Statue of Rosa Parks unveiled in Montgomery, Alabama on 64th, anniversary of her arrest, which started the Montgomery Bus Boycott

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed unveil statue of Rosa Parks; and Aurelia Browder poses with statue of Rosa Parks
Sunday, December 1 was Rosa Parks Day in Montgomery, Alabama.

The city of Montgomery and Alabama, where the capitol is based, unveiled a life-size bronze statue of Parks who sparked the 381-day Montgomery bus boycott, one of the seminal events in civil rights history. The boycott, started by black women, broke the back of segregation on Montgomery’s city buses, which were owned by a Chicago company. Parks, a seamstress and an early civil rights activist involved the case of the Scottsboro Boys, refused to give up her seat to a white man and move to back of the back of the bus where seats and standing room were set aside for blacks as was the law at the time. Parks said in a number of interviews she was angry about what happened to Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago teenager, who was spending the summer in Money, Mississippi, when two white men beat him to death on August 24, 1955, for offending a white woman. Decades later, the woman, Carolyn Bryant, admitted she lied about the circumstances that led to Till’s brutal murder.
The City of Montgomery dedicated a statue of Parks on Montgomery Plaza near the stop where she caught the bus that would drive her into history and unemployment. She caught the bus on November 26, 1955 and the boycott began on December 1.
“To stand here today as Montgomery’s mayor where Mrs. Rosa Park stood defiant against systemic injustice infecting our community speaks to the magnitude of this moment and the progress achieved in our city,” said Steven Reed, Montgomery’s first black mayor. Montgomery had been the capital of the Confederacy for about a year during the Civil War.
Montgomery County artist Clydetta Fulmer built the statue, which also contains four historic markers honoring the plaintiffs in the landmark Browder v. Gayle case. A three-judge federal panel ruled on June 5, 1956, that the enforced segregation of black and white passengers on motor buses operating in the City of Montgomery violated the Constitution and laws of the United States. Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith and Jeanette Reese were plaintiffs in the case. Freddie Gray, Alabama’s only black attorney at the time, filed the lawsuit. The statue doesn’t honor E.D. Nixon, a Pullman Porter and president of the local chapter of the NAACP, who bailed Parks out of jail. The statue also doesn’t honor Jo Anne Robinson, an English professor at Alabama State College, now Alabama State University, who came up with the idea of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, according to the book “The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People Who Broke the Back of Jim Crow,” by Donnie Williams and Wayne Greenhaw. The boycott was supposed to last one day, but it was so successful, it continued for nearly 400 days. The boycott put Parks and a 25-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. into the history books. King later led the boycott.
After the boycott, no one would hire Parks or her husband, Raymond, a barber, who also had been active in the Scottsboro Boys case. The couple moved to Detroit, and Michigan Congressman John Conyers gave her a job.
Parks died October 24, 2005. She was 92.

Newswire : Harriet movie features a model of courage for today

By Dr. Barbara Reynolds

Poster of Harriet movie

( – For a nation built on truth, abolitionist, freedom fighter, ex-slave Harriet Tubman should have the acclaim of a Paul Revere, or Patrick Henry whose courageous lines “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” guided the American Revolution.
Tubman, whose battle cry was to ‘’live free or die” and revolt, guided another revolution. It was to end slavery which changed the color, content and character of America today.
Finally, through the newly released epic movie Harriet, this revolutionary warrior,born into slavery in 1822 in Dorchester County, Md., has emerged from the back alley of history to take her rightful place as a larger than life action figure, a true American hero. Unlike the heroes spun from Marvel comic strips or the Terminator franchise, Harriet Tubman is not, fake, fantasy or make believe although her expansive accomplishments are more real than can
be imagined.
Don’t think you are going to see the serene, sedate elderly Harriet of our textbooks. This is the Harriet of her youth, jaunting up rocky cliffs, jumping off bridges and even shooting a White slave owner with her pistol.
Through the skillful talent of British-born actress, Cynthia Erivo, the film – to be released Nov. 1 – features Tubman not only as yesterday’s heroine, but as a model of courage for today. Risking certain death if captured, often with a pistol in her waistband, she escaped from bondage on Maryland’s Eastern shore and returned often in disguise to rescue more than 70 family and fellow slaves. She became a leader in the anti-slavery Underground Railroad, the women’s suffrage movement in her long standing struggle against systemic gender and racial inequality.
During the Civil War, she served as a nurse, scout and spy for the Union army and became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war guiding the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves. Unfortunately her heroism did not guard her from racism as she was originally denied the pension benefits granted to White soldiers.
In heart-aching detail the movie does not sanitize the horror of slavery; nor does it gloss over the power of God in her life. Scenes of blood-soaked whips, scarred backs of enslaved men and women, screaming children torn from their families to be sold by Whites trading them as if they were dispensing sows from a pig pen – It’s all there. But there is another story that shines through, one of Black love, Black loyalty and a determination of the enslaved to live free or die and the eventual embrace of the long awaited freedom. It’s all there.
In the movie, we see Harriet after learning she is to be sold South, which rumors say is more brutal than the plantations on Maryland’s Eastern shore, leave her family and the love of her life, her husband John Tubman, traveling 100 miles alone to freedom in Philadelphia through the aid of the Underground Railroad.
Though the term railroad might prompt visions of nice cushy seats, this railroad Harriet traveled was a harsh pathway through snake-filled marshes, woods, and deep rivers. Often, the flight of this woman known to some as the SHEMOSES was made even more treacherous as armed posses with baying hounds chased her to collect the rewards for her capture. But they never caught her. She once boasted that her railroad never ran off track and she never lost a passenger.
In the movie she declared she had only the North Star and we see her on her knees looking up to the heavens in deep communication with the God she depended upon to shield her from her enemies.
My favorite scene is when the only choice for a band of freeing slaves was to either turn back or cross a treacherous river. While her family cowered, frozen on the riverbank for fear of following her and drowning, she lifted her pistol above her head wading in the deep water as she prayed aloud. Slowly the waters receded; as her feet touched dry land her family members jumped in and crossed over as well.
The two -hour epic directed by filmmaker Kasi Lemmons who also wrote and directed Eve’s Bayou, sends the audience away with an inspirational song, entitled, “Stand up”, co-written by Joshuah Campbell and the film’s leading lady Erivo.
The song sets just the right tone for Harriet enthusiasts to continue
celebrating Harriet. President Obama had selected her to become the first person of color to be represented on any of the nation’s currency, replacing Andrew Jackson on the new $20 bill. Not surprisingly in June 2019 the Trump administration has delayed the launch.
Nevertheless, in Maryland Harriet enthusiasts have other ways to celebrate her. Painted on the side wall of the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center in downtown Cambridge, Maryland—just a few miles from where Tubman grew up, is a 14’ X 28’ mural featuring Tubman offering an outstretched hand.
In March 2017, the Maryland Park Service and Maryland government opened the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park & Visitor Center in the heart of the Choptank River Region where Harriet grew up. It’s a 17-acre facility that has already been visited by nearly 200,000 guests from all 50 states and over 60 countries. In her honor the Service has also established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, NY.
Tubman is the only U.S. woman to be honored by the Service with two

Newswire: Stephen Miller, White House adviser on immigration policy, sent racist and white supremacist emails, once served as communications director for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions

By: Asawin Suebsaeng, White House Reporter for The Daily Beast

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s blog Hatewatch, recently exposed a trove of leaked emails showing how Stephen Miller spent years peddling vile white nationalist conspiracies and spreading xenophobic propaganda to justify violent immigration policy.
In these emails, Miller trafficked stories from white nationalist websites promoting violent conspiracy theories, including everything from eugenics to “white genocide.” He panicked about confederate monuments being taken down in the wake of Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage killing nine parishoners in the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. And he praised a racist immigration plan from 1924 that was backed by Adolf Hitler.
Stephen Miller is the mastermind of Donald Trump’s policy of family separation. As the architect of Donald Trump’s immigration policy, Miller built a system to keep people who do not look like him out of the U.S.
President Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser didn’t need any reassurances from his boss or his colleagues that his job was safe. Practically everyone in the building already knew it. “Stephen is not going anywhere,” a senior White House official said on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the story started going viral. “The president has his back.”
Since then, six other senior Trump administration officials with knowledge of Miller’s standing with the president and top staffers have all individually told The Daily Beast that the story did not endanger Miller’s position, or change Trump’s favorable view of him. Two of them literally laughed at the mere suggestion that the Hatewatch exposé could have toppled or hobbled the top Trump adviser.
Katie McHugh, a disgraced former Breitbart staffer who provided Hatewatch with the trove of emails, told the blog that Miller had personally flagged for her in July 2015 an American Renaissance “article about crime statistics and race.” American Renaissance is a white-supremacist website beloved by fascists and alt-right adherents. McHugh added, “I responded in the affirmative because I had read it. Many of us [on the far-right] had read it. I remember being struck by the way he called it ‘AmRen,’ the nickname.”
The Hatewatch story—and a follow-up, published last week—may have depicted, in graphic detail, the depths of Miller’s racist intellectual pedigree. The leaked emails between Miller and the pro-Trump website Breitbart show just how aggressively he was using his former position—while working in the office of then-Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)—to promote the genre of extremist, far-right agitprop that Team Trump will sometimes officially disavow. Still, the extent of Miller’s views and xenophobia have been on full public display for years now. Just look at his record and trail of policymaking in the Trump era.
Since 2015, Miller has been instrumental in the honing of Trump’s anti-immigration fervor and racist rhetoric into actual policy. In the summer of that year, Trump’s presidential campaign put out a much-touted immigration policy “white paper,” which was released after receiving months of criticism that the campaign was all bluster and hadn’t detailed any real policies. As The Daily Beast previously reported, Miller was the principal author behind the white paper—even though he hadn’t formally joined the campaign yet.
In the years since, Miller has been a main driver, if not the architect, behind some of President Trump’s most brutal policies and proposals, including the “Muslim ban” and the separation of immigrant families. Miller routinely advocates for dramatically cutting legal immigration, as well as imposing lower and lower caps on the number of refugees Washington will allow into the country.
He pushed for a purge of top administration officials and fellow immigration hawks deemed insufficiently hardline. And toward the end of Trump’s first year in office, Miller successfully operated behind the scenes to kill a deal that the president had tentatively struck with Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill to shield DREAMers from deportation.
In his past, working as a communications staffer for Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, he was widely known as a prominent source, ideological fellow traveler, and—as some would joke—“assignment editor” for conservative media outlets opposing the Obama-era momentum toward bipartisan immigration reform. The Obama years, of course, closed out without the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform law, in large part due to politicians, operatives, and activists like Miller.
Several Democratic leaders, Senators and House members have called for Stephen Miller’s resignation or dismissal for his openly racist comments and problematic advice on immigration policies.
Progressive organizations in Alabama are planning to confront former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now that he is running to reclaim his Senate seat, for employing Stephen Miller and recommending him for service in the Trump White House.

Newswire: ‘Big John’ Williams, Lowndes County Sheriff, shot to death by white police officer’s son, while responding to a community disturbance

Reports from: the Grio and

Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams of Lowndes County, Alabama

A white teen is in custody following the death of popular Black Alabama sheriff, who was killed in the line of duty on Saturday night in Hayneville, Alabama, the county seat of Lowndes County, Alabama.
“He was a wonderful man,” ALEA Trooper Sgt. Steve Jarrett said during a Saturday night press conference. “Everybody in law enforcement knew him. If you ever met him, you’d never forget him. He worked 24/7 and was an outstanding sheriff.”
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor also spoke to the media calling Williams, “a man you’ll ever find. He always had a kind word for everyone,” Wade said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Following a three-hour manhunt, 18-year-old William Chase Johnson returned to the scene to surrender to police. AL reports that Johnson is from Montgomery and the son of a law enforcement officer; he also has a criminal history that includes his August charge for being in possession of brass knuckles and being a minor in possession of alcohol. Those charges were later dismissed.
Law enforcement, court and even state officials mourned the loss of Williams, including Alabama Governor Kay Ivey who took to Twitter to express her condolences.
“I’m saddened to hear about Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams, who was tragically killed this evening in the line of duty. Through his service to our country in the USMC and his many years working in law enforcement, he dedicated his life to keeping other people safe,’’ she wrote. “He will be remembered as a consummate professional and pillar of his community. I offer my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and the men and women of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.”
According to AL, Williams was also known as the officer that arrested Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H Rap Brown during his time as a leader in the Black Power Movement of the 1960s, in 2000. Al-Amin was later convicted in the fatal shooting death of an Atlanta police officer.

Newswire: Congressional Black Caucus members visit U.S.-Mexico Border: Mistreatment of Black immigrants is another ‘stain on America’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) (center), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) (fourth from left), and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) (far left), along with local Congressman, Rep. Juan Vargas (second from left), visited a shelter for African asylum-seekers in Tijuana November 22, 2019. Attorney Nana Gyamfi, the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (far right), joined the group at the border. (Photo: Screen capture KPBS / YouTube)

Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) led a delegation of Congressional Black Caucus members to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday in San Ysidro, California, where they said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants.
Bass, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), each said they wanted to examine the treatment – and call attention to the mistreatment – of African immigrants at the border, including the October 1 death of 37-year-old Cameroon immigrant Nebane Abienwi.
Attorney Nana Gyamfi, the executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, joined the group at the border.
“It was a very frustrating experience today,” Bass said from the border during an exclusive conference call with publishers, editors, and writers for the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), the trade association that represents the newspaper and media companies that comprise the Black Press of America.
“We crossed the border into Tijuana, Mexico, and we met with a group of Black immigrants from Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and other African countries. Some who have made unbelievable journeys,” Bass stated.
The CBC Chair and her colleagues blasted the Trump administration and its policies toward immigrants, particularly those from countries that consist predominately of people of color.
Bass described the sobering plight of a Black migrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The first child separated from her mother was from a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The child was sent to Illinois while the mother, who spoke French, was detained at the border,” Bass stated.
“This happens as our country grapples with [a president] who makes it clear that he welcomes immigrants from places like Norway, but not ‘sh-thole’ countries. He’s breaking the law. International law states that if you are from a country that’s experiencing distress, you can request asylum. Trump has done everything he can to block that and to make the United States not compliant with international law,” Bass noted.
In the case of Abienwi, the Cameroonian died in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement after experiencing a hypertensive event at the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego.
Reportedly, he was unresponsive and appeared paralyzed on his left side when he arrived at the hospital. After undergoing treatment for a brain hemorrhage, Bass said Abienwi was taken off life support against his family’s wishes and died. Doctors listed his official cause of death as brain death due to a brain hemorrhage.
“Thousands of African and Caribbean immigrants who immigrate to the United States of America are treated as if they are invisible,” Bass stated. “Many arrived in South America and then walked north, all to be dehumanized and mistreated at our southern border. We [went] to the border to hear what they have been through. They are an important piece of this story,” Bass said.
In a statement, officials at ICE said they’re still in the process of reviewing Abienwi’s death. According to various published reports, the Department of Homeland Security records had revealed that Abienwi applied for admission into the country at the San Ysidro Port of Entry without proper paperwork on September 5. He was taken into custody by ICE on September 19, 2019. Bass said his death remains a mystery and is cause for concern.
CBC members also pointed to a recent Pew Research Center study that revealed that there are more than 4.2 million Black immigrants in the United States, with Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America making positive contributions to the United States.
However, those immigrants are at a higher risk for arrest, detention, and abuse because of racial profiling and racial bias, according to the Pew report. “We need to shed some light on what is taking place here as it relates to Black immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa,” stated Lee, the chair and majority leader of the House Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity.
“They came here fleeing from violence in their own countries, getting to a place where they thought they could be treated humanely,” Lee stated. “It’s been the opposite. They are dehumanized, treated in a racist fashion, and then stuck at a border town.
“I hope the Black community understands that this is another example of Trump’s racist policies to make America White again. We see that every step of the way in this process. “Black America has to rise up. This has got to stop.” Lee added that she’s putting out a call to Black professionals, be it psychiatrists, social workers, and others that their help is needed to help people of color at the border.
Clarke, the chair of the House Task Force on Immigration for the CBC, said it’s tough to fathom what Black immigrants face at the border. “These people are resilient, they have gone through quite a few things in their homeland that drove them to try and get to the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Clarke stated.
“We have to speak for them. They don’t have a voice. These are people who will be persecuted if they return to their homeland where there is genocide, other hardships, and violence,” she stated. “We have to be their voices. The Trump policies are totally illegal.”
Gyamfi, of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said she was moved by what she witnessed. “You can look in their eyes. They had a sense that finally, they’re looking at people who look like us, and who actually care,” Gyamfi stated.

Newswire: ‘Fishrot files’ reveal costly web of bribes from Iceland to Namibia

Namibian fish processing

Nov. 18, 2019 (GIN) – The stench of fish rot is wafting over Namibia. It’s taken down two Namibian ministers and leaves an Icelandic fisheries minister in the hot seat.
“A coterie of well-heeled vampires is sucking our fishing sector dry!” protested the local Namibian newspaper as news of the corrupt trading of valuable fishing quotas came to light.
Corruption in Namibia’s fishing industry is bleeding this income spinner nearly dry. Ever greater amounts of loot are being diverted into private hands and in the current case, as much as $500 million ($34 million U.S.) in kickbacks was described as the tip of an iceberg.
As global fish stocks decline, Africa’s coastal waters are becoming more and more sought after by international trawler fleets. Namibia’s resource-rich fisheries are particularly prized.
An investigation into the so-called Fishrot Files – the under-the-table sale of fishing rights between 2011 and 2018 – was launched by Wikileaks which obtained some 30,000 internal documents from a whistleblower within SAMHERJI, a multinational fishing company based in Iceland. The leaked records exposed corrupt schemes by the company to gain access to Namibia’s rich fishing grounds off the African country’s shores.
The captured e-mails, internal reports, spreadsheets, presentations and photos exposed how the company spent millions of dollars in pay-offs to senior Namibian officials and politicians in order to ensure growing and continued access to the country’s resources.
Also exposed were lofty promises by SAMHERJI to build infrastructure in Namibia and create jobs. On the contrary, the company used its international corporate structure to transfer proceeds from the operations straight out of the country.
Meanwhile, to add fish oil to the fire, fishing quotas worth N$150 million ($10 million US) donated by Namibia to the Angolan government were allegedly hijacked by Namibian politicians and their cronies in both countries who resold the quotas to international fishing companies at market rates.
If the national interest is to be served, a major overhaul of the regulatory process in the fishing industry should be a matter of urgency, read one editorial.
And because so much of the apparent thefts occurred in state-owned enterprises, the government was urged to immediately scrap the so-called Namibianization program in fisheries. “It is nothing more than a ruse perpetuated under the guise of black economic empowerment,” critics wrote in The Namibian.
“We trust that politicians, many of who are themselves beneficiaries of this rigged system, will act in the best interest of the most needy Namibians and change the industry regulations for the better.”
A second tranche of documents could be released in the next 2-3 weeks when Al-Jazeera and other media partners publish their findings.

Newswire: Housing discrimination complaints reach a 24-year high as HUD rolls back fair housing rules

By Charlene Crowell

U.S. housing complaints

( – As a candidate, President Donald Trump promised if elected that deregulation of the federal government would be an administration priority. Soon after taking the oath of office, he issued an executive order requiring that all departments and agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for every one new regulation proposed. In some cases, rules that were adopted prior to his term office but had not yet taken effect were either suspended or delayed.
For example, the long-awaited payday rule at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was one important consumer protection that was delayed. Similarly, at the Department of Education, two rules providing protections for student loans were also delayed. More recently, this column shared how Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson claimed that regulation was the reason for homelessness, not affordable housing.
Now new research by the National Fair Housing Alliance finds that as fair lending laws have not been aggressively enforced, a corresponding rise in hate crimes and fair housing complaints have emerged.
Defending Against Unprecedented Attacks on Fair Housing: 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report, recently released by the DC-based National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), tallied 31,202 discriminatory housing complaints filed in just one year – 2018. Moreover, this data point is the highest number ever reported since the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) began collecting data 24 years ago. America’s hate crimes jumped 14.7% last year as well.
Even when it comes to enforcing and defending legal breaches, NFHA’s report documents how few government offices are upholding laws. Some 75% of last year’s fair housing complaints were pursued by private, nonprofit organizations across the country. Only 25% of such cases were the result of combined government actions by state, local and federal agencies.
“All the tools and resources we have been afforded by the passage of our Fair Housing Act and fair lending laws are either under attack or being gutted,” noted Lisa Rice, President and CEO of NFHA. “[W]e must concern ourselves with policies pushed by our federal, state, and local governments that are steeped in hatred and designed to inflict pain.”
Instead of strengthening federal fair housing guarantees, HUD is a prime example of how regulations are trying to reverse decades of progress. One particular HUD rule, disparate impact, is at severe risk. This long-standing legal tool has helped root out discriminatory practices and policies in both housing and lending. In 2013 and under the Obama Administration, HUD set up safeguards that assured consumers could pursue related claims while businesses were protected against claims without merit.
With disparate impact, both community banks and FDIC-insured institutions have achieved net growth profits. The rule has proven to create lending that is fairer and profits that investors desire.
Even a 2015 landmark fair housing case that made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court upheld disparate impact as a cognizable claim under the Fair Housing Act. In Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the nation’s highest court found the disparate impact rule to be an important fair housing tool to move towards a more integrated society.
So why would Secretary Carson try to roll back a rule that should be settled law?
In joint comments filed by the Center for Responsible Lending, Self-Help Credit Union, and Self-Help Federal Credit Union, the organizations advised Secretary Carson.
“Instead of creating barriers for claimants, HUD should honor its mission and work to ensure that African-American, Latino, and other communities harmed by housing and lending discrimination have every tool to stop it so that all Americans have an opportunity to thrive,” wrote the organizations.
For the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., the Rainbow Push Coalition, and scores of other local, state and regional faith members, HUD was reminded of the immorality of its proposed rule.
“Everyday Americans are now struggling to keep and/or find homes they can afford,” wrote the clergy. “As housing prices rise faster than incomes, an increasing number of people grapple with challenges of how hard it is to keep their loved ones safe. When the additional and illegal burden of housing discrimination emerges, the lives of many people worsen.”
Here’s hoping that within government there are still public servants that support improving peoples’ lives.

Newswire: Elijah Cummings’ widow has announced that she will run to succeed him

by BlackmansStreet.Today

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings with Elijah Cummings

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, widow of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, has announced that she is running to succeed him, adding to an expected crowded field of candidates.
The 48-year-old Rockeymoore Cummings announced her candidacy yesterday to serve out the remainder of her late husband’s term representing Maryland’s 7thCongressional District.
Mr. Cummings was chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which was playing a key role in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Mr. Cummings was re-elected to office in 2018, winning 76.4 percent of the vote. Voters first elected him to office in 1996, when he succeeded former U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume who resigned from Congress to become national president of the NAACP.
Rockeymoore Cummings told MSNBC that she and her husband had discussed the possibility of her succeeding him as his health declined. Elijah Cummings died October 17, 2019.
Rockeymoore Cummings, who resigned as chair of Maryland Democratic Party to run for her husband’s old seat, will possibly face as many as six other candidates in the primary. A date for the primary has not been scheduled.
Rockeymoore Cummings also faces a serious health issue. She told the Baltimore Sun that she will undergo on Friday a preventive double mastectomy because breast cancer has claimed the lives of too many of the women in her family.

Newswire : Alabama state school board member Ella Bell has died

By Trisha Powell Crain |

Ella Bell

Alabama state school board member Ella Bell died Sunday, November 3, after an illness, a state board of education official confirmed.
“I’ll be in prayer for the family of State Board of Education member, Ella Bell,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “We shared a passion for the children of our state. She was an ardent champion of her district and will be missed. May the Lord be with her family and friends during this time.”
Felicia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation says,”We mourn the loss of Ella Bell. She was a tireless warrior and advocate for children and the education they deserve during her many years of service on the Alabama Board of Education. Representing District 5, she became a champion of the Alabama Black Belt.
“For many years, Ms. Bell provided invaluable service and leadership in her role as a member of the BBCF Board of Directors. We are deeply grateful for all her contributions and we will m iss her wit, pluck and tireless dedication to the cause of fair and equitable accdess to quality education, especially for those in the Alabama Black Belt.”
The Black Belt Community Foundation family mourns the lBell represented District 5, which covers west and southwestern areas of Alabama, including most of the Black Belt counties. Bell, a Democrat, was first elected in 2000 and was serving her fifth term as a member of the Alabama Board of Education. The Montgomery Advertiser reported Bell ran for mayor of Montgomery in 2015. “The driving force behind my run for mayor is that I’ve lived here,” Bell said of her reason for running, the newspaper reported.
Alabama State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey confirmed Bell died Sunday morning. “The Alabama State Department of Education is shocked and saddened by the passing of an education icon,” Mackey said in a statement. “Mrs. Ella Bell dedicated her life to the betterment of the students of Alabama. Her tenacity and steadfast resolve in fighting for equity for all students will be her legacy always. Her presence on the Alabama State Board of Education will be sorely missed.”
Bell was known for her provocative statements at the board table, often pointing out racial disparities in student outcomes, unequal access to educational opportunities based on wealth, and asking for help and resources for students in her district.
Board member Stephanie Bell was first elected in 1995 and served with Ella Bell the entire time Bell was on the board. “Ella referred to us as “The Bell Sisters,” something I will always treasure. Heaven has gained an angel who sincerely cared about those she served,” Stephanie Bell said Sunday.
“I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to serve on the state Board of Education with my dear friend and sister in Christ, Ella Bell,” Stephanie Bell said. “Our conversations always included updates on family members before focusing on the latest concerns regarding children, parents, and educators in her beloved District 5. Ella was extremely close to her sister and immensely proud of her son, daughter, and grandson. She often shared special stories about her precious Mother.”
State school board member Dr. Cynthia McCarty, R-Jacksonville, said Ella Bell’s heart “was always for children and especially for those who had the least advantages. She stood up for those less able to take care and fight for themselves. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her, and I will miss her.”
Ella Bell was in attendance at the Oct. 10 state board meeting, where she dressed in red alongside advocates and fellow board members in celebration of Dyslexia Awareness month.
Bell completed her Master’s degree as Alabama State University in 1974 and her Bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University in 1969. She completed coursework toward a doctorate in education leadership at the University of Alabama.

Newswire: Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick joins Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker in White House race

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Deval Patrick

As doubts grow about the candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, other candidates have entered the race for the White House in 2020. In a surprise announcement on November 14, former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, 63, tossed his hat in the ring. Only days before, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he would also join the crowded field of Democrats competing to take on President Donald Trump.
Former Governor Patrick’s late entry onto the presidential stage means that for the first time in history, three African Americans are running for President from one of the two major political parties. They are Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and now Patrick. The late arrivals have reignited a debate about “electability” and who can actually win in 2020. Biden’s poll numbers falling in Iowa started the debate.
The diversity of the field and Patrick’s late run only 80 days before the Iowa Caucuses have many insiders on team blue worried that a protracted primary fight may hurt the party’s chances of beating Trump. Concerns from Wall Street and the “one percent” about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax” ideas have many Democrats who are more corporation friendly, such as Patrick, re-thinking their chances to compete. Billionaire Bloomberg joined billionaire Tom Steyer, who literally bought his way onto the debate stage, are trying to ignite interest with the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.
To add to the challenge, white candidates in the field must build the diverse Obama coalition of voters and ensure excitement in the most reliable sectors of the Democratic base while minority candidates must thread the needle of attracting white support. The share of white voters supporting the Democratic Party decreases two or three percent each year.
“We have women in this race, we have an openly gay person in this race, we have (a) biracial person in this race, African-Americans in this race,” Patrick said on November 15 to the Associated Press. “It is an incredible moment in American history that our field is so diverse and that voters have such qualified folks to choose from.”
It remains to be seen whether Patrick can quality for the debate stage next month. It also remains to be seen as to whether he can raise the millions needed to mount a serious effort for the White House. But with the current field in flux because of Biden’s faltering in the polls, Deval Patrick may have a chance compete in a crowded field.