wife, Mr. Barden is survived by a son, Don Jr., and a daughter, Alana M. Barden.

SOURCE

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BARBARA STUART, TV ACTRESS

By

Published: May 19, 2011

 

Barbara Stuart, an actress with a familiar if not famous face on television for half a century, who appeared on nearly 80 television series that spanned much of the medium’s history, died on Sunday in St. George, Utah. She was 81.

May 20, 2011

Photofest

Barbara Stuart in the 1960s.

 

Her death was confirmed by her brother, Richard McNeese.

Starting with “I Led Three Lives” in 1954 and concluding with the Showtime series “Huff” in 2006, Ms. Stuart never achieved stardom. Viewers with sharp eyes and good memories might recall her as Miss Bunny, the long-suffering girlfriend of Sergeant Carter on “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.,” or as Peggy Ferguson, McLean Stevenson’s wife on “The McLean Stevenson Show,” but her television appearances were notable more for their frequency than their visibility.

After appearing in the recurring role of Bessie, Gildy’s inept secretary, on “The Great Gildersleeve,” in 1955, she found steady employment for the next five decades, compiling a long list of credits that included shows both renowned and long forgotten. She appeared on the classic shows “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” “Rawhide,” “The Twilight Zone,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Taxi.” Less celebrated were “Jefferson Drum,” “Markham” and “Frontier Circus.”

Although she had recurring roles on “Pete and Gladys,” as Gladys’s friend Alice, in the early 1960s, and on “Our Family Honor,” as Marianne Danzig, the wife of a crime lord played by Eli Wallach, in the mid-1980s, she usually worked on just one or two episodes of a series.

She showed up on “Batman” in 1966 as Rocket O’Rourke, henchwoman to the Puzzler, for two parts of a linked episode and then vanished from the series, only to resurface as Goldie Miner on an episode of “T.H.E. Cat.” This was the pattern throughout a career that extended from the kinescope era to cable.

Barbara Ann McNeese was born on Jan. 3, 1930, in Paris, Ill., and grew up in nearby Hume. After graduating from high school, she took acting classes at the Schuster-Martin School of Drama in Cincinnati and then moved to New York, where she studied with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen. To pay for her classes, she modeled on the side. For professional purposes, she took the last name Stuart, a family name.

Her first television role came in 1954, when she played Comrade Martine Fenton in the cold war spy drama “I Led Three Lives.” After being cast in the national touring production of “Lunatics and Lovers,” with Zero Mostel in the starring role, she was hired for “The Great Gildersleeve,” and the television parts came rolling in.

Ms. Stuart, who lived in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, appeared in a handful of films, including “Marines, Let’s Go!” (1961), “Hellfighters” (1968) and “The Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills” (1997). In the 1980 satire “Airplane!,” she was the wife of Rex Kramer, the crack pilot played by Robert Stack. She was Tom Hanks’s future mother-in-law in “Bachelor Party” (1984).

She wound up her television career in a recurring role on “Huff.” From 2004 to 2006, she played Alice, one of Blythe Danner’s bridge partners.

Her marriage to the actor Dick Gautier ended in divorce. In addition to her brother, Richard, of Santa Clara, Utah, she is survived by three stepchildren: Diane Christine Chormicle of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Denise Michelle Gautier of Arcadia, Calif.; and Rand Robert Gautier of Santa Rosa, Calif.

SOURCE

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RANDY SAVAGE, PRO WRESTLING’S MACHO MAN

By ELIZABETH A. HARRIS

Published: May 20, 2011

 

Randy Savage, who with his trademark sunglasses, bandannas and raspy voice was one of the most recognizable professional wrestlers of the 1980s and ’90s as the character Macho Man, died on Friday in a one-car accident in Pinellas County, Fla. He was 58.

May 21, 2011

WWE, via Associated Press

Randy “Macho Man” Savage died Friday in a one-car accident.

May 21, 2011

B. Vartan Boyajian/Associated Press

Mr. Savage put Hulk Hogan in a headlock in 1989.

His brother, Lanny Poffo, said that Savage was driving with his wife, Lynn, about 9:25 a.m. when he passed out at the wheel, drove over the median and hit a tree. His wife had minor injuries, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Savage, whose real name was Randy Poffo, would strut into the ring to his theme song “Pomp and Circumstance,” muscles gleaming and neon spandex shining, growling his signature expression, “Oooh, yeah!” before diving at his opponents, elbows first.

Outside the ring, he would wear brightly colored cowboy hats and outfits dripping with fringe to appear as a spokesman for Slim Jim snacks (“Snap into a Slim Jim!” he would say. “Oooh, yeah!”) or as a guest on talk shows like Arsenio Hall’s, never breaking character.

In a world in which enormous, half-naked men hurl their bodies at one another in front of thousands of people — complete with elaborate story lines, sequined costumes and theme music — Savage managed to stand out, perhaps because he spoke and dressed more loudly than most, or perhaps because he was equally successful playing a villain (known in the industry as a heel) and a good guy (a face).

Colleagues who knew him at the height of his success, when he wrestled alongside Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, said he had charisma and a knack for spontaneity.

“The real gift of a good wrestler is improv, and your ability to read a crowd and know what to do instinctively; Randy was very good at that,” said the former pro wrestler Ted DiBiase, whose character, Million Dollar Man, had a much-publicized rivalry with Macho Man. “If you’re going to be very good in our industry, you have to be an athlete as well as an entertainer.”

Randy Mario Poffo was born on Nov. 15, 1952, in Columbus, Ohio, into a family of wrestlers. His brother, Lanny, wrestled under the name the Genius, and his father, Angelo Poffo, wrestled as well. Before becoming a wrestler in the mid-1970s, Savage played minor league baseball for about four years in the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds organizations, mainly as an outfielder.

Savage’s first wife, Elizabeth Hulette, was part of his act for many years as his manager, called Miss Elizabeth or the First Lady of Wrestling. The couple divorced, and in 2003, she died from a prescription drug overdose at 42.

After his wrestling days, Savage found other avenues. He played the wrestler Bonesaw McGraw in the 2002 movie “Spider-Man,” appeared on situation comedies like “Mad About You,” and lent his scratchy baritone to video games and cartoons, including “Family Guy” and “King of the Hill.”

Savage and his second wife, Lynn, were married last May after some 10 years together, Lanny Poffo said.

Beside his wife and brother, Savage is survived by his mother, Judy, and his stepchildren, Devin and Noel.

Twitter was abuzz on Friday with tributes to Savage and condolences for his family. Hogan, with whom Savage had a legendary rivalry in the ring, said they had just started speaking again after 10 years.

“He had so much life in his eyes & in his spirit,” Hogan wrote. “I just pray that he’s happy and in a better place and we miss him.”

Dave Itzkoff contributed reporting.

SOURCE

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CORNELL DUPREE, STUDIO GUITARIST AND SIDEMAN TO THE STARS

By PETER KEEPNEWS

Published: May 14, 2011

 

Cornell Dupree, a guitarist whose quietly bluesy style made him an in-demand session musician throughout the 1960s and ’70s for artists like Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon and Ringo Starr, died May 8 at his home in Fort Worth. He was 68.

May 15, 2011

Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos

Cornell Dupree onstage in New York City in 1996.

The cause was emphysema, said David Kramer, his agent and longtime friend, who had organized a benefit concert for him in New York in March.

The average listener may not have known Mr. Dupree’s name (“Not many people read the back of albums,” he acknowledged in a 1997 interview in The Dallas Observer), but millions knew his playing. His licks are an indispensable part of a number of Ms. Franklin’s biggest hits, Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” and many other records.

By his own estimate, he played on about 2,500 sessions. Jerry Wexler, the Atlantic Records executive who produced hits for Ms. Franklin and many others, said on several occasions that he had often used three guitarists on the sessions he supervised, to get as full a sound as possible, until he realized Mr. Dupree was the only one he needed.

Though best known as a rhythm-and-blues player, accompanying performers like Wilson Pickett and B. B. King, Mr. Dupree also performed or recorded with Joe Cocker, Barbra Streisand, Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt and Mariah Carey, among other pop stars. He played on Mr. Simon’s 1973 hit album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” and Mr. Starr’s R&B-influenced album “Ringo the 4th.”

When Miles Davis, the great jazz trumpeter, was searching for a funkier and more contemporary sound in the early 1970s, Mr. Dupree was among the musicians he used on his album “Get Up With It.”

Mr. Dupree’s most enduring associations were with Ms. Franklin and the saxophonist King Curtis. He joined King Curtis and the Kingpins in 1962 (Jimi Hendrix was briefly in the band with him) and was still a member when Ms. Franklin hired them to accompany her on tour in 1967. King Curtis died in 1971, but Mr. Dupree remained with Ms. Franklin until 1976.

Around the time he left Ms. Franklin, he and a number of other session musicians began recording and performing as a group. Known as Stuff, they made several all-instrumental albums for Warner Brothers and toured extensively.

Mr. Dupree also recorded as a bandleader; his last album, for the Austin label Dialtone, has not yet been released.

Cornell Dupree Jr. was born Dec. 19, 1942, in Fort Worth, the only child of Cornell and Bernice Dupree. His first instrument was the saxophone, but he began playing guitar in his early teens.

He is survived by his wife, the former Erma Kindles; three children, James Cornell, Cornell III and Celestine Maria; and nine grandchildren.

SOURCE

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SKYWATCH: SATURN STORM SCIENCE, FREE-FLOATING PLANETS, AND MORE

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NASA / JPL / Space Science Inst.

Bulletin at a Glance

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance
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Dissecting Saturn’s Big Storm

May 20, 2011 | Scientists have combined images from Cassini and big telescopic eyes in Chile to understand Saturn’s massive storm in ways never before possible. > read more

Do Planets Outnumber Stars?

May 19, 2011 | Just-released observations suggest that the Milky Way could teem with hundreds of billions of free-floating planets. > read more

Watching the Next-to-Last Shuttle Launch

May 16, 2011 | Author Carolyn Collins Petersen on Endeavour ‘s last launch and the future of flights to the International Space Station. > read more

Sky & Telescope July 2011

May 19, 2011 | Sky & Telescope‘s July 2011 issue is now available to digital subscribers. > read more

Observing

S&T diagram

The Four-Planet Dance of 2011

March 9, 2011 | Every morning in May 2011, just before sunrise, four planets combine to form fascinating and ever-changing patterns. > read more

Saturn’s New Bright Storm

December 27, 2010 | A massive new storm in the ringed planet’s northern hemisphere is bright enough to see in small telescopes. > read more

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

The view as dawn brightens

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

May 20, 2011 | The four planets dancing low in the dawn are spreading out and growing a little easier to see. In the evening sky, Saturn awaits your telescope from on high. > read more

Community

Julio Vannini

The Sky Has No Border

May 18, 2011 | StarPeace 2011, one of the world’s largest international star parties, has given stargazers from 25 countries a reason to forget their conflicts and unite for the love of the sky. > read more

Let the Star Parties Begin!

April 14, 2011 | Want to gaze at the Milky Way all night or peer into the eyepiece of a 12-foot-tall telescope? Then escape the city lights and head for the nearest “star party.” > read more

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COLORLINES: FAKE SCIENCE ON BLACK WOMEN’S BEAUTY

 

 

May 19, 2011 Colorlines.com Direct | Published by the Applied Research Center

Psychology Today’s Wildly Racist Blog Post on Black Women’s Beauty

A London School of Economics professor creates bar graphs to show how black women are uglier than women of other races. Akiba Solomon offers a sadly necessary debunking.

Study Shows How Equal Access to HIV Treatment Could Slow the Black Epidemic

Striking clinical trial findings spark hope for “treatment as prevention.” But as Rod McCullom reports, many black HIVers aren’t in treatment.

Still Separate and Unequal, Generations After Brown v. Board

Nearly 60 years after the landmark case, we’re still not delivering high quality education to kids of all races. Julianne Hing reports.
Also: More Than a Third of Adults Are Illiterate in Many Cities. What Do We Do?

       

Ohio Homeowners Storm Chase Shareholders Meeting
The bank has rejected more modification applications than Bank of America and Wells Fargo combined.

Arizona SWAT Team Shoots Latino Former Marine Dozens of Times
Now, authorities won’t release information on what led to the raid on 26-year-old Jose Guerena’s Arizona home.

Who’s Profiting More Than $5 Billion Off of Immigrant Detentions?
Advocacy group Cuéntame says that the American Legislative Exchange Council is a key player.

Wesley Yang Confuses Asian Masculinity With White Male Supremacy
A Korean-American writer argues that to succeed in the real world, Asian men must unlearn traditional values. But is the real world all it’s cracked up to be?

The Daily Show Hires “Señor Latino Correspondent”
Too bad they still stumbled on immigration.

 
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  Colorlines Investigates: Fixing Schools in a Broken Economy Isn’t Simple Math
Julianne Hing spent the school year visiting families and educators in Los Angeles. She found them navigating a reality that bears little resemblance to today’s heated debate over reform.

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