Monthly Archives: January 2013




Quick Facts

World Cancer Day is an annual global event on February 4 to raise people’s awareness of cancer.

Local names

Name Language
World Cancer Day English
Día Mundial contra el Cáncer Spanish

World Cancer Day 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

World Cancer Day 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World Cancer Day is a global observance that helps raise people’s awareness of cancer and how to prevent, detect or treat it. This event is held on February 4 each year.

There are different symbols that help promote awareness of different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon symbolizes breast cancer awareness. © rocksunderwater

What do people do?

People, businesses, governments and non-profit organizations work together on World Cancer Day to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, how to watch for it, treatments and preventative measures. Various activities and events include:

  • Television, radio, online and newspaper advertisements and articles that focus on the fight against cancer.
  • Nationwide campaigns targeted at parents to help them minimize the risk of cancer within their families.
  • Breakfasts, luncheons or dinners aimed at raising funds for cancer research or projects that help to fight cancer. Many of these events feature keynote speakers or video presentations.
  • Public information booths featuring information kits, fact sheets, booklets, posters and other items that promote the cancer awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and treatment.

Some countries use World Cancer Day to promote campaigns on various cancer issues, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and cancer in children. Much focus goes towards awareness and risk reduction.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the United Nations’ (UN) directing and coordinating health authority, works with organizations such as the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) on this day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer. Recurring themes over the years focus on preventing cancer and raising the quality of life for cancer patients.

Public life

World Cancer Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.


Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, according to WHO, which estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. Low-income and medium-income countries are harder hit by cancer than the high-resource countries. It is essential to address the world’s growing cancer burden and to work on effective control measures.

World Cancer Day is part of the World Cancer Campaign, which responds to the Charter of Paris adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium on February 4, 2000. It called for a strong alliance between researchers, health-care professionals, patients, governments, industry partners and the media to fight cancer.

The Charter of Paris designated February 4 each year as World Cancer Day. UICC is responsible for coordinating World Cancer Day globally. It receives support from various partners and organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international bodies. UICC organized the first World Cancer Day in 2006.


There are different symbols that are used to help promote the fight against different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon is a global symbol of breast cancer awareness, while the orange ribbon is associated with child cancer awareness. Another example is the daffodil, which the American Cancer Society sees as a symbol of hope that people share for a future where cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

World Cancer Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday type Where it is observed
Sat Feb 4 2006 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Sun Feb 4 2007 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Mon Feb 4 2008 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Wed Feb 4 2009 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Thu Feb 4 2010 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Fri Feb 4 2011 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Sat Feb 4 2012 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Mon Feb 4 2013 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Tue Feb 4 2014 World Cancer Day United Nations observance
Wed Feb 4 2015 World Cancer Day United Nations observance

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Published: January 20, 2013

  • James A. Hood, who integrated the University of Alabama in 1963 together with his fellow student Vivian Malone after Gov. George C. Wallace capitulated to the federal government in a signature moment of the civil rights movement known as the “stand in the schoolhouse door,” died on Thursday in Gadsden, Ala. He was 70.

Associated Press

A campus police officer stood by as James A. Hood left his dormitory to go to class at the University of Alabama in 1963.

Dave Martin/Associated Press

Mr. Hood in July 1996.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Mary Hood.

On the morning of June 11, 1963, Mr. Hood and Ms. Malone, backed by a federal court order, sought to become the first blacks to successfully pursue a degree at Alabama. A black woman, Autherine Lucy, had been admitted in 1956 but was suspended three days later, ostensibly for her safety, when the university was hit by riots. She was later expelled.

Having previously proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” Wallace was blocking the entrance to Foster Auditorium on the university’s Tuscaloosa campus, while ringed by state troopers, when Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, then the deputy attorney general, approached him together with federal marshals. Mr. Hood and Ms. Malone remained nearby in a car.

Mr. Katzenbach demanded that Wallace obey a federal court order implementing the injunction issued in Ms. Lucy’s case. But Wallace was defiant, challenging its constitutionality. Mr. Katzenbach said he would be back with the students later in the day and fully expected them to be admitted.

President John F. Kennedy federalized several hundred members of the Alabama National Guard, who arrived on campus in the afternoon. Their commander, Brig. Gen. Henry V. Graham, went to the auditorium door for a second confrontation. He told Wallace it was his “sad duty” to order him to stand aside. Wallace read another defiant statement, denouncing “military dictatorship,” but departed, presumably having saved face with segregationists in an orchestrated show of defiance.

Mr. Hood and Ms. Malone embarked on their college careers that day, and violence was averted. A third black student was admitted at Alabama’s Huntsville campus a few days later.

Kennedy made a broadcast speech the night of the Tuscaloosa confrontation, calling civil rights a “moral issue.” But the next day, Medgar Evers of the Mississippi branch of the N.A.A.C.P. was shot to death in Jackson, Miss. A week later, Kennedy proposed a broad package of civil rights legislation.

Mr. Hood had a brief, dispiriting stay at Alabama. He lived in a dorm room on a floor where the only other occupants were federal marshals. A dead black cat was mailed to him, and university officials sought his expulsion for a speech attacking them and Wallace. He was also distraught because his father had cancer. He left the university on Aug. 11, 1963 — “to avoid,” he said at the time, “a complete mental and physical breakdown.”

He obtained a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a master’s degree from Michigan State, concentrating in criminal justice and sociology. He was a deputy police chief in Detroit and the chairman of the police science program at the Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin.

Mr. Hood returned to the University of Alabama to obtain a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies in 1997.

Vivian Malone Jones became Alabama’s first black graduate and was later a civil rights official with the United States Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Administration. She died in 2005.

James Alexander Hood was born on Nov. 10, 1942, in Gadsden, where his father, Octavie, drove a tractor at a Goodyear tire plant. He attended the historically black Clark College in Atlanta (now Clark Atlanta University). His anger when he read about a survey finding that the brain development of blacks had not matched that of whites spurred his desire to advance his education and put a lie to such notions.

He sought to transfer to Alabama to study clinical psychology, since Clark did not have that program. He joined with Ms. Malone as plaintiffs in a federal suit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund seeking to implement the original desegregation order from the Lucy case.

Mr. Hood retired from his college post in Wisconsin in 2002 and returned to Gadsden.

In addition to his daughter Mary, he is survived by another daughter, Jacquelyn Hood-Duncan; three sons, Darrell, Anthony and Marvis; two brothers, Eddie and Arthur; three sisters, Brenda Marshall, Ramona Thomas and Patricia Tuck; and nine grandchildren.

While Mr. Hood was working toward his doctorate on his return to the University of Alabama, Wallace, who had been shot and partly paralyzed while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972, invited him for a meeting. By then, Wallace had disavowed his segregationist stance.

“He said he was sorry,” Mr. Hood later told The Gadsden Times. “I said, ‘I forgave you a long time ago.’ ”

“The worst thing in the world is to hate,” Mr. Hood said, recalling that meeting. “Hate can destroy you, and I didn’t want that to happen to me.”

When Wallace died in June 1998, Mr. Hood traveled from his home in Madison, Wis., to attend the funeral. It was held in Montgomery, the first capital of the Confederacy but the capital as well of an Alabama very different from that day when he became a student at the campus in Tuscaloosa.




Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Shoot the Moon Productions

Linda Riss Pugach with her husband, Burton, in a 2007 film.


Published: January 23, 2013

  • She was 22, a sheltered, dark-haired Bronx beauty said to look like Elizabeth Taylor.

United Press International

Mr. Pugach with Linda Riss at the Copacabana in 1957, before the attack that blinded her and sent him to jail for 14 years.

He was a decade older, a suave lawyer who courted her with flowers, rides in his powder-blue Cadillac and trips to glittering Manhattan nightclubs. He was married, though not to her.

Before long, tiring of his unfulfilled promises to divorce his wife, she ended their affair. He hired three men, who threw lye in her face, blinding her, and went to prison for more than a decade.

Afterward, she married him.

Linda Riss Pugach, whose blinding by her lover, Burton N. Pugach, in 1959 became a news media sensation, and whose marriage to Mr. Pugach in 1974 became an equally sensational sequel, died at Forest Hills Hospital in Queens on Tuesday at 75.

The cause was heart failure, said Mr. Pugach, her husband of more than 38 years and her only immediate survivor.

In 1974, The New York Times called the attack on Miss Riss “one of the most celebrated crimes of passion in New York history.” In the years since, the strange romance of Mr. and Mrs. Pugach (pronounced POOH-gash) has seldom been far from public view.

A book about the couple, “A Very Different Love Story,” by Berry Stainback, was published in 1976. More recently, the Pugaches were the subject of a widely seen documentary, “Crazy Love.”

Part cautionary tale, part psychological study, part riveting disaster narrative, the film, directed by Dan Klores, was released in 2007 to favorable, if somewhat astonished, notices.

In the decades after their marriage, the Pugaches seemed hungry for limelight. Although reporters who visited their home in the Rego Park section of Queens wrote often of their unremitting bickering, the couple just as often appeared in the newspapers or on television to declare their mutual devotion.

They received renewed attention in 1997, when Mr. Pugach, known as Burt, went on trial in Queens on charges that he had sexually abused a woman and threatened to kill her.

At the trial, at which Mr. Pugach represented himself, Mrs. Pugach testified on his behalf, telling him in open court, “You’re a wonderful, caring husband.” The alleged victim in the case was Mr. Pugach’s mistress of five years.

Mr. Pugach, who was convicted of only a single count — harassment in the second degree — of the 11 with which he was charged in that case, was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

“We loved each other more than any other couple could have,” Mr. Pugach, intermittently weeping, said of his wife in a discursive telephone interview on Wednesday. He added, “Ours was a storybook romance.”

But to judge from the news accounts then and now, the story in question was “Beauty and the Beast.” Or, more precisely, it was that story’s unseen second act — the one in which the title union has degenerated into long, grinding yet strangely indissoluble banality.

Linda Eleanor Riss was born in the Bronx on Feb. 23, 1937. Her parents divorced when she was very young, and she was reared by her mother, her grandmother and an aunt.

She graduated from James Monroe High School in the Bronx; when she met Mr. Pugach, who specialized in negligence law, she was working as a secretary at an air-conditioner dealership on Tremont Avenue there.

After breaking off her affair with Mr. Pugach, Miss Riss became engaged to another man.

The attack, in June 1959, scarred her face and left her almost completely blind; over time, she lost what sight remained. To the end of Mrs. Pugach’s life, her face was framed by large dark glasses.

After the attack, Mr. Pugach appeared determined to continue their relationship. He telephoned her to suggest that they reconcile and later wrote her a torrent of letters from prison.

“At one point,” The Times reported in 1959, “he was said to have promised, ‘I’ll get you a Seeing Eye dog for Christmas.’ ”

“She was a sheltered, naïve young girl,” Mr. Klores, the filmmaker, said in an interview on Wednesday. “Her identity was centered around her physical beauty. When she had this romance with this older man — this obsessive relationship — he worshiped her for that physical beauty. And when that was taken from her, the scars weren’t merely on the outside.”

Liz O. Baylen for The New York Times

The Pugaches in their apartment in the Rego Park section of Queens in May 2007.

On Wednesday, Mr. Pugach, 85, denied having ordered the use of lye.

“I asked one guy to find someone who would beat her up, to try and get her back,” he said. “I didn’t ask anybody to throw lye at her.”

Testifying at Mr. Pugach’s trial in May 1961, Miss Riss said he had told her, “If I can’t have you, no one else will, and when I get finished with you, no one else will want you.”

There were ultimately two trials connected with the attack, and even by the standards of high-profile proceedings, they were spectacular. Mr. Pugach was declared insane three separate times, only to have the decisions reversed at his behest.

On another occasion, about to start the day’s proceedings, Mr. Pugach removed a lens from his eyeglasses and slashed his wrists, crying: “Linda, I need you. Linda, I love you. Linda, I want you.”

The wounds were not serious, and the trial continued.

Convicted in July 1961 for his role in the attack, Mr. Pugach was eventually sentenced to 15 to 30 years in state prison.

The case was ultimately appealed to the United States Supreme Court on the grounds that wiretap evidence against Mr. Pugach had been obtained illegally; the court ruled against him, 7 to 2.

Mr. Pugach was paroled from the Attica Correctional Facility in March 1974, after serving 14 years for his role in the attack and for an earlier conviction on related charges.

By the time he got out, his wife had divorced him. (He had also been disbarred; afterward, he worked as a paralegal.)

In November, after Mr. Pugach had gone on television several times to propose to Miss Riss, they were married.

In later years, Mr. Klores said, the couple went to movies and watched television, with Mr. Pugach narrating the action for his wife. Mrs. Pugach knitted and sewed, and did volunteer work with the blind. It was all quite unremarkable, apart from the singular tie that bound them.

Even after one reads accounts of the case, and even after one sees Mr. Klores’s film, the precise nature of that tie remains tantalizingly elusive. In interviews, Mrs. Pugach tended to characterize it with platitudes that revealed little.

Asked to define it on Wednesday, Mr. Klores, who spent three years with the couple during the making of his film, invoked Mrs. Pugach’s ever-present sunglasses in connection with a romance that she had after the attack, while Mr. Pugach was in prison.

“She always wore those sunglasses, even with me,” Mr. Klores said. “I asked her to take them off at the end of filming — she wouldn’t do it. When she had a serious romance as a blind woman, she did take off those glasses, and the suitor ran away. So who, in her mind, was the one man that only saw her as the beauty that she was?”

“I don’t use the word ‘guilt,’ ” Mr. Klores added, striving to put his finger on what had moved the couple to marry. “But I’m not using the word ‘love.’ ”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 24, 2013

An earlier version of a caption with this obituary referred incorrectly to the attack that blinded Ms. Pugach. It involved lye, which is a caustic base, not acid.





Published: January 22, 2013

  • Michael Winner, the brash British director known for violent action movies starring Charles Bronson including “The Mechanic” and the first three “Death Wish” films, died on Monday at his home in London. He was 77.

Paramount Pictures, via Photofest

Michael Winner, left, and Charles Bronson on the set of the 1974 film “Death Wish.” The two collaborated on several films.

His wife, Geraldine, confirmed his death in a statement to British news media. Mr. Winner revealed last summer that he had heart and liver ailments.

Mr. Winner’s films viscerally pleased crowds, largely ignored artistic pretensions and often underwhelmed critics. He directed many major stars in more than 30 films over more than four decades.

Marlon Brando played Quint in “The Nightcomers” (1971), a prequel to Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw” (Vincent Canby called it “quite bad” in The New York Times); Sophia Loren played a wife who traveled to the tropics to avenge her husband’s murder in the action film “Firepower” (1979) (“A lot happens,” Janet Maslin wrote in The Times, “None of it makes sense.”); and Oliver Reed played an adman who tried to escape the crass commercialism represented by his boss, Orson Welles, in the comedy-drama “I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname” (1967).

Mr. Winner’s most recognizable work remains a series of high-body-count action melodramas starring Charles Bronson. In “The Mechanic” (1972) Mr. Bronson played a bloodthirsty assassin, and in “The Stone Killer” (1973) he played a bloodthirsty police detective. But the actor-director team perfected their formula with “Death Wish” (1974).

Mr. Bronson played Paul Kersey, a New York City architect who becomes a vigilante after his wife is murdered and his daughter is sexually assaulted by muggers. The film struck a chord with audiences who were titillated by its extreme violence and what many took as its tough anti-crime stance, but some critics were appalled at what they saw as a transparent attempt to manipulate audiences and the cheapening of suffering and death.

“It’s a tackily made melodrama, but it so cannily orchestrates the audience’s responses that it can appeal to law-and-order fanatics, sadists, muggers, club women, fathers, older sisters, masochists, policemen, politicians, and, it seems, a number of film critics,” Vincent Canby wrote in The Times. “Its message, simply put, is: KILL. TRY IT. YOU’LL LIKE IT.”

Mr. Winner directed two more successful films in the series, but dropped out of the final two.

Michael Robert Winner was born in London on Oct. 30, 1935. The son of a well-to-do business owner, Mr. Winner graduated from Cambridge, having studied law and economics.

He was always fascinated by film, and resolved to become a director after college, even though his family thought the industry vulgar.

Mr. Winner initially struggled to find work. “Eventually I conned my way into doing a few shorts, documentaries, commercial spots and things,” he said in The London Sunday Times in 1970.

The odd jobs led to his first feature, the pop musical “Play It Cool” (1962). By the 1970s his work had reached American audiences.

He was confident on set, sometimes bordering on the dictatorial. “You have to be an egomaniac about it. You have to impose your own taste,” he said. “The team effort is a lot of people doing what I say.”

Mr. Winner also made movies with Anthony Hopkins and Burt Lancaster. His last film was the comic thriller “Parting Shots” (1998), about a photographer who decides to kill everyone who has wronged him in life after a doctor mistakenly tells him he has six weeks to live.

For almost 20 years, Mr. Winner wrote a weekly food column titled “Winner’s Dinners” for The Sunday Times of London.

Survivors include his wife, the former Geraldine Lynton-Edwards, whom he dated off and on for more than 50 years before they married in 2011.

When Mr. Winner proposed, he did not drop to one knee. “If I had,” he told The Daily Mail, “I doubt I would have been able to get back up.”


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Asteroid harvesting

Deep Space Industries

Asteroid Mining Gets Competitive

January 23, 2013                                                                | Deep Space Industries, Inc, announced plans to send a fleet of asteroid-prospecting to target asteroids in 2015 — and that’s just the first step in their ambitious proposal. > read more

Astronomers Zoom in on Solar Hairs

January 23, 2013                                                                | New observations with a rocket-launched imager reveal individual strands of plasma wound around each other in the Sun’s corona. These strands could be tied to the mysteriously high temperature of this region. > read more

Pulsar Twitches Leave Astronomers Perplexed

January 24, 2013                                                                | New X-ray and radio observations detected a strange switcheroo in the radiation from a pulsar. The repeated hiccups have left scientists scratching their heads. > read more

NGC 6872: The Largest Spiral Galaxy

January 12, 2013                                                                | Our Milky Way ranks near the top in the pecking order of spiral galaxies, but it’s no match for an enormous “island universe” in the constellation Pavo that is more than 500,000 light-years across. > read more

Doug Zubenel

The Evening Zodiacal Light in 2013

January 24, 2013                                                                | The zodiacal light shows very well from dark locations at mid-northern latitudes starting about 80 minutes after sunset on moonless evenings from late January to early April. > read more

Tour January’s Sky by Eye and Ear!

January 1, 2013                                                                  | Jupiter is the unrivaled king of the evening sky this month. Use it as a benchmark to find a pair of star clusters and other interesting celestial sights. > read more

Leo announces spring (eventually)

This Week’s Sky at a Glance

January 25, 2013                                                                  | The brightening Moon passes close by Jupiter as it moves eastward toward fullness. And when Sirius culminates in late evening now, can you see Canopus below it? > read more

            SkyWeek Television Show
Watch SkyWeekAs seen on PBS television stations nationwideSponsors: Meade Instruments Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope Click here to watch this week's episode

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Why Theresa Spence Is Still on a Hunger Strike, 7 Weeks Later

The Attawapiskat First Nation chief and Idle No More movement have put Natives under the spotlight in Canada–begging larger questions for the U.S., too.

5 Things I Learned About Abortion by Checking My Assumptions at the Door

Aura Bogado reports.On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Samara Azam-Yu reflects on helping her peers deal with the complex realities of reproductive health in a world without equity.

How to Be a Racial Justice Hero, on MLK Day and All Year Long

The Racial Transformer infographic Terry Keleher and Hatty Lee created for last year’s MLK Day has been among our most popular.

Dems ‘Have A Dance Partner’ on Immigration, But Is It Two-Step or Jazz? With Marco Rubio’s plan looking an awful lot like the White House’s, the real question is how will we get there and what gets lost along the way.

Oakland Hires Former LAPD Chief Who Says Cities Without ‘Stop and Frisk’ Are Doomed The Oakland City Council approved a $250k consulting contract with a team that includes former Los Angeles Police Department chief William Bratton.

Laurene Powell, Steve Jobs’ Widow, Launches DREAM Act Website collects videos of undocumented immigrants describing how their lives would change for the better should the DREAM Act pass.

Bidding War at Sundance for Oscar Grant Film The Weinstein Company is wrapping up a deal to acquire “Fruitvale,” a drama based film based on Oscar Grant’s last days.

Cornel West Explains Why it Bothers Him Obama Took Oath Using MLK’s Bible “You don’t play with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you don’t play with his people,” said Princeton professor Cornel West at a “Poverty in America” forum held last week.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Joins the GOP Retreat on Voting Rights In Florida, where long lines, blocked voters, robocalls with misinformation and elderly voters denied water reinforced the state’s electoral notoriety last November, Gov. Rick Scott appears to have seen the light.

GQ Publishes ‘Hottest Women’ List and Ranks Women By Race GQ just unveiled “The 100 Sexiest Women of the Millennium” list and a handful of women are categorized by their ethnicity or nationality.

Majority of Voters of Every Race Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform According to a new bipartisan poll, voters across racial, geographic and partisan lines want Congress to pass an immigration bill.

10 Sundance Festival Films You Should Know About Take a look at ten films you’ll undoubtedly hear about throughout the year.

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White Nationalist in Race for Suburban Missouri School Board

by Don Terry on January 22, 2013

A reported member of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens is running for a seat on a suburban Kansas City, Mo., school board on a platform that includes “removing materials that promote racial diversity” in a district that is becoming increasingly diverse.

The candidate, Edward Stephens, a 25-year-old electrical engineer, came in fifth – dead last – with 5% of the vote when he first ran for a seat on the seven-member Park Hill School board in Platte County in 2012. A candidate who dropped out of the race before the election even got more votes than Stephens.

Students of color make up nearly 30% of the district as families flee the crumbling Kansas City school system. “Diversity has doubled in the last 15 years,” Park Hill School district spokeswoman, Nicole Kirby, told Hatewatch today. “The district supports diversity and making sure we are respecting students across all backgrounds.”

The Council’s newspaper, Citizen’s Informer, regularly publishes articles condemning “race mixing,” decrying the evils of illegal immigration, and lamenting the decline of white, European civilization. The group’s website once described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Created in 1985, the Council is the modern reincarnation of the old White Citizens Councils, which were formed in the 1950s and 1960s to battle school desegregation in the South.

“As a Christian and Freemason, Edward is one of us,” the Council recently announced as it introduced Stephens to readers of its website. The announcement specifically described Stephens as a Council “member.”

Stephens could not be immediately reached for comment. In his campaign literature, he says he has a “heart-felt” desire to “produce the best possible future leaders of our community.”

Stephens, who grew up in Platte County and graduated from Park Hill High School in 2006 before earning a B.S. degree from Missouri University of Science & Technology, also calls for no new taxes and teaching “a pro-America agenda in our classrooms.”

Kirby, the district spokeswoman, said Stephens had also applied to finish the term of a board member who had resigned earlier in the year. “He was not selected,” she said.

In an interview last year with The Pitch, a weekly alternative newspaper in Kansas City, Stephens talked about some of his hopes for Park Hill, one of the best school districts in the state. According to the paper, Stephens said there was too much emphasis on Native American history in the schools.

“We should focus more as a district on programs that are going to focus on, basically, the white men that founded this country and built this country,” he told the paper. The headline on the story was “Park Hill’s school-board race has a great white dope: race baiter Edward Stephens.”

His candidacy is also being promoted on the website of the American Third Position, another white supremacist group, under this headline: “School Board Candidate Proposes A ‘White History Month.’” The story quoted Stephens saying: “I think we need to also pay attention to the white culture and white accomplishments. The vast majority of the Park Hill School District is white. … [I]t only makes sense to honor those things as well.”

By rejecting Stephens last year, the voters missed a golden opportunity for a few laughs and well-attended school board meetings, according to Kansas City blogger and columnist Chris Kamler.

“Surely he’d have come up with some entertaining proposals,” Kamler wrote in the Platte County Landmark shortly after last year’s election. “Maybe he’d have proposed making the Park Hill South Panthers the Park Hill South White Polar Bears? Oh, sure the rest of the board would [have] voted it down, but not [until] after we all had a good laugh.”

Kamler imagined Stephen’s presence would have packed board meetings and citizen participation “would’ve been at an all-time high as folks came from near and far to hear the racist and divisive comments of a school board member. You might’ve even gotten your own TLC Reality Show.”

The election for four open seats on the board is April 2.


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Black women have made their mark in so many endeavors throughout their sojourn in America. The following is about a woman who is a giant in the world of art.

Her name is Faith Ringgold, and here is her story.


Faith Ringgold (b. October 8, 1934). Born and raised in Harlem, New York City, New York, Faith Ringgold is a Black American artist who has spent her artistic career breaking boundaries and clearing spaces for Black American creativity, especially that of women.

She earned a B.A. in art and education in 1955 and an M.F.A. in 1959 at City College, New York. Dissatisfied with the traditional high art training that she received in New York and later in Europe, Ms. Ringgold reeducated herself by studying African art, reading the works of Black Arts Movement authors, and participating in the growing protest for a civil rights revolution in America. Ms. Ringgold’s paintings from this period, The Flag is Bleeding (1967), US Postage Stamp Commemorating the Advent of Black Power (1967), blend an African-inspired aesthetic of geometric shapes and flat, shadowless perspective with potent political and social protest.

Ms. Ringgold has been an outspoken critic of racial and gender prejudice in the art world. In the early 1970s she organized protests against the Whitney Museum of American Art and other major museums for excluding the works of Blacks and women. In response to the museum world’s exclusionary policies, Ms. Ringgold and other Black women artists formed a collective and organized and exhibit of their own, whose title, Where We At, announced their visibility.

Ms. Ringgold’s art focuses on Black women and Black women’s issues. Diverse works–a mural in the Women’s House of Detention in Riker’s Island, New York (1971-1972) and a performance piece using soft sculptures, The Wake and Resurrection of the Bicentennial Negro (1976) –focused on women’s ability to heal and brought her work to a wider audience.

Since the 1970s Ms. Ringgold has documented her local community and national events in life-size soft sculptures, representing everyone from ordinary Harlem denizens to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the young victims of the Atlanta child murders (1979-80). Ms. Ringgold’s expression of Black women’s experience is perhaps best captured in her “storyquilts’.

A combination of quilting and narrative text, quilts like Who’s Afraid of Aunt Jemima? (1982) and the series Women on a Bridge (1980) tell stories of pain and survival in a medium that Ms. Ringgold finds essentially female and empowering.

She transformed one of her quilts into a children’s book, Tar Beach, that won the 1982 Caldecott Honor Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. The book, Tar Beach, is based on the story quilt Tar Beach, from Ms. Ringgold’s The
Woman On A Bridge Series of 1988 and is in the permanent collection of the
Guggenheim Museum in New York City.  Her works are in permanent collections in many other museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

Her 1960s politically charged artwork were presented at Spelman College. The exhibit was entitled “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s,” at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art during the months of February-May, 2012.

She has known and influenced American artists: Betye Saar, Linda Freeman, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence.

An HBO program, “Good Night Moon and Other Sleepy Time Lullabies,” that has run periodically, included an animated version of Tar Beach, and was released on DVD. Ms. Ringgold has completed sixteen children’s books including the above mentioned Tar Beach, Aunt Harriet’s Underground Railroad In The Sky, My Dream of Martin Luther King and Talking to Faith Ringgold, (an autobiographical interactive art book for children of all ages), The Invisible Princess, an original Black American Fairy Tale based on the quilt Born in a Cotton Field all published by Random House. If a Bus Could Talk; The Story of Ms. Rosa Parks won the NAACP’s Image Award 2000 and is available from Simon and Schuster. O Holy Night and The Three Witches, and Bronzeville Boys and Girls are from Harper Collins. Faith Ringgold’s latest children’s book is Henry O. Tanner: His Boyhood Dream Comes True published by Bunker Hill Publishing. We Flew Over the Bridge: The Memoirs of Faith Ringgold, Ms. Ringgold’s first adult book was published by Little, Brown in 1995 and has been re-released by Duke University Press.

On January 16, 2012, she created a Google Doodle featured on Google’s home page that honored Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.

An elementary and middle school in Hayward, California, Faith Ringgold School K-8, was named after her in 2007.

Ms. Ringgold was named in the Le Tigre hit song “Hot Topic.”

Today Ms. Ringgold is professor emeritus in the University of California, San Diego visual art department.


“AFRICANA: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience”, Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Editors, Basis Civitas Books, 1999.

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I originally posted last year on the Emancipation Proclamation as it toured select museums across America.

That post can be found here.

I think that today of all days, with the inauguration of the 45TH president of the United States, President Barack Hussein Obama, is a good time to reflect and remember that once in this nation the ancestors of Black Americans knew no joy, no happiness—no freedom, until the death knell was sounded for the end of chattel slavery in the United States with both the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the enactment of the 13TH Amendment (even though it sanctions legal slavery in the form of prisons.)

This past January 1, 2013, is the 150TH Anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

True, it did not free all enslaves in America, only those who lived within the Confederate states that were in rebellion against the United States of America.

True, after the end of the Civil War, the living hell that awaited so many hopeful Black citizens was rearing its venomous head with nullification, neo-slavery, segregation, and separate but equal mistreatment.

True, today, stereotypes and racial hatred of Black citizens still reigns.

True, America still is a long way from acknowledging the humanity and dignity of her black citizens.

But, the real strength of America will occur when she realizes that the pursuit of justice, life, liberty, happiness and a more perfect union for all her citizens will come when all American citizens can have the content of their character respected and recognized.

So. while you watch today’s swearing-in ceremony of President Obama for his second term, remember that much blood has been shed, many lives given through the centuries, through the decades, and through so many generations to arrive at this moment in history.

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