Newswire : NNPA honors Martin Luther King III with lifetime legacy award

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

legacyawards_7247_fallen_web120.jpg(From left-right) Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the NNPA, Denise Rolark Barnes, outgoing chairman of the NNPA and Dorothy Leavell (far right) honor Martin Luther King III with the NNPA’s Lifetime Legacy Award at the Legacy Awards Gala at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Md., on June 23, 2017. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA
The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) honored Martin Luther King III with the 2017 Lifetime Legacy Award, as the group wrapped up its annual summer conference, at the Gaylord Convention Center at the National Harbor in Maryland.
King, the oldest son of the iconic civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., said that the tribute tops all others he’s received, because the Black Press has meant a lot to his family, especially his father, as he fought for freedom, justice and equality.
“The NNPA is one of the most impactful institutions our community has and every week the newspapers of the Black Press reach at least 22 million people in our communities,” said King. “And every week the Black Press tackles issues that we deal with, that we cannot find in the mainstream newspapers.”
King continued: “The Black Press provides the information that’s needed for African-Americans and if not for the Black Press, I would say that, during the Civil Rights era, my father would not have been successful. The African-American [journalists] had their ears to the ground to what was important in our community.”
King, who attended the awards ceremony with family members, graduated from his father’s alma mater, Morehouse College, with a degree in political science. While at Morehouse, King was selected by former President Jimmy Carter to serve in the United States delegation to the Republic of Congo for participation in their centennial celebration ceremonies.
Like his father, King participated in many protests for civil rights and one of the more notable acts of civil disobedience came in 1985 when he was arrested at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. protesting against Apartheid and for the release of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.
“This is a special time,” King said, as he spoke to NNPA members, friends and industry leaders in attendance at the award ceremony.
Showing a lighter side, King quipped, “I like the word ‘legacy,’ but it means you’re getting older.”
King also talked about the impact of social media and how it can be difficult to understand the shorthand that some young people use to communicate via text and social platforms like Twitter.
“I have to ask the kids to tell me what these things mean, because I don’t do Twitter or Facebook,” he said.
Striking a more serious tone, King, the former president of the legendary Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said that the Black community “must do better.”
King continued: “We have to educate our community. We, as a community, have the ability to do much more.”
In an effort to help African-Americans realize and capitalize on the vast spending power in the community, King founded Realizing the Dream, a foundation that is focused on helping community-based organizers to ignite investment in local neighborhoods and to foster peaceful coexistence within America and abroad.
“If we decide to divest, or even talk about [boycotting] some of the companies where we are spending billions of our dollars…we won’t see insensitivity,” King said.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the organization was especially proud and delighted to present the prestigious award to King.
“For decades, more than anyone else, Martin Luther King III has continued to personify and represent the living legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for freedom, justice and equality,” Chavis said. “He has carried on his father’s legacy quite honorably, quite admirable, and quite successfully.”
In 2008, as former president and CEO of the King Center, King spoke on behalf of then-Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention, where he highlighted the need for improved health care, quality education, housing, technology and equal justice.
King also served on the Board of Directors for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and co-founded Bounce TV, the first independently-owned, digital multicast network featuring around-the-clock programming geared towards African-Americans.
“I remember going to my mother’s alma matter in Ohio and seeing the statue of Horace Mann which was inscribed with the words ‘be ashamed to die until you have won some kind of victory for humanity,’” King said.
“As a child, those are words that are very powerful. As an adult, I say we can win victory at schools, we can win victory in our places of worship, we can win victory in our cities, our counties, our states, our country and some may win in our world.”
King continued: “I say, be ashamed to die until you have done something to make your community better.”

Thurgood Marshall’s widow keeps his legacy alive; On Brown v. Board of Education, 63rd anniversary “Cissy” Marshall laments lack of progress

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Cissy Marshall
CISSYMARSHALL1 Cecilia Marshall, Justice Thurgood Marshall’s widow, keeps his legacy alive. (Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage)

Thurgood Marshall with family.jpgTHURGOODMARSHALL1 Cecilia Marshall (2nd from left) and Justice Thurgood Marshall (right) and their two sons. (Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage)

Cecilia Marshall never imagined that the battle for equal rights in schools and elsewhere would still be as vital today as it was six decades ago when her husband, United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, fought to end legal segregation as a civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

“We haven’t made too much progress,” said Cecilia Marshall, 88. “Sixty-three years later, we’re still fighting in the courts for equal treatment and that’s not what my husband, nor I would have imagined would be going on today.”

There’s little argument that one of the greatest achievements in the long and illustrious career of the late-Justice Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993 at the age of 84, was the landmark decision in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in 1940, “Marshall became the key strategist in the effort to end racial segregation, in particular, meticulously challenging Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court-sanctioned legal doctrine that called for ‘separate but equal’ structures for Whites and Blacks.”

The Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit began as five separate cases filed in South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Kansas. The plaintiffs in all of the cases alleged that the civil rights of their children under the 14th Amendment had been violated.

A biography about Justice Marshall that appears on The Legal Defense Fund’s website said that, “Marshall won a series of court decisions that gradually struck down [‘separate, but equal’], ultimately leading to Brown v. Board of Education, which he argued before the Supreme Court in 1952 and 1953,” finally overturning the doctrine and acknowledging that segregation greatly diminished students’ self-esteem.”

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that separate educational facilities were “inherently unequal” and that racial segregation of public schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision came more than a decade before Marshall’s appointment to the Supreme Court. The decision has been credited with inspiring the Civil Rights Movement that unfolded over the next decade and it also led to Marshall being recognized as one of the most successful lawyers in America.

“He accomplished so much and worked so hard, but I thought by now we would have come so much further. He would have thought that, too,” said Marshall, whom loved ones and others affectionately call “Cissy.”

Her work continues in her husband’s memory. On the 63rd anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall and the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust plan to host a fundraising gala to observe the historic decision and to announce a call to action, which she’s titled, “Equal Education for All Based on the Brown Decision.”

The event will be held at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage in Northwest, Washington, D.C. “The problems remain and this event, this anniversary, comes against the backdrop of a significantly troubling retrenchment of access to education for African-Americans, Latinos and other children,” Marshall said.

She cited a Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report that said there are numerous factors that appear to have combined to cause the rapid re-segregation of schools since 1991, the year her husband retired from the bench.

The courts began turning against desegregation plans in the 1980s—denying new petitions to desegregate schools, ending previous court imposed plans and even striking down voluntary plans created by local school districts, according to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a diverse collective of more than 200 national civil and human rights groups.

Further, executive branch agencies topped the aggressive campaign to enforce the Brown decision and the Civil Rights Act that proved successful in the 1960s and 1970s, the Leadership Conference reported.

In a statement about the report, the Leadership Conference said that the rapid growth of the Hispanic and African-American populations and growing income disparities have increased the concentration of minorities living in high poverty districts.

Leaders from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and others plan to join Marshall at the historic event to celebrate the life and legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall. “The NNPA reaffirms the living legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA. “We note this month the 63rd anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision. Marshall utilized his legal genius and courage to win that case.”

Chavis continued: “Today, it’s important to reassert the critical importance of continuing to demand equal, high-quality education for Black American students and all students across the nation.”

Marshall, she said that, she still gathers with the wives of former and current Supreme Court Justices. “We’re a big family, we call ourselves ‘sisters,’” she said.

Those get-togethers, as well as the success of her two sons—Thurgood, Jr., and John W. —serve to further validate her husband’s legacy. “Seeing his sons grow up to become adults—Thurgood, Jr. a lawyer; and John serving in civil service—has been a great joy,” said Marshall. “My husband gave me and all of us a great life and his favorite slogan was something we’ve always lived by and I still live by today, especially when I think of the state of things in this country.” She said that slogan is, “Never give up.”

CBC lists 100 Trump actions in 100 Days – to the detriment of Black Progress

 

By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Congressional Black Caucus has released a list of 100 actions taken by President Donald Trump during his first 100 days that the CBC says have been detrimental to the country – especially the Black community.
“People of all ages and races, including many young people of color, are standing up and speaking out about this Administration’s actions and how they will hurt our communities and the country,” says CBC Chairman Cedric Richmond in a statement. “President Trump says he wants to make America great again but in our view the programs and policies he’s implementing will do the opposite. We hope this list will help those who are engaged and those who aren’t stay woke because our democracy is at stake.”
“The list, titled ‘What Did Trump Do?: The First-100-Days, #StayWoke List,’ is a special edition of CBC’s ‘What Did Trump Do?’ rapid response documents and includes actions across issues areas such as education, healthcare, and justice,” says a statement. “The list is part of the CBC’s effort to listen, involve, and mobilize young leaders during the 115th Congress, an effort that began a few weeks ago with the launch of CBC’s tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, #CBCOnTheYard.”
The phrase #StayWoke or “stay awake” is often used by African-Americans in the social media arena to “remind themselves and those around them to stay focused on what’s really being said and done to their community. As a result of the election of President Trump, the phrase has taken on new meaning; people of all ages and races are using it to remind themselves and those around them to stay focused on the programs and policies being implemented by this Administration.”
The following are among the items on the list:

“After meeting with 70 HBCU presidents and the White House stating that he wanted to give HBCUs “the proper respect,” President Trump has proposed in his budget to give these institutions the same amount of money they received last year even though their operational costs are increasing. President Trump has also proposed to cut programs that support students served by HBCUs including federal work study, Pell, and campus-based aid.”
“President Trump has said many hurtful things about President Obama, including accusing the first Black president of a felony. On March 4, President Trump tweeted that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election. President Trump has provided no evidence that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower even though he could easily provide it. In addition, on March 20, FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee during a public hearing that the agency has ‘no information’ about the alleged wiretaps.”
“After several sexual assault allegations and related legal settlements came to light about former veteran Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, President Trump defended the journalist. “I think he’s a person I know well — he is a good person,” said President Trump on April 5 during an interview with the New York Times in the Oval Office. “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled. Because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” Days later Fox News canceled O’Reilly’s show and announced that he would not be returning to the network.”
“President Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the Minority Business Development Agency, “which funds a nationwide network of business centers to help minority-owned business stay competitive and create jobs.”
“During a White House press conference on April 11, Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, is guilty of war crimes that are worse than those committed by Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler during the Holocaust. Spicer said that Hitler did not use chemical weapons like al-Assad even though gas chambers were regularly used to kill Jews and others at concentration camps during the Holocaust.”
“President Trump appointed Candice E. Jackson as acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the Department of Education. Ms. Jackson once said affirmative action ‘promotes racial discrimination,’ and claimed she was discriminated against for being white.”
“On February 27, after meeting with more than 70 HBCU presidents, Secretary DeVos called Historically Black Colleges and Universities “pioneers” for school choice even though these institutions were founded because white colleges and university refused to admit Black students.”
“President Trump’s proposed budget for the Department of Education hurts low-income students from pre-k through college by undermining public education through the elimination of after school and teacher support programs and diverting federal funds to private school vouchers, eliminating supports for college students, gutting federal-work study, and slashing critical funding for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Pell Grants. All of these cuts would have severe consequences for our nation’s African-American students.”
“President Trump’s proposed budget would cut Environmental Protection Agency grant programs that help states monitor public water systems, even though Flint, Michigan. is still dealing with a water crisis.”
“President Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate programs that help limit children’s exposure to lead paint. According to the CDC, African-American children are three times more likely to have elevated blood-lead levels.”
“The FBI is investigating whether President Trump and his campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.”
“One of President Trump’s first actions was to appoint White House Adviser Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (NSC). Many politicians and pundits, including the CBC, called for Bannon to be removed not only from the NSC but from the White House entirely because of his white nationalist views. Bannon is the former chairman of the white nationalist news organization Breitbart News.”
“President Trump has said little on the threat of domestic terrorism even though religious institutions and people of color have been targeted here at home in the wake of the 2016 election. For example, in Wellsville, N.Y., someone painted “Make America White Again” on a dugout wall, a statement based on President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again”. Source In addition, Jewish community centers and cemeteries have received threats or been vandalized. In short, the threat of domestic terrorism is real but it is not prioritized by this Administration”
“President Trump has proposed to eliminate funding for the African Development Foundation, which funds grassroots development projects in 30 African countries.”
“More than 20 million people are facing famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen and President Trump’s budget proposal would make the situation worse by cutting funding for humanitarian food aid and United Nations peacekeeping.”
“On January 25, the White House announced that it would launch a major investigation into voter fraud event though it is essentially a non-issue. The White House decided to launch the investigation in response to President Trump’s false claims that 3 to 5 million illegal voters cost him the popular vote.”
“On February 27, the Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Sessions, withdrew its longstanding claim that Texas enacted its 2011 voter ID law with the intent to discriminate. A few months later a federal judge ruled that the law was enacted with the intent to discriminate against Black and Latino voters.”

The full list of actions can be found here: https://cbc.house.gov/uploadedfiles/stay_woke_list.pdf.
According to a CBC release the following committee and congressional offices led by CBC members contributed to the CBC list: House Committee on the Judiciary (Office of Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr.), House Committee on Financial Services (Office of Ranking Member Maxine Waters), House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (Office of Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson), House Committee on Education and the Workforce (Office of Ranking Member Bobby Scott), House Committee on Homeland Security (Office of Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson), House Committee on Oversight (Ranking Member Elijah Cummings), and Office of Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-Ill.).

John and Carol Zippert to be inducted in Cooperative Hall of Fame for their lifetime of service to Federation of Southern Cooperatives

john

Carol and John Zippert at work at the Greene Co. Democrat weekly newspaper

 

heroes-header2.pngFour outstanding cooperative leaders will receive the cooperative community’s highest honor on May 3, 2017, when they are inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame.
The inductees are Rita L. Haynes, CEO emeritus of Faith Community United Credit Union, John D. Johnson, retired president and CEO of Cenex Harvest States Inc. (CHS) , the largest agricultural cooperative in the nation; Richard Larochelle, retired senior vice president of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation; and John & Carol Zippert, cooperative activists with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives.
These cooperative leaders will be recognized at the annual Cooperative Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the evening of May 3, 2017. In conjunction with the ceremony, a public forum on cooperative development and leadership will be held in the afternoon.
“Induction into the Cooperative Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made genuinely heroic contributions to the cooperative community. The 2017 inductees join a host of extraordinary Hall of Fame members who have contributed significantly to the advancement of the cooperative movement,” said Gasper Kovach, Jr., board chair of the Cooperative Development Foundation, which administers the Hall of Fame.

John and Carol Zippert to be recognized as a couple

John and Carol met while working in the civil rights and cooperative movement in southwest Louisiana. John was a volunteer and later field staff with the Congress of Racial Equality in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. John was working on registering minority voters, integrating public accommodations and helping sweet potato and vegetable farmers to develop a cooperative to market their produce.

Carol was working with the Southern Consumers Cooperative, while attending the University of Southwest Louisiana. She participated in a special program to study cooperatives and credit unions nationally and internationally in Canada and Turkey.
When John and Carol decided to get married in 1967, they had to sue the State of Alabama to remove the state’s ”miscegenation statute” to allow them to get a marriage license in Louisiana as an interracial couple. Partners in both life and the pursuit for racial, social and economic justice in the U.S. South, John and Carol (Prejean) Zippert continue to embody the principles and priorities of the two movements that shaped their lives—the civil rights movement and the cooperative movement.
Father A. J. McKnight, himself a Cooperative Hall of Famer deeply involved in community and cooperative development across Louisiana, first kindled the couple’s passion and commitment to the cooperative movement. The same year they were married, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund was chartered. John and Carol were involved as community organizers with the cooperatives and credit unions and the meetings that resulted in the formation of the Federation
From the 1960s onward, John and Carol’s lives progressed in parallel with the mission of the Federation and the growth of the cooperative movement in the South. Over the years they have worked with many members of the Co-op Hall of Fame including McKnight, Ralph Paige, Woodrow Keown, G. L. Twitty, Melbah Smith, Shirley Sherrod, Earnest Johnson and Jessica Gordon Nembhard.
For five decades, John has worked with the Federation. For the past quarter century, he served as the Director of Program Operations for the Federation at its Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, where he promotes cooperative economic development for low-income and minority people in ten Southeastern states. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, John expanded the center’s reach to include relief work, enlisting cooperatives to help individuals, families and other co-ops recover and rebuild along the Gulf Coast.
During his career at the Federation, John has trained staff, mentored countless young people and designed programs to further sustainable small farming and cooperative development. The Federation honored John’s dedication with its Staff Award in 1977, 1978 and 1996.
John is a champion of cooperative development, a co-op policy analyst and a cooperative historian currently writing a book about the Federation. His career highlights also include contributions to housing co-ops and affordable housing for low-income people in Alabama. As a member of the Southern Cooperative Development Program staff, he helped former tenant farmers form the Panola Land Buyers Association and buy 1,164 acres of land in 1970. In 1980, the association established a housing cooperative. John also played a critical role in the Southern Grassroots Economics Project, which works to build democratic ownership in the U.S. South and hosts CoopEcon, an annual training institute for cooperative members.
Serving on the board of numerous state and national organizations, like the Rural Coalition, Rural Development Leadership Network, Alabama New South Coalition, Alabama Black Belt Commission, and others, John has been involved in advocacy and public policy development for family farmers, rural and cooperative development. John also assisted hundreds of African-American farmers in filing successful claims in the Pigford Class Action discrimination lawsuits.
Since 1985, John and Carol have together published the Greene County Democrat Newspaper, a weekly publication to inform and educate their primarily African-American community.
In 1985, Carol earned her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Supervision and Curriculum Development from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. As a self-described “community worker,” she dedicated five decades to building leadership and developing co-ops with the Federation—where she continues to volunteer—as well as supporting grassroots community groups in their work to achieve social transformation. Carol has served as an adjunct research professor and resource specialist for Tuskegee University’s Community-Based Youth Partnerships. She has been involved with the 21st Century Youth Leadership movement since its inception in 1986 and continues to serve on its board.
Carol is also president and founder of the Federation of Greene Country Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union. Under her leadership, in one of the poorest counties in the U.S. built a credit union that has accumulated more than $1.4 million in assets. In addition, Carol’s poetry and leadership in cultural organizations such as the Black Belt Community Foundation and the Greene County Society for Folk Arts and Culture strengthen connections and trust among people, their co-ops and their communities.
The Co-op Hall of Fame ceremony is a major fundraising activity for the Cooperative Development Foundation. Persons and organizations interested in supporting the fundraiser or purchasing tickets for the dinner, should contact: http://www.heroes.coop.