Jan. 25, 2021 (GIN) – Time marches on but murderous crimes committed during war may demand an apology regardless of the number of years that elapsed since the crimes took place.
Such is the current case presented by Algerians who have renewed their demand for an apology for colonialization and the crimes against humanity that took place during Algeria’s war of independence from 1954-1962. This follows the much-anticipated release of a government-sponsored report by the historian Benjamin Stora.
Stora, an Algerian-born historian and expert on North Africa, is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Algerian history.
The forgetting of the Algerian war that left at least 400,000 Algerians and 35,000 French dead began well before the fighting ended in 1962. The French made routine use of torture, for instance — but censors hid much of it from the populace, seizing newspapers, books and films deemed dangerous to national morale.
Only in 1999 did France officially recognize the fighting as a war at all, and only since then has the conflict entered school textbooks here.
French President Emmanuel Macron has gone further than his predecessors in recognizing the scale of abuses by France in the North African country, notes news service France24. While campaigning for president in 2017, for example, he called the colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”
A year later, he acknowledged that France had instigated a system that facilitated torture during the 8-year long liberation war, which ended 132 years of French rule.
It was a startling admission in a country where the colonization of Algeria is seen as benign and many are opposed to the idea of repentance.
President Macron has offered to take symbolic acts to reconcile the two countries, but not the Algerian request for an apology – a decision which disappointed and angered Algerian nationals.
“We still haven’t taken the full measure of how much this war, this history, this French presence in Algeria, has marked and traumatized French society like a bitter family secret,” Stora said. “Everything — everything — stems from Algeria.”
Algerians and North African Arabs constitute France’s largest immigrant population by far, making a confrontation with the past all the more uncomfortable and pressing, he said.
In a statement issued this week, President Macron’s office said he would create a Memories and Truth Commission as recommended. In addition, three ceremonies to be organized by the French government in 2021 and 2022 will pay tribute to Algerians who fought on opposite sides of the war and to the agreement that led to Algeria’s independence in 1962.
In 2022, the country will mark the 60th anniversary of its independence from France.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Baseball’s recognized home run king and an African American hero, Henry “Hank” Aaron, has died at the age of 86.
Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, was not just a baseball legend but a hero to superstars. “He’s the one man that I idolize more than myself,” the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said about Aaron.
While with the Atlanta Braves, Aaron tied Ruth’s mark of 714 homers on April 7. A day later, he slugged No. 715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing.
Before and throughout his chase of Ruth’s longstanding record, Aaron was subjected to racism and hate. Death threats were common, and even some teammates and those throughout baseball despised Aaron as he approached their white hero’s record.
Despite beefed up security at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, some fans breached the outfield walls as Aaron trotted around the bases following his record-setting dinger.
“A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who called the game, proclaimed as Aaron’s mother, family, and teammates greeted him at home plate.
Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor Black section of Mobile, Alabama, called “Down the Bay,” Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron. Aaron’s father made his living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker’s assistant. Aaron and his family moved to the middle-class Toulminville neighborhood when he was eight years old.
Aaron, who became known as “Hammering Hank,” developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age and focused more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at football and baseball.
Aaron first starred in the Negro Leagues in 1952 and again in 1953, batting .366, with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 26 official games. He began his Major League Baseball career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and spent 23 seasons as an outfielder with Milwaukee – the franchise eventually moved to Atlanta.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, a record topped by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2007. However, many baseball purists recognize Aaron as the true record holder, alleging that Bonds used performance enhancing drugs to bolster his power.Bonds has denied those allegations.
Aaron’s biography at the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he earned induction in 1982, noted that he was “a consistent producer both at the plate and in the field, reaching the .300 mark in batting 14 times, 30 home runs 15 times, 90 RBI 16 times and captured three Gold Glove Awards enroute to 25 All-Star Game selections.” He also had over 3,000 hits during his MLBaseball career.
On the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run, Major League Baseball created the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the players with the best overall offensive performances in each league.
Aaron received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush in 2002.
According to the New York Times, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened a permanent exhibit in 2009 chronicling Aaron’s life. His childhood home was moved on a flatbed truck to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium, which was the home of the Mobile BayBears, a former minor league team, and opened as a museum in 2010.
“Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence,” former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young noted in a statement. “He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it. ”
By: Charise Frazier, NewsOne
After four years of stalling, the push to replace Andrew Jackson’s image with Harriet Tubman‘s is being revisited, according to Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“The Treasury department is taking steps to resume efforts to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the new $20 notes. It’s important that our notes—our money—people don’t know what a note is—reflect the history and diversity of our country and Harriet Tubman’s image gracing the new $20 note would certainly reflect that,” Psaki said during a White House press briefing on Monday.
A timeline would be revealed by the Treasury Department. Janet Yellen, Biden’s nominee to head the department who was confirmed by the Senate on Monday on sworn-in by Vice-President Biden on Tuesday.
In 2019 New York Senator Chuck Schumer ordered an investigation into the delay of placing Tubman on the bill which would replace Jackson, the country’s seventh president and a known slave owner.
Prior to Schumer’s probe order Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testified on Capitol Hill, revealing that the imagery replacement would not occur until sometime in 2028. He blamed the delay on the implementation of security grades to the $5 and $10 as priority.
The move to place Tubman on the $20 bill was one of the last implementations of the Obama-era. In 2916 Obama announced the intention to make Tubman the face of the bill as a tribute to the abolitionist who risked her life and freedom to free her fellow slaves out of bondage.
The switch to Tubman’s imagery was intended to take place in 2020 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. If the plan is executed Tubman would make history as the first African-American to be honored on American currency.
However, as Trump took office he made it painfully clear in undoing most of Obama’s policies that Tubman replacing Jackson was off the table, claiming that he intended to keep Jackson on the currency in place of “political correctness,” stating that Jackson was one of his American heroes.
The Black delegation has been patiently waiting for Harriet to take her rightful place on American currency for the last five years. There’s no time like the present to make it happen as the country moves to hold the new administration accountable on its promises to help elevate the lives of Black people in America on several fronts.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two new vaccines to combat the coronavirus, the initial concern was whether African Americans would accept vaccination.
The rollout of the medicine from Pfizer and Moderna featured heavy promotion.
High-profile African Americans like former President Barack Obama, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Coronavirus Task Force Member Dr. Ebony Hilton, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson received their shots publicly.
An African American nurse in New York earned distinction as the first person in the country to receive a vaccination, and Meharry Medical College President Dr. James Hildreth, a Black man, sat on the FDA board that approved the vaccines.
Now, concern has shifted from whether African Americans will accept the vaccine.
Many now wonder whether doses would be available to the Black community.
A new Kaiser Family Foundation report has revealed that African Americans are getting vaccinated at much lower rates than whites. The report, released on Saturday, Jan. 16, shows that in 16 U.S. states where the vaccine is available, white residents are being vaccinated by as much as three times higher than African Americans.
One example is Pennsylvania, where 1.2 percent of white residents had been vaccinated, compared with just 0.3 percent of African Americans in the Keystone State.
Kaiser Family Foundation researchers noted that vaccine distribution is supposed to align with healthcare and frontline workers’ demographics, presumably making the vaccine equally available to all races.
Some have hinted the lack of vaccine access is rooted in racism – not an unwillingness of minorities to get vaccinated.
Dr. Taison Bell, of the University of Virginia, told NBC News that he was “horrified to discover that members of environmental services — the janitorial staff — did not have access to hospital email. ”Hospital staff receives its vaccination information via email, Dr. Bell stated.
“That’s what structural racism looks like,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, told NBC. “Those groups were seen and not heard — nobody thought about it.”
As of Jan. 25, the U.S. had surpassed more than 25 million total cases and 413,000 deaths due to the pandemic, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis, African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are dying from COVID-19 nearly three times the rate of white people. “With the country’s coronavirus pandemic continuing unabated as cases and deaths increase, and a more contagious variant of the virus spreads, there is a greater focus on vaccine distribution troubles,” Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman wrote.
The covid-19 vaccine distribution effort is in trouble, Altman demurred. According to federal data, only 15 million of the more than 40 million doses distributed nationwide have been given to people. “Hundreds of different distribution programs are being organized across states and counties for frontline health workers, residents of long-term care facilities, the elderly and others that states are prioritizing in different sequences,” Altman continued.
“The country needs a distribution strategy that our fragmented, multilayered healthcare system can effectively implement. This will require more federal direction, a simpler priority structure, and a different role for the states.”
Joe Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris were sworn last Wednesday, January 20, 2021. as President and Vice President, and during Biden’s inaugural address he urged the country to achieve racial justice, which has been a long time coming.
“A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice will be deferred no longer,” Biden said. “In another January, on New Year’s Day in 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed “The Emancipation Proclamation.” When he put pen to paper, the President said, and I quote, ‘If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.’ ”
Biden added: “Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart.”
The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves of the Confederacy, but not slaves in border states that remained loyal to the Union.
The Emancipation Proclamation, however, would redefine the Civil War, turning it from a struggle to preserve the Union to one focused on ending slavery and setting a decisive course for how the nation would be reshaped after that historic conflict.
President Biden delivered his inaugural address under very tight security. Members of the National Guard were summoned to protect Inauguration attendees from extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump, who mobbed the Capitol two weeks before, forcing the building’s occupants to flee, to be removed by Secret Service agents, or to hide under their desks, while the terrorists paraded around the Capitol, carrying the Confederate battle flag.
On Tuesday, January 26th President Biden followed-up his statements with a set of executive orders promoting racial justice and equity. He also named Susan Rice, his Domestic Policy Advisor, to be in charge of an administration-wide effort to promote racial and ethnic access, inclusion and justice.
The Greene County Board of Education met in a virtual meeting, Tuesday, January 19, 2021with all board members in attendance. The sale of the former Birdine school property to the Town of Forkland was among the superintendent’s recommendations approved by the board.
In preparation for this sale, the board had to certify to the State Superintendent of Education that any funds derived from this sale will be used for public school purposes and that it is to the benefit of the Greene County School District that Birdine School Property be sold.
According to school board legal counsel, Attorney Hank Sanders, years ago county boards of education could not own real property. School property had to be in the name of the State of Alabama. The Birdine School Property was in this category and even after boards of education could own real property, property owned by the state remained with the state.
“The Greene County Board of Education is now working to get the Birdine School Property out of the state and in the Greene County Board of Education by authorizing the superintendent and board president to execute the necessary documents of certification as required by the Alabama State Department of Education, ” Attorney Sanders stated. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, the Town of Forkland is prepared to purchase the Birdine School Property when all state requirements are met.
In his report, Superintendent Jones noted that the total positive coronavirus cases among school personnel is 18 and to date the total that reportedly have been exposed/isolated/quarantined is 40. He assured the board the all school facilities are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized daily.
Jones provided updates on the maintenance and repairs associated with various school facilities, including an update on the new roofing project at the central office.
The following personnel items were approved by the board:
Maternity Leave for Kalyn Bryant, Science Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective January 4, 2021.
Employment of Angela Taylor, Long-term Substitute Science Teacher, Robert Middle School; and Milton Jones, Greene County Board Maintenance Department.
Retirement of Atausha Tinker-Mitchell, effective January 7, 2021.
Rescind employment of Latonya Taylor, Special Needs Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School. She did not accept position.
The board approved the following administrative service items:
Sale of Birdine Elementary School to the Town of Forkland.
Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
Approval for the Extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response ACT (FFCRA) Leave until March 31, 2021.
Ms. Lavonda Blair, CSFO, presented the following financial snapshot for the period ending November 30, 2020: General Fund Bank Balance – $1,124,226.97; Accounts Payable Check Register – $450,615.36; Payroll Register – $815,656.88; Combined Fund Balance – $4,424,586.70; Local Revenue: Property/Sales Taxes – $136,055.01; Bingo – $57, 873; Total Local Revenue – $193,928.01
The Eutaw City Council met for its regular meeting on January 12, 2021 at City Hall since there was no heat in the Carver gymnasium, where the Council had been meeting to assure greater social distance between the Council and city residents attending the meetings. The Council members were separated by plastic partitions and about twenty people were allowed to sit six feet apart in the Council chamber.
Mayor Latasha Johnson distributed a list of standing committees and boards to the Council and asked them to help in naming people to these boards and committees. Johnson indicated that the terms of current members had ended and in some cases there were vacancies because the past appointees had died, moved away or were unable to serve for health reasons.
Johnson said it was critical to name the Zoning Board since several businesses had requested re-zoning or zoning variances over the past six months and these requests had not been acted upon because the Zoning Board had not been able to meet. The Council named the following persons to the Zoning Board: John Zippert, Shirley Ann Edwards, Shermaine Stewart, Cynthia Cooper and Corey Cockrell and urged them to meet soon to act on the outstanding issues.
The Council also discussed safety for City Hall in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. Councilwoman Tracey Hunter raised the question of how well the City is enforcing the ‘mask mandate’ for local retail businesses.
“Some are enforcing the mask requirement and some are not,” she said. She recommended that the police visit the businesses in town and urge them to make sure people are wearing masks in businesses.
Mayor Johnson said,” We have a mask mandate and fines for not wearing masks in public and maintaining safe social distance. So, we will ask our police department to visit with businesses and ask them to enforce mask wearing to help protect all of our citizens.”
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• Approved a liquor license for Sleepy’s Bar and Grill in West End.
• Heard a report from Mayor Johnson that an audit of the city’s finances for fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020, are still in progress by Rick Harmon, CPA of Tuscaloosa.
• Heard a report from Ralph Liverman, financial consultant, who is preparing a budget for the City’s current fiscal year. He said that he had a preliminary budget with six separate funds: General Fund, 3 Cent Gas Tax, 7 Cent Gas Tax, Streets, Water and Sewer and Capital Improvements, that he was working to refine. Liverman indicated that the City’s finances were in better shape than he expected. He said the City had three major debts, for purchase of Carver School, an IRS lien for past unpaid employee taxes and a loan for the City’s matching finds for expanding the sewer line to serve the Love’s Truckstop, which need to be repaired.
• Heard a report from City Engineer Babb on revising the building permit regulations. He said these updated regulations will be available by March.
• Heard a report from the Mayor that the City is inventorying all water meters to make sure they are all working properly and can interact with the city’s billing computer software to insure accurate billing. The Mayor also announced a Council work session on January 19, to meet with Kathie Horne on her agreement to serve the City in correcting and improving the water system.
• Heard a report from the Mayor on her efforts to work with the County Commission and Industrial Development Authority on steps to improve the Exit 40 area on Highway 20/59 including better lighting and attracting other retail business and motels to the intersection. The three entities have pledged to work together on this and other common issues.
• Discussed leasing of offices and space at the Carver School. The CRFD bingo operation and Liberty Tax, a business, have requested space in the school, which now serves as a community center. The Council needs to set a common policy on the leasing of space in the center to help with maintenance and improvement of the space.
In the Council and public comments section of the meeting. Several Council members requested more information on the budget and the committees and boards that they need to appoint. The Mayor said the coming work session on January 19 would help provide more information to Council members.
According to the Greene County Health Department, 181 persons received the Moderna vaccination for coronavirus at the Greene County Health Department on Monday, January 18, 2021.
The shots were administered to persons in their cars based on appointments made in advance. The drive-through vaccination plan in the parking lot of the local health department went well
A spokesperson said, “The vast majority of those receiving vaccination were in the group of persons over the age of 75. This was the first day that older people could be vaccinated in Greene County. There were a few first responders and healthcare workers who also received shots.”
Dr. Marcia Pugh announced that 22 residents of the Greene County Nursing Home were vaccinated on Tuesday, January 19. “Two residents refused the shot and 14 were ineligible because they had tested positive for the virus in the past 90 days. The shots were given by Walgreen-Pharmerica under an agreement with HHS,” said Pugh.
Medical personnel, first responders and those over 75 are eligible for the vaccination. You may contact the local Greene County Health Department at 205-372-9361 to make an appointment for the next time the Alabama Department of Public Health is coming to Greene County to give vaccinations. The schedule for the next visit was not available at press time.
Dr. Pugh indicated that she has made a request for vaccine at the Greene County Hospital and Physicians Clinic to help inoculate more people in Greene County. “So far, the Greene County Health System has not received vaccines, but we hope this will change soon as the supply of vaccines increases,” she said.
Doctors at the CDC say 75 to 80% of the entire U. S. population must be vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus.
As of January 20, 2021 at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 429,655 confirmed cases of coronavirus,(21,807) more than
last week with 6,283 deaths
(710 more than last week)
Greene County had 765 confirmed cases, (27 more cases than last week),
with 23 deaths
Sumter Co. had 896 cases with 26 deaths
Hale Co. had 1,795 cases with 42 deaths