Dr. Jones introduces new administrators at Robert Brown Middle School Superintendent Jones indicates need to improve student performance on standardized tests

Shown L toR: Brittany Harris Assistant Principal and Shwanta Owens Principal at  Robert Brown Middle School

At his first official school board meeting, held Monday, July 15, 2019, as Greene County Schools Superintendent, Dr. Corey Jones presented a summary of the Scantron Series Performance Data on Reading and Math in grades 3-8 from the 2018-2019 school year. “I want everyone to see just where we are,” Jones stated. He further indicated that we are in the process of developing a plan to improve student performance on standardized tests and will be utilizing the Scantron Assessment as a bench mark assessment. “This is an approach supported by the Alabama State Department of Education,” Jones said.
Superintendent Jones presented the new Administrative Leadership at Robert Brown Middle School. At the June 10, 2019 school board meeting, Ms. Shwanta Owens of Hueytown, AL and Ms. Brittany Harris of Demopolis, Al, were selected respectively as Principal and Assistant Principal at RBM beginning this 2019-2020 school term. Each greeted the board and attendees, pledging to work diligently in the best interest of the students and the school system.
Dr. Jones also announced that school uniform policies will still be in place for the upcoming school year, as well as the special dress codes for the 9th Grade Academy. He stated that specific information would be placed on the web site, in local media and distributed otherwise to parents and community.

The personnel items recommended by the superintendent and approved by the board include the following:

  • Re-Hire: Jacqueline Raby, School Nurse, for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Resignations: Tamecisha Abrams, Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective, July 1, 2019, and Miakka Taylor, English Language Arts Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective July 11, 2019; Jeffery Noland, Social Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
  • Employment – Eutaw Primary School: Chandra Toney, 3rd Grade Teacher, Re-hire; Jameka Jackson Sutton, Kindergarten Teacher; Lurena Smith, Kindergarten Teacher, Re-hire; Sandra Artis, Pre-K Teacher; Domonique McDaniels, 3rd Grade Teacher.
  • Employment – Robert Brown Middle School: Ashley Harrison, 4th Grade Teacher; Latausha Mitchell, 5th Grade Teacher; Ashley Moody 7th Grade English Teacher, Re-hire; Chardell Fredd, 8th Grade Science Teacher; Leanita Hunt, 5th Grade Teacher.
  • Voluntary Transfer: Janice Jeames, from Physical Science Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School to Science Teacher at Greene County High School.
  • Employment – Department of Transportation: Latasha Lewis, School Bus Driver; Carla Russell, School Bus Driver.
  • Transfer of Employee: Gloria Lyons from the position of Cafeteria Manager at Greene County High School to Cook at Greene County High School.
  • Hire: Jacqueline Edwards, Part-time Janitor.
    The board approved the following Additional Service Contracts for the following employees at Greene County High School for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. (Separate Contract):
  • Rodney Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Danielle Sanders, Head Girls Basketball Coach; Brittany January, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach; Janice Jeames, Girls Softball / Volleyball Coach; Corey Cockrell, Head Football Coach; Fentress Means, Assistant Football Coach; Jacob Sullivan, Head Baseball Coach; Linda Little, Cheerleader Sponsor.
    The board approved Additional Service contract(s) for the following employees at Robert
    Brown Middle School for the 2019 – 2020 academic year. (Separate Contract):
  • Henry Miles, Head Football Coach; Jacob Sullivan Assistant Football Coach; Jeffery Wesley, Head Basketball Coach; Corey Cockrell, Assistant Basketball Coach; Dorris Robinson, Cheerleader Sponsor.
    The board approved the following Administrative Service Items:
  • Authorization to remove Dr. James H. Carter as an Authorized Board Representative and signer on all Greene County Board of Education accounts.
  • Authorization to add Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones as Representative and signer on all Greene County Board of Education accounts.
  • Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Helping Hands Therapy to provide Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy for the 2016 – 2017 school year.
  • Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Deonna Blalock, to provide school psychometric services for the 2019-2020 school year.

50th anniversary of “Greene County Freedom Day – July 29, 1969” coming July 27 and 28, 2019

Greene County Candidates L to R: front row Vassie Knott, Levi Morrow back row-Hines, Means, Burton and William Branch, County Co- Chairman. ( Posey is not in the picture.)

Spiver Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, announced that there will be a two-day program on July 27 and 28, 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the special election on July 29, 1969, which elected Black officials to the Greene County Commission and School Board.
“This is a two day celebration of 50 years of voting rights, democracy, justice and unity for all people in Greene County, Alabama. We invite everyone, Black and White, Hispanics, Asians and Native peoples from Greene County and around the state and nation to attend. This is a celebration of what is good and positive in Greene County.
“We need and challenge all community and business leaders – Black and White – to attend. This is an opportunity to honor grassroots community leaders who had the courage to believe they could change and make this community a better place to live, work and worship.

We have made a half century of progress but with full participation and unity the next fifty years will be easier and more productive for all,” said Gordon.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 from 9:00 AM to Noon, three historic monuments will be unveiled and dedicated in Eutaw:
• the first will be at Carver School, now the Robert H. Cook Community Center, to honor students who boycotted schools in 1965 and started the civil rights and voting rights struggles and movement in Greene County.

• the second monument will be in front of the home of Anne Thomas and Rosie Carpenter, on Highway 14, where strategy sessions were held for the civil rights movement from the 1960’s into the 1990’s.

• the third monument will be placed at the Robert Brown Middle School, formerly Greene County High School to honor Black students who integrated the public schools of Greene County in the 1960’s and early 1970’s.
“We hope these monuments will stand for a long time and be a beacon of light for our children and our children’s children, as they travel to and through Greene County. These monuments show the ‘peoples history of our county’ and many names of those living and deceased are on these markers,” said Lester Cotton, 2nd Vice President of the Movement Museum.
On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 6:00 PM, at the Eutaw Activity Center, there will be a banquet honoring the foot soldiers who participated in the civil rights and voting rights movement of the 1960’s in Greene County. Among the living leaders who participated in the struggle, who have agreed to attend are: Rosie Carpenter (who now lives in Bowie, Maryland), Bill Edwards (Portland, OR), Atty. Sheryl Cashin (daughter of John Cashin from Washington, D. C.) Fred Taylor, Tyrone Brooks, and Dexter Wimbush (Georgia), Wendell H. Paris (Jackson, MS), Judge John England, Hank Sanders, Sen. Bobby Singleton and many other dignitaries.
On Sunday July 28, 2019, at 4:00 PM there will be a Freedom Rally, honoring the fallen Black political leaders of Greene County, at the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw. The rally will be followed by a fish-fry and watermelon eating fellowship meeting on the grounds of the old Courthouse in Eutaw.
For more information and to support the Freedom Day 50th anniversary celebration, contact: Spiver Gordon, Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, Inc., P. O. Box 385, Eutaw, Alabama 35462; phone 205-372-3446;
email: spiverwgordon@hotmail.com.

Eutaw City Council holds special meeting to approve transfer of bingo funds to meet immediate bills

Chief Derick Coleman with new police officer Derrick Carter

By: John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

The Eutaw City Council held a special called meeting on Monday night, July 15, 2019, to approve transferring $70,000 of bingo funds in a Capital Improvement Fund to meet immediate outstanding bills critical to keep the city operating.
This decision came against a backdrop of long-standing arguments over city finances between Mayor Steele and councilmembers. Council members: LaJeffrey Carpenter, Latasha Johnson and Sheila Smith have requested a budget, a meaningful plan for using city funds to cover routine and extraordinary city expenses. Councilman Joe Lee Powell sometimes joins this group especially when needed expenditures concern his district. Councilman Benny Abrams has generally voted with the Mayor.
About three months ago, the City Council in an unprecedented action removed Mayor Steele as a signatory on most city accounts and left the payment of bills to Councilmen Carpenter and Powell. These council members, aided by City Clerk, Kathy Bir have prioritized and paid the bills as best they could. The City has a list of accounts payable between $200,000 and $300,000, which were presented to the Council in the past few meetings.Councilwoman Sheila Smith points out that there are problems in the City Water Department with billing. The City sends out bills for a combination of water, sewer and garbage services. The amount of revenue coming in is not sufficient to pay the expenses for these services. Some people have received minimum water bills for months even though they know that they are using substantial amounts of water.
There seems to be a disconnect in the computer softwear used to read the new digital water meters and the printing of bills. The City has called the Alabama Rural Water Association to help diagnose and solve these water billing problems but progress in resolving the issues is slow. The Mayor insists that all problems with the new digital, self-reading meters have been resolved but the continuing dilemma of low revenues from the water, sewer and garbage fees suggests that problems remain.
Mayor Steele called Monday’s special meeting to transfer funds from the City Capital Improvement Account and from the
Special Fund for repair roads in Branch Heights to pay the current backlog of bills. Mayor Steele insisted, “ We are endangering the lives of city residents by not paying these bills. Our wifi communications have been turned off for non-payment of bills, which means our police cannot write tickets and check driver’s identities. We are not able to put chlorine in the water and people may die. We are not doing things required by state statutes.”
The Mayor asked to transfer funds from the current Capital Improvement Account, which has a balance of $70,312 and the Special Fund for Branch Heights Roads, which has a balance of $577,000 to pay outstanding bills.
A motion was made to transfer funds in the Capital Improvement Account and put the bingo funds flowing in to this account for the next six months into the General Fund to pay bills. The Council also wants to have a discussion with the Sheriff about using funds from the Special Funds for Branch Heights Roads for paying bills. The Mayor used half a million dollars in the 7 cent Highway Fund to pay for resurfacing the Branch Heights Roads, so he feels that Sheriff Benison should release funds in the Special Account for the city to pay its bills.
As soon as the motion was passed, the Mayor adjourned the meeting. This reporter had to jump up and ask that the figures be clarified so that the public would know how their monies were being spent. No figures on the funds to be transferred were used in the discussion or motion. You are seeing figures in this story that the newspaper had to beg for and pry out of the Mayor and city officials.
$70,000 of Capital Improvement funds will be transferred immediately to pay pressing bills. This fund receives $4,500 each month in bingo funds from Greenetrack, Rivers Edge and Frontier bingos, which totals $13,500. Prior to the closing of Greene Charity, there was another $4,500 a month flowing into this account. $13,500 for the month of June is still pending and expected for this account that may be used to pay bills.
Another $27,000 a month of bingo funds from the Palace is paid into the Special Fund set up by the Sheriff for Branch Heights Roads. Some councilmembers argue that these funds are needed for roadwork in King Village and other multi-family housing complexes.
In the July 9, 2019, regular City Council meeting, the Council:
• Approved ordinances to allow for Sunday liquor sales and clarifying the sale of wine in Eutaw; the ordinances will go into affect after they are published one time in the newspaper;
• Approved travel for the City Clerk and administrative assistant for training;
• Authorized the Mayor to pursue FEMA funding for repair of culverts throughout the city that have been damaged by recent heavy rains. 75% of these repairs are paid by FEMA, 12.5% by the State of Alabama and 12.5% are a local matching contribution.
Police Chief Derick Coleman introduced a new part time police officer, Derrick Carter. The Chief indicated that this hire would bring the force to seven full time and three part time officers.

At Forkland Town Hall Meeting: Terri Sewell says she is part of a nine member Congressional Commission on the USMCA (NAFTA 2.0) Trade agreement

Congresswoman Sewell surrounded by young people who attended her Town Hall meeting in Forkland, Alabama

On Saturday, July 13, 2019, Congresswoman Terri Sewell held a “Congress in Your Community” meeting at the Forkland Town Hall, attended by more than 50 community residents.
As part of her report, Congresswoman Sewell announced that she was appointed by Speaker Pelosi, to a special nine member commission, to review the U.S. Mexico Canada Trade Agreement (also known as NAFTA 2.0) before its ratification by Congress. Sewell said, “ I will soon be traveling to Mexico City for discussions on this new trade agreement.

I want to be sure American workers are protected with labor and environmental standards.” She said she was particularly concerned about Trump’s proposed tariffs on automobile parts, which would drive up automobile prices and could reduce the American workforce in states like Alabama.
On healthcare, Sewell said she was supporting improvements to the existing Affordable Care Act by reducing deductibles and premiums, including for pharmaceutical drug prices. She says she strongly supports Medicaid Expansion, which Alabama’s Republican Governor and Legislature have refused to adopt. “Due to partisan politics state officials have left $7 billion over ten years on the table to be used by other states,” says Sewell.
Sewell said she was concerned that Republican controlled states were suing in Federal courts to declare the ACA unconstitutional. “This will mean that 1.9 million Alabamians would loose their protection for pre-existing conditions and almost 200,000 would loose their healthcare insurance coverage all together,” said Sewell.
She and Senator Doug Jones have introduced legislation to incentivize states to pursue Medicaid Expansion, but this legislation is tied up in committee because none of the 14 states remaining, who have not agreed to Medicaid Expansion, have indicated interest in changing their positions, “If Alabama wants to adopt Medicaid Expansion, we may be able to get this legislation passed,” said Sewell.
Congresswoman Sewell said she was prepared to vote for an increase in the Federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour, adopted ten years ago in 2009, to $15 an hour in stages over the next five years. “ Workers have lost 18% in purchasing power over the past decade. This bill will give 45% of Alabamians a pay raise! While I proposed a regional minimum wage, which would be more equitable and help small businesses to be competitive, I will be voting for this bill,” says the Congresswoman.
Sewell said her bill (HR4) the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which restores the preclearance provisions stripped from the 1965 Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court’s Shelby vs. Holder decision, will soon be voted on and passed by the House of Representatives. The bill would create an updated formula to qualify states for preclearance for voting rights changes.”14 states would be qualified under the new formula for modern day voting rights violations since 1990, “ says Sewell.
“Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate and his colleagues will not allow a vote on any of the progressive legislation, we have passed in the House of Representatives. The voters in 2020 will have to act to change this deadlock,” said Sewell.
The Congresswoman took questions from the audience, posed for photos with many constituents and spoke with officials of the Town of Forkland before leaving Greene County.

Newswire : Kenyan environmentalists defeat Chinese plan to build coal fired energy plant in Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Protestors in Kenya oppose coal fired energy plant in Lamu

July 15, 2019 (GIN) – Kenyan environmentalists are cheering a major victory against a proposed coal-fired plant near the coastal town of Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The win capped a three year fight against a well-funded effort by a Chinese-Kenyan consortium to build a 1,000 watt power plant on Kenya’s unspoiled northern coast.

Save Lamu, a local activist group, kept up the fight despite government agencies repeatedly rejecting their claims that the plant would not only pollute the air but also damage the fragile marine ecosystem and devastate the livelihoods of fishing communities.

The plant would also devastate Lamu, a historic and idyllic archipelago in the country’s northeast and the oldest and best-preserved example of a Swahili settlement in East Africa, the group maintained.

“We totally reject the Lamu coal project or the other so-called clean coal which are unrealistic and aggravate the destruction of nature. Instead, we advocate for renewable energy initiatives led and managed by local communities,” argued Wahlid Ahmed, a Mandela Washington Fellow and the founder of the Lamu Youth Alliance.

“There is no such thing as clean coal,” underscored Landry Ninterestse of 350Africa.org. “Coal is dirty energy. We strongly campaign against any plans to build a coal plant in Lamu and every else on the continent. We have seen the degree of damages induced by coal on communities and the environment in countries such as South Africa. We are convinced that we have to keep coal and all forms of fossil fuels in ground.”

The project was another example of Beijing’s efforts to develop coal-fired plants overseas, even in some countries that today burn little or no coal. Worse yet, the coal intended for use – from South Africa and Kitui in Kenya – is bituminous which burns poorly and has particularly high levels of pollutants.

Four Chinese companies were involved in the project. The United States also supported it, with U.S. energy firm GE promising to inject US$400 million for a 20 per cent stake in Amu Power, the operating company.

While the latest verdict delays the coal plant’s development, it doesn’t put an end to it. The consortium can still apply for a new license or appeal the decision within the next month. For now, though, local communities are celebrating the win.

Newswire : Tennessee Governor honors Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder of the Klu Klux Klan

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Painting of Civil War battle of Fort Pillow, where Black troops were massacred; Photo of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proclaimed Saturday, July 13, a day of honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest the Confederate General who ordered the massacre of Black Union troops who tried to surrender during Civil War battle at Fort Pillow.

Confederate soldiers under Forrest’s command killed an estimated 200 to 300 Black soldiers, many of them former slaves, during the battle of Fort Pillow in Henning, Tennessee, which occurred on April 12, 1864. The Union troops surrendered and should have been taken as prisoners of war, but Forrest ordered all them killed.

The massacre angered the North, and Northern politicians refused to participate in further prisoner exchanges. Forrest claimed his men didn’t do anything wrong.

At the end of the Civil War, after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, VA, General Forrest had his troops camped in the Black Belt areas of west Alabama. There is a monument commemorating the dissolution of the Confederate troops in Gainesville, Alabama (Sumter County) several months after Lee’s surrender.

After the Civil War, Forrest returned to his home in Pulaski, Tennesse and organized the Klu Klux Klan. From 1867 to 1869, Forrest was the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, a white terrorist organization, opposed to reconstruction.

Forrest died in 1877, but his name surfaced again in the 1994 hit movie “Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks and Sally Field. Field, who played Hanks’ mother, named him in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Gov. Lee’s proclamation makes no mention of Forrest’s key role in the creation of the KKK, nor does the declaration make mention of the fact that Forrest was a traitor who betrayed his country in the name of racism.

Instead, the proclamation only refers to Forrest as a “recognized military figure in American history and a native Tennessean.” Gov. Lee claimed he signed the proclamation honoring Forrest, who was also a slaveholder, because state law required him to.

A statue of Forrest, flanked by Confederate Battle Flags, is located in Nashville, the state capital.

Newswire: Will White House Advisory Council act to end America’s affordable housing crisis?

        NEWS ANALYSIS By: Charlene Crowell
Ta-Nehisi Coates

TriceEdneyWire.com) – Nearly 90 years ago, Kelly Miller (1863-1939), a Black sociologist and mathematician, said, “The Negro is up against the white man’s standard, without the white man’s opportunity.” As the first Black man to enroll as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in 1908, Miller also authored a book entitled Race Adjustment, published in 1908.

Ironically, despite the passage of time, Miller’s words express the same sentiment held today by many Black Americans. As a people and across succeeding generations, we have held fast to our hopes for a better life. Yet it is painfully true that many opportunities enjoyed by other Americans have been elusive for people of color.

Noted author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates expressed a similar view during his June 19 Capitol Hill testimony on reparations.

“Enslavement reigned for 250 years on these shores,” noted Coates. “When it ended, this country could have extended its hallowed principles—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—to all, regardless of color. But America had other principles in mind. And so for a century after the Civil War, black people were subjected to a relentless campaign of terror, a campaign that extended well into the lifetime of Majority Leader McConnell.”

While economists, public policy think tanks and other entities may sing a chorus of how well the American economy is performing and expanding, people of color – especially Blacks and Browns – have yet to see or feel economic vibrancy in our own lives – particularly when it comes to housing and homeownership.

On June 25, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its annual report, The State of the Nation’s Housing. One of the housing industry’s most broadly anticipated and cited reports, it once again chronicles recent trends and issues.

“The limited supply of smaller, more affordable homes in the face of rising demand suggests that the rising land costs and the difficult development environment make it unprofitable to build for the middle market,” said Chris Herbert, JCHS’s managing director.

Among this year’s key findings:

Since 2018, the monthly housing payment on a median-priced home has been $1,775;

In 2019, the cost of a median-priced home rose by 4% to $261,600 when a comparable home in 2011 was priced far lower at $177,400.

This rise in home prices is also the seventh straight year that median household incomes have failed to keep pace in 85 of the nation’s largest 100 markets.

Nearly $52,000 would be required to make a 20% down payment on a median priced home. Even if buyers opted for an FHA 3.5 percent down payment mortgage, more than $9,000 would be needed to pay it, closing costs, and related fees;

In rental housing, four million units of housing priced at $800 or less were lost between 2011 and 2019. Also, since 2010, renters now include consumers earning $75,000 or more.

Families who already own their own homes, these findings signal that their investments are appreciating, growing in equity and wealth.

But for those trying to make that important transition from renting to owning, it’s a very different outlook. As rental prices continue to soar and moderately priced apartments disappear from the marketplace, both prospective homeowners and current renters face a shrinking supply of affordable housing.

When homeownership is possible, housing costs can be better contained with fixed-interest rate mortgages, tax credits, and eventual equity. Even so, the Harvard report finds that only 36 percent of all consumers could afford to buy their own home in 2018. With higher priced homes in 2019, the affordability challenge worsens.

“It is equally noteworthy that once again this key report shares how consumers of color continue to face challenges in becoming homeowners, noted Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending. “According to the report, only 43 percent of Blacks and 47% of Latinx own their own home, while white homeownership remains at 73 percent.

“This 30% disparity deserves further examination and proportional remedies,” continued Bailey. “Greater access to safe and affordable credit, better fair housing enforcement, preservation of anti-discrimination laws – including disparate impact – can play a role in eliminating homeownership gaps. Further, as the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are publicly debated, a renewed commitment to serve all creditworthy borrowers must be embraced.”

Calvin Schermerhorn, a professor of history in Arizona State University’s School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and author of The Business of Slavery and the Rise of American Capitalism, 1815-1860, holds similar views to those expressed by Bailey. In a recent Washington Post op ed column, Schermerhorn addressed the historic disparities that Black America continues to suffer.

“One-fifth of African American families have a net worth of $0 or below; 75 percent have less than $10,000 for retirement,” wrote Schermerhorn. “The enduring barriers to black economic equality are structural rather than individual…. “Escalators into the middle class have slowed and stalled, and the rung of the economic ladder one starts on is most likely where one will end up.”
On the same day as the Harvard report’s release, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that establishes a new advisory body that will be led by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. A total of eight federal agencies will work with state and local government officials to remove “burdensome governmental regulations” affecting affordable housing.

“Increasing the supply of housing by removing overly burdensome rules and regulations will reduce housing costs, boost economic growth, and provide more Americans with opportunities for economic mobility,” stated Secretary Carson.

If Secretary Carson means that local zoning rules favor single family homes over multi-family developments is a fundamental public policy flaw, he may be on to something. However this focus misses the crux of the affordable housing crisis: Wages are not rising in line with increasing housing costs. And now, after the housing industry continues to cater to more affluent consumers, while many older adults choose to age in place, the market has very little to offer those who want their own American Dream, including some who are anxiously awaiting the chance to form their own households.

Builders have historically, not just of late, complained about the time it takes to secure permits or the series of inspections that must be approved during construction and before properties can be listed for sale. What is missing from this new initiative is a solution to the financial challenges that average people face.

It was scant regulation and regulatory voids that enabled risky mortgage products with questionable terms that took our national economy to the brink of financial collapse with worldwide effects. Taxpayer dollars to rescue financiers while many unnecessary foreclosures stripped away home equity and wealth from working families.

Time will tell whether new advisors and proposals remember the lessons from the Great Recession.

Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached atCharlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

Newswire: The historic Chicago Defender among Black media icons scaling back, others possibly closing

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press

Front page of Chicago Defender


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – It has been a rough few days for the Black media.
First, Ebony magazine and its sister publication, JET magazine, may be closing their doors for good.
And then the publisher of the storied Chicago Defender newspaper announced last week that it will no longer publish a print version.
In announcing the move to digital-only beginning Thursday, July 11, Real Times Media CEO Hiram E. Jackson said last Friday that the newspaper has made significant investment in digital media because of changes in the publishing landscape.
Jackson noted the Defender currently prints 16,000 newspapers. He said the newspaper reaches at least 10 times more people on its digital platform.
Jackson said Real Times’ other newspapers, the Michigan Chronicle and the New Pittsburgh Courier, will continue to offer a print version.
The newspaper was founded in 1905 by Robert S. Abbott and reached the peak of its influence at mid-century when it was a frequent critic of racial inequities in the nation’s Southern states.
The Defender delivered news of monumental events — the funeral of Emmett Till, the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the election of President Obama — but also of everyday life for Black Americans.
Jackson said the decision was an economic one. Newspapers throughout the industry have seen a decline in print advertising and readers turning to the internet.
Black newspapers often are an afterthought when it comes to advertising dollars, Jean Patterson Boone, publisher of the Richmond Free Press told the New York Times.
Regardless of the financial challenges, the Richmond Free Press, which has a weekly circulation of 35,000 and a draw of around 130,000 readers, has no intention of going the way of The Defender and eliminating its print edition.
“We’re a miracle,” Mrs. Boone told the New York Times. “We are a miracle and most black newspapers
are a miracle.”
The National Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade organization for African-American-owned newspapers, currently counts 218 such publications across 40 states that attract 22.2 million readers between print and online each week.
Although the country may look different now, the enduring challenges of racism make the black press just as essential now, said Benjamin Chavis Jr., NNPA’s president and chief executive. The Greene County Democrat, weekly newspaper is a
Member of the NNPA.
As for Ebony and JET, former employees of the company took to Twitter last week using the hashtag #EbonyOwes to air their frustrations with the company, as it has fired all of its employees with little to no notice.
According to USA Today, members of Ebony magazine’s digital team say they’ve been fired and haven’t received their final paychecks in the latest controversy to hit the struggling publication that has chronicled black life in America for decades.
Michael Gibson, co-chairman and founder of Austin, Texas-based Clear View Group, which owns Ebony, declined to comment to USA TODAY on the digital team’s dismissal, citing a “policy of not commenting on any employment practices or issues.”
The Chicago Tribune previously reported how Ebony was being pressed by the National Writers Union to pay more than $200,000 it alleged the magazine owed to freelance writers who contributed stories back in 2017. The drama sparked the hashtag #EbonyOwes on Twitter.
According to a report on Ebony.com, the magazine’s previous owner, Johnson Publishing Co., filed for bankruptcy liquidation in April, which Ebony said would not affect its operations.
“EBONY Media Operations, LLC brands, which include EBONY magazine, EBONY.com, digital magazine JET and jetmag.com and its related businesses, have viably operated independently of Johnson Publishing Company dba/ Fashion Fair Cosmetics (JPC) since Black-owned Ebony Media Operations, LLC (EMO) purchased the media assets of JPC in 2016. Black-owned investment firm CVG Group LLC assisted in the formation of EMO,” a statement read. “EMO is unaffected by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy announcement regarding the dissolution of JPC. EMO is not able to comment further and is not familiar with the facts or events of the JPC business.”
The first issue of the iconic magazine hit stands 74 years ago and took the industry by storm. Founded by John H. Johnson in November 1945, the black-owned publication has always strived to address African-American issues, personalities and interests in a positive and self-affirming manner.
Timeless editions of Ebony featured some of the biggest stars in black America, including issues covered by Diana Ross, Sidney Poitier, as well as President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

Newswire: Trump levels racist attack on Congresswomen of Color in latest social media screed

By Lauren Victory Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Four Congresswomen: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).


President Donald Trump went on a racist screed on Twitter and attacked Democratic congresswomen of color and their ancestry. The 45th President, who succeeded the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, has often attacked Black female elected officials, such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Black athletes, immigrants, and other women of color.
As is his general habit, Trump lies in his communications and brands places where people of color reside as dangerous. President Trump has a long history of racism as does his late father, Fred Trump. Fred Trump was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Queens, New York on May 30, 1927 when he was 21.
Their company, Trump Properties, was sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination against Blacks in 1973. On May 1, 1989, Donald Trump took out ads in several of New York’s major newspapers demanding that the Central Park Five be given the death penalty. Even though the five have been exonerated, Trump has never admitted he was wrong or apologized.
A hint of Trump’s racist views now on international display in The White House, was seen in 1989 as Trump linked the Central Park Five case to an overall decline in society.
“At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and laugh at her family’s anguish? And why do they laugh? The laugh because they know that soon, very soon, they will be returned to the street to rape and maim and kill once again,” Trump said in a 1989 interview.
On July 14, 2019, Trump wrote, “So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……” read one communication on Twitter the morning of July 14.
Consistent with his racist attacks and communications both verbal and on social media, President Trump attacked three Congresswomen of color who have gained national prominence as they oppose Trump’s policies: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
Trump implied in a series of consecutive messages on Twitter on July 14 that the Congresswomen weren’t born in the United States and added, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Rep. Illan was born in Somalia and her family arrived in New York on 1992 and secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, New York and Rep. Pressley was born in Chicago, Ill. Another Congresswoman Trump has attacked before, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), was born in Detroit, Michigan.
Though Trump did not name who specifically he was referring to, the context of his communication on Twitter was clear to political observers. Earlier in July, Trump referenced the three women. All three, as well as many other members, have been outspoken about Trump’s immigration policies.
The conditions of detention facilities at the Mexican border came into stark light after Vice President Pence visited a center on June 12. Video from the visit showed a large group of Mexican men grouped in a fenced in enclosure with no cots, food and few signs of running water or other basic needs.
Trump’s direct messages or racism and xenophobia to his base have increased as the 2020 presidential campaign gets fully underway. The Iowa Caucuses are 203 days away as of July 14.


Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke

Greene County Back to School Rally to be held July 25, 2019 Back to School Sale Tax Holiday July 19-21, 2019

MONTGOMERY – It’s almost time to make back-to-school shopping plans, especially if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Alabama’s 14th annual sales tax holiday for school-related items is set for July 19-21. From 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 19, until midnight, Sunday, July 21, the state waives its four-percent sales tax on school-related supplies and clothing. More than 300 cities and counties including the City of Eutaw and Greene County, will waive their local taxes as well.

Exempt items include:

Clothing priced at $100 or less per article of clothing; school supplies valued at $50 or less per item; books that cost $30 or less per book; and tablets, laptops, computers and printers with a selling price of $750 or less.

  • Learn more at alabamaretail.org/alabamasalestaxholidays
    *Sales Tax Holiday Printable Poster

StacheSomeSupplies and #ShopAlabama

In conjunction with the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, the Alabama Retail Association is encouraging Alabamians to #StacheSomeSupplies. Because the tax holiday is only one weekend a year, families should consider purchasing items required for later in the year and stashing them until needed. Art supplies, computer paper and diapers are examples of items that will be exempt from taxes during the tax holiday but are used year-round.
You can be part of our social media promotion by using our #StacheSomeSupplies hashtag, showing us how you’re taking advantage of the tax savings. In addition, Alabama Retail will continue its campaign reminding shoppers to buy from local retailers with our #ShopAlabama initiative.

Look for content on our Facebook page and on Instagram at @ShopAlabama.