Newswire :Nine members of one family drown in Branson, MO boating accident

Boat captain told them they didn’t need to wear life jackets

By Frederick H. Lowe

Members of the Coleman family

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Nine members of a Black family drowned when their tour boat sank on Table Rock Lake July 19 in Branson, Missouri, in 70 miles per hour winds and high waves. The boat was equipped with life jackets, but before the accident the captain told passengers they didn’t need to wear them. The family’s last name is Coleman, and they were residents from the Indianapolis, Indiana, area. The Colemans were among 17 adults and children killed when their duck boat sank in 40 feet of water before finally resting in 80 feet of water. Twenty-nine passengers and two crew members were aboard the boat. Duck boats are six-wheel-drive amphibious modification of the 2½ ton trucks used by the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War. The boats were operated by Ride the Ducks International, a tourist company founded in Branson in 1977. Ripley Entertainment, which is based in Ontario, Florida, owns the company. Tia Coleman, whose husband, children, sister and cousins drowned, said life jackets were on the boat, but the captain told passengers they didn’t need them. “My husband would want to me to say this—he would want the world to know that on this boat we are on, the captain had told us ‘don’t worry about grabbing life jackets—you won’t need them,’ so nobody grabbed them as we listened to the captain as he told us to stay seated.” So much for sea lore of the captain going down with his ship. He survived. A member of one of the rescue boats tossed Coleman a life jacket and that is how she survived. Tia Coleman said during a news conference that she believed she had died and angels saved her. Members of the Coleman family who drowned are: Angela Coleman, 45; Arya Coleman, 1; Belinda Coleman, 69; Ervin Coleman, 76; Evan Coleman, 7; Glenn Coleman, 40; Horace Coleman, 70; Maxwell Coleman, 2; and Reece Coleman, 9. They were in Branson for a family vacation. Other drowning victims were: Asher Williams, 69, from Missouri; Rosemarie Hamann, 68, from Missouri; Janice Bright, 63, from Missouri; William Bright, 65, from Missouri; Leslie Dennison, 64, from Illinois; Bob Williams, 71, from Missouri; Lance Smith, 15, from Arkansas and Steve Smith, 53, from Arkansas.Missouri Governor Mike Parson, who traveled to Branson, called the accident “a heart-breaking tragedy, and we must all work together to support the victims and their families.” We can help accident victims through gofundme.com/table-rock-cares and Coleman Family Boat Accident and cfozarks.org/donate.

Newswire: AME Church and Black banks launch new partnership for Black wealth

By Hazel Trice Edney

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AME Church Bishops pose with Black bankers and business leaders after announcing historic partnership. PHOTO: Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Black church, among the most prosperous institutions in America, has long led movements for the spiritual, social and civic uplift of Black people. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he had just launched the Poor People’s Movement, which quickly fizzled after his death.
With this historic backdrop, the African Methodist Episcopal Church – with a legacy of leadership in its own right – has announced an innovative economic partnership with Black-owned banks across the country. The partnership aims to be a catalyst to spur business development, homeownership and wealth in the Black community.
“We are now pleased to announce a partnership with the presidents of the nineteen (19) Black banks in the United States, with the goal of increasing Black wealth,” said Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the United States and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members. This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”
Bishop Jackson made the announcement during a press conference held during the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta June 26. The specific details of a memorandum of understanding are being formulated and will be announced this summer. But the goals are as follows:
· Increase deposits and loans with Black banks;
· Increase Black homeownership to over 50 percent nationwide. This means 2,000,000 more Black homeowners than now exist; and
· Grow the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million and total gross receipts from an average of $72,500.00 to $150,000.00.
“The spirit in which you all have shared the commitment to the community, to the banks and to what we can do together is outstanding,” responded Preston Pinkett, III, chairman and CEO of the City National Bank of New Jersey and chairman of the National Bankers Association. “Thank you for your willingness to step outside of the norm to do something that I would say is extraordinary here in America and extraordinary in the world.”
Pinkett says the church-bank partnerships are already beginning around the nation. “It is safe to say that this kind of commitment; this kind of demonstration will go a long way in supporting our banks and the banks to be able to support the community…With God’s blessings, we will accomplish great things.”
Amidst an atmosphere of excitement, the bankers, bishops and supporters of the movement packed into a meeting room in a Downtown Atlanta hotel. Jackson was surrounded by all 20 Bishops of the 231-year-old denomination as well as supporters of the movement. They included principals of the growing economic movement, Black Wealth 2020, which Jackson credited as inspiration for the idea.
“This partnership grows out of an initiative formed in Washington, DC in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020 which is providing an economic blueprint for Black America,” Jackson said.
Michael Grant, one of the founders of Black Wealth 2020, presided at the press conference. He connected the new partnership directly with the movement begun by Dr. King.
“The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment,” Grant said. “The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves.”
Opening the press conference, Grant underscored the historicity of the moment. “For those of you who are students of history, you would not be surprised that the Church of Richard Allen would be leading an effort to close the wealth gap across the United States of America.” Allen, among America’s most influential Black leaders, founded the AME church in 1794. It was the first independent Black denomination in the U. S. “And we do this with malice towards none,” stressed Grant.
Bishop James L. Davis, of the Second Episcopal District, likened the partnership to a marriage – a marriage between a church and its community. “It is a marriage that says a church that is concerned about its people, concerned about the good and the bad, all of the things our people have had to go through.”
The prophetic voices of Black church leaders not only articulate ideas, but strategies.
“In the next decade in the global church and in the AME church and in Black banking, we will see both evolution and revolution. Banks must reinvent themselves, not just to respond to the pressures of the day, but to be flexible enough to adapt to the world of tomorrow. The ecclesia, the church, must also evolve its business knowledge, educational platform, and its missional thrust without losing its stance in the Word of God,” said General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie. “Both of our institutions are dealing with increasing assertive governmental intrusion, higher membership and customer demands along with increasing change in the wider world.”
The announcement of the new partnership was met with applause from national civil rights leaders.
“Thank you and your fellow bishops for making economic development a priority of your denomination,” wrote civil rights icon Georgia Congressman John Lewis in a letter to Bishop Jackson. “Hopefully, your visionary leadership will inspire other denominations to replicate your efforts nationwide.”
National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial also weighed in with a letter: “I want to express the support of the National Urban League for your leadership and initiative in addressing the challenges of Black homeownership and the need to increase the support, viability and profitability of our African-American businesses,” he wrote.
Morial is among economic leaders who have determined that among the reasons homeownership among African-Americans is disparately low is, in part, because of discriminatory lending practices.
Mortgage Banker Lois Johnson, president/CEO of Salt Lake City-based United Security Financial, said she takes “great pride in our HUD designation as a fair practice lender. We provide loans to all who meet the minimum criteria, especially people of color who have been denied the opportunity to have their own homes.”
Johnson, who is licensed to operate in 49 states, says she intends to travel to each of the AME church’s episcopal districts to “create hope and opportunities.”
The principals agreed that the key to the success of the partnership must be mutual respect for Black spending power and mutual support of Black businesses.
“We hear about Black folks have a trillion dollars in spending power,” said Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. and co-founder of Black Wealth 2020. “But that’s usually White folk talking about our dollar sand how can they get their share of it. We came together to say how can we deal with the Black wealth, the gap of it and really to move our agenda forward inside our own community.”
Busby pointed to the USBC’s new AP called the USBC Mobile Directory with 109,000 Black-owned businesses in order to help consumers make targeted purchases inside the Black business community.
Robert James, CEO of the Carver State Bank in Savannah discussed how the movement will be sustained. “There was a time that no church got financed in Savannah Georgia unless we financed them at Carver State Bank,” James said to applause. “This program will get us back on the path.”
James says he knows the relationship can be sustained because the bishops have authority to oversee and encourage AME church leaders to do business with Black-owned banks. “We can talk to the Bishops about those local churches. And you can talk to your elders and your preachers,” he said.
Bishop Jackson underscored the fact that the U. S. partnership is only the beginning. He indicated that the movement will also expand abroad. “The possibilities extend throughout the Diaspora. The African Methodist Episcopal Church has over 4,000 churches in Africa, the Caribbean, West Indies and Europe. These churches and members can also benefit from this partnership,” he said.
To augment this expansion, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, ambassador for the African Union, spoke to the Bishops the day before the press conference, promising to encourage Africans in America to also put their deposits in Black banks. She stressed the need for Black-owned institutions to unify, cooperate and not turn on one another.
“I hope we will all come together and support the idea of putting all of our money in Black banks. I have already taken the initiative and listed all of the Black banks in the country on our website. I’m already encouraging all Black people when I do presentations to say we’ve been stupid for too long. We drive past Black banks to give our money to people who don’t give a hoot about us. And they take our money so they can get rich; not only here, but in Africa. We’ve got to change this.”

Statewide: Walt Maddox for Governor; Joe Siegelman for AG In Greene County: Sheriff and 4 incumbent commissioners re-elected; Runoff set for Probate Judge and District 5 Commissioner

 

Sheriff Jonathan Joe Benison (1)

Shown above L to R: Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Veronica Morton-Jones and Ronald Kent Smith

In yesterday’s Democratic primary elections, Sheriff Jonathan “Joe” Benison was re-elected to his third four-year term. Benison received 2013 votes (60%) to 681 for Jimmie Benison, 381 for Lorenzo French, and 282 for Beverly Spencer.
In Greene County, the Republican party did not nominate candidates for local offices, so the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election, although these candidates will be officially confirmed as elected after the November 6, General Election.
Veronica Morton-Jones was elected Circuit Clerk of Greene County by a vote of 1911 (60%) to 1290 for her opponent Debra D. Blackmon.
Ronald Kent Smith was re-elected Coroner over Finest Gandy, Jr. by a vote of 1998 to 1186.
In the race for Greene County Probate Judge, there will be a countywide Runoff Election on July 17, 2018, between the top two finishers, Jeremy Rancher with 1091 votes (32.76%) and Rolonda M. Wedgeworth with 813 votes (24.41%). Four other participants in the race: James Carter with 303, John Kennard with 306. Rashon Smith with 518 and Grace Belton Stanford with 299 votes were eliminated.

Four of the incumbent County Commissioners were re-elected. In District 1, Lester ‘Bop” Brown defeated Union Mayor James Gaines, Jr. by 415 to 229 votes. In District 2, Tennyson Smith did not draw any opponents and will be re-elected after the November General Election.
In District 3, Corey Cockrell was chosen over Elzora Fluker by a vote of 609 to 244. In District 4, Allen Turner, Jr. scored 491 votes to defeat John H. Vester with 178 votes.
In District 5, there will be a runoff on July 17 between Marvin Childs 203 votes and Rashonda Summerville with 135 votes. Three other challengers including incumbent Michael Williams with 101, Marvin K. Walton with 77 and Grace Atkins Lavender with 54 votes.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee member for District 72 (Female), in Greene County Carrie B. McFadden had 433, Jerildine Melton 329 and Johnnie Mae Scott with 1052. Including results from Greene, Hale, Perry and Marengo counties, there will be a runoff between Carrie B. McFadden with 3378 and Johnnie Mae Scott 2676. Jerildine Melton finished with 2571, just five votes less than needed for second place.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee for District 72 (Male), in Greene County, Arthur Crawford had 659, James F. May 219 and John Zippert 1222. For the full four county district, there will be a runoff between Arthur Crawford 4216 and James F. May, 2725. John Zippert finished third with 2286 votes.
In statewide races, Greene County set the trend for Walt Maddox and Joe Siegelman to win the Democratic nomination without a runoff. In Greene County, Maddox received 2779 (86.33%) of the votes. The other candidates: Sue Bell Cobb with 159, Christopher Countryman with 37, James C. Fields with 96, Doug ‘New Blue’ Smith 107 and Anthony White 41 votes, did not break 5% of the votes.
In the State Attorney General’s race, Joe Siegelman received 2076 votes (71.81%) to 815 votes (28.19) for Chris Christie in Greene County. For Secretary of State, Heather Milan 1359 defeated Lula Albert with 970 votes in Greene County and also won statewide.
In the Republican Primary in Greene County, there were only 249 votes cast or 6.83 of the total. In the Governor’s race, Kay Ivey led in Greene County with 184 votes (73.9%). She was followed by Tommy Battle with 30 votes, Scott Dawson with 26, Bill Hightower with 8 and Michael McAllister 1.
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Newswire: LeBron James and Stephen Curry agree on one thing: Neither of them want to visit Trump

By Ed Mazza, Huffington Post
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James and  Curry

Rivals LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors have managed to agree on something: No matter which team wins the NBA championship, neither one of them plans to visit the White House if invited by President Donald Trump.
“I know whoever wins this series, no one wants an invite anyway,” James told reporters on Tuesday.
“I agree with ’Bron,” Curry said at a separate news conference. “Pretty sure the way we handled things last year, kinda staying consistent with that.”
When the Warriors won the NBA championship last year, Curry indicted he would not attend a planned White House ceremony, prompting Trump to disinvite the team via Twitter.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” the president tweeted in September. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
At the time, James called out Trump on Twitter, saying he couldn’t disinvite Curry… because Curry wasn’t going to attend anyway:
Curry’s Warriors lead James’ Cavaliers, 2-0, in the finals. Game Three is Wednesday night in Cleveland. It’s the fourth consecutive year that the two teams have met in the finals.
Trump this week cancelled a White House celebration for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, claiming it was because “they disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem.” However, many of the team’s players were not planning to attend.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Trump’s behavior wasn’t surprising.
“The president has made it pretty clear he’s going to try to divide us, all of us, in this country for political gain,” he said. “We all look forward to the day we can go back to just having a celebration of athletic achievement.”

Alabama Civil Rights Museum hosts Commemoration and Honors Program

Saturday, May 12, 2018 the Alabama Civil Rights Museum held a Pre-Mother’s Day Commemoration and Honors Program to lift up individuals for years of religious, civil rights, political and military leadership from the Knoxville and Snoddy Communities. The event was held at the Knoxville Fire Department. Rev. Charlie Means served as guest speaker. On Sunday, May 27, at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, community leaders from the Boligee, Clinton, Pleasant Ridge, Mt. Hebron and Lower Gainesville Road area were recognized. The theme for the occasion was Saluting Godly Men and Women and Honoring Past Leaders. Rev. Kelvin Cockrell, church pastor, delivered the message.

Elder Spiver Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Right Museum, presented local Foot Soldiers with certificates of recognition for their contributions in paving the way to ensure a better future. Over 160 individuals were recognized. Recipients or family members came to received the award. Elder Gordon gave a brief history. Honorees included Mr. and Mrs. Will Little, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Finest Gandy, Nina Jo Hutton, Rev. and Mrs. Sherman Norwood, Mr.and Mrs. John Steele, Fannie Taylor, John Lavender, Susan Miller, Emanuel Jolly, Harry Collins, Cora Hill, West Taylor, Mr and Mrs. Hezekiah Watkins, Hurtlean Pippen, Willie Sanders, Martha Cameron, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. John McMillan, Arthur Williams, Sam Duncan, Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Cox, Mellie Thompson, Mr and Mrs. Joe Rancher, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Amerson, Mr. and Mrs. Brady Hardy, Lillian Black, Ruby Cheatem, Mr. and Mrs. George Adams, Sarah Stalling, Gloria Outland. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cook, the first tax collector in Greene County, Lucious Amerson, the first Black Sheriff elected in the State of Alabama, Fannie Jackson, 114 year old when she passed aw, and numerous others. The Honoree shed light or highlight the impact or role played in the community, whether big or small. Local candidates in the 2018 June Primary and November General Elections were invited to come to meet and greet the community. For Probate Judge: Rev. John Kennard and Rev. James Carter and Jeremy Rancher were present; Circuit Clerk candidate Veronica Morton-Jones was present; Greene County Coroner candidate Finest Gandy, Jr. was present. In the Sheriff’s race Lorenzo French and Beverly Spencer were present.

SOS calls on State of Alabama to remove memorial to Dr. J. Marion Sims on Capitol grounds

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Jon Broadway addresses SOS press conference calling for removal of statue

Montgomery, AL – SOS, the Save Our Selves Movement for Justice and Democracy, is asking the State of Alabama to remove the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims from the Capitol grounds.  SOS is also asking that the charges be dropped against Jon Broadway, who has been charged with Criminal Tampering in Montgomery County.

The press conference was held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol. SOS is a grassroots movement of more than 40 Alabama statewide organizations working for social change and to promote justice and democracy in the state.
Standing on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol, state Senator Hank Sanders said: “The reason this memorial must be removed is because Dr. J. Marion Sims operated on a number of enslaved Black women without their consent and without anesthesia of any sort.
“Dr. Sims lived in Montgomery before moving to New York City.  Between 1845 and 1849, Sims performed numerous operations on multiple Black women in Montgomery, all without anesthesia or consent and sometimes with other doctors looking on.  Some of these women endured torturous surgeries repeated times. Alabama cannot have a statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims, a man who committed repeated atrocities against Black women in Alabama, on public grounds.”
Johnny Ford said: “Dr. Sims is widely known as the father of gynecology because, in large part, of these horrible medical experiments he conducted on enslaved Black women in Alabama.  Like the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments on Black men that took place in Alabama in the 20th Century, these atrocious actions that took place in Alabama in the 19th Century against Black women should, at the very least, result in an apology and the removal of this statue.  Memorials to Dr. Sims have been removed in New York and other states once Sims’ atrocities were brought to public and officials’ attentions. That has sadly not been the case in Alabama. This must change.”
Attorney Faya Rose Toure said: “The charges against Jon Broadway must be dismissed because he has done nothing wrong. In fact, he has done something right by calling attention to the memorial of a man who openly abused and tortured enslaved Black women.  From the facts I know, Mr. Broadway simply helped perform a skit about Dr. Sims’ actions and a little ketchup may have gotten on the statue during a performance given to draw attention to the torture and abuse that powerless Black women suffered at the hands of Sims.”
Ketchup was used in the skit on Confederate Memorial Day to symbolize the bloodshed that Dr. Sims caused to Black women. A small amount of ketchup was smeared on the pedestal of the statue as part of the protest.
Attorney Toure said, “It was also terrible that Mr. Jon Broadway was forced to leave jail in his underwear.  They took the clothes off his back because enforcement claimed they needed his clothes for evidence. Some observers pointed out that there were traces of ketchup on his clothes, which prompted the arresting officers to retain his clothes. The police did not offer any replacement clothing when they released Broadway.  All of this is connected to the recently passed state law to protect Confederate memorials.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “This happened the same day that other people were hanging wreaths on the Capitol grounds for Confederate Memorial Day, and none of those people were arrested for Criminal Tampering or for anything else.  Yet the actions of a man who was trying to present a full picture behind the history of another monument were seen as tampering, and Mr. Broadway was arrested based on the content of his message.  This press conference today is the initial step in a series of efforts to bring peace and justice to this spot where this memorial now sits and to provide the full picture of the history of these memorials and monuments.”

Greene County DST Chapter awards $3,000 in scholarships

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Shown L to R: Shaleah McCain, Hale County High School; Jamia Jackson, Greene County High School; Tony White, Jr., Greene County High School; Eldria Jones, Green County High School and Alexis Jordon, Greene County High School. Not shown: MaKayle Lewis, Greensboro High School.

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held a reception recently honoring the six students awarded $500 scholarships upon their enrollment in postsecondary schools. The scholarship recipients from the sorority’s service are: Shaleah McCain, Hale County High School; Jamia Jackson, Tony White, Jr., Eldria Jones, and Alexis Jordan, all of Greene County High School. Not pictured is Makayla Lewis, of Greensboro High School. The reception, held Monday, May 14, 2018, included Mediation by Jacqueline Allen; Greetings by Chapter President Andrea Perry; Words of Encouragement by Evelyn James. The scholarship recipients and their parents enjoyed refreshments and fellowship with sorority chapter members present.

Newswire : Obama calls Trump’s Iran announcement ‘misguided,’ decision to withdraw a ‘serious mistake’; Congresswoman Terri Sewell also questions decision

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Obama and Terri Sewell
Former President Barack Obama has weighed in on President Trump’s announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
“There are few issues more important to the security of the United States than the potential spread of nuclear weapons, or the potential for even more destructive war in the Middle East,” Obama wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “That’s why the United States negotiated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the first place.”
“The reality is clear. The JCPOA is working – that is a view shared by our European allies, independent experts, and the current U.S. Secretary of Defense,” Obama added.
The former president further called Trump’s announcement “misguided” and a “serious mistake.”
“Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals negotiated. In a democracy, there will always be changes in policies and priorities from one Administration to the next. But the consistent flouting of agreements that our country is a party to risks eroding America’s credibility, and puts us at odds with the world’s major powers,” Obama noted.
Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell issues similar statement
On Tuesday, May 8, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. International partners have urged the Administration to uphold the Iran Deal, which has substantially limited Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
“After months of deliberation and extensive conversations with nuclear experts, military officials, and constituent groups, I decided to support the Iran Deal because I believed it was our best option for ensuring a nuclear-free Iran,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “The Iran Deal was not perfect, but its collective enforcement by the international community made it the best path forward. President Trump’s reckless withdrawal from the Iran Deal has the potential to destabilize an already unstable region. As we lay the groundwork for a diplomatic breakthrough with North Korea, reneging on the Iran Deal could also endanger our chances at establishing another major international agreement. Unilaterally walking away from this agreement leaves America isolated and puts our national security at risk.”

Newswire : Rev. Frederick D. Reese, one of the Selma ‘Elite Eight’ that invited ML King to Selma, Alabama for voting rights movement passes

 


Rev. F. D. Reese

Frederick Douglas Reese, or F. D. Reese (November 28, 1929 – April 5, 2018), was an American civil rights activist, educator and minister from Selma, Alabama. Known as a member of Selma’s “Courageous Eight”, Reese was the president of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) when it invited the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma to amplify the city’s local voting rights campaign. This campaign eventually gave birth to the Selma to Montgomery marches, which later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Reese was also president of the Selma Teachers Association, and in January 1965 he mobilized Selma’s teachers to march as a group for their right to vote.
Reese retired from teaching and from February 2015 and until his death in April 2018, he was active as a minister at Selma’s Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.
Reese was born in Selma, Alabama. He graduated from Alabama State University, where he majored in math and science where he received a Master’s degree.
Reese spent nine years in Millers Ferry, Alabama, ending in 1960.  This is where he began his teaching career, teaching science and serving as assistant principal.
In 1960, Reese moved home to Selma, started teaching science and math at R. B. Hudson High School, and joined the Dallas County Voters League(DCVL), the major civil rights organization in Selma since the state of Alabama started actively suppressing the NAACP in 1956. Two years after joining the DCVL, he was elected its president.
In 1962, while Reese was a DCVL member, the organization encouraged Bernard Lafayette of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to come to Selma to assist in the voting rights struggle by educating black citizens about their right to vote.
As president of the DCVL, Reese signed and sent the DCVL’s invitation to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to come to Selma to lend their support to the voting rights campaign there.[2] King and the SCLC agreed to come, and they started their public engagement in Selma’s voting rights campaign on January 2, 1965, with a mass meeting in violation of an injunction against large gatherings.
On January 18, about 400 people marched on the county courthouse to register to vote; on January 19, the people marched again, and this time police violence towards DCVL’s Amelia Boynton and the arrest of 67 marchers brought the movement to national headlines.
Teachers’ March
In 1965, Reese held the simultaneous leadership positions of DCVL president and president of the Selma Teachers Association.  The first act he made as the Teachers Association president was to sign a proclamation in the presence of the superintendent and assistant superintendent, declaring that teachers should register to vote.  Reese even asked that the superintendent allow black teachers to use their free period during the school day to register to vote, though he knew it was an “abominable thing to ask” in that political and social climate.  Reese and fellow teacher and DCVL member Margaret Moore challenged their colleagues, “How can we teach American civics if we ourselves cannot vote?”
On January 22, three days after Amelia Boynton’s encounter with police, and three days before another demonstration in front of the county courthouse where Annie Lee Cooper (portrayed by Oprah Winfrey in the 2014 film Selma) had a violent encounter with Sheriff Jim Clark, Reese gathered 105 teachers—almost every black teacher in Selma—to march on the courthouse.[6] The teachers climbed the steps but were barred from entering to register.  They were pushed down the steps twice, the police jabbing them with nightsticks.
Officials reportedly urged against the teachers’ arrest, saying, “Don’t arrest these people because what you going do with the 7,000 students that we have running around here when they go back to school Monday?”  It was the first time in Civil Rights Movement that teachers in the South publicly marched as teachers; they were the largest black professional group in Dallas County, and their actions inspired involvement from their students and others who were unsure about participating in demonstrations.
Selma to Montgomery march
During the time the SCLC spent organizing and protesting in Selma, Reese coordinated meetings and often played the role of mediator when differences of opinion arose.
In photographs from the historic Selma to Montgomery marches, which were initiated and organized by SCLC’s Director of Direct Action James Bevel, Reese is pictured in a dark suit, coat, and hat, most often in the front of the march with Martin Luther King, Jr. and some of his closest associates.

Newswire : 50th anniversary of King assassination: Coretta King’s last wish to expose secrets about her husband’s killing is yet unfulfilled

 

By Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds

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Coretta Scott King : Library of Congress

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Efforts must be increased to break down the wall of secrecy surrounding the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was gunned down on April 4, 1968 as he stepped out onto the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
That was one of the lasting wishes of his wife, Coretta Scott King. It was underscored by the findings of a rarely discussed December 9, 1999 jury trial in Memphis which concluded that King was the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis Police Department as well as local, state and federal government agencies, movement insiders and the Mafia. Mrs. King died on January 31, 2006. The secrecy shrouding the death of Dr. King is still in place.
As the nation prepares to commemorate the death of the martyred leader hopefully there should be a renewed effort to bare submerged information that could finally set the record straight about the role of U.S. governmental agencies in a plan to eliminate King who had emerged as one who millions perceive as the most successful African-American protest leader of the 21st Century.
In a civil suit filed by Mrs. King in Memphis, a jury of six Whites and six Blacks, affirmed the trial’s evidence which identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter and agreed that Ray had been set up to take the blame.
“The trial only proved what our family had maintained all along,” Mrs. King told me in her memoir Coretta, “My Life, My Live, My Legacy.”
The jury’s proceeding went on for four weeks. The 2,735-page transcript contains the sworn testimony and dispositions of more than 70 law enforcement agents, reporters, civil rights leaders and witnesses, some of whose statements contrasted starkly with official reports.
Of particular interest was Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, which was located beneath the rooming house where the shots were supposedly fired. Jowers said that he had been given $100,000 by a man with Mafia connections to help provide a cover for the shooting. Jowers said he took the rifle from a man named Raul, moments after Dr. King was shot and hid it under his counter until it was picked up the next morning by the shooter, a Memphis police officer.
More than 2,000 reporters covered the O.J. Simpson trial, but the mainstream media virtually ignored the sworn testimony of law enforcement agents and others who provided important insight into the assassination of Dr. King. The testimony included:

Ed Redditt, a Memphis detective and fireman Floyd Newsum, the only two Blacks assigned to provide security for Dr. King were reassigned on April 3, the day before the assassination. Redditt said he was guarded by a man, who identified himself as a Secret Service agent, which raised questions of why an agent would, whose job is usually to focus on the president. be concerned with a lowly Memphis police detective.
Judge Joe Brown, an experienced Memphis court official as well as a seasoned hunter, told the jury he believed the rifle that prosecutors used to implicate Ray was not the rifle used to kill Dr. King. “That weapon literally could not have hit the broad side of a barn,” he said.
Don Wilson, an FBI agent working in the Atlanta Bureau, said that in searching Ray’s car, several days after the assassination he found pieces of a handwritten note with the name “Raul” on it ,the same name of the man who had handed Jowers the rifle for safekeeping after the assassination. Wilson, who is presently retired, also told me how the agents laughed and joked about the murder of Dr. King.

The assassination of Dr. King raises serious question about FBI involvement. After King questioned the FBI’s sincerity in investigating the murder of civil rights activists, Hoover in a November 1965 press conference, shot back with a war of words, condemning King as “the most notorious liar in the country,” as well as a communist.
King quickly became a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program that had the stated mission to surveil, infiltrate, discredit and disrupt domestic groups that the FBI deemed subversive. (This was the same high-profile program that led to the dismantling and murder of several Black Panthers.)
One well-reported incident of COINTELPRO was a suicide letter and an audio tape the FBI secretly sent to the home of Dr. King on Nov. 3, 1964, shortly before he was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It accused him of committing indecent sexual acts and suggested that the only way King could save himself from national disgrace was to commit suicide. Mrs. King played the tape and said she heard people telling dirty jokes, but there was no reference to her husband.
A 1977 court order resulted in the King papers being sealed for 50 years and despite several inquiries from various groups, the King files reportedly numbering about 700,000 pages are not scheduled to be opened until the year 2027. The sealing only increases fears that many pertinent records will be destroyed before that date leaving many questions unanswered.
Old fears are being rekindled as several reports suggest that the FBI’s COINTELPRO is being reincarnated to monitor, surveil and contain so called, “black identity extremists.” This information using that label was obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine from an unofficial FBI report.
The document, according to the magazine, warns that “black identity extremists” pose a growing threat to law enforcement and that police attacks on Black Americans could spur “premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence” against the police. As confirmed in The Root, the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., was the catalyst for widespread violence, the FBI report says, concluding that continued “alleged” police abuses have fueled more violence.
While the report didn’t specifically mention Black Lives Matters, it is difficult not to connect the dots. There are several Black Lives Matter activists who report being put under surveillance, which sounds like the tactics of CONINTELPRO created to neutralize the activities of Black activists.
Mrs. King called for all files to be opened to finally lay out all the “facts pertinent to the truth of who killed my beloved Martin.” So far, her wish has been denied. And like in so many denials, history could well be on the way to being repeated.