Newswire: $1.5 million granted to a man who served 45 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

By BlackmansStreet.Today

Richard Phillips
     The state of Michigan has awarded $1.5 million to Richard Phillips who was locked up in prison for 45 years for a murder he didn’t commit.
     The $1.5 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, but Phillips couldn’t work a job that would have enabled him to earn a salary, a pension and Social Security Benefits because he was in prison.
     Men and women cannot receive Social Security unless they earned at least 40 credits for 10 years of work, a  spokesman for the Social Security Administration told me in 2015.“Social Security does not have a program that compensates wrongfully convicted individuals with no work history,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.

     Phillips may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which pays a modest monthly benefit to people who don’t have any income. He earns some money selling paintings he drew in prison.
     A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Phillips.
     Phillips, who is now 73, was sentenced to prison when he was 26 years old in 1971.

     His conviction was overturned in 2017 when another man confessed to the murder. University of Michigan law students learned about the man’s confession and went to court.

     Meanwhile, the cops and prosecutors who convicted him are now retired and collecting their pensions.

    Phillips served more time in prison than any other wrongfully convicted man. After being released from prison, Phillips said he would like to see members of family who has not seen in decades.

Newswire: Black man kills colleagues in a workplace shooting; it is the second deadly workplace shooting by a black man since February

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

DeWayne Craddock

The mass shooting in Virginia in which an African-American engineer killed 12 people, including 11 of his colleagues and a contractor, before being shot to death in a gun battle with police is the second deadly workplace shooting since February by a Black man.

     Other than the common denominator that both gunmen were Black, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.

     DeWayne Antonio Craddock, 40, walked into the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal building on Friday where he worked, and nothing seemed amiss. He told some of his co-workers to have a beautiful day before pulling out a .45 caliber pistol, fitted with a suppressor known as a silencer.

Armed with two pistols, he raced throughout the building, shooting some and walking away from others.

     Craddock worked for Virginia Beach 15 years. He had a pristine work record. However, he resigned by email the morning of the deadly shootings without giving a reason.

It remains a mystery what set off Craddock.

     This is unlike the fatal shooting that occurred in February in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago, where Gary Martin,45,who had been fired from his job as a large valve assembler for the Henry Pratt Co., shot to the death five of his former colleagues before police killed him in a shootout.

     The company fired Martin for various workplace rule violations, said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.

     Martin, a 15-year Henry Pratt employee, was depressed because he had lost his job, his sister, Tameka Martin, told the New York Times. He was armed with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight.

     Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For Black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics reports.

Newswire : Ava DuVernay’s Central Park Five Documentary debuts on Netflix

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMedia

Scene from ‘Central Park Five’


The morning after Ava DuVernay’s four-part Netflix miniseries about the Central Park Five, “When They See Us,” premiered at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, she was in a daze. “I don’t drink, and I don’t do any other kinds of substances,” she told Rolling Stone, “but I think I have a hangover.”
She had the headache, but also the hazy memory of the community she’d felt the previous night, screening her labor of love in the neighborhood that raised the five teenagers wrongfully convicted of brutally raping jogger Trisha Meili on April 19, 1989.
It was a whirlwind of fellowship that involved “a lot of smiles, hugs, and a lot of tears,” DuVernay said.
“When They See Us,” debuts on Netflix on Friday, May 31.
The true and gripping tale of five boys of color between the ages of 14 and 16 who were forced to falsely confess to the rape of a white woman in New York’s Central Park, has received critical acclaim with reviewers noting that it’s “impassioned,” and “moving.”
One critic said it’s “must-see TV.”
We already have a category of movies that we expect to artfully, if painfully edify – think of 12 Years a Slave, or Schindler’s List – but we’re not acculturated to it on television, said Willa Paskin of Slate Magazine.
On April 19, 1989, the lives of Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, and Korey Wise changed forever.
News media described them as “a wolf pack,” and “animals,” and then-citizen Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in four New York City area newspapers attacking the youth and calling for the return of the death penalty.
Decades after they’d been exonerated, Trump still has refused to rescind his damning words against the men and he even denounced a multi-million civil settlement reached between New York City and the five men.
“Trump was the fire starter,” Salaam said. “Common citizens were being manipulated and swayed into believing that we were guilty.”
The police-coerced confessions were the only evidence against them, but racism made the boys convenient scapegoats and metaphors for all that had gone wrong in a stratified, corrupt, crime-ridden, rape-infested, and fearful New York City, according to Slate.
DuVernay, who took on the project after Santana suggested it to her via tweet, wants to dramatize what the criminal justice system and New York City stole from these innocent teenagers.
The series begins on the day of the rape. Antron (Caleel Harris and, as an adult, Jovan Adepo), Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez and Freddy Miyares), Kevin (Asante Blackk and Justin Cunningham) , Yusef (Ethan Herisse and Chris Chalk), and Korey (Jharrel Jerome) are going about their regular lives: talking about the Yankees with a father and dreaming of becoming a shortstop; kissing a girlfriend; lugging an instrument around after school.
Though they don’t know each other particularly well, they all wind up in a group of about 25 boys who head into the park that night, where some goof around, while others harass bikers or a homeless guy.
The police descend, arresting a handful of them, but the cops don’t consider any of them suspects in anything particularly serious.
That changes after the rape victim is discovered in the early hours of the morning and Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein decides the boys’ presence in the park that night can’t be a coincidence.
Despite there being no physical evidence that the boys were involved, the police set out to make the facts fit the theory of the case. They start trying to get confessions and names, which they use to pick up additional suspects.
Korey Wise, whose name is not on the police’s list, goes down to the precinct with Yusef just to be a good friend. He won’t leave police custody for more than a decade.
For his act of kindness, he will spend years at Rikers Island awaiting trial and then 13 years in an adult prison, the only one of the five who was 16 and so sentenced as an adult.
When Rolling Stone noted that this story had never been told from the perspective of the five men, DuVernay said she started just speaking with the men first.
“That was my first way in. And from there I folded in all of the court transcripts, different records and files that we were able to get a hold of through public means or private transfer,” DuVernay said.
“We then read every single stitch of press coverage to really get an understanding of the ways in which this was being reported, to understand the propaganda around this case. You know, there was a study done that 89 percent of the articles that were written at the time, by the New York papers, didn’t even use the word ‘alleged,’” DuVernay said.
She continued:
“I also talked with academics to get underneath the state of New York City at the time. What were the political motivations?
“But it always came back to the men and then their families. Over a four-year period, it was just exhaustive. Interviews, but sometimes just spending time. Lunches, dinners, just getting to know them. Sometimes it’s the little things more than just the core stories.”

Bingo entities provide $373,380 to county recipients for April

Shown above Boligee City Councilwoman Ernestine Wade, Greene County School Board CSFO Lavanda Blair, Chief of Police Derick Coleman representing the City of Eutaw, Rhonda French representing Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Mayor of Union James Gaines, Greene County Heath System JoAnn Cameron, Forkland Clerk Lynette Woods and Bingo Clerk Minnie Byrd

On Friday, May 24, 2019, prior to distributing the bingo receipts for the designated county entities, Sheriff Jonathan Benison held a short press conference stating that the citizens of Greene County voted for Amendment 743 and that’s the law he will stand by. “The late Thomas E. Gilmore instilled in me to provide for and protect my officers and the citizens of Greene County,” he stated.
The Greene County Sheriff Department reported a total distribution of $373,380 for the month of April, 2019 from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,000 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $72,050 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,050
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,960; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

Rev. William Barber says Alabama abortion ban is hypocrisy in claiming to be pro-life while disregarding the lives of poor people

Rev. William Barber, Co-Director of the Poor People’s Campaign joined the SOS Coalition for Justice and Democracy at its weekly Tuesday rally on the steps of the Alabama State House to urge Governor Kaye Ivey and the Alabama Legislature to support Medicaid Expansion, under the Affordable Care Act, for working poor people in the state.“I have come here today as a bishop of the church to expose the distorted moral narrative of the Governor and the Alabama State Legislature in claiming they are pro-life in adopting a mean spirited ban on all abortions, with no exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother. They are forcing women in Alabama back to back alleys to seek reproductive health care services,” said Rev. Barber.
“ A number of states including, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri are adopting these total abortion bans while at the same time having the highest rates of infant mortality, maternal death rates, food stamp utilization and failing to expand Medicare Expansion,” said Barber.
Rev. Barber indicated, “It is the height of hypocrisy for the Alabama Governor and the Legislature to say they are pro-life when 948,000 people in the state make under $15 hour. These are the very mothers who cannot get health care insurance coverage because the state has not extended Medicaid to the working poor. To be more concerned about the unborn, than with people after they are born, makes little sense.”
A grandmother from Birmingham, who had reunited her five grandchildren from foster homes, testified that she was working two jobs and still could not qualify for health insurance coverage because her income was still too low. She also indicated that she was struggling to keep her food stamps and other government support.
John Zippert, Chair of the Board of the Greene County Health System testified, “Our small rural 20 bed hospital is seriously challenged with providing $100,000 a month in uncompensated care to people who would have some health insurance to pay for their care if the State of Alabama expanded Medicaid. Our hospital, like most of those in the state, is operating with a financial deficit. We cannot continue operating this way very much longer.”
Sandy Fox, Southeast Regional Director for Planned Parenthood said, “My organization plans to sue the State of Alabama to prevent this abortion ban from going into effect.
We are continuing to offer reproductive health services to women in Alabama as we have since 1930. Black women in the South have a rate of cervical cancer six times higher than whites, and the Legislature and the Governor are trying to cut and stop health care services for poor women.
Zippert also said, “The SOS has developed a Citizens Arrest Warrant for Governor Kay Ivey. We want to arrest her for the crime of failing to expand Medicaid, which has lead to 500+ people a year dying unnecessarily without heath care; signing the draconian abortion ban, which hurts women; failing to act on prison reform and criminal justice; and continuing to suppress the votes of African-American, Latino and other voters.”
Rev. Barber pointed out that there was a statute in front of the Alabama State Capitol of Dr. Marion Sims, a medical doctor who practiced surgery on Black women during slavery without anesthesia to learn new gynecological procedures and that the Alabama abortion ban was following his brutal and misguided legacy.
“The most dangerous thing about the pro-life people is that they anchor these beliefs in their religious faith. But Jesus says nothing in the Bible about abortion but he does say a lot about treating the poor well and as you would want to be treated,” said Rev. Barber.

Newswire : U.N. creates new ‘Ebola Chief’ position as fears of cross border transmission in Africa

Ebola protection suit

May 27, 2019 (GIN) – “We have no time to lose.”

That’s the new mantra at the United Nations as the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo now appears almost unstoppable.

In an effort to bolster efforts to contain the growing outbreak that has killed more than 1,200 people in 10 months, United Nations officials on Thursday named David Gressly as the emergency Ebola response coordinator.

Gressly will oversee the coordination of international support for the Ebola response and work to ensure that an enabling environment — particularly security and political — is in place to allow the Ebola response to be even more effective,’ according to a statement from the World Health Organization.

The drive to rein in the deadly virus has been hampered by attacks on treatment centers by armed groups operating in Congo’s lawless east as well as by distrust among local residents, many of whom view the disease as a conspiracy.

In addition, the WHO announced it discovered holes in its ring vaccination program, which thwarted efforts to track down and vaccinate all exposed people.

“Somehow we have to catch up with the outbreak and break the transmission chain very quickly,” Congolese Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said, adding that a new approach was already been used in a few remote villages.

Meanwhile, as the second-largest Ebola outbreak continues to spread, health officials say it’s likely to reach the populous city of Goma. Once there, the risk of it spreading beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo to Rwanda, South Sudan, or Uganda increases. … ‘I wouldn’t say (the spread to Goma) is inevitable, but it’s highly probable,’ said Ray Arthur, director of the Global Disease Detection Operations Center at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Newswire : SPECIAL NNPA REPORT: Election process in Malawi exhibited best of African Democracy

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

NNPA delegation to observe Malawi elections


LILONGWE MALAWI, AFRICA —May 22, 2019 — Late Wednesday, Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) head, Dr. Jane Ansa, continued to urge the international media and local stakeholders to hold off from announcing premature election results. The country’s activated election system received praise for the peaceful way its 6.9 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday.

With lines in some places that stretched as far as the eye could see – and after many voters walked several miles to participate – the process had some noting that the Western world, including the United States, could learn a lesson from Malawians in Democracy.
“After the election, life has to continue … we are brothers and sisters,” said Augustine Suwedi Chidzanja, an election official in the Salima Central District, which is about 90 minutes from Lilongwe.
In a meeting with National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who headed an independent African American Election Observers Team, Chidzanja said he was surprised to learn that many Americans aren’t allowed to vote if they have a felony criminal record.
“Prisoners here in Malawi do vote,” he said, as an assistant observed that he didn’t see a deterrent that would keep Americans in prison from returning to prison upon release because “all their rights” have been taking away.
“We are living in Malawi and we think that the United States is the No. 1 Democracy, but what [I now understand] leaves a lot to be desired,” said Chidzanja, who also noted that while America has a two-party system, Malawi has 51 political parties.
The top three presidential candidates in Malawi’s 2019 Tripartite elections – Incumbent Peter Arthur Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), and Vice President Saulos Chilima of the United Transformation Movement (UTM) – each cast their vote in their respective villages.
Mutharika, 78, voted in Thyolo; Chakwera, 64, voted in Malembo; and Chilima, 46, cast his ballot in Lilongwe.
The first election results numbers authorized by MEC showed Chakwera in the lead with 533,217 votes (37.65 percent), Mutharika at 524,247 (37.01 percent), and Chilima at 293,978 (20.76 percent).
Malawi operates a first past the post system, which means whoever comes out on top regardless of the percentage will be declared winner – in contrast, America’s Electoral College System allows for someone to win the presidency even if they lose the popular vote.
“It is pleasing to note that polling appears to be underway in all the areas where we have observers, meaning materials have been delivered and polling staff were ready,” said European Union Elections Observer Mission (EUOM) Chief Miroslav Poche. The EUOM deployed more than 80 staff members at polling stations across the country.
It’s believed that the voter turnout may have exceeded 90 percent. “We salute the people of Malawi for their historic voter turnout and exhibition of true Democracy for all of the people,” Chavis said.
“Multi-party elections don’t exist in the United States of America, yet here in the heart of Africa in Malawi and in other nations across the continent, there are, in fact, successful multi-party elections that provide a wide diversity of political opinions for all those who vote,” Chavis said.
The NNPA president and CEO also said it’s his intention to invite officials from Malawi to observe the 2020 elections in the United States. “Maybe Americans can learn something from Africans about how to fully embrace and practice democracy for all without voter discrimination or suppression,” Chavis said.
Chidzanja indicated that he’d relish the opportunity to observe the U.S. election.
“We will keep in touch as brothers and sisters after this,” Chidzanja said. “We are brothers and sisters no matter how many parties there are. There’s a lot to be done and, after the elections, life continues, so think of Malawi as your home,” he said.

Newswire: Congressional lawmakers introduce bill to examine disparities that impact Black men and boys

By Jane Kennedy

5000 Role Models of Excellence Project

U. S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), center, introduces a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys.

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Nearly five years after Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City policeman, recklessly choked Eric Garner to death, he is just now facing prosecution at a disciplinary trial that may—or may not—lead to his firing. The officers who stood idly by during the incident that was just one of a series of needless police killings of African-American men and boys, will likely not have to pay for their inaction.

It is this casual disregard for the safety and well-being of Black males that led Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) to create the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Caucus. Co-chaired by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La,), and Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), the caucus publicly introduced at a press conference last week legislation to establish an advisory body that will examine the societal inequities that adversely affect this demographic.

They were joined by several other lawmakers, representatives of national organizations, and Tracy Martin, father of slain teenager Trayvon Martin. In addition, dozens of boys who are members of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project mentorship program Wilson founded 25 years ago traveled to Washington from Miami and Jacksonville to participate in the event.

“We are here because we acknowledge a tragic truth: All too often, Black males in America are treated as their own class of citizen. They are rarely given the benefit of the doubt. They are labeled delinquent, not rowdy. They are hardened criminals, not misguided youth,” Wilson said. “Their very existence is often seen as a threat.”

The Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act of 2019 calls for a bipartisan commission to be housed within the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ office. Led by a staff director, its 19 members would include appointees from the Senate and the House, the Congressional Black Caucus chairperson and five CBC members, as well as representatives from federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Duties include examining homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, fatherhood, mentorship, drug abuse, death rates, disparate income and wealth levels, school performance at various grade levels, and health issues.

One year after their first meeting, members will be required to produce an annual report that includes recommendations to address these issues. In addition, the report, which will be publicly available, will be submitted to the president and cabinet secretaries, Congress, and the chairs of the appropriate committees of jurisdiction.

Rep. Jeffries noted in his remarks that while African-Americans have made “tremendous progress,” there is still a long way to go.

“We understand that when America catches a cold, the black community often catches a fever. When the black community catches a fever, it’s young black men and boys at the center of the affliction of economic pneumonia. You can’t continue to ignore realities of this situation, which is why this Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys is so incredibly important,” the New York lawmaker said. “We all recognize that unless we take the time to give our young men and our young black boys the opportunity to be successful, the system will seize the opportunity to give these men and young black boys some [jail] time.”

Jamonza Clark, a sophomore at Miami’s William H. Turner Technical Arts High School, feels blessed to be a part of Wilson’s Role Models program and a strong family unit, but recognizes that there are countless boys who look like him whose futures are very uncertain.

“Many of us live in ZIP codes that don’t have the same resources and opportunities that give our white counterparts head starts in life,” he said. “How are we supposed to get ahead when on the day we are born, we’re already behind?”

Rep. Richmond empathizes with boys and men who are judged by the color of their skin or what they wear. Sports, he said, is the one area where all the rules are the same for everybody, and African Americans excel. “So when we start talking about the game of life and making sure that our young men achieve the success that they should, then we have to look at all of the barriers,” Richmond said.

Rep. McBath, who is serving her first term in Congress, experienced every parent’s worst nightmare when her 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was gunned down at a Jacksonville gas station because his killer thought the music in the teenagers’ car was too loud.

“I was teaching him to stand up against unrighteousness and to stand up in the face of injustice. I was preparing him to take his place in this world at the decision-making table as a powerful young black man. My son, like so many others, was a victim of implicit bias and racism and I feel an obligation in my core to address these issues on behalf of each of the young men that are standing here today full of potential and destined to do great things,” she said, adding that any form of discrimination, “both explicit and implicit” is unacceptable.

Turning to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence students, she continued, “I implore each of you to stand up. You deserve to have a place at the table and decide the course of our world. I believe in all of you. This is what democracy looks like, and this is how we will change our world.”

Newswire : Clotilda find energizes community initiatives to revive Africatown’s ‘Heritage Destination Planning’ in south Alabama

Slave Ship Clotilda and search for Clotilda

(Mobile, AL, May 24, 2019) — On May 24, 1860, the slave ship Clotilda left the African city of Quidah (in present-day Benin) — packed with 110 men, women and children whom the King of Dahomey violently kidnapped and sold — headed for Mobile, Alabama.

On the 159th anniversary of that trade, BUDAL-GIE, a Benin delegation sanctioned by a new King of Dahomey, is reviving a long-standing vow to repair past wrongs with plans to revive Africatown, which was founded by a core group from those 110 Africans. This plan and others underway in Mobile are part of a new initiative to leverage the just-announced finding of the Clotilda as first steps toward comprehensive community redevelopment through cultural heritage tourism.

On Wednesday, May 22, the Alabama Historical Commission — with support from the National Geographic Foundation and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Slave Wreck Project and international search teams — announced that it had found the Clotilda slave ship in the Mobile River Delta near Twelve Mile Island. The Clotilda captain and the Mobile plantation owners who financed his voyage to Dahomey sunk the ship there to hide proof of their human cargo because importing Africans for slavery into the U.S. was illegal at the time.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, May 30, the Alabama Historical Commission is hosting a press conference about the Clotilda discovery. The Africatown residents and regional advocates are organizing a commemorative celebration of the discovery because of what it means to the African ancestors, the Clotilda descendants and the community at large.

Finding the Clotilda represents a crucial turning point in Africatown’s ongoing revitalization efforts. Community organizers and their supporters seek political, financial and professional assistance in moving forward with plans to create an international cultural destination ecosystem worthy of Africatown’s unique history.

The search for, and now the finding of, the Clotilda has added even more energy to planning efforts already underway in Historic Africatown and surrounding areas, including: the Africatown CDC’s Welcome Center that is funded by monies from the BP Oil Spill disaster; the proposed new Africatown Connections Blueway project coordinated through the National Park Service; environmental projects by C.H.E.S.S. and the Mobile Environmental Justice Action Coalition; projects of the Mobile County Training School Alumni Association and the Alliance Institute; the Africatown Clotilda Descendants’ initiative; the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail of Mobile; and the Benin House Project hosted by BUDAL-GIE at Africatown USA State Park that is located in the City of Prichard, a predominantly black suburb of Mobile.

Another effort is the Africatown International Design Idea Competition, sponsored by M.O.V.E. (Making Opportunities Viable to Everyone) Gulf Coast CDC. It has hired studio|rotan as the professional competition advisor that will program the multi-site design challenge.

The Africatown International Design Idea Competition (AIDIC) acts as a tool that pulls together all of the community initiatives into a single cultural master plan movement. Many past studies and other recent plans for Africatown will be incorporated into an overall architectural design vision with help from a community-based advisory consortium open to all.

One of the competition’s design challenges is to imagine a boathouse for a full-sized replica of the Clotilda, among design ideas for 16 venues at 4 sites. Ultimately, the ideas generated through AIDIC will constitute the Africatown Cultural Mile, a cultural destination system stretching 8 miles from Downtown Mobile, to Historic Africatown, and to the cities of Chickasaw and Prichard. Africatown’s unique history serves as the focal point that connects them all to each other and to the African Diaspora worldwide.

Teams of architects and urban planners across the globe, especially Africa, will be invited to submit their best design solutions for the 16 venues.–

For more information, contact Vickii Howell, President/CEO of M.O.V.E. Gulf Coast CDC, at (205) 5663131 or email requests to info@movegulfcoastcdc.com

Newswire: Record number – 34 female African-American cadets graduate from West Point Military Academy

By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Huffington Post

Black female graduates of West Point

Black women made military history on Saturday, as the West Point military academy graduated its class of 2019 with its highest-ever number of female African American cadets.
There are 34 Black women cadets graduated from the academy on Saturday, May 25 ― a record high number, the school confirmed to HuffPost. All will receive a Bachelor of Science degree and commissions as 2nd lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
“My hope when young black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability and fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” cadet Tiffany Welch-Baker told online publication Because of Them We Canearlier this month.
There were about 1,270 cadets in the 2019 graduating class, of which 280 were women ―around 22%, per the school. And there were 189 Black students in the class, around 15%.
This racial and gender milestone comes just one year after Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams broke barriers as the first black officer to be superintendent and command the academy, founded in 1802. It’s been less than two years since Simone Askew made history as the first Black woman to be named first captain of the corps of cadets, the highest student position at the academy.
The first womanto graduate from the academy, Andrea Hollen, was in the class of 1980, and in that same class was Vincent Brooks, the first Black cadet to serve as first captain.
Once cadets graduate from the academy, located in New York, they serve on active duty in the militaryfor at least five years.