Newswire : Dorothy Cotton, civil rights icon, dead At 88

Dorothy Cotton

By Sebastian Murdock, Huffington Post

Civil rights leader and icon Dorothy Cotton, who helped educateBlack Americans about their rights and worked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died at the age of 88.
Cotton died at an Ithaca, New York, retirement community on Sunday afternoon, the Ithaca Journal reported. Her cause of death was not specified, but a family friend and spokesperson said she bad been battling a recent illness.
A North Carolina native, Cotton first met King in 1960 when he preached at a church she attended in Virginia. The two began working together with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which organized peaceful protests and worked for the rights of black Americans during the civil rights era. Cotton held a leading role in the group as the educational director ― one of the few high-level positions for women in the SCLC at the time.
Cotton is described as an “unsung hero” for the civil rights movement on her eponymous institute’s website. She led the Citizenship Education Program, which worked to help “ordinary people identify what was intolerable in their circumstances, envision the change they desired, learn their civil rights [and] prepare for democratic engagement” and to help foster “the transformation of often poorly educated and disenfranchised people from ‘victims’ to full citizens.”
Cotton told NPR in a 2013 interview that during the civil rights era, her work wasn’t often publicized because it “would have been shut down [for] teaching all those old black folk that they are citizens.”
The dedicated civil servant put herself through college working as a housekeeper for the university president at Shaw University before she earned an undergraduate degree from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in speech therapy from Boston University.
“She had a beautiful voice, and when things got tense, Dorothy was the one who would start up a song to relieve the tension,” Xernona Clayton, who was King’s office manager in Atlanta and organized protest marches and fundraisers, told The Associated Press.
“She had such a calming influence in her personality,” Clayton added. “She had a personality that would lend itself to people listening to her.”

Newswire : South African conservationist tapped to head U. N. panel on biodiversity for World Environmental Day

South African school childfren for Environment Day

South African school children supporting World Environmental Day

June 4, 2018 (GIN) – U.N. activities for World Environment Day on June 6 will be focused this year on plastic pollution. Marked every year since 1974, the day is celebrated in over 100 countries.

Dr. Luthando Dziba, managing executive for conservation services at South African National Parks (SANParks) has been appointed to the UN body on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Dr Dziba, who studied at Utah State University and Fort Hare University in the U.S., says he’s looking forward to engaging with people worldwide in finding solutions for the sustainability of the world’s natural assets.

In a video marking the June 5 event, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that “our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. Every year, more than eight million tons end up in the oceans.” That leaves virtually nowhere on earth untouched, with the potential that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

Nearly every African country, including the island nations sensitive to the impact of plastics on their ecosystems, has events marking the day. There are beach cleanups in Cape Verde, student plastic-bag pickups in Burkina Faso, a university campus cleanup in Angola, and educational workshops in South Africa.

Volunteers in Djibouti will head out to clean up the coastline along the Gulf of Aden, while across the continent their counterparts in Sierra Leone will focus on cleaning up their Atlantic Ocean shores.

“Today provides an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can combat plastic pollution around the world,” said Dr. Richard Munang, an Africa climate change and development policy expert for the UN Environmental Program based in Kenya.

UNEP chief Erik Solheim called plastic pollution a form of violence against the planet.

In Nigeria, community partners are offering free bus rides in exchange for turning in a single-use plastic item for recycling as part of the #waste4ride campaign. And in Malawi, participants will learn how to build benches out of bricks made from the plastics.

For more information about World Environment Day and how to participate, visit the website:

Eutaw Primary designated as an Alabama Bicentennial School



Shown above L to R: Teacher, Walter Taylor and Prinicipal, Dr. Sharon Jennings

Eutaw Primary was selected from a pool of 400 schools to serve as an Alabama Bicentennial School. The very competitive process included schools throughout Alabama submitting applications and proposed projects. Alabama Bicentennial projects must foster community and civic engagement. Eutaw Primary will receive $2,000 in the fall to assist with implementation of the project. A press conference will be held in early August to recognize the Alabama Bicentennial School designees throughout the state. Congratulations Eutaw Primary School!

Eutaw Primary Kindergarten students create canvas art as end of year activity

Ms. Tammy Anderson’s Kindergarten Class at Eutaw Primary was treated to an end of year arts activity which engaged the students in painting canvas art displays. Anderson selected a butterfly theme to demonstrate to the students that the butterfly transforms before it becomes an adult. “The butterfly evolves as does each child,” explained Anderson. She told the class that each one of them is different with his and her own gifts and beauty, just as the butterfly. “No two butterflies are the same as no two children are the same.” She said. Anderson wanted the students to understand that each butterfly painted would also be different.

Ms. Kelly Magadan, an artist with Uptown Art of Tuscaloosa, volunteered as instructor for the special occasion. She explained the painting process to the students, describing how color combinations are formed. Each student was provided a canvas, paint and brushes, and before beginning their masterpieces, each student was adorned with a painting apron and beret. Parents were also invited to the special event. Refreshments were provided.

Newswire: Experimental drug gets green light for new Ebola outbreak

Ebola drug.jpg
                                                            Ebola drug vaccination

May 14, 2018 (GIN) – The Ebola virus which took thousands of lives in West Africa has resurfaced in central Africa. This time, health officials are ready to put an experimental drug to the test.

The outbreak, which has caused at least 19 deaths and 39 confirmed and suspected cases, was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province between April 4 and May 13, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The drug, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, was developed over a decade ago by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is now licensed to Merck to help protect people who have not yet been infected with Ebola.

It was proven safe and effective when first used in Guinea in 2015. Some 1,510 individuals were vaccinated between March 17 and April 21. Guinea was declared Ebola virus disease-free on Dec. 29. The trial ended on Jan. 20, 2016.

Others working with WHO are Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Médecins Sans Frontières; and the DRC’s Ministry of Health to introduce the shot, a WHO spokesperson confirmed Monday.

A “ring vaccination” approach around the epicenter of the outbreak in the Congo, will be used. But because Merck’s Ebola shot hasn’t yet won regulatory approval, officials must obtain an importation license, plus establish a “formal agreement on the research protocols,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević told FiercePharma.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the world health body, said the WHO has a stockpile of 4,300 doses of the vaccine in Geneva; the company also has 300,000 doses of the vaccine stockpiled in the U.S.

The “ring vaccination” approach was a strategy used in 1977 to control smallpox. The idea is to vaccinate people who know someone who has been infected and the people who know those people, in an expanding “ring” around the infections.

So far, 393 people have been identified as part of the “ring” around people who are known or suspected to have been infected in the Congo.

Local teen killed in car crash


A two-vehicle crash at 12:20 p.m. Saturday, May 12, claimed one life and injured another. Jayson Alexander McCollum, 19, of Eutaw, was killed when the 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt he was driving collided head-on with a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado driven by John Gregory, 33, of Buhl. McCollum, who was not using a seatbelt, was ejected and pronounced dead at the scene. Gregory was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The crash occurred on Alabama 39 near the 23 mile marker, six miles west of Eutaw. Nothing further is available as Alabama State Troopers continue to investigate.

BBCF awards $80,000 in arts grants across Black Belt region

L to R: Carol P. Zippert and Darlene Robinson, BBCF Board President,accept grant award for annual festival

The Black Belt Community Foundation awarded $80,000 in arts initiative grants to 29 community based organizations in its 12 county service region. The awards ceremony was held Saturday, May 5, 2018 at the Hank Sanders Technology Center at Wallace Community College Selma.
Community projects benefiting through the awards include museums, community theaters, festivals and youth organizations offering concentrated arts programs. Through these individual projects, it is anticipated that nearly 22,000 Black Belt residents will be inspired, affected, or touched in some way – whether by taking a local art class, by viewing a musical or theatrical performance, or by visiting a local folk arts festival.
In Greene County, the Society of Folk Arts & Culture was awarded $2,500 for the production of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival. Other awards throughout the Black Belt region included: In Bullock County, a total of $3,500 was awarded; in Choctaw County, $1,655; in Dallas County, $11,500; in Lowndes County, $2,500; Macon County, $8,500; in Marengo County, $2,500; in Perry County, $2,500; in Pickens County, $4,975; in Sumter County, $4,500; and in Wilcox County, $15,370.
Two organizations received Art Education grants of $10,000 each – Coleman Center for the Arts and Tuskegee-Macon County CDC.

BBCF President Felecia Lucky stated, “Our arts grant review committee has been incredibly impressed with the diverse spectrum of inspiring arts programs presented to us in application for 2018 grants funding. Being able to reach nearly 22,000 people across our service counties through these grants is a testament to the support we receive from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.“
BBCF was established in 2004 to support community efforts in the Black Belt that contribute to the strength, innovation, and success of all the region’s people and communities. A partnership formed in 2006 with BBCF, the Youth & Cultural Committee of the Black Belt Action Commission, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA), which established the Black Belt Arts Initiative.
The goals of this project are; to work in partnership with local community based organizations, to forge collaborations with local schools to advance arts education, to document and promote the region’s artistic assets, to assist arts organizations in becoming more efficient and effective and to Provide opportunities for citizens of the Black Belt region to be exposed to and participate in the arts.
Since 2006, $1,400,671 has been awarded through BBAI Arts Grants to support various arts activities across BBCF’s twelve-county service area. In total, BBCF has invested over $3.8 million from BBAI Arts, Community and other grants into regional nonprofits, based in and serving Alabama’s Black Belt.

Governor Kay Ivy appoints Barbara McShan as Greene County Revenue Commissioner

Barbara McShan.jpg

Barbara McShan, newly appointed Greene County Revenue Commissioner, is congratulated by Tennyson Smith, Greene County Commission Chairperson. McShan shares the letter from Governor Kay Ivy affirming her appointment.

Barbara A. McShan has been appointed Greene County Revenue Commissioner, effective July 1, 2018, serving the remainder of the term held by Brenda Goree, which expires in 2020. Goree requested her retirement as Revenue Commissioner in October 2017. It will go into effect on June 30, 2018.
Prior to Governor Kay Ivy’s appointment in a letter dated April 20, 2018, Barbara McShan served as Chief Clerk in the Revenue Commissioner’s office. She moved into that office from a part time position with the then Tax Collector.

In 2002, the offices of Greene County Tax Collector and Tax Assessor were combined, through legislative action, to form the office of the Greene County Revenue Commission. Goree was the county’s last Tax Collector and Rev. John Kennard was the county’s last Tax Assessor. That same year, in a countywide election, Ms. Brenda Goree was elected as the county’s first Revenue Commissioner and was successful in subsequent elections. She continues to serves in that capacity until her retirement is effective.
According to Ms. McShan, several persons applied for the unexpired position as Revenue Commissioner and were probably interviewed as well. She indicated that she was very happy that the governor selected her. “I love my job. I meet so many people. I feel that, through my work, I actually know everybody in Greene County,” she said.
She explained that although the Revenue Commissioner’s office handles various licenses, mobile home registrations, property assessments and property taxes, she has never experienced a citizen getting upset with anyone in the office. “Even when their taxes are delinquent, they come in and calmly pay the tax,” she stated.
When asked her response to Governor Ivy’s appointment of McShan, Goree stated: “I am so glad the governor appointed someone local and someone who has worked for many years in the Revenue Commission’s office. Ms. McShan knows the job. I am confident that she will keep the public informed, and will maintain accurate records including safeguarding public funds,” She said.
Goree also indicated that she will be available to assist McShan in her official transition.
The Revenue Commission’s seat, a six year term, comes up for election in 2020, however Ms. McShan indicated she is not considering running for the position. “I think at that time I will be ready to retire and rest,” she said.

Newswire : Waffle House doubles down on Chikesia Clemons arrest as activists call for boycott

The chain continued to defend Saraland. Alabama employees and police in a violent arrest that has sparked outrage.

By Jenna Amatulli , Huffington Post
Chikesia Clemmons.png

Chikesia Clemmons

Activists protested at Waffle House’s Atlanta headquarters on Monday, demanding the restaurant chain drop charges against customer Chikesia Clemons, who was violently arrested at an Alabama location on April 22.
Waffle House, however, doubled down on its defense of employees who called the police, and claimed Clemons was threatening the workers with violence.
The activists, including those representing causes like March for Our Lives, the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, and the NAACP, asked Waffle House to withdraw charges against Clemons, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest according to local officials. The activists also asked Waffle House to release video of the incident that “will prove officers threatened Ms. Clemons,” issue a statement rebuking the mishandling of Clemons and take “disciplinary action” against employees involved.
The activists called for a nationwide boycott of Waffle House beginning on Friday.
Clemons, 25, was in a Waffle House in Saraland, Alabama, north of Mobile, with a friend when three police officers, summoned by employees, forced her to the floor, exposing her breasts, and handcuffed her, according to a video taken by Clemons’ friend that has since gone viral. Police said Clemons and her friend were drunk and brought alcohol into the restaurant. Clemons, they said, told officers she would “shoot this place up.”
Waffle House quickly released a statement defending the “appropriate” actions of the Saraland Police Department.
On Monday in Atlanta, Waffle House spokesman Pat Warner told demonstrators the chain’s employees are specifically trained to contact police “anytime there is concern about their personal safety or that of their customers.”
“Previously, we stated that upon reviewing security video and eyewitness statements, it was our belief that our associates calling the police was necessary and appropriate,” the company said in a statement.
“In the days since, we have gathered additional details and information. Witnesses say several threats were made to our associates including threats of violence, and that’s why the police were called.” Police have said they are investigating actions of the officers involved.
Clemons herself spoke publicly for the first time on Sunday, appearing on the MSNBC show “PoliticsNation” with the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Clemons said the arrest has been “so hard” on her. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’m constantly crying. I have a 6-year-old daughter, I’m trying to be strong for her,” she said.
“She sees me crying, she starts to cry, so it’s very hard on me at the time right now.”
Clemons expressed gratitude to those supporting and defending her. “I ask you guys continue to be behind me as you fight for justice for me,” she said.
Her attorney, Benjamin Crump, told Sharpton: “There are two independent white women who were in the restaurant that night that said what the waitress did, and, more importantly, what the Saraland police did, Reverend Al, was just unacceptable.”
Clemons was arrested the same day that another Waffle House location outside Nashville, Tennessee, was the scene of a mass shooting. The lone gunman shot four people to death and injured two others.

Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) endorses statewide candidates: Walt Maddox for Governor and Joe Siegelman for Attorney General


Shown above: Walt Maddox, Joe Siegelman  and ANSC members engage in fellowship program, sharing talents of song, poetry, stories and jokes, Friday evening, prior to convention. ANSC members gathered for the organization’s Spring Membership Convention, held Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Maggie Street Dream Center in Montgomery, AL.

Hundreds of members from Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA), the political organization involving many members of the Alabama New South Coalition, gathered on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at the Maggie Street Dream Center in Montgomery, Alabama, for the Spring Endorsement Convention. After hearing from statewide, congressional, legislative, and multi-county candidates, ANSA endorsed candidates for the June 5, 2018 Primary Election.

For the Democratic Primary Election for Governor, ANSA delegates heard from Sue Bell Cobb, James Fields and Walt Maddox. ANSA endorsed Walt Maddox for Governor. Maddox promised to expand Medicaid for working poor people on his first day in office.
For the Democratic Primary Election for Attorney General, ANSA delegates heard from Chris Christie and Joe Siegelman. ANSA endorsed Joe Siegelman for Attorney General.
The full list of candidates endorsed on Saturday by the Alabama New South Alliance are as follows:

Walt Maddox
for Governor

Joe Siegelman
for Attorney General

Bob Vance for
Alabama Supreme Court
Chief Justice

Will Sellers for
Alabama Supreme Court,
Associate Justice Place 3

Donna Wesson Smalley for Alabama Supreme Court, Associate Justice Place 4

U.S. Congress, District 1
– Robert Kennedy, Jr.

U.S. Congress, District 2
– Tabitha Isner and
–Audri Scott Williams
Dual Endorsement

U.S. Congress, District 3
– Endorsement Pending

U.S. Congress, District 4
– Lee Auman

Other Races:

State Senate District 23 – Malika Sanders-Fortier

State House District 69 – Rep. Kevin Lawrence

State Board of
Education District 8
– Jessica Fortune Barker

State Democratic
Executive Committee, 70
– Eva Prewitt

State Democratic
Executive Committee, 71
– John Zippert

The 3rd Congressional District did not complete its endorsement and will be meeting within the next 10 days to complete its work.
Under ANSA bylaws, all candidates whose seats are completely within one county are endorsed by local chapters of ANSA and not at the Statewide Convention. Those candidates made remarks to the full convention on Saturday, however, and will meet with the local chapters in next couple of weeks for the formal endorsement process.

For more information contact: Shelley Fearson at or Gus Townes at