Local stakeholders join in welcoming Greene County High scholars on first day back to school

Greene County High School Principal Andrea Perry put out a special call for community to rise early and join her faculty and staff in welcoming scholars to their first day back to school for 2022-2023 year. Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones joined the cheering group after arriving from his early morning bus ride with students on the Forkland school bus route.
Welcomers shown above include Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, GCHS Principal Andrea Perry and staff, members of the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Florence Williams Chapter President, Eutaw Councilperson, Valerie Watkins, Lea Banks with Alabama Power Company, Carrie Logan with the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, visiting graduates and other community stakeholders.

Coronavirus Box as of August 6, 2022

As of August 6, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,436,450 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(14,690) more than last week with 19,974 deaths (84) more
than last week)

Greene County had 2,056 confirmed cases, 13 more cases than last week), with 51 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,826 cases with 52 deaths

Hale Co. had 5,190 cases with 109 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19;
Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

Newswire:New film spotlights World’s only female army in Kingdom of Dahomey

Benin’s women warriors

Aug. 1, 2022 (GIN) – The only documented female army In modern history was that of the Kingdom of Dahomey – now southern Benin – which, by the 1800s, had thousands of female troops.
 In September, a film version that portrays the lives of these warrior women will be seen in cinemas around the country. In the meantime, a trailer of the film can be seen on YouTube. It features Viola Davis and Hero Fiennes.
 “The Sacred Ibis” posting on YouTube, explains that the Kingdom of Dahomey was located in present-day Benin from 1600-1904 and became a regional power in the 18th century. The Dahomey Mothers, known as the Agooji, were the all-female army trained to kill while striking fear in the European colonizers.
 The King often picked them as teenagers for their strength and beauty. By 1800, up to 4000 women were fighting for the Kingdom. They live on through dances performed in Benin today.
 Nanlèhoundé Houédanou is a survivor. “My Amazon was gentle,” said Houédanou, who, at 85, is one of the last people on Earth to have grown up with one. “She was known for protecting children,” she told the Washington Post. 
 Researchers have spent decades combing through European and West African archives to craft a portrait from the jottings of French officers, British traders and Italian missionaries.
 Of close to 3,000 comments on YouTube, most were very positive. “It is incredibly rare that goosebumps and complete awe overwhelm me the instant a trailer begins. This changes that!” wrote Derrick Ensey.
 “Everything about this is epic on an astronomical level. The most subtle thing about it is the TIMING. At a time when women are being attacked, this is total female empowerment right here. Never underestimate a unifying message!
 “The previous depictions of the all-women Agojie warriors, also known as the Amazons, portrayed the female soldiers as “beasts” and “mannish. Davis and director Gina Prince-Blythewood sought instead to bring the authenticity of the story to the big screen instead of racial stereotypes.”
 “These women were fascinating and didn’t need to be embellished or glossy,” Prince-Blythewood told Vanity Fair. “I wanted it to be real and visceral and raw. We didn’t want to show them as just one thing — badass women who killed. They also laughed and loved and cried. We wanted to show their full humanity, not just the cool part that that would look good in a trailer.”
 “The French made sure this history wasn’t known,” said the Beninese economist Leonard Wantchekon, a professor of international affairs at Princeton University. “They said we were backward, that they needed to ‘civilize us,’ but they destroyed opportunities for women that existed nowhere else in the world.”
 Now a team of Beninese researchers is working to reshape the narrative. For the last three years, historians at the African School of Economics, a private university that Wantchekon founded near Cotonou, the capital, have been tracking down descendants of Amazons across the nation.
 They aim to glean local memories for a book that can be taught in schools — to present a three-dimensional view of the real Amazons. Only 50 of the women are thought to have survived the two-year war with France. The last died in the 1970s. 

Newswire: NLRB demand for UMWA to pay Warrior Met Coal strike costs “outrageous,” threatens American workers’ right to strike

Warrior Met coal miners at union rally

The United Mine Workers of America today made it clear that it will vigorously challenge an outrageous assessment of damages made by the National Labor Relations Board Region 10 regarding the UMWA’s 16-month strike against Warrior Met Coal in Alabama.
“This is a slap in the face not just to the workers who are fighting for better jobs at Warrior Met Coal, but to every worker who stands up to their boss anywhere in America,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “There are charges for security, cameras, capital expenditures, buses for transporting scabs across picket lines, and the cost of lost production.
“What is the purpose of a strike if not to impact the operations of the employer, including production,” Roberts asked. “Is it now the policy of the federal government that unions be required to pay a company’s losses as a consequence of their members exercising their rights as working people? This is outrageous and effectively negates workers’ right to strike. It cannot stand.”
The union entered into a settlement agreement in June with NLRB Region 10 regarding charges the company had made about picket line activity in order to save striking members and families from days of hostile questioning by company lawyers. On July 22, the NLRB sent the union a detailed list of damages totaling $13.3 million dollars, more than 33 times the estimated amount NLRB lawyers had initially indicated would be assessed.
Warrior Met has reported millions of dollars in costs it has incurred over the course of the strike. “It appears that Warrior Met wants us to reimburse it for those costs, including costs it incurred before the strike even began,” Roberts said. “What’s extremely troubling here is that the NLRB appears to have taken up the company’s cause without a second thought.
“I want to be clear: Warrior Met Coal instigated this strike and has brutally extended it through its sustained unwillingness to reach a fair and reasonable agreement at the bargaining table,” Roberts said. “We have no intention of paying its costs for doing so. The right to strike in America must be preserved. We will fight this at every level, in every court. We will spend every penny of our resources rather than give in to something like this from the NLRB, Warrior Met or any other entity.”

Newswire:Study finds nearly 90 Percent of Black homicide victims were killed with guns

 Handgun with ammunition

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


According to a new and comprehensive study on gun violence, Black men, women, boys, and girls remain the most impacted victims of homicide in America, yet year after year this shocking and unacceptable toll is allowed to continue.
The study published by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, revealed that in 2019, the United States recorded 7,441 Black homicide victims.
African Americans represent 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for 52 percent of all homicide victims, the study authors found.
The annual study, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2019 Homicide Data, also ranks the states according to their Black homicide victimization rates. Officials said it’s based on unpublished data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Supplementary Homicide Report.

The study details homicide rates for 2019, the most recent year for which comprehensive national data is available. For homicides in which authorities could identify the weapon used, 88 percent of Black victims (6,190 out of 7,056) were shot and killed with guns. Of those, 64 percent (3,935 victims) were killed with handguns.
On average, more than 20 Black Americans died each day from homicide – 17 were known to have died from gunshots.
“These deaths almost always involve a gun, and the resulting devastation ravages families, friends, and community members,” Violence Policy Center Executive Director Josh Sugarmann stated in a news release.
“The goal of our research is to help support advocates and organizations working on the ground to stop this lethal violence while, at the same time, continuing to educate and engage the public and policymakers on the need to address this ongoing national crisis,” Sugarmann said.
The study also revealed that the Black homicide victimization rate in the United States was nearly four times the overall national victimization rate and nearly seven times the white homicide victimization rate.
In 2019, the Black homicide victimization rate was 18.08 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall national homicide victimization rate was 4.79 per 100,000. For whites, the national homicide victimization rate was 2.69 per 100,000.Further, 87 percent of Black homicide victims were male (6,454 of 7,441) and 13 percent were female (986 of 7,441).
The authors noted that Black male homicide victimization rate in the United States was “more than four times the overall male victimization rate and more than eight times the white male homicide victimization rate.”
In 2019, the homicide victimization rate for Black male victims was 32.49 per 100,000. In comparison, the overall rate for male homicide victims was 7.68 per 100,000 and the rate for white male homicide victims was 3.88 per 100,000.

For homicides in which the victim to offender relationship could be identified, 77 percent of Black victims (2,282 out of 2,954) were killed by someone they knew.The number of victims killed by strangers was 672.
For homicides in which the circumstances could be identified, 70 percent (2,856 out of 4,102) were not related to the commission of any other felony. Of these, 56 percent (1,591 homicides) involved arguments between the victim and the offender.
With a homicide rate of 50.64 per 100,000 residents, Missouri ranked the highest. Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Michigan, and Oklahoma rounded out the top 10.
The authors said individuals living in communities where violence is prevalent are at higher risk for a broad range of negative health and behavior outcomes.
An increased understanding of how trauma resulting from community violence influences development, health, and behavior can lead to improvements in the way many social services are delivered as well as policy changes at the local and federal levels.
“At the same time, the firearms industry, looking to expand beyond its shrinking base of white male gun owners, has launched an organized marketing campaign focusing on Black and Latino Americans,” the study authors wrote.“If successful, such efforts can only increase gun death and injury in these communities.”
The full study is available at http://vpc.org/studies/blackhomicide22.pdf.

Newswire: Four police officers federally charged with civil rights violations in Breonna Taylor’s death

Breonna Taylor

By Antonio Planas, NBC News
Two current and two former police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, have been charged with violating Breonna Taylor’s civil rights in the 2020 botched raid that led to the young Black woman’s death, federal officials said Thursday.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, in announcing the charges, said the Department of Justice alleges that the violations “resulted in Ms. Taylor’s death.”
Detective Joshua Jaynes, with the Louisville Metro Police Department, obtained the warrant used in the March 13, 2020, search of the 26-year-old medical worker’s apartment. 
Kelly Goodlett, who along with Jaynes was a detective in the Place-Based Investigations unit that investigated drug trafficking, and Sgt. Kyle Meany, who supervised the unit, were charged with falsifying an affidavit. 
Jaynes and Goodlett are accused of misleading investigators probing the deadly shooting. Meany allegedly lied to the FBI, Garland said.
In a separate indictment, Brett Hankison was charged with using excessive force while executing the search warrant.
Hankison was terminated from the department in June 2020, while Jaynes was terminated in January 2021, Louisville police said in a statement Thursday. The department is also seeking to terminate Goodlett and Meany, the statement said.
“Today Chief Erika Shields began termination procedures of Sgt. Kyle Meany and Officer Kelly Goodlett. While we must refer all questions about this federal investigation to the FBI, it is critical that any illegal or inappropriate actions by law enforcement be addressed comprehensively in order to continue our efforts to build police-community trust,” police said.
A lawyer believed to be representing Jaynes could not be immediately reached Thursday. Attorney Stew Mathews, who has previously represented Hankison, said he did not know yet whether he would be representing him in the federal case.
Mathews said he spoke to Hankison on Thursday morning while he was “on his way to turn himself in” but has not spoken to him since then. 
An attorney representing Meany could not be reached. It was unclear if Goodlett had retained an attorney.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump said in a statement Thursday it’s been a difficult two years since Taylor’s death for her family and advocates fighting for her.

Newswire: Senate passes sweeping climate-focused Inflation Reduction Act; VP Kamala Harris casts vote to break 50-50 tie

VP Kamala Harris casts tie breaking vote

Yahoo News

After more than a year of infighting, President Joe Biden’s climate agenda has cleared a significant hurdle. On Sunday, Senate Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in a 51-50 decision that went along party lines and saw Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, reports The Washington Post.
If passed by the House, the 755-page bill would authorize the single largest expenditure to combat climate change in the nation’s history. In all, the legislation calls for $370 billion in spending to reduce US greenhouse emissions by approximately 40 percent by the end of this decade.
Among the climate change provisions most likely to affect consumers is a reworked federal EV tax credit. The Inflation Reduction Act would provide up to $7,500 in subsidies for electric SUVs, trucks and vans that cost less than $80,000 and cars under $55,000. It would also allow people to claim up to $4,000 when buying a used EV. In both cases, an income ceiling would prevent those who make more than the average American from taking advantage of the legislation.
On top of EV subsidies, the $370 billion in investments set aside by the bill would incentivize the building of wind, solar and other renewable power sources. The act also calls for the creation of a $1.5 billion program that would pay companies that reduce their methane output.

With Sunday’s vote, the Inflation Reduction Act now moves to the House, which will return from its summer recess on Friday. For much of 2021 and the first half of 2022, President Biden’s Build Back Better plan looked doomed to go nowhere due to opposition from Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. In late July, however, Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they had come to a compromise.
The act contains tax provisions which will have major companies, earning more than a billion dollars a year in profits, will pay a minimum tax of 15%. There is a 1% special tax on corporations who buy back their stock rather than invest in new business expansion. The Internal Revenue Service will gain additional staff to pursue taxpayers who are not paying their fair share of taxes.
In exchange for Manchin’s support, the Inflation Reduction Act includes a provision that would see the federal government reinstate canceled oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet. While that concession upset environmentalists, it’s not expected to undo the good the Inflation Reduction Act is poised to do for the environment. According to one estimate by Princeton University’s Zero Lab, the bill could reduce US greenhouse emissions by about 6.3 billion tons through 2032.

Greene County Schools welcome scholars and parents for new academic year

Shown above Greene County Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones with Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris,  touring the school and making sure everything is up to code to welcome students back next week.

The Greene County 2022-2023 School calendar states that the new school term begins Thursday, August 4 with a Virtual Teacher Institute from 8:00 -11:30 am, however, school personnel have been preparing all summer to welcome scholars with an exciting and challenging academic curriculum as well as supporting extra curricula activities. Friday, August 5, is scheduled as professional development day with continuing classroom preparations on the following Monday. Students return to classes on Tuesday, August 9, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School Principal Brittany Harris extends the following welcome to faculty, scholars and parents. “Eutaw Primary School is such an exciting place that’s full of adventures. This year, join the educators at Eutaw Primary School as we go through the jungle, underneath the big top, under the sea, through the forest and outer space. This is sure to be an exciting learning adventure that our scholars will never forget.
“Parents, we encourage you to attend our Open House and Meet & Greet. On August 4, 2022 all kindergarten and first grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. On August 8, 2022 all second and third grade scholars and parents are encouraged to meet their child’s teacher from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. We look forward to seeing each of our scholars and parents”
Robert Brown Principal Shawnta Owens extends a similar welcome to the school community.
“Welcome Back.  As we embark on this new school year, Robert Brown Middle School’s faculty and staff look forward to new faces, new opportunities, and new ways to meet the needs of our scholars. Parents, thank you for trusting us with your children, and we look forward to your participation throughout the school year. Please support our RBMS scholars with your presence and positivity, and always remember, “It’s a great day to be a T.I.G.E.R.” 
This enthusiastic welcome comes from Greene County High School Principal Andrea Perry. “As the 2022-2023 school year begins, I am excited to welcome back our faculty, scholars and parents as we kick off a great year. I hope everyone has had an exciting summer and is recharged and ready for a new year. I am privileged to serve as Principal of Greene County High School. Our focus this year is to change the culture and build healthy relationships while improving student achievement. Parents, we look forward to partnering with you to ensure our scholars receive an exceptional education. We are even more excited to work with you and invite you into a climate of smiling faces and open arms. We are committed to ensuring your children receive the best education.”
Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones offers his special welcome to our school community. “Welcome back. We hope everyone had a great summer and is excited to be back. Our district faced many challenges this past year, but our scholars and staff experienced great success even with these obstacles. This was due to the hard work of our scholars and staff. The safety of our scholars and staff continues to be our school district’s priority. Our goal is that Greene County provides the best education for our scholars in a safe environment. We are excited to work with you to provide an excellent educational experience for our scholars. Thank you for everything you do as we continue to strive for excellence. Soaring to Excellence will not only continue to be our brand, but our crowning achievement in Greene County. Let’s make it a great year.”
Please note that masks are required for everyone in the school system. Detailed information on student uniform requirements is available on the school system’s website and in the Greene County Democrat newspaper. Parents/guardians may also contact the central office personnel regarding uniform requirements.
The Greene County Children’s Policy Council and the Greene County School System’s At-Risk Department are sponsoring a Back-To-School Rally and Anti-Bullying Rally on Sunday, August 7.  There will be various speakers, food, and school supplies will be given out.  The rally will be held downtown Eutaw on the Thomas E. Gilmore Square (old courthouse square) from 4:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

At Freedom Day commemoration, Mayor Arrington says: Greene County special election of July 29, 1969, was “a watershed event, that set off waves of hope across America”

Elder Spiver Gordon presents certificate to Dr. Richard Arrington at Freedom Day
Speaker and awardees at Friday, July 29, 2022, 53rd Anniversary Commemoration of the 1969 special election, which allowed Black officials to control the Greene County Commission and School Board.

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Friday, July 29, 2022, there was a banquet to celebrate the Special Election 53 years ago in 1969, in which Greene County first time voters elected Black candidates to control the County Commission and School Board. The program was held at the Eutaw Activity Center and attended by more than one hundred people, including special guests.

The July 29, 1969 Special Election was ordered by the U. S. Supreme Court after local white election officials left the slate of Black candidates, with the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), off the November 1968 ballot. Many of the Greene County voters had just been able to register to vote under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, passed after the struggle in Selma, Alabama.

The July 29, 1969 election resulted in the election of four County Commissioners: Harry Means, Franchie Burton, Vassie Knott and Levi Morrow Sr.; and School Board members: Robert Hines, and James Posey, joined Peter J. Kirksey, who had been elected to the Board in 1968. In 1970 Deacon John Head and Earsrie Chambers were also elected to the school board.

Greene County was the first county in the South to elect a majority Black local government since Reconstruction. In the next election in 1970, Greene County voters elected William McKinley Branch, as the first Black Probate Judge in America and Thomas Gilmore as the second Black Sheriff in Alabama. Greene County also elected Wadine Williams as first Black Circuit Clerk, Robert Cook as first Black Tax Collector and Rev. Harold (Abner) Milton as first Black Coroner.

The program was sponsored by the Alabama Civil Rights Freedom Movement, headed by veteran civil rights leader, Spiver W. Gordon. The organization has two museums in Eutaw and Mantua of artifacts and photograph of the civil rights and voting rights struggle in Greene County.
Some of the materials from the museums was displayed at the banquet.
Gordon led a memorial tribute to 14 of the civil rights movement in Greene County before a delicious dinner was served

Dr. Richard Arrington guest speaker

Dr. Richard Arrington, first Black Mayor of Birmingham and Dean of Miles College, was the guest speaker. He was introduced by Attorney Hank Sanders of Selma, who praised Arrington as a man of understanding, courage, and vision, who served as Mayor of Birmingham for twenty years and was the first President of the Alabama New South Coalition, a progressive political organization.

Arrington began his talk by recalling his birth in 1934 in the Boyd community of Sumter County, near Livingston, Alabama. He recalled his great-grandfather, Oliver Bell, who was born in slavery and freed in 1865 at the age of six. Arrington’s family moved to Birmingham, when he was five but often returned to Sumter County for the summer. “I am a descendent of slaves in the Alabama Black Belt and I am proud of my heritage,” he stated.

Arrington said America went through 244 years of slavery and 100 years of Jim Crow segregation before emerging as a democracy involving everyone in the 1960’s. “This is a marathon race for justice, from generation to generation. Each generation passes the baton to the next. We must be careful not to drop the baton on our way to the promised land.”

He noted some of the violent history of voting rights in Greene County in 1868 and 1870 during Reconstruction. “The Courthouse was burned down and Black political leaders were killed by the Klan at that time.”

“I was at Miles College in July 1969, when I learned about the election of Black officials in Greene County. This was a watershed moment that changed the course of history. It was an example of Black political empowerment that Alabama, the South, and the Nation had never seen before. It created waves of hope among Black people all across America. If Black people can win elections in rural Greene County, they can win anywhere,” said Arrington.

Arrington gave a history of his election first to the City Council and then to be the first Black Mayor of Birmingham in 1979. He said, “Birmingham was the Johannesburg of the South, but despite this the Black people put me on their back and carried me to victory, just the way you had done in Greene County in 1969. President Jimmy Carter called to
congratulate me 15 minutes after I was declared the winner. The world was watching voting in Alabama.”

Arrington told many anecdotes of his time as Mayor including a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, where a dis-believing crowd gathered to welcome him, as the first Black Mayor of the largest city in racist Alabama.

Arrington concluded with the statement, “The right to vote is very powerful. Slavery died in 1865 and we have tried to bury slavery and its accompanying white supremacy, ever since. This is still our task to bury the remnants of slavery. We must vote in every election and use our votes to do the job.”

Spiver Gordon recognized special guests with certificates and awards, at the end of a significant program marking the 53rd Greene County Freedom Day.

Newswire: Study boosts fight for reparations in
climate damaged African nations

Drought stricken area of Africa 


Aug. 1, 2022 (GIN) – The African continent of 1.2 billion people, which represents 17% of the world’s population, contributes less than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions but suffers from extreme weather events which scientists have warned will become more frequent due to climate change.
 Researchers in a new study have now put an actual dollar figure on economic harm caused by the countries most responsible for the climate crisis, and the ground-breaking data could serve as a starting point for legal action by Africans against the world’s wealthiest nations.
 The Dartmouth College study found that just five of the world’s top emitters of planet-warming gases — the United States, China, Russia, India, and Brazil — caused around a $6 trillion loss in gross domestic product from 1990 to 2014, or about 11% of total global GDP.
 The study also shows the US and China — the two biggest contributors to the climate crisis — individually caused global economic losses of more than $1.8 trillion each during that same period.
 The study’s authors said this is the first time scientists have connected the dots between one country’s fossil fuel emissions and the economic harm those emissions have done to other countries.
 The world’s wealthiest countries have already agreed to pay into a global climate finance fund,  though rich countries have shirked deadlines on payments to that fund.
 Having a rich set of data to show how much poorer nations’ economies have been harmed could increase the pressure on richer nations at this year’s summit, experts told CNN. 
 “Scientific studies show that high emitters no longer have a leg to stand on in avoiding their obligations to address loss and damage,” said Bahamian climate scientist Adelle Thomas of Climate Analytics.
 Recent studies “increasingly and overwhelmingly show that loss and damage is already crippling developing countries, she said.
 After the U.S., the countries that caused most damage since 1990 are China ($1.8 trillion), Russia ($986 billion), India ($809 billion) and Brazil ($528 billion), study authors figured. Just the United States and China together caused about one-third of the world’s climate damage.