Stories from the early Greene County Movement, Part II

Mary Dean Williams-Mack – Class of 1965

As a senior at Carver High School in 1965, Mary Dean Williams was looking forward to graduation, but the chances of marching across that state seemed very slim.  The local Civil Rights Movement had gained momentum.  

Mrs. Williams-Mack recounted the following: “Life as we knew it was quickly changing and you could feel it in the air. Yet reality hovered over us like a dark cloud. We were marching through the streets of Eutaw for freedom, but we would not march across our high school stage in our caps and gowns to receive our diplomas.”
During the Greene County student movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Eutaw. He visited with the students at First Baptist church and assured them he would give them a graduation ceremony they would never forget. And he did. On May 30, 1965, the Carver High seniors traveled to Selma for their graduation exercises held at Brown Chapel AME Church. Dr. King delivered the commencement address and presented each senior with his/her diploma. A reception followed at the Elks Club across from the Selma jail.

Jacqueline Allen – Class of 1965

Ms. Allen was a senior at Carver High School in 1965. From her account: “Students from Eutaw and surrounding schools came together to participate in demonstrations in what became the Civil Rights Movement in Greene County. We shocked the conscience of the people of Eutaw as we pushed to abolish segregation here at home. We were a part of a movement and we only wanted to have an opportunity for a better life.” As a senior, Mrs. Allen was also looking forward to graduation as one of the class salutatorians. She shared the following: “ …I was one who greatly anticipated giving my speech at the graduation ceremony. But no one anticipated what happened here. My dream of giving my graduation speech and participating in all the other events that normally take place prior to graduation came to a standstill.”

Louvella Murray – Class of 1965

In her reflections of that early Movement period, Ms. Murray states that she can so vividly recall how life was for them and events of the protest. 

“ I can close my eyes and see us in Eutaw not able to sit in the Dairy Queen; sitting in the balcony of the movies, not allowed to sit in the main section; and I can see the unthinkable cruelty directed at us united in the struggle for freedom.” She recounts how her mother, Rosie Bee Edwards hummed spirituals as she prepared sandwiches and meals for the marchers.
Many of the movement organizers stayed at her mother’s house in the projects, and when the manager found out that they were staying and working out of their house, her family had to move. Ms. Murray sadly stated that her mother was never recognized for accommodating the Civil Rights workers; her name does not appear on the plaque in from of First Baptist Church.
Additional stories of youth in the local Civil Rights Movement will continue next week.

Newswire : America watching as top three Virginia officials are embroiled in controversy

Page from Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press
( – In the suddenly topsy-turvy world of Virginia politics, one fact is certain: Ralph S. Northam is still Virginia’s governor. He also has no immediate plans to resign, despite the uproar and the torrent of calls for him to quit the office some believe he is no longer fit to hold.
The sudden reversal of fortune began when Big League Politics, a conservative, Republican-leaning news and opinion blog, posted a 35-year-old yearbook photo that appears under the governor’s name showing two people, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
The blog indicated that it was tipped off to the forgotten photo published in the 1984 edition of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook by a former classmate upset with Gov. Northam’s stance on abortion.
Struck by an avalanche of criticism, the governor initially issued an apology on Friday, Feb. 1.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment,” he stated.
He pledged to do everything he could to restore the public’s trust in him.
But at a Saturday, Feb. 2, news conference, Gov. Northam recanted the apology.
Instead, the 59-year-old genial pediatric neurosurgeon with a reedy voice urged people to trust his word that he was not one of the two people in the photo, a position that began gaining support this week as published reports began surfacing in which former classmates agreed that other students were in the photo.
Gov. Northam, who also was criticized for dressing up as a plantation owner at Halloween, said at the news conference that he had never seen the photo because he finished medical school and started a residency program with the Army Medical Corps in San Antonio, Texas, and did not purchase a copy.
The governor also said that while he blackened his cheeks with shoe polish later that year in dressing up like his favorite entertainer, Michael Jackson, to compete in and win a dance contest in San Antonio, he said he was certain the yearbook photo was not his and that he was not one of the two people pictured.
As the governor fought to clear his name, he gained unexpected relief from the controversy when Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring both came under their own clouds.
Late Sunday, Feb. 3, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, 39, suddenly became embroiled in an equally explosive controversy regarding a sexual encounter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston with Dr. Vanessa Tyson, now a California university professor. Dr. Tyson now publicly claims Lt. Gov. Fairfax, forced her to perform oral sex after they went to his hotel room.
Fairfax, a single Columbia University law student at the time, was working on a political campaign.
By Tuesday, the lieutenant governor had displaced Gov. Northam in the headlines as he sought to defend himself. Lt. Gov. Fairfax insisted the encounter with Dr. Tyson was consensual after Big League Politics also spread the information based on an email the blog said was provided by a Richmond friend of Dr. Tyson, Adria Scharf, executive director of the Richmond Peace Education Center and wife of Dr. Thad Williamson, a University of Richmond professor who has been a top adviser to a potential gubernatorial rival of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, Mayor Levar M. Stoney. A second woman, Meredith Watson, has since accused Fairfax of sexual assault, intensifying the controversy surrounding him.
Then on Wednesday, Attorney General Herring, 57, who had urged the governor to resign in favor of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, issued an unexpected admission about his own blackface episode.
Herring said in 1980 when he was a 19-year-old college student, he and friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup” and went to a party portraying “rappers they listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow.”
Herring, who immediately resigned as co-chair of the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, called his actions a product of “our ignorance and glib attitudes” and a lack of “appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others.”
He said in the years since, the memory has caused him “deep regret and shame,” though he added that the past conduct “is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.”
The upheaval has come amid a fast-moving General Assembly session when Gov. Northam is a key player in shaping legislation and Lt. Gov. Fairfax presides over the state Senate.
Amid the new revelations, Gov. Northam was bolstered by Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox’s public statement Monday that the yearbook photo could not be considered an impeachable offense and the fact that the governor’s aides and members of his cabinet have stuck with him rather than resigning. He is soldiering on.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, for example, Gov. Northam quietly signed legislation providing a $750 million package of incentives for Amazon, which plans to open part of its East Coast headquarters in Northern Virginia.
For those who denounced the governor in the wake of the photo — particularly a wide swatch of elected Democrats near and far — it was simpler when they could take an unforgiving stance solely involving Gov. Northam.
Take the 21-member Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which has urged the governor to resign and end the turmoil.
“We amplify our call for the governor to resign,” the Caucus stated Saturday after listening to Gov. Northam’s press conference. “He has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people. Changing his story now casts further doubt on his ability to gain that trust.”
But the Caucus is among many looking for a fallback position with the new revelations involving the two other top Democratic leaders, notably Lt. Gov. Fairfax, who is first in line to succeed to the office if Gov. Northam resigns.
The Caucus, led by Henrico Delegate Lamont Bagby, did not comment Wednesday on how their members will deal with a governor they have labeled a pariah, but whom they might have to work with. Most of the Richmond legislative delegation also didn’t comment. The only response has come from Delegate Betsy B. Carr, D-69th, who responded on her plan of action with Gov. Northam remaining in office: “As I have always done, I will support and advocate for legislation that helps my constituents and the Commonwealth. I work each and every day to improve the lives of Virginians, and I will continue to do that.”

Newswire : Waters and Cleaver express concerns about nomination of David Malpass to lead World Bank

Congressman Cleaver and Congresswoman Waters

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Emanuel Cle Cleaver and er (D-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, issued the following statements on the nomination of David Malpass, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, to serve as President of the World Bank.
“It’s difficult to believe that any serious effort to find a qualified candidate with a compelling vision for the mission of the World Bank and a belief in the legitimacy of international development finance would lead to the nomination of Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass,” said Chairwoman Waters.
“His agenda for international development policy seems to begin with a reliance on unfettered private capital flows and end with a diminished role for the public sector, as the engines of global growth. He is an anti-internationalist, anti-worker market fundamentalist who understands neither the markets nor the importance of an effective public sector in helping reign in market excesses, promoting stability, and ensuring that the benefits of growth are broadly shared in society.
Moreover, if the World Bank’s board of directors ultimately votes to confirm Mr. Malpass, the Bank’s climate finance agenda, which is an increasingly essential element of global economic cooperation, will also be under threat. If the Trump Administration is allowed to embed its ideological bias into the world’s most important multilateral development institution, the institutional framework for the post-World War II global economic order will be imperiled.”
“The nomination of David Malpass as the next World Bank President should have every American deeply concerned,” said Chairman Cleaver. “His strong criticism of global organizations and disdain for multilateral institutions are antithetical to the mission of the organization of which he has been asked to lead. For nearly eighty years the World Bank—guided by American leadership—has led a development of the global economy unmatched in human history. The Bank has played a pivotal role in the reduction of global poverty, protection of workers, and fight to close the enormous income inequality gap. If Mr. Malpass cannot commit to advancing this agenda and supporting the core mission of the World Bank, then the board should reject his nomination.”
The House Financial Services Committee is responsible for conducting oversight of U.S. participation in the multilateral development banks, including the World Bank.
Financial Services Committee Democrats have consistently pushed for strong leadership at the World Bank and insisted on more transparency and disclosure of information. As a result, Committee Democrats have continuously played an active role in helping to shape the development policies that have helped make the World Bank the preeminent development institution that it has become.
In previous Congresses, Committee Members conditioned U.S. support for the Bank on the creation of the Inspection Panel — an independent accountability mechanism that could investigate allegations by citizens of the Bank’s failure to follow its own policies and procedures.
The Committee has also worked in a bipartisan manner to successfully push for debt relief for impoverished countries.

Alabama Hospital Association: Two new studies support Medicaid Expansion

By Amy Yurkanin |

The Alabama Hospital Association released two reports last week laying out almost $3 billion in financial benefits for expanding Medicaid – a step state leaders have declined to consider since the Affordable Care Act ( also known as Obamacare) passed in 2010.
Leaders of the hospital association held a press conference at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Friday morning to tout the findings. The organization has been one of the strongest supporters of Medicaid expansion in Alabama, claiming the move would benefit hospitals and patients.
David Becker, a professor in the UAB School of Public Health, created similar reports in 2012 and 2016 – when federal funds covered all the costs of expanding Medicaid to low-income adults. The match is down to 93 percent this year and will drop to 90 percent in 2020, where it will remain.
Owen Bailey, CEO of USA Health, said the deal still makes sense for Alabama.
“It’s obvious that by expanding Medicaid, the state would have a huge return on investment,” Bailey said. “For every one dollar the state provides, we will get nine dollars to match it.”
Becker’s study found that implementing Medicaid expansion now would be costlier for the state than it would have been in 2014 because of the loss of federal matching dollars and the increased cost from low-income patients who purchase insurance through the exchange. Bailey said 12 hospitals have closed in Alabama in the last eight years.
“The state did miss out on the deal of the century,” Becker said. “I don’t have a time machine. All we can do is look forward. The case for expansion remains very strong.”
Medicaid expansion is one part of Obamacare, which also created regulations on health insurance and subsidies to purchase private insurance. Alabama is one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid. Residents of Utah, Nebraska and Idaho recently voted to expand Medicaid in statewide referenda.
Alabama’s lack of action has kept millions in federal dollars out of the state that could help support rural hospitals that often care for the sick and uninsured, said Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association.
“Hospitals and healthcare are every bit as important for infrastructure as roads are,” Williamson said. “Otherwise they are building roads to communities that are dying because their hospital has closed.”If Alabama expanded Medicaid, the program would grow to cover adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Currently, the program only covers caregivers of people on Medicaid who earn less than 20 percent of the poverty level. The change in Alabama would add more than 300,000 people to the Medicaid rolls, according to the study.
That expansion would cost Alabama $227 million in 2020, according to Becker’s calculations. The state would receive nearly $2 billion in funds from the federal government that year.
The other study, by consulting company Manatt, said the state could pay up to $216 million in additional costs and get more than $2 billion from federal sources. The state would save additional money in other areas, including medical care for prisoners, Williamson said.
The Alabama Hospital Association has submitted similar reports in 2012 and 2016. Williams said they are hopeful legislators will give expansion serious consideration this year. He said unsuccessful votes to repeal Obamacare and midterm successes by Democrats running on healthcare show the law has staying power.
“For a lot of people, there was a belief that Obamacare was going to disappear,” Williamson said. “The last election has pretty much taken repeal and replace off the table. The number of states, including some very Republican states have gone to expansion and they are seeing the benefits. Our hope is that the reality that this is going to be here, that it’s not going away, will become clear to Alabama lawmakers.”

Revisiting the start of the Civil Rights Movement in Greene County

Above: First Baptist Church on Greensboro St. Eutaw, where students of the Greene County Movement met and mass meetings were held.
Below: Cemetery and park on Greensboro St. where student
demonstrators met.

Official Markers designating First Baptist Church and Clarence Thomas Cemetery as significant cites of the Greene County Civil Rights Movement.

The Civil Rights Movement in Greene County often brings up names such as Rev. William M. Branch, Rev. Thomas Gilmore, Ed Carter, Peter Kirksey and Florence Kirksey, John Chambers, Rev. W.D. Lewis, Annie Brown, Sarah Duncan, Hurtlean Pippins, Fannie Lou Due and many others who came to play key roles in the local movement, but we tend to forget the youth, our African American youth, who were first to step out of a comfort zone and declare We aint gonna take it no more.
In reviewing the accounts of some of the Greene County youth of the movement, collected earlier by the Democrat, all acclaim that the movement was launched principally by young folk walking out of then Carver High School.
This took place early in 1965, perhaps in January, but certainly before the Jimmie Lee Jackson murder in Marion, AL on February 18, 1965 and before the Selma to Montgomery March which followed. Other SCLC organizers, Albert Turner of Marion, AL and Hosea Williams of Atlanta, made frequent trips to Greene County assisting the demonstrators.
On the night Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered, Greene County had planned a mass meeting at First Baptist Church, Eutaw, Albert Turner arrived to inform them that Rev. Orange had been arrested and jailed in Marion and a mass meeting was planned in Marian that evening.
The students continued to meet in the cemetery each morning, preparing for the events of the day, which included marches and pickets in Eutaw, bearing signs denouncing all forms of segregation. The students also boycotted the local stores, owned by whites who treated Black folks terribly. Their initial grievances included mistreatment in the stores, and lack of quality books and other school materials. The Black schools had to used the discarded books of the white students.
Students from Eatman Jr. High (Lewiston) and Greene County Training School (Boligee) joined the Carver students each day swelling their numbers and giving strength to their cause. Some parents allowed their children to gather in the cemetery but would not permit them to march, fearful for their safety. Many parents and other adults provided food for the students, since they were not at school for lunch. “After several days of us spending the day at the graveyard, some of the ladies in town realized that we didn’t have food. These ladies started coming out and bringing us bologna sandwiches and peanut butter sandwiches and orange drinks,” Luther Winn, II, stated in his account.
Eventually First Baptist Church allowed the students to gather in their sanctuary and the community to hold mass meetings. Soon afterward, Little Zion Baptist Church (Boligee) and Ebenezer Baptist Church (Forkland) open their doors for mass meeting and organizing efforts of the movement.
Apparently, the schools would continue to open each day, the school buses operated, teachers would arrive, often not entering the school, some students would arrive as well, but the most significant and relevant learning of the time was the commencing and conducting of the Civil Rights Movement by young Black students in Greene County.
Winn also noted in his account of the early movement, that the young folk did not have a leader, so they “…gathered at First Baptist Church one afternoon and elected Thomas Gilmore to be the liaison from the young people and the adult leadership.”
All the student accounts noted that the white community generally did not like the rise of this movement. This was contrary to their order of how Blacks should conduct themselves. The students recounted that as they marched from the cemetery into town, whites lined the streets armed with large sticks, boards, irons, and perhaps guns as well. Later in the movement, there were physical encounters between local whites and Black marchers.
This account will continue next week with more of the students first hand accounts of the Greene County Civil Rights Movement, including the following: William “Nick” Underwood, Jacqueline Allen, Alice E. Smith, Geraldine Chambers Sands, Mary Dean Williams Mack, Mary Julia Winn Farmer Howard, Louvella Murray, Council Morrow and Geraldine Walton Jemison.

Newsire : Key figure in divestment campaign that halted U. S. investments in South Africa passes

Minister N. Dlamini-Zuma and picture of D. Kumalo.

Feb. 4, 2019 (GIN) – In an interview for the book “No Easy Victories: African Liberation and American Activists Over a Half Century”, Dumisani Kumalo recalled the struggle to cut off the U.S. funds that were sustaining the apartheid government of South Africa.

 “I spoke to more than 1,000 campuses all over the country in all 50 states,” Mr. Kumalo recalled.  A particular triumph came in 1986, when the U.S. Congress, overriding a veto by President Ronald Reagan, passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.

The keys to such successes, Mr. Kumalo often said, was grassroots support of the civil resistance movement and the coming together of disparate groups to agree on the wrongs of apartheid.
After white minority rule ended in the 1990s, Kumalo spent a decade as the country’s representative to the United Nations. He died on Jan. 20 at his home in the Johannesburg suburb Midrand. He was 71.

Kumalo began working in the U.S. in 1977 after police wrecked his home and threatened him. He was soon working for the American Committee on Africa and the Africa Fund, promoting divestment.

He often opposed the powerful, including the United States. He objected to American eagerness to go to war in Iraq in 2003. Later in that decade, when he was sitting on the United Nations Security Council, he drew considerable criticism for opposing sanctions that were intended to counter President Robert Mugabe’s human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

“We didn’t want human rights to be used as a tool: ‘If I don’t like you I trot out human rights violations that you may have,’ ” he told Voice of America in 2009, explaining this and other controversial stands, “but when it is Guantánamo Bay, they keep quiet, and you know when it is Gaza, they keep quiet.”

“We didn’t do things the way the British and the Americans wanted us to do them,” he added, “and if you don’t do it like the big ones, the French and the Americans and the British, the way they want to do them, then you are a cheeky African. Well, I am happy being a cheeky African.”

Mr. Kumalo’s survivors include his wife, Ntombikayise Kumalo; a brother, Henry; two sons; and several grandchildren.

Newswire: Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, others launch campaign to remove racist symbols in Georgia

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center

( – The Southern Poverty Law Center, a premiere monitor of race hate across America, has joined other advocacy organizations and elected officials in demanding change to a Georgia state law that prohibits local communities from removing Confederate monuments.
This is the first phase of a broader statewide effort that seeks to empower local communities to determine whether they want to keep Confederate symbols in their public spaces, and – if not – to remove them.
It joins a national movement in which dozens of Confederate statues and symbols have been torn down in various states. However the issue is still being debated across the nation as thousands of the symbols remain.
“Although individuals and institutions across the country have made remarkable efforts to stop glorifying the men who fought to divide this nation and maintain slavery, backwards legislation has blocked significant progress in Georgia,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “In order to enact real change, the local community must have the ability to speak freely about the racist legacy of these symbols, and how they are still being used as emblems of white supremacy. These symbols should be understood and placed into their historical context in museums. They should not be displayed without the proper frame of reference in public spaces.”
Four days before the Georgia General Assembly session is set to begin, the SPLC, Georgia and Atlanta NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, Moore’s Ford Movement, and Concerned Black Clergy are leading the fight to remove Confederate symbols and monuments by seeking to activate a united South around racial reconciliation.
The organizations will establish statewide chapters, and are organizing a rally on Saturday, Feb. 2, to strengthen the call for change.
State Sen. Nikema Williams and state Rep. Renitta Shannon supported the campaign, urging the Legislature to grant local governments the power to decide whether to keep or remove monuments in their public spaces.
Currently, there are 1,747 Confederate symbols and 722 monuments in the United States, according to Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy, a special report of the SPLC that catalogs examples of monuments, statues, flags, city, county and school names; and other symbols that honor the Confederacy.
After Virginia and Texas, Georgia has the most Confederate symbols in the country, with at least one in 58 percent of the state’s counties.
Importantly, there is precedent for wanting to remove these symbols in Georgia. In late 2017, the Decatur City Commission voted unanimously to move a 30-foot-tall obelisk from its city square to another location. However, the city commission was unable to move forward because state law prohibits such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.”
Similarly, a 2017 petition to remove a Confederate flag from public display in downtown Kennesaw gained thousands of signatures. That city passed a resolution asking state leaders to “allow local municipalities the ability to determine, in their sole discretion and within the jurisdictional limits,” the ability to determine the fate of the Confederate symbol.
Georgia’s House of Representatives and Senate drafted legislation in response, seeking to allow local governments to take action involving monuments in their communities. If passed, the legislation would simply move power back to local control and would grant local governments the ability to make and execute decisions about the placement of Confederate symbols. Organizations that made presentations at today’s press conference will support the bill after it is reintroduced in the 2019 legislative session.

Newswire: Harris and Booker presidential races stir pride, excitement and high hopes

By Barrington M. Salmon

Sen. Kamala Harris
Sen. Cory Booker

( – Dr. Shiela Harmon Martin said she recently got two very pleasant surprises within days of each other when Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced that they are joining the race to become America’s next president.
Harris, a former San Francisco prosecutor and California attorney general, set off serious buzz after her announcement and African-Americans have been digging into her law enforcement record and perusing her policy platforms and prior statements in order to discover what type of president she might be.
Dr. Martin, division chair and professor of Political Science at the University of the District of Columbia, said she hopes and expects both Black senators to do well.
“I hope one of them emerges as the top contender and at a minimum in second place,” Martin said. “African-Americans have been the most loyal constituency to the Democratic Party. I don’t feel that because we had one African-American president we shouldn’t have another one for the next 20 years…Hopefully the Democratic pool will look like America.”
Because both candidates have been watched by political observers for years, their formal announcements may also impact the strength of the electorate, Martin says. She hopes their candidacies will lead to increased voter registrations and voter turnout in Black communities.
The announcements of Harris and Booker are already attracting the attention of people from diverse walks of life.
Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, national director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee who served as a faith issue advisor to the Obama campaign, says both Harris and Booker will sore because of what will prove to be energetic campaigns and their donors and support will be competitive. But Harris’ first move may have given her an advantage. And the number and the excitement of the people who showed up for her Oakland announcement was reminiscent of the Obama enthusiasm.
“The energy and focus around her announcement was impressive. I haven’t seen that energy and momentum in other people,” Harkins said. “This was important to her and those waiting in the wings.”
However, political observers agree that no contender – at least not in the near future – will rise to the euphoria of the candidacy of America’s first Black president, Barack Obama.
“2008 was lightning in a bottle,” Rev. Harkins noted. “The energy, fervor and enthusiasm won’t probably be replicated in our lifetime…We’re in a different place. For them, it will probably be more ‘retail’, pushing people out there. They have to mobilize, organize to make sure people will come out.”
There is always the down side for both candidates. Because Harris has such a long record, even as a first-term senator, she is already being buffeted by scrutiny and criticism, said political analyst and media commentator Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever.
“Her challenge is that she has a long and controversial record, I will admit. But she’s being held to an extremely high level of scrutiny,” Jones-DeWeever says.
Jones-DeWeever also points out that Harris has ties to the ‘system’ that raises a lot of people’s suspicions.
“I think she needs to lay out her own criminal justice agenda, have a specific speech on this, spell out the issues and detail what she’ll do going forward,” said Jones-DeWeever, who is president and CEO of the consulting firm, Incite Unlimited, LLC. “We have to be careful not to be over-critical and not hold her to a different standard. A lot of people aren’t asking this of other candidates.”
But, for African-Americans in many quarters, Harris has struck the right chord in the way she entered the race with the announcement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day; her first news conference held at her alma mater, Howard University; and her ability to draw a large crowd to her formal announcement at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall in her hometown of Oakland, CA. She also got kudos for her remark in front of her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorors in South Carolina.
But in walks the popular orator and politician Sen. Corey Booker.
Kansas City resident and political observer Emily Brown says Booker’s entrance into the presidential fray surprised her.
“I followed Sen. Booker as mayor. He’s an excellent senator, very strong,” she said. “I was shocked that he’s running but having multiple candidates of color is a very positive thing. I’ve never seen a more diverse group running. We saw that in the midterms. I am concerned but think she’s a strong candidate.”
Gloria Murry-Ford said she recently met Booker at a fundraiser for former Georgia State Rep. Stacey Adams and left impressed.
“I took a selfie with him. He’s a very nice, very personable, very smart man,” she said. “I know he’s a Rhodes Scholar but I don’t know a lot about him and I don’t know how he’s doing. They are two powerful Black people. I watched Sen. Harris. I saw the town hall and liked what I saw. I think she’s smart, she’s good, knows what questions to ask and has gotten her message together. She had a great rollout.”
Murry-Ford, a former CNN reporter and now a communications expert specializing in crisis management and strategic communications in Washington, DC, said she was less than impressed with the junior New Jersey senator’s announcement.
“Booker’s rollout was light,” she said. “Standing at a chain link fence? Optics is important and his optics weren’t as great. She had a great roll out. It was magnificent. She claimed her blackness. It’s not bad to be black anymore. With him it was a different atmosphere. He’s got to nail down his message, tighten up stuff.”
Political Scientist Dr. Harmon Martin said she’s confident that Booker and Harris will campaign well, even they deal with the rough and tumble nature of politics and the often coarse and abrasive criticism and attacks that come with it.
“Hey, cheers to Sen. Harris and Sen. Booker,” she said. “I’m a little biased because she’s my soror. She’s an African-American woman and attended an HBCU. I really like Booker too. He’s an outstanding choice, a good mayor, committed to Black people. I despise when people place a litmus test on whose Black enough. Allow both candidates to do well, and may the best woman win.”

Newswire : State of the Union: Trump calls for ‘Choosing Greatness’ as Black leaders say his ‘Racist Rhetoric’ overshadows hope for change 

By Hazel Trice Edney

( – President Donald B. Trump’s 2019 State of the Union speech, delivered Tuesday night, following a government shutdown that left many people irreparably damaged, was taken in stride by African-Americans and Democratic leaders who express little hope for change.
“We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential. As we begin a new Congress, I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans,” Trump said in the speech in which he never mentioned the hardships of the historic shutdown which, for weeks, put thousands of Americans either out of work or caused them to work without pay. “Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation. The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.”
The lofty words of the President resonated little with Democrats and Black leaders as he ignored the pain of the shutdown for which he initially claimed credit. Besides that, America had heard it all before. Even during his inaugural address, he promised to be President for all the people after which his administration has become one of the most racially and culturally divisive in history.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams pointed to Trump’s sins of omission as the official Democratic respondent to his speech.
“Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers.  They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received paychecks in weeks. Making livelihoods of our federal workers a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt, engineered by the president of the United States, one that betrayed every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people but our values,” Abrams said.
Trump’s speech got intense applause from Republicans, especially as he mentioned his quest for a “border wall” which has become widely known as a dog-whistle to his base and a core race issue. As he pushed the need for the wall in the speech, he never mentioned his campaign promise that “Mexico will pay” for the wall.
“In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built.  I’ll get it built,” he said.
But, Abrams was clear on how millions of others view the wall. “Democrats stand ready to effectively secure our ports and borders,” she said. “But we must all embrace that from agriculture to healthcare to entrepreneurship, America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.”
Trump laid out some key bi-partisan goals such as research to end childhood cancer and HIV/AIDS as well as successes, including economic gains, infrastructure, and criminal justice reform. Guests in the gallery included formerly incarcerated offenders who he had pardoned under new bi-partisan criminal justice reform. Those guests included Alice Johnson, who had served nearly 22 years of a life sentence as a first-time drug offender and Matthew Charles, sentenced to 35 years for selling drugs now “the first person to be released from prison under the First Step Act,” Trump said.
Despite the bipartisan highlights in the speech, Black leaders note that his “racist” views and policy omissions far outweigh the positives.
“Once again the President used the State of the Union as an opportunity to spew the same racist rhetoric, that does nothing but bolster his detachment and disinterest towards the real issues that plague our nation,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “While President Trump rallied for a wall on the border and credited his presidency for lowering unemployment numbers, which he touted after the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history, he conveniently overlooked the voter suppression, over policing, gun violence, and detrimental and xenophobic immigration policies that his administration has instituted that disproportionately affect communities of color.”
Johnson continued in his statement, “As racism continues to permeate through every level of our society, it’s clear from his failure to protect the right to vote and civil rights for ALL, that this President’s agenda represents nothing but pain and suffering for communities of color, the poor, the LGBT community, women and immigrants. Because of this, the state of our union is not strong.”
Jim Clyburn, the most powerful Black member of Congress as House majority whip, pointed out that Democrats are ready to work with the President, but their disagreement on the meaning of “greatness” is a major barrier.
“We welcome his words of comity and are hopeful there will be issues like infrastructure, prescription drug costs, and defeating the spread of HIV where we can find common ground. However, as House Democrats, we know the role we were elected to play and, as my faith teaches me, we know we will be judged on our deeds not our words.
“The President’s theme tonight was ‘Choosing Greatness,’ but I question how he defines that term. I believe that America is already great, and, like historian Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America, the country’s greatness ‘lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.’ Democrats stand ready to work with the President when possible, but in strong opposition when necessary, to repair our faults so we may become a more perfect union.”

No Action by Selma Police Multiple death threats made to Attorney Faya Rose Toure

Faya Rose Toure

Senator Hank Sanders of Selma held a press conference, Friday, January 25, 2019 to protest the inaction of the Selma police regarding repeated death threats to his wife Attorney Faya Rose Toure. Faya Rose is a nationally recognized civil rights and voting rights activist, who has organized the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma for decades.
Faya Rose Toure, the 73-year-old grandmother, attorney at law and wife of former state Senator Hank Sanders, has received multiple and ongoing death threats.  Her husband, Hank Sanders, said at a Selma news conference today:  “These death threats started last summer.  A person started calling our Law Offices of Chestnut, Sanders and Sanders threatening “to kill Rose Sanders” (Faya Rose Toure).  These threats were reported to the Selma Police Department, and nothing was done. 
“Subsequently, the person started calling Z105.3 FM Radio Station on multiple occasions with threats to “kill Rose Sanders” (Faya Rose Toure).  These threats were reported to the Selma Police Department by a radio personality who heard them firsthand.  Attorney Faya Rose Toure also personally went to the Selma Police Chief.  The phone number of the person calling the radio station repeatedly with death threats for Faya Toure was also provided to the Selma Police.  Nothing has been done.
Hank Sanders said that his wife was also threatened by a white man in Orville, a Dallas County rural community south of Selma, on December 12, 2017 at the conclusion of the General Election to confirm Doug Jones for U. S. Senator. “Faya Rose was driving my car and checking the voting polls in Dallas County. This man ripped the ‘Vote or Die’ signs off the car, threw the signs on the ground, started hitting on the car and said someone is going to die tonight.”
This attack and threat was reported to Dallas County law enforcement authorities. A cell photo of the man was given to the proper authorities. “We recently learned that after a year and a half, the Dallas County Grand Jury indicted the man for the misdemeanor charge of harassment, ignoring the death threat,” said Hank Sanders.
Sanders added:  “Selma has the terrible distinction of being the most dangerous city in Alabama and the eighth most dangerous city in America.  In the last year there have been 16 murders in Selma, a city of fewer than 18,000.  Some young men who have also been threatened have told us that when they are threatened, they know that the police will not do anything about it.  They believe that is why too many take matters into their own hands, resulting in injuries and deaths.”
Sanders said:  “I am sick and tired of these death threats.  I am sick and tired of the Selma Police not doing anything about these death threats. “If something is not done, we will have to take some steps.”