March 07, 2013
By Kalin Thomas
Special to the NNPA from The Atlanta Voice
Southern Christian Leadership Conference CEO Charles Steele Jr. has a stern warning for the FBI – leave State Rep. Tyrone Brooks alone.
“If they can bring about the harassment and intimidation of a man like Tyrone Brooks, just think what they can do to others,” Steele said, referring to reports that FBI officials are investigating Brooks for alleged improper use of funds. “We’re going to show U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that intimidation of people of integrity like Tyrone Brooks will not be tolerated,” he added. “If they think they saw a movement in the 1960s, we’re going to make that look like a Sunday school picnic.”
Federal Bureau of Investigation officials reportedly have questioned members of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO) – which Brooks heads – about funding for the re-enactment of the 1946 Moore’s Ford Bridge lynchings in Monroe, Georgia.
Brooks coordinates the annual event to spur the FBI to actively investigate one of most heinous civil rights era murders on the books. Many observers believe that some of the white killers of two black couples –including a pregnant woman – are still alive and should be brought to justice.
Georgia NAACP president Edward DuBose called the reported investigation of Brooks a “witch hunt” and said federal authorities should focus on the Moore’s Ford Bridge killers, not on Brooks.
“The NAACP has coordinated quite a few organizations to speak out in support of Tyrone Brooks,” he said. “We think it’s a witch hunt and an effort to detract from the real issue of bringing the Moore’s Ford Bridge killers to justice.”
Neither the FBI nor U.S. Attorney Sally Yates’ office responded this week to repeated calls for comment.
For his part, Brooks said this kind of FBI “intimidation” is nothing new.
“I understand exactly what’s going on,” said Brooks, a veteran civil rights activist. “I haven’t been contacted by the FBI directly, but we heard about it in Quitman, Georgia at our winter conference this past weekend. And we heard that the black-owned restaurant in Athens that feeds us has also been threatened.”
Brooks vows, however, that no attempt at intimidation will stop the movement.
“We still will continue our plans for our annual march across Moore’s Ford Bridge on April 6,” he said. “And if they kill me, Charles Steele and Edward DuBose will carry on the fight.”
By COREY WILLIAMS | Associated Press
DETROIT (AP) — Mayor Dave Bing acknowledged Wednesday that an emergency manager will be appointed to oversee Detroit’s finances and said he won’t participate in the city’s appeal of a report criticizing local officials for their handling of the economic mess.
The City Council approved a resolution authorizing an appeal of Gov. Rick Snyder’s finding that an outside overseer is warranted because Detroit is in a financial emergency with no good plan to get out of it.
Bing, who had the option of either joining that appeal or filing his own, told reporters that he sees no way of avoiding an emergency manager, even though he opposes it.
“We need to end the drama and the infighting and understand that whether we like it or not, an emergency financial manager is coming to Detroit,” Bing said.
Under Michigan law, emergency managers have the power to develop financial plans, renegotiate labor contracts, revise and approve budgets to help control spending, sell off some city assets and suspend elected officials’ salaries.
Snyder said Friday he agrees with a state-appointed review team that spent two months delving into Detroit's finances. The city’s budget deficit is at $327 million. It also has long-term debt topping $14 billion and has had trouble in recent months making payroll and paying other bills.
He scheduled a hearing date for next Tuesday in case his decision was appealed. Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary MacDowell will preside over that hearing in Lansing as Snyder’s designee, spokesman Terry Stanton said.
“There is no statutory time frame for the governor to either confirm or revoke his determination that a financial emergency exists in Detroit,” Stanton wrote in an email to the Associated Press.
Bing said he met with Snyder this week in Lansing and concluded efforts to head off a manager will be fruitless.
The Republican governor said he already has a person in mind to take the emergency manager’s job if he decides Detroit needs one to get out of its fiscal mess.
“For me, I don’t mind fighting, but I’m not stupid,” Bing told The AP Wednesday morning. “If I know I’m going to get in a fight that I have no chance of winning, why in the hell should I get in that fight? I'm much better off walking away from that and fight another day.”
Council President Charles Pugh said he was holding out hope that Snyder may ultimately not appoint a manager and that city officials “are going to try every avenue that we can.”
Bing said he disputes portions of the review team’s report, namely the determination Detroit has no plan to deal with its financial emergency. Bing also said he questions if Detroit is responsible for budget problems in the city’s 36th District Court.
The court had $279 million in outstanding accounts receivables as of June 30, according to the review team report. Of that amount, an estimated $199 million is owed to the city.
Court officials, as of early this year, had taken no actions to reduce expenditures and had 350 workers while budgeted for 285, the review team said.
If Snyder does appoint a fiscal overseer, Bing said he intends to work “collaboratively” with that person instead of battling with Lansing.
“This city has a reputation of fighting, fighting, fighting and so we wind up fighting each other,” Bing told the AP. “And when we do that, the city loses.”
February 28, 2013
By Krishana Davis
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
As a gun debate rages at the national, state and local levels, a Baltimore man with two previous felony convictions was sentenced on Feb. 19 to 15 years for unlawfully possessing ammunition.
Local law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at the Baltimore home of Robert Hubbard, 37, after an informant purchased drugs from Hubbard at his place of residence. During the raid, police found a safe containing a .32 caliber revolver containing five rounds of ammunition, a box of ammunition, $150 in cash, a Ziplock bag of marijuana and bag containing seven Ziplock bags of heroin and another of cocaine.
Hubbard served time for two previous convictions of carjacking and two previous convictions of robbery, which made him ineligible to possess the ammunition.
Hubbard was initially found guilty after a three-day trial in November 2011. In addition to the 15-year prison term, Hubbard was sentenced to another five years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of ammunition.
By Zenitha Prince
Essie Mae Washington-Williams died this month without ever publicly being acknowledged by her father, the infamous South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. Yet, after his death in 2003, she became the embodiment of his legacy—as one of America’s greatest political hypocrites.
That a politician who had built his career on claims of Black inferiority and the condemnation of miscegenation had fathered a daughter with his family’s 16-year-old Black servant was, for some, the ultimate irony.
“If your public face is that you believe in a racially hierarchal environment in which sexual relationships between Black men and White women are forbidden but privately sexual relationships between White men and Black women are accepted it represents a great deal of hypocrisy and psychological contradiction,” said Dianne Pinderhughes, professor of Africana studies at University of Notre Dame.
“For a lot of people outside of the South, that was a surprise and a shock,” said AFRO Publisher John J. Oliver of the revelation.
For people in Edgefield, S.C., however, it was a simple matter of fact, and Washington-Williams was, perhaps, one of the worst-kept secrets of Southern political folklore.
The American South was littered with children like her, which a series of AFRO articles highlighted in 1948 when it revealed Thurmond’s other Black relatives.
At the time, then Gov. Thurmond was running for president under the Dixiecrat (States’ Rights Democratic Party) banner on a segregationist platform—the party was formed by deserters of the Democratic Party, which had, under President Harry Truman, begun to advance civil rights legislation.
Thurmond represented the “mass resistance,” a powerful planter community consisting of strong advocates of White supremacy,” Pinderhughes said.
During his campaign, the candidate once declared that there were not enough troops in the Army to force White Southerners to “admit the (expletive) race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.” But, apparently, Black women were welcome in their beds.
According to an Aug. 21, 1948 AFRO article, postal worker Robert Thurmond, of Morristown, N.J., revealed that the governor was his first cousin—his father, Thomas, was half-brother to James Thurmond, the governor’s father—and the relationship was well-known.
“I certainly do know Strom and he knows me and he knows about our relationship because we were the only Thurmonds in Edgefield,” he said. More relatives came forward.
In an Aug. 28 article, the Rev. James R. Thurmond recalled seeing the governor’s father visiting his grandfather, the blue-eyed Thomas Thurmond.
“They used to sit and eat, and talk for hours,” he said. “I remember asking my grandfather why that ‘White’ man always visit our home. My grandfather told me they were brothers.”
And there were many more Black Thurmonds littered throughout Edgefield and surrounding counties, he said, a fact well-known.
“It is an old story and ‘everybody in these parts knows it,’” the AFRO quoted Thomas Thurmond, the governor’s half-cousin, as saying.
“We wanted to highlight the hypocrisy of the Southern attitude,” said Oliver, of the newspaper’s coverage. More specifically, he added, “We wanted to highlight the inconsistency of his (Thurmond’s) political vision and his personal life… [that] this guy is a racist but he has Black relatives.”
Oliver said the article likely had some impact, particularly in the elections.
“Thurmond did not get a lot of votes because he reflected a way of life that people no longer wanted to promote,” the newspaper executive said.
Thurmond’s duplicity, as manifested by his Black daughter, was evident in other ways. Those inconsistencies—for example, his authorship of the “Southern Manifesto,” which was created to counter the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in the Brown v. Board of Education case that banned public school segregation and, later, his support of legislation to create a holiday in Dr. Martin Luther King’s honor (Blacks are a powerful voting bloc in South Carolina)—seemed to suggest that his public positions were based on political expediency, said some critics, such as former Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), who in 1966 became the first Black senator elected since Reconstruction.
In his biography, Brooke said that in January 1967, not long after his election, he went to the Senate pool and found Thurmond and several other Jim Crow defenders already swimming laps. Brooke was expecting objections to his attempt to integrate the pool. Instead, the Southern lawmakers invited him to join them.
“There was no hesitation or ill will that I could see. Yet these were men who consistently voted against legislation that would have provided equal opportunity to others of my race,” Brooke wrote. “I felt that if a senator truly believed in racial separatism I could live with that, but it was increasingly evident that some members of the Senate played on bigotry purely for political gain. They appealed to ignorance and prejudice to entrench themselves in office.”
By Antonio Harvey
Special to the NNPA from The Sacramento Observer
Minnijean Brown-Trickey, one of the Little Rock Nine students who desegregated Little Rock Arkansas’ Central High School in the 1950s, said she and her young civil rights counterparts indeed went through a tumultuous time. But she also expressed the vile and unpleasant harassment their parents had to suffer too in some aspects of the valiant move to desegregate the formerly all-White school. Brown Trickey’s parents, Willie and Imogene Brown, and the other Little Rock Nine’s matriarchs and patriarchs were “designated as the heroes of this,” Brown-Trickey, 71 told The Observer in a telephone interview this week.
Her father, an independent mason and landscaping contractor lost his business and didn’t get anymore work, she recalled.
“I think that happened with all the parents who were threatened with firings or were fired. There were hate calls all day and night,” she added.
The Little Rock Nine was the next step after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case, which held that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown-Trickey said 70 Black youth signed up to be the first students to integrate Little Rock High for the 1957-58 school year. Only 20 were selected by the school board, “but on the first day there were only nine of us,” she said. On early black-and-white television, the world watched as the Black youth, ages 14 and 15, faced constant verbal and physical harassment. However, between the Little Rock Nine and their parents, there were issues going on in the background no one knew about.
“While we’re trying to integrate the school, we didn’t tell our parents what was happening to us and they didn’t tell us what happening to them,” Brown-Trickey said.
“It was a way of survival that everybody participated in a certain way. But the parents are the real heroes because they knew it was hell.”
The 70 children who signed up to attend Little Rock High were not forced to sign up or pressed in any other way as some would imagine, Brown Trickey said. They signed up by choice and with courage. Despite their interests, the parents of the Little Rock Nine also knew that there would be a price to pay. That price, Brown-Trickey said, is truly where they became the nine youth’s heroes.
“I skipped home and told my mom, ‘oh I just signed up to go to Central,’” Brown-Trickey said.
“She said what moms would always say, ‘We’ll see’ and then they let us do it. Looking back, I think that’s the heroic in it because we wanted to do it and they let us do it. They knew it was hard but they trusted us. Yes, they are the brave ones.”
Read Part II of Brown-Trickey’s story, how she was expelled from Little Rock Central High School, her move to New York afterwards, and her interactive traveling trips with Sojorn to the Past in next week’s SENTINEL.
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