Newswire : ‘Skullduggery’ foils Zimbabwe inauguration of former Mugabe ally

Mnangagwa supporters rally in streets

Aug. 13, 2018 (GIN) – The hastily organized inauguration of Emmerson Mnangagwa as president of Zimbabwe has hit a brick wall. Invites to the heads of diplomatic mission, international organizations and consulates were pulled back after challenges to last month’s general election put a question mark around the slim victory of Mr. Mnangagwe over his rival Nelson Chamisa. Mr Mnangagwa allegedly beat Mr. Chamisa with 50.8% of the vote to Mr. Chamisa’s 44.3%. The ceremony was slated for Sunday, August 5, at the National Sports Stadium in Harare despite clashes between opposition protestors and soldiers that broke out shortly after polls closed.

Some six people died in the melee, many others were beaten and a number sought refuge in neighboring Zambia. As the post-election violence increased, Mr. Mnangagwa called for “peace and unity” but this failed to unite the nation – at least half of whom had cast ballots for Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In early returns, the MDC was leading by about 50,000 votes over the ruling ZANU-PF. But that lead suddenly evaporated when returns from the fifth out of 10 provinces were announced. Mr. Mnangagwa, who ousted his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, in what was widely described as a “coup”, called the voting a “celebration of Zimbabwean democracy, a festival of unfettered freedom. With the eyes of the world on us we delivered a free, fair and credible election.” “It is now time to put the election period behind us and embrace the future,” Mnangagwa said during Heroes Day commemorations in Harare. “We should never be deterred by temporary setbacks or regrettable events which we encounter in our cause to build an open, free and democratic, prosperous Zimbabwe.” It is now up to the Constitutional Court over the next 14 days to rule on the challenges brought by the MDC. Meanwhile, according to reporters on the ground, hundreds of opposition activists are in hiding from an army-led crackdown. Over the weekend, soldiers were seen moving through suburbs of Harare, the capital, and satellite cities beating supporters of the MDC, firing weapons outside the homes of its MPs and sealing off the homes of leaders’ families. “There are people disappearing. We don’t know how many – maybe 30, maybe 50. They are clearly trying to scatter the leadership, to stop us organizing,” Nkululeko Sibanda, an MDC spokesman, said. As Mnangagwa struggles to unify sparring members of his own party and divisions in the armed forces, he may seem ineffectual but many remember his record as State Security Minister when in 1983 some 20,000 minority Ndebele people were murdered in “a moment of madness”, according to ousted president Mugabe.

Newswire : Former NAACP President Ben Jealous facing uphill climb to become first Black Governor of Maryland


By Hazel Trice Edney

( – Despite defeating six candidates to become the Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland, former NAACP president, Benjamin Todd Jealous, is still viewed as the underdog in his race against popular incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. “He’s got an uphill sled race,” says political scientist Dr. Wilmer Leon, also a radio talk show host. “Because the state of Maryland, by most statistics, is doing well. And Hogan has never proven himself to be a blind Republican ideologue. He’s more of a moderate Republican than he is an extreme right wing Republican. So, with that, it’s easier for Democrats to vote for him.”In somewhat of an upset, Jealous beat back six other candidates in the June 28 primary, including Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, viewed as the Democratic establishment candidate. Despite this sentiment, Jealous says his “rainbow” type supporters and association with people from all walks of life is the strategy that he believes will continue to carry him to a win Nov. 6. “The strength of this campaign, like my life, begins in Black churches in the civil rights community and gains power through the connection of those communities with the broader progressive community. That’s been the arc of my life and that’s the arc of this campaign,” he said in a recent interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “We will win in November the same way we won June 28. We will win by traveling to every corner of the state making the case to voters in every county about how we can move forward together, about how we can make sure every school is fully funded, how we can finally get health care costs truly under control, how we can make colleges and public universities truly affordable again and how we can find the money to do it is in large part by ending mass incarceration.” Jealous said, “The issues at the core of this campaign are not partisan issues. Treating the opioid addiction crisis is a health crisis. It’s a people issue. Funding education is a people issue. And then the student debt crisis is a people issue. Those are not partisan issues and people recognize that.” Though some say he is an outsider until recently, his roots run deep in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. and across the nation for that matter. Jealous is former executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation and former president/CEO of the national NAACP. But when describing his grassroots political training, he is clear about his roots. “I started off in the Rainbow Coalition. I started off as a 15-year-old precinct captain for the Rev. Jesse Jackson,” he recalls. “The strategy of that campaign is what empowered L. Doug Wilder to win the governorship in Virginia a year later. And the same strategies that worked for Wilder in Virginia and David Dinkins in New York and Harold Washington in Chicago are right at the core of this campaign.” He continues, “What we all learned in that campaign is how they won their campaigns. That’s how we won our primary and how we will win in November. We’ll build a coalition of working families across every line…There’s nothing more important to any working family than assuring that they get to move forward again.” Like Jackson, Wilder and Dinkins, Jealous is poised to also make history. If he pulls it off, he would become the first Black governor of Maryland and the fifth Black governor in the U. S. According to recent polls, the issues may not be enough. Though Maryland is heavily Democratic, Hogan reportedly has a 68 percent approval rating across party lines. Therefore, Jealous is going to have to pull out all stops, says Leon.“In the eyes of some, the NAACP is not as relevant as it used to be. Plus, Hogan is not a Trump Republican,” Leon said. “So, I think you’re going to have a lot of people going to the voting booth saying if it’s not broke don’t fix it.” However, Leon said, Jealous could win because Maryland is in fact a Democratic state. “Turn out. Turn out. Turn out” will be the key, he says. “Plus, he needs to find a way to better explain how he’s going to implement some of the policies he’s articulating because one of the knocks against him is he’s promised a lot of things and he hasn’t explained how he’s going to pay for them.” Grassroots debaters in a local barber shop recently resolved that Jealous is the most popular candidate among Black voters, but, due to apathy, the voters he will need in a close race may not come out on Election Day. This means Jealous will need his best strategies, including his broadest rainbow, plus campaign boosts from some heavy hitters. His running mate is former Maryland Democratic Party Chair Susan Turnbull, who is running for lieutenant governor. In June, former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was largely credited for helping to drum up votes. Sanders has not given a full endorsement of Jealous, but has not been shy about pushing him. “I’m proud to be here because Ben is not going to be one of those leaders who is going to be nibbling around the edges, but understands we have got to transform the economic and political life of this country,” said Sen. Sanders to a cheering crowd as Jealous stood by his side June 18 just before his primary election, the Associated Press reported. Jealous is taking all the help he can get. “Bernie is a good friend. He’s a great ally to this campaign. And he has shown the Democratic Party that the people want real solutions to the pain that our families are feeling,” Jealous said. “Who runs our states matters because the road to taking back our country runs all through our states. I’m focused on making Maryland a model for how we move forward on education, health care and the economy no matter what happens in Donald Trump’s Washington.”

Newswire : Sarah Sanders can’t guarantee Trump hasn’t used N-word

By: Associated Press

Washington, D. C., August 14, 2018: White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she cannot guarantee that President Donald Trump has never used a racial slur. Sanders said, “I haven’t been in every single room,” when asked if she can say with certainty that Trump has never used the N-word, but she added that Trump has been a high-profile businessman for decades and the allegations are only just now being made.

Ex-Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has alleged she has heard Trump on tape using the slur. Trump said Monday on Twitter that he doesn’t “have that word in my vocabulary, and never had.” Sanders says she “can’t guarantee” Trump has never used the word, but calls Manigault Newman’s claims “salacious and ridiculous.” Sanders told reporters that Manigault Newman has “shown a complete lack of integrity” with her criticism of Trump in her new book, adding that Trump’s tweets referring to Manigault Newman as “crazed” and a “dog” reflect his “frustration” with her comments. Manigault Newman has responded that Trump has “absolutely no respect” for women or African-Americans. Sanders says Trump hired Manigault Newman as an assistant to the president because he “wanted to give her a chance.” She was a contestant on his reality show “The Apprentice” and a former campaign aide. Manigault Newman has been releasing audio recordings of private White House conversations as part of her book roll-out tour. She was fired in December. © Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Newswire : Annual NAACP Convention closes with a Call to Vote

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

Thousands of people from across the country gathered in San Antonio, Texas for the 109th Annual NAACP Convention. The daring theme of this year’s convention (“Stop Hate, Vote”) was right on target, given that the 2018 midterm elections are just a few months away.

Panels and breakout sessions also focused on social justice and civil rights in the Trump Era, conversations that NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson deemed “highly necessary.” “As we begin to look at the critical landscape—with the increase in intolerance and hatred—we realize that the 2016 elections resulted in a new level of boldness for racists to display their racism,” Johnson said. “The only way to counter that is to vote…Vote on the midterm elections, so that we can hold elected officials accountable and make sure that they implement positive change.” The convention also included a diverse career fair, educational seminars, workshops on public policy, and a special hip-hop summit. Johnson also spoke about the importance of millennials and their community and political engagement. “Millennials should understand that their role in democracy is the same as everyone else’s,” Johnson said. “We are African Americans first and we owe it to our communities to use all of the tools necessary to better impact our society.” Championing this effort, NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell shared his own ideas during his annual convention address. “In this new era of xenophobia, neo-Nazism, White nationalism, and current efforts to take our nation back to a darker and more dangerous time, I have come to San Antonio, Texas to say to the NAACP and our allies, ‘the time has come to defeat hate.’” Russell continued: “We call on voters, especially millennials of color, to stand against the face of bigotry and divisiveness.” Acknowledging that nearly 63 million Americans voted for the current president and that Black voter turnout declined, Russell still expressed hope for the future. “Our hope is to vote out the hate and we need everyone to vote,” Russell said. The NAACP also honored Willie Brown, San Francisco’s first Black mayor, with the “Spingarn Medal,” the organization’s most prestigious award; the award was in recognition of his years of civil rights work and dedication to the betterment of the Black community. Former President Bill Clinton presented the award to Brown and paid tribute to the civil rights activist. Brown said that the Spingarn Medal represented his dedication to public service and the community. Dozens of millennials attended this year’s convention, much to the pleasure of former NAACP President and current National Newspaper Publishers Association President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. “The NAACP is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago,” Dr. Chavis said. “The potential that the organization has with these millennials is even greater. The NAACP literally has the opportunity to embrace these young lives and thus be embraced, to create an even better, bolder organization for the lives of all people.”

Boligee man killed in two vehicle crash on Interstate 59

A two-vehicle crash Thursday, Aug. 9, claimed the life of a Boligee man and injured two others. Eddie Lawson, 64, of Boligee was killed when the 2000 Mitsubishi Montero Sport he was driving was struck by a 2006 Honda Accord driven by Clydarryl Lance Smith, 25, of Eutaw. Lawson, who was not using a seatbelt, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Lawson’s passenger, Cedric Leon Williams, 29, of Boligee and Smith were both injured and transported to DCH Regional Medical Center. The crash occurred at 5:40 a.m. on Interstate 59 near the 60 mile marker, 13 miles south of Tuscaloosa. Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

Annual festival draws the talents of young artists building on the gifts of elders

Local youth choirs have become a mainstay at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival.

The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, originating in 1975 through the Miles College Eutaw Program, was designed to lift the history, culture, and traditions of the county and region. The focus was, and has been for a long time, on the elders – the bearers of the culture. They lived through times when quilts were made to protect against the cold winter nights and baskets were weaved for practical use such as picking cotton, gathering vegetables, holding laundry and more. The ole timey blues strummed on makeshift guitars, accompanied by jug blowing, hambone slapping and washboard rubbing, recounted the struggles, hardships, loss and pain a people long endured. They sang their stories on back porches through long summer evenings and in juke-joints on Saturday nights. And those same folk, in a different venue, shifted to lift their gospel singing voices in praise and thanksgiving as they recounted “How We Made It Over.” So that’s why the festival was and is, however, the elders don’t live forever. Each year some one or two pass on. But the stories must live on; and there are new stories birthing and growing all the time. The youth have their chapters to our stories and their own stories as well.

On this 43rd celebration of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival we can lift several young artists who are here to share their gifts. Nigel Speights of Boligee, AL, a rising 11th grade student, is on his way to becoming an accomplished blues musician. He strums his guitar in the spirit of the elder bluesmen who continue to teach and lead him. Jontavious Willis, a young man from Greenville, GA, sought out our festival, appealing to me with the words: “I have the spirit of the blues in my heart and soul. Just let me play at the festival – I don’t ask for money – just let me play.” Jontavious has been coming and playing ever since. The festival also showcases youth choirs who lift that ole timey gospel of the elders. We also feature the children of gospel crooners who have passed on. James and John Sykes, of the Mississippi Traveling Stars, are no longer with us on this Earth, but their sons have taken up the baton of Ole Timey Gospel praise and celebration. Fatima Robinson and Mynecia Steele, Greene County born and bred, are gifted artists creating with their hands what can only be inspired through the mutual workings of the mind, heart and soul. To know and appreciate their creations, come to the festival and start your collection. Even the foodways of the festival are leaning toward our youth. The soul food dinner tradition of Geraldine Sands, continues through her daughter, Rita Sands Mahoney. Like mother, like daughter and daughter gets better. It was truly a blessing when Delfreda Coleman came to the festival for the first time last year with her home made ice cream. Ms. Sarah Duncan had graced us with her heavenly delight of churned-on-the-spot homemade ice cream for many, many years, until, for health reasons, she couldn’t any longer. So we missed a year – no homemade ice-cream at the festival – until Delfreda came on the scene with her cream. The 43rd Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is scheduled for Saturday August 25 and Sunday August 26, on the old courthouse square in Eutaw, (Greene County) AL. There is no admission. There is no charge to celebrate. Come join us and enjoy. For more information contact: Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525.

Greene County High School launches third annual 9th Grade Academy Tie Tying Program

Greene County High School held its annual 9th Grade Academy Tie Tying Program as an initiation of students’ first year in high school. This marked the third annual Tie Tying Ceremony for students entering the 9th Grade. This event highlights the student’s Rites of Passage from Middle School to High School. The Academy is designed to give special attention to students as they transition and prepare for college and career. The designated attire of navy blue blazers, white shirts and long ties identify the 9th Grade students as they pursue their academic mission. The ceremony was co-sponsored by the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, under the leadership of District judge Lillie Jones Osborne. Alabama State Representative Artis McCampbell addressed the students on choosing and preparing for life goals and career paths.Rep. McCampbell called up students DeKaija Davis and Jamiyah White to share with their classmates their dreams and goals. He assisted students in learning to tie their ties, and as a special treat to the class, he presented a check of $1,000 to be used for the enhancement of the 9th Grade Academy Program. Others assisting students with their tie tying included the following: Superintendent Dr. James Carter, GCHS Principal Willie Simmons, GCHS Assistant Principal, Andrea Perry, School Board President Leo Branch, school employee Marcus Steele, and Juvenile Officer Deshayla Steele.

Newswire: Two parties declare victory in Zimbabwe’s Presidential poll

Riot police breaking up press conference of Nelson Chamisa

Aug. 6, 2018 (GIN) – “Let us look forward with hope and love. Let bygones be bygones… Let us turn over a new leaf and renew ourselves.” Those were the hopeful words of Emmerson Mnangagwa as he settled into the chair of former president Robert Mugabe last December. Mr. Mugabe was not present, having been removed in a “soft coup” by members of his own party. Now, some six months later, Mr Mnangagwa has been elected to the top job, fair and square according to the nation’s electoral commission, but his soldiers appear not to have gotten the word. Streets in the capital city Harare were battlegrounds with tanks speeding through, guns firing at citizens running for cover and spilt blood staining the ground. Vote tallies were not announced in the days following nationwide polls, opening the way for opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa, reviewing his own tallies, to declare he had clearly won the election and that the official results were “unverified and fake.” A spokesman for Chamisa addressed a press conference: “I make a difference between the president-elect and the president-declared,” said Nkululeko Sibanda, “because we do know that President Chamisa won this election.” No details have been announced on the suit being prepared to challenge the election outcome. Mnangagwa’s victory was endorsed by the African Union and SADC, the Southern African Development Community, South Africa and Zambia, but international observers and human rights groups filed separate assessments of the election’s fairness. The British government said it was deeply concerned by the post-election violence and the “disproportionate response from the security forces.” Amnesty International said more than 60 people were arbitrarily arrested in a “vicious campaign of torture, intimidation and suppression of dissenting voices.” On Monday, 22 members of Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) appeared in court facing charges of inciting violence and causing malicious damage to the ruling ZANU-PF party offices. They must return for bail hearings because it was no little time for the judge to hear their cases. Mnangagwa has said the army’s use of violence in Harare would be investigated independently, although he also suggested he understood the use of military force, saying that police were overwhelmed by opposition protesters. Inauguration of the new president is slated for August 12.

Newswire : Black women NASA pioneers nominated for Congressional Medals

HuffPost BlackVoices

Katherine Johnson, NASA pioneer

The Congressional Gold Medal is considered one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, celebrating individuals and groups who have made invaluable contributions to American history and culture. honor—which is given to trailblazers who have contributed to shaping American history—is one of the most prestigious awards distributed in the U.S., the news outlet writes. The decision to honor the women was made by a group of 44 political leaders including California Senator Kamala Harris, Delaware Senator Chris Coons and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski. “These women were barrier breakers, and their immeasurable contributions to NASA and our nation have cemented their place in history,” said Harris in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I’m proud to help recognize their achievements as they continue to serve as a beacon for Black women both young and old, across the country.” Senator Coons added that their accomplishments remained hidden for far too long and that it’s not only important for them to be recognized for the indelible mark that they left in the STEM industry, but it’s essential for their stories to be brought to the forefront so they can serve as inspiration for the young women following in their footsteps. Several organizations dedicated to the advancement of women and people of color across different industries backed the bill. The organizations include Girl Scouts of the USA, the United Negro College Fund, the National Association of Mathematicians and others. The honors are continuing to roll in for the trailblazers who broke both gender and racial barriers in STEM. In June, West Virginia State University announced the creation of a bronze statue in Katherine Johnson’s honor as well as the launch of a scholarship fund named after her.

Newswire : Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and the NNPA call for Congress to address disparities in Federal ad spending

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor


Longtime D.C. delegate Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with the NNPA and the NAHP to pressure Congress to demand greater federal adverting spending with minority-owned publishers. This photo was taken during a congressional panel discussion on judicial diversity on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Eleanor Holmes Norton

In a blistering response to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that revealed federal agencies spend very little advertising dollars with minority-owned businesses, D.C. Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said that she would work with minority publishers to press her colleagues in Congress “to demand greater spending on minority-owned outlets…to reach minority audiences that most traditional outlets do not.” Holmes Norton said that she requested the GAO report to learn more about the disparities in federal advertising contracts. “[The GAO report] showed, as we expected, that the federal government has a long way to go to ensure equal opportunities for minority-owned news outlets,” Holmes Norton said. “As the nation’s largest advertiser, the federal government has an obligation to provide advertising opportunities to news outlets and media companies owned or published by people of color.” The 41-page report issued, last week, revealed that over the past five fiscal years, federal government agencies spent $5 billion in advertising, but just $327 million of that went to minority-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses netted just $51 million—about $10 million per year over the five years covered in the new report. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association President (NNPA), thanked Holmes Norton for her support. The NNPA is a trade group that represents more than 200 Black-owned media companies and newspapers that reach 20 million readers, combined, in print and online, every week. More than two years ago, Holmes Norton joined members of the NNPA and the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) for a press conference on Capitol Hill, to demand the report, which was issued last week. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago and Gary, Ind., called the results of the report shameful. Leavell added that she would call for legislation to address the disparities; she also said that she plans on requesting meetings with members of Congress to further explore the matter. In an interview, last week, Dr. Chavis called on Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “to forcefully raise their voices of discontent and reaffirmation of the demands for equity, for justice, for fairness and end to this kind of systemic refusal to treat African American-owned and Latino-owned businesses along with others in a just, fair and equitable manner.” Dr. Chavis added that the report exposed the consequences of systemic racial discrimination in both Republican and Democratic administrations when it comes to federal advertising spending. Dr. Chavis continued: “It’s time for all of us to respond and to act. There should be legislation introduced in Congress immediately to rectify this gross systemic inequity This article was originally published at