Newswire : Alicia Boler Davis honored with 2018 Black Engineer of the Year Award

By Freddie Allen (NNPA Newswire Contributor)


 Jose Tomas, Vice President at Lockheed Martin, right, and Linda Goodman, General Motors Board of Directors present Alicia Boler Davis, the executive vice president global manufacturing for General Motors with the 2018 Black Engineer of the Year Award. (General Motors)

The US Black Engineer & Information Technology (USBE&IT) magazine recently celebrated the history-making career of Alicia Boler Davis, the executive vice president of global manufacturing for General Motors, by honoring her with the 2018 Black Engineer of the Year Award, during the BEYA gala in Washington, D.C. Boler Davis is the sixth woman to receive the award.
USBE&IT magazine recognizes, Boler Davis “as a global ambassador of goodwill for underrepresented minorities in science and technology, and for women in STEM,” a press release about the award said.
USBE&IT magazine is published by the Career Communications Group, Inc., which was founded over 30 years ago to promote significant achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics professional careers, according to the group’s website.
Boler Davis began her GM career in 1994 as a manufacturing engineer at the Midsize/Luxury Car Division in Warren, Mich. She has held many positions of increasing responsibility in manufacturing, engineering and product development, according to her biography.
Boler Davis was the first African American woman to serve as the plant manager at a GM vehicle manufacturing plant at the Lansing, Mich., Consolidated Operations and Arlington Assembly in Texas. She also simultaneously served in roles as plant manager of the Michigan Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping facilities and vehicle chief engineer, and vehicle line director for North America Small Cars, “positions she held until January 2012,” according to the press release about the award.
The press release also noted that, in February 2012, Boler Davis was appointed U.S. vice president of Customer Experience. Later that year, her role was expanded to vice president of Global Quality and U.S. Customer Experience.
“Under her leadership, GM improved vehicle quality and redefined customer care and its interaction with customers through social media channels and Customer Engagement Centers,” the press release said. “More recently, Boler Davis was senior vice president, Global Connected Customer Experience where she led the company’s connected customer activities, including infotainment, OnStar, and GM’s Urban Active personal mobility initiatives.”
In June 2016, Boler Davis was named the executive vice president of General Motors Global Manufacturing.

Greene County Schools receive shooting threat posted on Facebook

The students, faculty and staff at Greene County Schools were greeted by a large contingent of law enforcement officials when they arrived at their campuses, Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, 2018. This extra precaution was taken by the Greene County Schools Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, following a Monday night threat on Facebook stating that a shooting was planned for the following day at Greene County High School. The Facebook entry read: “I will be shooting up GCHS tomorrow morning at 12:30 pm, F—- Rice and Goodson.”

Eutaw police, sheriff department, state troopers and other state law enforcement, as well as representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, were on the Greene County High School campus, posted inside and outside, throughout the day, screening everyone and all vehicles coming to the school. Officers were also sent to Eutaw Primary and Robert Brown Middle Schools.
According to Dr. Carter, intensive efforts were in process for tracing the Facebook threat. He expected that arrests of individuals responsible would follow this investigation. He indicated that law enforcement had identified persons of interest.
On Tuesday afternoon, law enforcement also conducted searches, using dogs, throughout the school looking for explosives and weapons.
“Our first concern was the safety of our entire school family. We did not close schools on Tuesday once we had enlisted the protective services of all law enforcement available. Our schools were inundated with armed offices from the City of Eutaw, Greene Count Sheriff Department and deputies from surrounding counties as well as from the State Troopers and FBI,” Dr. Carter stated.
Superintendent Carter said that extra security will remain at the schools throughout the week, with the schools on lock down

Newswire : Students across nation march for gun control

By Amiyah King, Howard University News Service

Classmates, from left, Sally Egan, Emma McMillan and Avery Brooks are classmates display their signs seeking better gun control.  And students rally against guns

(Trice Edney News Wire/Howard University News Service) – Tens of thousands of high school students across America were marked with an unexcused absence Wednesday, but everyone knew where they were.
In the Washington area, high school students from DC. Public Schools and from public schools in Maryland marched to the Capitol and then to the White House to demand Congress and the president institute gun control legislation that will keep them safe. The march was organized by students from Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Md., and Bethesda-Chevy Chase in Montgomery County, Md., in response to the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla.
It was exactly one week ago Wednesday that 19-year-olf Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 students and wounding dozens more. Cruz, who had been expelled from the school, was charged with 17 accounts of murder of his classmates, teachers and other school officials. The shooting was the 18th school shooting in the first two months of this year.
Student survivors at the school have launched a nationwide effort to focus attention on gun control in the wake of the shooting. Other student demonstrations were reported in Illinois, Florida and Texas.
Washington-area students walked out of their classes at 9:30 a.m. where they followed each other in procession to Union Station where they joined other protestors who took public transportation from Maryland. From Union Station, thousands of high schoolers marched to Capitol Hill and later participated in a sit-in demonstration outside the White House.
During the sit-in, students gathered in a semi-circle to hear leaders talk about why they were there.
“No more thoughts and prayers,” said student leader Daniel Shepard. “If this isn’t the last school shooting, we’ll be out here every opportunity we get.”
In response to the speakers, students shouted, “No more silence and gun violence. Hey, hey. Ho, ho. the NRA (National Rifle Association) has got to go. ”Teachers and parents were mixed with the crowd of demonstrations either as chaperones or to provide support for their children and their cause.
“I don’t think they need my help,” said Mandi Mader, mother of three who attended the march in support of her children. “I’m just one more body to represent them here.”
Most students said they were advocating for the implementation of gun control laws in Congress as a solution to the crisis.
Talia Fleischer, a sophomore at her high school, said she hopes to see “a sign that something will be done in Congress.”
“Countries like Australia and England have great gun control laws, and they have no mass shootings,” she said.
In 1996, Australia passed the National Firearms Agreement after a mass shooting in Tasmania in April of that year. In that incident, a 28-year-old man, armed with a semi-automatic rifle, shot and killed 35 people, and injured 18 others<;, in what was known as the Port Arthur Massacre.Under the 1996 law, Australia banned certain semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns, and imposed stricter licensing and registration requirements.
Paul DeVries and his daughter, Brechje DeVries, were among the demonstrators. Brechje DeVries, 17, moved from the Netherlands to the United States a year ago and attends high school in Maine. Her father was in the U.S. for one of her sports activities in the Washington, and the two decided to attend the demonstration.
Brechje DeVries said mass shootings are almost unheard of in her country. Her country has experienced only one mass shooting in its history. She said she is stunned and frightened by their frequency in the United States.
“It’s scary,” she said. “There have been threats at schools near me, so it definitely comes close to me. ”Her father said he is worried for his daughter. “I feel the frustration,” he said. “There are a lot of teenagers here. and I think that speaks for itself.”
Joseph Byler, a senior at his school, said the Florida shooting is what sparked him to attend.
“[I hope] the inability of Congress to pass gun control policies disappears,” Byler said. “I hope after today, we get universal background checks on gun purchases.”
Since the shooting in Florida, President Trump has flirted with the idea of proposing restrictions to purchasing guns, from more intense background checks for gun purchasers to the elimination of bump stocks, the tool the Las Vegas shooter used to kill more than 50 people. Via Twitter, Trump said, “Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!”
Trump, who received millions of dollars in support from the National Rifle Association in his run for presidency, until now has consistently backed away from any restrictions on guns.

Newwire : Report: Blacks comprise more than 40% of U. S. homeless population

By Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News

 Homeless man sleeping on the streets

( – Although Blacks comprise 12.5 percent of the nation’s population, they are overrepresented among the nation’s homeless as housing prices increase and because fewer units of affordable housing are being built. These two factors are compounded by existing housing discrimination and the black unemployment rate, which is always the nation’s highest.
This constellation of factors often results in Black people sleeping in the streets or in homeless shelters.
Last year, the United States’ homeless population was 553,742. Of this number, 224,937 were homeless Black men and Black women, accounting for 40.6 percent of the total homeless population, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The White homeless population was 260,797, accounting for 47.1 percent of the total homeless population.
The Hispanic homeless population was 119,419, accounting for 21.6 percent of the total homeless population.
HUD gathers its figures during a Point-in-Time estimate which is always taken during the last week of January. HUD’s report to Congress concerning homelessness was released in December 2017. Last year’s homeless count was a .7 percent increase over 2016 and a 13.1 percent decrease since 2010.
Among the homeless, men outnumber women. In 2017, 335,038, or 60.5 percent of the homeless population were men compared with 215, 709 or 39.0 percent women, according to HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.
Individuals who are transgendered accounted for 2,092 or 0.4 percent of homeless people.
The count is made by tens of thousands of volunteers who visit 3,000 cities and counties where the homeless are known to be, including emergency shelters, transitional housing and unsheltered locations.
Transitional housing provides people a place to stay and some supportive services for up to 24 months. Unsheltered homeless includes people living on the streets, in cars or in parks.
HUD reported that homelessness in 30 states and the District of Columbia has declined, but in West Coast cities, including Los Angeles, there was nearly a 26 percent increase in overall homelessness since 2016, primarily among individuals living in unsheltered locations.
“In many high-cost areas of the country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets.”
While homelessness decreased, grew slightly among other racial and ethnic groups, homelessness among Blacks increased 6 percent or 7,299 people in 2017, compared with a 2 percent increase or 2,856 people among Whites.
A report titled “Study Investigates Connections Between Race, Homelessness” reports that race and discrimination are integral to addressing homelessness.
“The lack of affordable housing and lack of adequate housing across the country falls more heavily on communities of color, but especially on the African-American community,” wrote Eric Tars, a senior attorney for the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
Homeless people of color are especially vulnerable to the effects of biased policing because living in public spaces creates opportunities for police intervention, Tars said.
Dr. Moser Jones wants policymakers to study long-ignored connections between decades of structural racial discrimination against African Americans and other black persons.
Jones, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, wrote, “Black persons’ general elevated risk for becoming homeless as a result of long-standing discrimination and other factors have depleted black communities’ resources.”

Newswire : Concordia College in Selma, AL closing its doors, collapsing under a challenge that many HBCUs face

By Nigel Roberts, Newsone

Concordia College logo
After nearly a century of educating Black students, Concordia College in Selma, Alabama announced last Wednesday that it will cease operations at the end of the spring semester.

“It was the toughest thing I’ve had to do in my 50 years of higher education,” Dr. James Lyons, the interim president of Concordia, told the Selma Times Journal, adding that the students “were quite shocked” by the news.

Like Concordia, many of the more than 100 HBCUs across the nation have dire financial problems, partly because operating costs are increasing while enrollment and financial aid decrease. Students at HBCUs are disproportionately low-income. About 70 percent of all HBCU students rely on federal grants and work-study programs to finance their education at a time when the Trump administration seeks ways to cut higher education funding
Concordia, which opened in 1922, needed a minimum of $8 million to pay its debts and keep the doors open for at least one year—just enough money to buy time to find major investors. “It’s very difficult to operate an institution with the lowest possible tuition and fees when you are faced with escalating costs,” Lyons stated.

HBCUs are worth fight for because, despite the challenges, they educate scores of Black students who would otherwise not attend college. These institutions accept scores of “at risk” students who need remedial academic work after graduating from public school systems that failed to educate them. Although they represent just 3 percent of all colleges and universities, HBCUs graduate more than 20 percent of Black college students and a disproportionately higher percentage of students who earn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees, compared to majority white institutions.

Newswire : The Black Press remembers “Before the Mayflower” author, freedom fighting journalist Lerone Bennett Jr.

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)


Lerone Bennett Jr.
Perhaps no other voice—or pen—captured the real life of Africans and African Americans like Lerone Bennett Jr., the former editor of EBONY and Jet magazines who died on Wednesday, February 14 at the age of 89. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that, Bennett suffered from vascular dementia.
Among his many hard-hitting and compelling works was the exposé, “Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America,” in which Bennett traces Black history from its origins in western Africa, through the transatlantic journey and slavery, the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights Movement. The book was later re-issued five more times and ultimately included life in the 1990s.
Bennett would go on to pen at least 10 books, including the eye-opening, 2000 book titled “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream,” which, for some, shattered centuries-old myths about America’s 16th president’s involvement in the freedom of slaves.
A description of the book on said: “Beginning with the argument that the Emancipation Proclamation did not actually free African American slaves, this dissenting view of Lincoln’s greatness surveys the president’s policies, speeches, and private utterances and concludes that he had little real interest in abolition.”
Pointing to Lincoln’s support for the fugitive slave laws, his friendship with slave-owning Senator Henry Clay, and conversations in which he entertained the idea of deporting slaves in order to create an all-White nation, the book, concludes that the president was a racist at heart—and that the tragedies of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era were the legacy of his shallow moral vision.

“Smart man and great author. His book [about Lincoln] changed my life,” said comedian Sinbad. “Before the Mayflower’ educated me about the need to research our true history.”
Others too expressed their sadness and profound gratitude for Bennett.
“I am personally saddened by the death of Lerone Bennett Jr. We have lost another great journalist who will be sorely missed,” said Dorothy R. Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and editor and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana. “We knew him as the conscience and voice of EBONY and Jet magazines and through the many books he published. The world is richer, because of his work here on earth and we are grateful for his many contributions.”
Bennett counted as an elegant scholar and freedom fighter who used the power of his pen to awaken millions of people to the true history of African people in America and throughout the world, said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
“Bennett’s journalistic genius will be missed, but his contributions to documenting the struggles and triumphs of Black men, women and children will continue to be cherished by generations far into the future,” Chavis said. “The NNPA salutes the living legacy of Lerone Bennett Jr. with a commitment to pick up his pen and put it into the hands of today’s freedom fighting publishers, editors and journalists.”
Bennett worked for EBONY for nearly 50 years, after starting at Jet in 1951 and then moving to the sister publication in 1953. By 1958, he was the executive editor.
“Lerone worked side by side with my father in establishing EBONY’s voice,” EBONY CEO Linda Johnson Rice told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He was the guiding light for the editorial vision of EBONY. Lerone was not just essential in the formation of EBONY’s historic trajectory, he was a pillar in the Black community.”
The Griot reported: “In addition to being remembered as an editor for these two magazines, Bennett, a graduate of Morehouse College, is known for his books, many of which cover the Black experience in America and the civil rights movement.”
Bennett’s footprints are cemented at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta and he once served on President Bill Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The veteran journalist and historian also served as an early adviser to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In a tweet, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., praised Bennett’s work. “A classmate and biographer of Dr. King, during the turbulent 60’s, his was a pen that mattered. As historian, author of ‘Before the Mayflower’, editor of Ebony magazine, the most read voice of the freedom struggle, his impact will long be felt and remembered,” Jackson tweeted.
From its official Twitter account, the NMAAHC tweeted, “it is with great sadness and profound sense of loss that we share the news of the death of Lerone Bennett Jr., a gifted historian and journalist.”

Newswire : Believe the hype: “Black Panther” sets box office records with $192 million opening weekend

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

A scene from the movie

“Black Panther” starring Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan, surpassed box office expectations during its opening weekend.
With $192 million in ticket sales so far, the film is expected to take in $218 million over the four-day President’s Day weekend and an incredible $361 million worldwide. According to ComScore, global ticket sales were set to reach $387 million over the weekend.
According to Entertainment magazine, “Black Panther” is already the eighth-largest single-day gross for the film industry ever and the third-biggest opening for a superhero movie.
Black Panther” scored a $75.8 million opening day. “The Avengers” opened with $80 million and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” opened with $84 million. The film also became the highest-grossing title in history at 33 AMC Theaters across the country, according to a report in the Hollywood Reporter.

“Black Panther earned more at those cinemas on Thursday evening and Friday—along with advance ticket sales for other times during the weekend—than any other movie has in an entire weekend. The number of theaters setting revenue records climbed to 80 locations, more than 10 percent of the entire circuit,” wrote Hollywood Reporter.

With that, “Black Panther” makes director Ryan Coogler the top-grossing Black director in film history. The previous record was held by “Straight Outta Compton,” which made $214 million worldwide in 2015. Marvel established the Black Panther character in the 1960s and the film features a majority African American cast and many strong female characters.
The pre-release news, nine month-long marketing campaign and anticipation over “Black Panther” mixed with good reviews and the politics of the time produced a ton of buzz around the film, long before it was released.

What word of mouth will now do for the film may mean that even more records will be broken.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist, political analyst and contributor to the NNPA Newswire and She can be contacted at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.