The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of June, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents. According to Luther Winn, Greenetrack CEO, “By giving to the organizations directly, the charities are taking a progressive approach to assist the community in areas where the need is most apparent.” Winn explained that the Greenetrack charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack are following the rules set forth by Sheriff Jonathan Benison but they have decided to provide the funds directly rather than through the Sheriff’s office. A total of $67,500 dollars was divided and given to the following charities: Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and Greene County Ambulance Service ($9,000). The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Pool Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.
WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 400 other civil rights organizations today called on congressional leadership to swiftly rectify the legacy of white supremacy and anti-black racism that has led to police violence against Black people across our country. The group requested a meeting with congressional leadership to discuss urgently needed reforms that ensure police officers live up to their oath to protect and serve all people in the United States. “Now is the time for Congress to pass meaningful police reform legislation. While we appreciate hearings and resolutions, we need comprehensive measures to happen. We need Congress to truly step up to the plate and protect Black communities from the systemic perils of over policing, police brutality, misconduct, and harassment, and end the impunity in which officers operate in taking the lives of Black people. It is your moral and ethical duty to ensure Black people and communities are free from the harm and threats from law enforcement and to curtail state sanctioned police violence and militarized police responses,” the groups said in the letter. The federal reforms addressed in the letter include: Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states to implement this standard; Require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force; Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation; • Prohibit racial profiling with robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated; • Eliminate federal programs that provide military equipment to law enforcement; • Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches • Change the 18 U.S.C. Sec. 242 mens rea requirement from willfulness to recklessness, permitting prosecutors to successfully hold law enforcement accountable for the deprivation of civil rights and civil liberties; • Develop a national public database that would cover all police agencies in the United States and its territories; and, • End the qualified immunity doctrine that prevents police from being held legally accountable when they break the law. The Leadership Conference on Civill and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit http://www.civilrights.org.
The Greene County Commission held its regular monthly meeting on May 11, 2020, at 3:00 PM in the Greene County courtroom. The Commissioners and audience maintained six feet social distancing requirements and most wore masks. Four commissioners: Allen Turner, Chairperson, Lester Brown, Roshonda Summerville, and Corey Cockrell, were present, with Tennyson Smith absent. Most of the meeting, including a lengthy closed Executive Session, was devoted to the issue of getting Greene County Sheriff, Joe Benison, to meet his financial commitment to the county budget, to pay additional staff above the basic staff included in the budget for deputies, jailers and other staff. The Sheriff and the County Commission negotiated an agreement at the beginning of the year, for the Sheriff to reimburse the County for additional staffing above the basic staff included in the regular budget. The Sheriff agreed to pay these additional staff, who are on the County payroll, out of funding he receives monthly in fees from electronic bingo operators. For the past two months since the beginning of March, the electronic bingo establishments in Greene County have been closed due to the coronavirus and no bingo machine fees have been paid by bingo operators to governmental, educational, healthcare and other charitable recipients, including the Sheriff’s Department, which oversees bingo under local Constitutional Amendment 743. After the Commission’s Executive Session, the members voted to contact Sheriff Benison to require payment of the funds due under the budgetary agreement or terminate the additional staff, who are listed in an attachment to the agreement. The Commission further agreed that the Sheriff could substitute and amend the list of names of staff to be reduced, but not the number, based on current conditions. Another topic discussed at the meeting was to consider a 4 mil increase in property taxes that could be approved locally without the action of the Legislature. This discussion arose because the prior proposed 5 mil increase in property taxes, which included 3 mils for the hospital and 2 mils for the County and other agencies, was not submitted by the Legislative delegation for approval. State representatives A. J. McCampbell and Ralph Howard, as well as State Senator Bobby Singleton, said that since only three of Greene County’s five commissioners signed the 5 mil request, they would not submit the proposal to the Legislature’s local legislation committee. They say their policy is to only move forward with local legislation that is unanimously supported by all County Commissioners. Commissioners Tennyson Smith and Lester Brown did not sign the petition for the 5 mil increase. If the 5 mil proposal had passed the Legislature it was still subject to a referendum by all voters in Greene County, probably at the November General Election. Commission Chair Allen Turner said he learned that the County Commission may be able to support up to a four mil increase in property taxes, under special circumstances, without Legislative approval. The County Commission tabled this item, to seek more information to determine if this is a feasible route to generate more revenues and support for the hospital and other county agencies. In other actions, the County Commission approved a financial report, payment of current bills and claims and a travel request for the Assistant Engineer to attend a June 10-11 training in Prattville, Alabama
By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was one of the most influential singer songwriters in popular music. He was one of the founders of Rock n’ Roll in the 1950s and one of the most memorable performers in rock history. Little Richard was born in 1932 in Macon, Georgia. “Tutti Frutti” (1955), one of Richard’s signature songs, became a hit reaching the No. 2 on the Billboard chart. Another hit, “Long Tall Sally” (1956), hit No. 1 on Billboard. “Tutti Frutti” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010 and cited for its “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”. Two of his songs,”Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” were listed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. Little Richard’s music was covered by several artists thereafter and his influence included The Beatles, who opened for Little Richard as he toured Europe in 1962. He also advised Paul McCartney on his distinctive vocalizations. Little Richard influenced Otis Redding, James Brown, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon and Cliff Richard and those influences frequently showed up in their music. Legend has it that James Brown came up with the Famous Flames debut hit, “Please, Please, Please”, after Richard had written the words down on a napkin. Redding started his professional career with Little Richard’s band, The Upsetters. Bob Dylan performed covers of Little Richard’s songs on piano during a high school talent show with his rock and roll group, the Golden Chords. In 1959, Dylan wrote in his yearbook under “Ambition”: “to join Little Richard.” Many Rock critics noted the similarities between Prince’s androgynous look and vocal style to Little Richard. In 1963, Richard agreed to assist a failing tour effort by The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and The Rolling Stones and was given his own TV special after the tour ended. Little Richard received all the honors possible in music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of legendary inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Little Richard is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2015, Richard received a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for his key role in the formation of popular music genres and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the music charts and in concert in the mid-1950s changing American culture significantly. At the suggestion of Lloyd Price, Little Richard sent a demo to Price’s label, Specialty Records, in 1955. Producer Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, who worked at Specialty Records, thought Little Richard was Specialty’s answer to Ray Charles, but was told by Little Richard he was a fan of the sound of Fats Domino. In 1955, he recorded “Tutti Frutti” in three takes and it was released as a single in November 1955. Penniman’s performances, like most early rock and roll shows, resulted in integrated audience reaction during an era of strict segregation in the South. On tours that included groups of music stars, Little Richard and other artists such as Fats Domino and Chuck Berry would allow audiences Black and white to enter buildings via the same door but sit in separate places — but everyone would dance. Vocal supremacist groups such as the North Alabama White Citizens Council warned that rock and roll “brings the races together.” The universal popularity of Little Richard killed the myth that black performers could not successfully perform at white-only venues. Little Richard’s high-energy performances while playing the piano included dancing on top of the piano, running on and off the stage and throwing souvenirs to the audience. He also dressed flamboyantly onstage. Some of what is taken for granted now in popular music was invented by Little Richard. Little Richard was ranked eighth on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and Rolling Stone listed three of Little Richard’s recordings, “The Girl Can’t Help It”, “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti Frutti”, on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Little Richard was the third of 12 children of Leva Mae and Charles Penniman. His father was a church deacon and his mother was a member of Macon’s New Hope Baptist Church.
The Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement of Greene County presented a program honoring Black History on Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Eutaw Activity Center. The theme of the meeting was “Voting because a Voteless People is a Hopeless People” and most of the speakers highlighted these thoughts in their comments. Circuit Judge John England of Tuscaloosa was the keynote speaker. Earlier in his legal career he served as County Attorney for Greene County. He also was one of the first Black City Council members in Tuscaloosa and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama. Judge England spoke to some legal cases he was involved in relating to Greene County, after Black voters attained political control, which showed the continuing struggle for voting rights since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “I have learned a lot of Black History working with Greene County over the years,” said England. He cited his legal defense of Spiver W. Gordon and Frederick Douglass Daniels in the 1985 absentee balloting cases. He was also involved with the defense of Albert Turner, Evelyn Turner and Spencer Hogue in a similar absentee ballot case in Perry County, which was initiated by Jeff Sessions, when he was U. S. Attorney in Mobile. The Greene County absentee ballot case led to a case against the government for striking all Black members from the jury. England also reviewed cases involving blocking Richard Osborne from serving as Greene County District Judge because of a juvenile conviction for stealing a $50 hub-cap. Osborne was eventually seated after a case against Ralph Banks II who was awarded the seat because he came in second, which England challenged in court and had overturned. England reviewed his work in a case, which allowed the local legislative delegation to name the Greene County Racing Commission rather than the Governor. This happened after the 1986 elections after which Blacks were elected to the state legislative seats representing Greene County. England reviewed these cases and others to show that Black history must include a continuing vigilance for efforts to disenfranchise and dilute the votes of Black people, especially in places like Greene County and the Alabama Black Belt where Black people have used the ballot to win political power. “There is a continuing effort to limit the power of Black voters in Alabama through voter ID laws, changing polling places, purging voter rolls and other strategies which we must be aware of and challenge,” said England. He concluded by saying, “No matter how hard and high the odds are stacked against you – you can still succeed and win if you have faith in God and each other that truth and justice will prevail. AS the song says – We have come too far to turn back now!” As part of the program, the Nathifa African Dance Company of Birmingham gave a thrilling performance of drumming and African dance. The Greene County Community Choir sang and participated by offering Gospel musical selections. They also sang, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, the African-American national anthem together with the audience. Local candidates in the upcoming March 3 primary election were introduced and allowed to make short remarks.
Portraits of former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama will go on display at the Art Institute of Chicago as the first stop in a five-city tour beginning in the summer of 2021. Chicago is where the Obamas began their historical ascension to the White House. The paintings, on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, are Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama. The former First Lady, a Chicago native who grew up on the city’s South Side, visited the museum with her family. The Art Institute also was the site of the couple’s first date. Wiley and Sherald are the first African American artists commissioned by the National Gallery to create official portraits of a President and a First Lady. Wiley placed President Obama in a chair against a backdrop of flowers, including chrysanthemums, Chicago’s official flower. Sherald painted the First Lady against a light-blue ground, gazing directly at the viewer. After the Art Institute, the portraits will travel to The Brooklyn Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Sports fans in the United States and around the world – plus people who are not necessarily sports-oriented – are mourning the sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the age of 41. Two years removed from retirement after 20 years in the NBA, the five-time NBA champion and Los Angeles Lakers superstar was settling into retirement and immersing himself in sports, entertainment, his family and business ventures when he was killed in a helicopter crash, Sunday, Jan. 26, near Calabasas, Calif. The crash also killed eight other passengers, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, a budding basketball phenom. IN addition to millions of adoring fans, he leaves to mourn him Vanessa Laine Bryant, his wife of 19 years, and three other daughters: Natalia Bryant, 17, Bianka Bryant, 3, and Capri Bryant, 7 months. The group was on their way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where Bryant was to coach a game in which Gianna was to play. Federal investigators are trying to determine what specifically caused the crash which occurred in dense fog. Bryant’s death has triggered an outpouring of grief, shock and disbelief among devastated players, fans, celebrities and just those who equated his name with excellence. A common theme offered by tributes is that he had transcended basketball and had become larger than sports. “Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” tweeted President Barack Obama. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.” President Trump deflected from his tweeting on impeachment to call the reports on the basketball star “terrible news”. He later released a tweet that critics observed was strikingly similar to President Obama’s: “Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating,” Trump tweeted. “Melania and I send our warmest condolences to Vanessa and the wonderful Bryant family. May God be with you all!” Many struggled to find deeper meaning in the sudden death of a person so beloved who had become a symbol of excellence. “I didn’t know him well. I only met him a couple of times,” said former Vice President Biden on the presidential campaign trail in Iowa as reported by the Washington Examiner. “It makes you realize that you gotta make every day count, every single solid day, every single day count.” Jalen Rose, a former college and professional basketball player and sports analyst with ESPN described his friend, Bryant, in terms beyond basketball. “He is remembered for his dedication to his craft, educated, speaker of multiple languages, father, husband, disciplined hardworking, always gracious and respectful,” he said in a tribute. “He was always the hardest working guy in the room, smartest guy in the room … he was Industry tastemaker, gave so much to humanity and is gone too soon.” Kobe Bryant was born in Philadelphia, the only boy and youngest of three children of former NBA player Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. He was first drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 straight out of Lower Merion High School. Through hard work and extraordinary dedication to the game, he was seen as a transcendent player, unquestionably one among the best to ever play the game of basketball. But his success impacted beyond the game. In post-game retirement, he inspired hundreds of thousands of young people to aim high, push past their limits, whether it was on a court, a football pitch or in the creative arts. Kobe, who won five NBA titles and who was an 18-time All-Star, won an Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2019 for the film “Dear Basketball.” The six-minute film is based on a poem Bryant wrote in 2015 announcing his retirement from the NBA. Bryant wrote and narrated the short, in which he shares his love of the sport for basketball. Bryant considered himself to be a storyteller and had been moving into the film and entertainment industry since his retirement from basketball in 2016. He wrote, produced and presented a series for ESPN called Detail, in which he explained the intricacies of athletes in their respective sports. His multimedia company, Granity Studios, produced the ESPN+ series Detail and the podcast “The Punies.” In addition, he helped create four sports fantasy children’s books. According to media reports, the second volume of The Wizenard Series: Season 1, is set to hit bookstores on March 31. Still it was basketball for which he will always be world renown. Sports lawyer and businessman Michael Huyghue said an icon of the industry has been lost. “What he stood for is an early example of an athlete transcending his sport,” said Huyghue, author, sports agent and president of Michael Huyghue and Associates, LLC. “His work in the community, building a brand, his eclectic nature and speaking several languages are a part of his legacy. “He was a very rare breed. He set the bar at a place where a lot of athletes could aspire to.” Sports Journalist Elton Hayes, Jr. said what sticks out to him is his involvement with children and young people. “I have been watching all these years. He’s a global icon,” said Hayes, who writes for CNHI News in State College, Pennsylvania. “What sticks out after retirement is the role he played with kids. He showed us his paternal side and the passion he had for women’s basketball. The WNBA is the sister organization to the NBA but there are discrepancies in salary and viewership. He was an active participant and took several women under his wing. I would consider him an ambassador for Women’s basketball…I think a part of his legacy is the impact on a generation of aspiring athletes. With his Mamba Foundation, we will continue to see his legacy grow and will continue to see the impact.” For the past two years, Bryant had focused on coaching Gianna’s AAU team. “Coaching youth sports is so important to take very seriously because you’re helping the emotional [development] of young kids,” he said in a recent interview. “So it’s understanding not to be overcritical and understanding that [there] are going to be mistakes.” And in an interview with People magazine, published online two days before his death, Bryant said he launched Granity Studios “as a way of teaching valuable life lessons to the next generation, with whatever they hope to do. The goal is to encourage children to develop their own inner magic and believe they can achieve the impossible and do so in a fun way.” Bryant added, “Storytelling has always been an interest of mine, so the transition was an exciting one. I’m being challenged in a completely new way and have really loved the opportunity to exercise my creative muscles.” Nearly everyone killed in the crash shared a love for basketball, reported the Los Angeles Times. They were Bryant and Gianna,”a budding basketball player who was ready to follow in her father’s footsteps; baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their basketball-playing daughter Alyssa; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan,” the Times reported. The 41-year-old Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA named him Finals MVP twice and League MVP in 2009. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star. Bryant was the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points. He retired in 2016. Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. Bryant lived in Orange County, California, outside of Los Angeles. Born in 1978 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kobe Bryant spent his early years in Italy where his father Joseph Washington “Jelly Bean” Bryant played basketball for seven years.
The Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the occasion of what would have been his 91st. birthday. The Civil Rights Museum sponsored three programs to honor Dr. King. On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the actual day of his birthday a program to honor and involve young people was held at New Peace Baptist Church. On Monday, January 20, 2020, the 34th anniversary of the National Holiday in honor of Dr. King’s Birthday a Unity Breakfast was held at the Eutaw Activity Center, attended by 200 people. Rev. Carlos Thornton, Pastor of the Mt. Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church in Tishabee, Alabama was the keynote speaker. A smaller number participated in the march from the Eutaw Activity Center to the William M. Branch County Courthouse. At the Courthouse a program to honor ‘Godly Women of West Alabama’ was held. Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton of the 5th District of the CME Churches of Alabama was the speaker. The Museum honored a group of men and women for their service. The ceremony in the Greene County Courthouse was particularly poignant as it was held in the courtroom, one of the only county courtrooms in America, where a picture of Dr. King hangs above the judge’s seat. Greene County was the first county in the South and the nation to elect all Black officials after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that Dr. King worked diligently to pass.
What was once a diverse group of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the president became less so Monday when U.S. Senator Cory Booker suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, citing difficulty raising enough money. “It’s with a full heart that I share this news — I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president,” Booker wrote supporters in an email. “It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory.” “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington. So, I’ve chosen to suspend my campaign now, take care of my wonderful staff, and give you time to consider the other strong choices in the field.” The 59-year-old Booker has represented New Jersey in the U.S. Senate since 2013. His departure follows those of U.S. Senator of Kamala Harris of California and Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama. Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick remains the only African American candidate in the 12-candidate field, and Andrew Yang is the only Asian. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is a native of Leloaloa, American Samoa.