December 27, 2012
GERALDINE WASHINGTON: As President of the Los Angeles Branch of the NAACP, Dr. Washington was on the front lines of fighting the declining enrollment of African American students in the UC system. Her efforts on behalf of students spanned over 40 years and demonstrated her lifelong commitment to keeping the doors of higher education open to all. Her legacy of service to Los Angeles, its students and the community will live on through the many lives she touched. She was 81. (1/5)
ETTA JAMES: Etta James’ performance of the enduring classic “At Last” was the embodiment of refined soul: Angelic-sounding strings harkened the arrival of her passionate yet measured vocals as she sang tenderly about a love finally realized after a long and patient wait. In real life, little about James was as genteel as that song. The platinum blonde’s first hit was a saucy R&B number about sex, and she was known as a hell-raiser who had tempestuous relationships with her family, her men and the music industry. Then she spent years battling a drug addiction that she admitted sapped away at her great talents. She was 73. (1/20)
JOHN LEVY: John Levy emanated the aura of a griot when he spoke and was the first prominent African-American personal manager in the jazz or pop music field, whose clients included Nancy Wilson and Ramsey Lewis. He was 99. (1/20)
LIBBY CLARK: Elizabeth “Libby” Clark was a journalist, public relations consultant and community activist. She retired from the Los Angeles Sentinel on Wednesday, June 30, 2004 – ending a career that has spanned some seven decades. During that time, she worked for six of the country’s African American newspapers and one metropolitan daily: the Chester Daily Times in Pennsylvania. Other publications included the Philadelphia Tribune, Baltimore Afro-American, Pittsburgh Courier, Chicago Defender and the California Eagle. She was 94. (1/23)
DON CORNELIUS: Don Cornelius created the long-running R&B and dance-music showcase Soul Train. He was trained as a journalist on WVON, an African-American talk radio station in his native Chicago. Cornelius conceived of Soul Train during the Civil Rights movement, noting there was no showcase for black music on national television. Soul Train debuted in 1971 and quickly became a popular stop for major acts such as James Brown, the O'Jays and Michael Jackson. Cornelius hosted the show from its inception until 1993; Soul Train ended its long run in its original form in 2006. He was 75 (2/1)
WHITNEY HOUSTON: Whitney Houston ruled as pop music's queen from the mid-1980s until the 1990s. She had a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale." She was described as having the perfect voice, and the perfect image: a gorgeous singer who had sex appeal, but was never overtly sexual, who maintained perfect poise. She was 48 (2/11)
DICK ANTHONY WILLIAMS: Dick Anthony Williams WAS a veteran actor perhaps best known for his role as Pretty Tony in “The Mack. He had an extensive career on stage, films and television. Williams’ film credits include “Five on the Black Hand Side,” “The Jerk,” “Mo’ Better Blues” and “Edward Scissorhands,” among others. He was 77 (2/16)
DONALD PAYNE: He was the U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 10th congressional district, serving from 1989 until his death. He was a member of the Democratic Party. His district encompasses most of the city of Newark, parts of Jersey City and Elizabeth, and some suburban communities in Essex and Union counties. He was the first African American to represent New Jersey in Congress. He was 78 (3/6)
JOHN PAYTON: Payton was president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and guided it to several major victories before the Supreme Court. He lived in Washington, D.C. He was 65 (3/22)
WALTER GORDON: One the great lawyers of the 20th century. In addition to successfully defending thousands of Blacks during his long career, Gordon left several other enduring legacies. One of the more prominent among them was mentoring a generation of young, African-American lawyers from the 1940s forward. He was 103 (4/16)
DONNA SUMMER: Summer, known as the Disco Queen, was the first artist to have three double albums reach No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart: “Live and More,” “Bad Girls,” “On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II.” She became a cultural icon, not only as one of the defining voices of the era, but also as an influence on future pop divas from Madonna to Beyoncé. She was 63 (5/17)
BISHOP H. HARTFORD BROOKINS: He was a religious leader, a preacher in the church; and a civil leader outside the church. He dealt with civic matters outside of the church, and has traveled the historical path of icons of the civil rights struggles, who have pastored their flocks and served their constituents above and beyond. Bishop Brookins walked with kings, presidents, princes, paupers and the downtrodden. He was 86 (5/22)
FRANK HOLOMAN: Holoman was a member of the California State Assembly and a Democrat from Los Angeles from 1972 to 1974. His interests in urban improvement and local government led him to pursue these causes in the Legislature as well as through his position as chair of the Black Caucus of Southern California. He was 78 (5/24)
RODNEY KING: A Black man who became a symbol of racial tension and police brutality in America, after his beating by Los Angeles police officers in 1991 was videotaped and broadcast to the nation. He was 47 (6/17)
WILLIAM RASPBERRY: William Raspberry was one of the nation's first African American columnists at a major metropolitan daily newspaper. He was a Washington-Post columnist for four decades, many of them as a syndicated writer; he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1994. He was first nominated for the award in 1982. He was 76 (7/17)
WILLIS EDWARDS: Willis Edwards’ center of activity was the NAACP. His activist role in the organization has earned him the title in some circles, as “Mr NAACP.” His mother started an NAACP branch in Palm Springs, CA and her rule was “you go to church and you go to the NAACP meetings.” He understood the importance its work as the oldest civil rights organization in the country its history regarding Black Americans. He was 66 (7/20)
SHERMAN HELMSLEY: Hemsley’s best-known role was as George Jefferson, the owner of a dry cleaning business who lived in a New York luxury high-rise apartment with his family. “The Jeffersons” ran on television from 1975 to 1985. He was 74 (7/24)
JOHN ATTA MILLS: John Evans Fifii Atta Mills 24 July 2012) was a Ghanaian politician who was president of Ghana from 2009 until his death. He was inaugurated on 7 January 2009, having defeated the ruling party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo in the 2008 election. He was vice-president from 1997 to 2001 under President Jerry Rawlings. He is the first Ghanaian head of state to die in office. He was 60 (7/24)
AL FREEMAN JR: Al Freeman Jr. emerged during the civil rights era and made his mark in both drama and race relations with his portraits of some of the movement’s most controversial personalities — Malcolm X in a television drama, and Elijah Muhammad in Spike Lee’s 1992 movie “Malcolm X”. He was 78. (8/9)
LARRY GRANT: After a career in banking and serving in the U.S. military, Larry Grant founded The Kingdom Day Parade in remembrance of the life and legacy of civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King along with his wife, Coretta Scott King. It is celebrated annually on King’s birthday. He was 86. (8/18)
Chris Lighty: Chris Lighty, 44, called one of “the most influential talent managers” by Forbes magazine in 2006, was found dead in the backyard of his home in Riverdale, N.Y. The New York City medical examiner ruled his death the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. But many of those who knew him well don’t agree. Famous friends such as 50 Cent, Russell Simmons, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes have reportedly all joined Lighty’s mother and family in questioning how he died. (8/30)
EDWARD “ED” VINCENT: First Black Mayor of Inglewood. 78 (8/31)
MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN: Was a world-famous actor most known for his breakout role as John Coffey in “The Green Mile.” He 54 (9/3)
MERVYN M. DYMALLY: He was a political icon who opened many doors and mentored many elected officials throughout his 50 plus year career. His passing has left a void in California and indeed national politics. He was an assemblyman (twice); state senator, Lt. Governor, and congressman. He was 86. (10/7)
Emanuel Steward: He was an American boxer, legendary trainer, and world-famous commentator. He trained 41 world champion fighters throughout his career, most notably Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. (10/25).
December 27, 2012
Hurricane Sandy — Sandy devastated parts of the Carribean and Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States during late October 2012. It caused over $65 billion worth of damage and killed at least 253 people.
Prop 8 — The United States Supreme Court agreed to review a California gay marriage case and the validity of Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage in the state. Attorney General Kamala Harris and other elected officials lauded the decision.
Sandy Hook — called one of the most devastating mass shootings in the United States, only second to Virginia Tech. After shooting his own mother several times in the head, twenty-year old Adam Lanza of Newton, CT shot his way into Sandy Hook elementary school where he shot and killed 26 people, most of them children before shooting himself to death
December 27, 2012
By Shannen Hill
L.A. Watts Times Intern
Syria’s civil war has lasted the entire year and their vice president, Farouk al-Sharaa, believes that it will end in a stalemate. The war started as a result of protests against the government’s violent treatment of 15 students who wrote anti-government graffiti on a wall last year. The Syrian rebels have already seized military bases in Syria and battled some of the best armed forces near their president’s powerbase. They also expect to receive military help from Gulf Arab states.
The president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, has been promoting a new constitution for the country. There were many mixed opinions about the new constitution, resulting in protests and Morsi permitting the army to arrest citizens. However, after gaining the support of The Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptians are beginning to support the ratification of the constitution. Last week, millions of Egyptians voted peacefully on the new constitution.
Palestine has made great advances towards becoming an independent country. One of their greatest achievements this year was receiving a non-member, observer state status in the United Nations. While they have yet to gain independence, Palestine is gaining recognition from their international peers.
There have been growing conflicts between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group. This conflict resulted in the killing of Ahmed al-Ja’abari, the chief of Hamas’ military wing. The current leader of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, has recently been giving a series of speeches threatening to destroy Israel. Palestine, along with the countries of the United Nations, has chosen to ignore the statements made by Mashaal, leaving the prime minister of Israel angry with the international community, claiming that they use double standards.
A United States ambassador, along with three other Americans, was killed in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. This attack became a subject of debate on how effective the United States Army is. While the F.B.I. has identified several suspects, none have been arrested and some have fled Benghazi. This was the first time since 1979 that an American ambassador had died in a violent assault.
Obama Re-Elected: President Barack Obama was re-elected the 44th President of the United States of America.
Jackie Lacey elected D.A. of L.A.: Jackie Lacey became the first woman and first African-American to be elected the District Attorney of Los Angeles County.
Councilman Herb Wesson makes history: Herb Wesson became the first African American to be elected as the President of the Los Angeles City Council.
Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas: Supervisor Mark Ridley – Thomas became the first Black Chairman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Nolan Rollins: Rollins replaces Blair Taylor as the Los Angeles Urban League president.
Maxine Waters vindicated: The House Ethics Committee cleared Rep. Maxine Waters, of wrongdoing following a two-year investigation into allegations that she improperly helped out a bank in which her husband was an investor. Later, House Democrats appointed the congresswoman as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, which deals with national banking issues.
Herman Cain came to the top and flopped: Initially thought to be the Republican frontrunner for the 2012 presidential election, Cain dropped out of the race amidst accusations of sexual harassment and a 13 year extramarital affair.