Newswire: Senator Doug Jones emphasizes the importance of the 2020 Black Voter Turnout in exclusive fireside chat with NNPA President Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Sen. Doug Jones shaking hands with NNPA’s Ben Chavis;


Jones makes a point to Chavis during interview


The importance of Black voter turnout, the Reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, bipartisan politics, the Futures Act and environmental justice, counted among the topics candidly tackled during a historic fireside chat between National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., and Alabama’s Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat.
Held inside the Hart Building at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., the engaging hour-long conversation marked the first time that a sitting U.S. Senator sat down for a live-streamed video with the Black Press of America.
During the discussion, Jones said that voter turnout – particularly that of African Americans – was crucial to his stunning upset of Republican Roy Moore in the 2017 Alabama Special Election.
“The right to vote was hard fought for African Americans in this country, and I think too many people take that for granted. I think we proved that in the special election in 2017, that every vote counts,” said Jones.
Jones said voting rights had been under attack since the 2013 Shelby V. Holder decision, which eliminated a lot of voter protections. “It’s not the same as the old Jim Crow laws, but there’s still efforts out there to suppress votes and keep people from having that free access to the booths,” he stated.
Jones noted that he’s working to restore “teeth” in the Voting Rights Act, but doubts that the current GOP-led Senate and President Trump’s administration would approve. “I don’t see it happening, so it’s all the more important to get out and vote in the 2020 elections,” Jones stated.
Chavis asked Jones about the role Black women played in his winning election to the Senate. “It was critical. We focused on making sure that we got the African American vote out,” Jones stated.
“We did get more African Americans as a percentage out than even when President Obama did in his first race, a fact that I was very proud. The Black community came out and worked hard. It’s community engagement; it’s a 365-days a year job. And, that’s why the Black Press is so important because it keeps the community engaged,” he stated.
Late last year, Trump signed the Futures Act, a bipartisan measure that would put more funding into Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions.
“It was incredibly important. When it comes to federal dollars, there are two pots of money HBCUs get: Mandatory funding and discretionary funding,” said Jones.
“The mandatory funding is absolutely critical so they can plan each year. There’s a lot of budgetary tugs that fought us, it wasn’t easy, but we were just persistent, and that’s the key in legislation in Washington, to be persistent,” he noted.
Jones continued: “So we were able to get that mandatory funding so that a base amount of money would go to HBCUs. In my two years in Washington, we have been able to get about a 30 percent increase in discretionary funding for HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.
“Providing that base is important to them and the economy of states like Alabama and North Carolina, and others.”
Chavis spoke to Jones about race relations and asked about the senator’s forecast for the South and whether he sees a more inclusive and diverse South rising. “So many of the divisions we see in the country started in the South. It can also be a place of healing and bringing people back together, and I see tremendous opportunity in the South,” Jones stated.
“I think my election was something that people looked at and said the South was changing. The demographics are changing to some extent, but I think people’s hearts and minds are changing,” he added.
“We went from a one-party state in Alabama with Democrats, to a one-party state with Republicans. There was never anything in between. When you get competitive political parties, you get people who have to talk to each other, and that’s what you need.
“These young people coming up don’t have the same kind of biases and prejudices you saw when I was growing up. They also are beginning to see that the state is better off when everybody in that state benefits from it. I think the South can lead the nation in healing.”
Jones also spoke of the importance of closing the achievement gap, although he said it’s a complicated issue. He said education and getting broadband into rural communities are keys to helping close the gap.
The senator also noted that he’s a proponent of raising the federal minimum wage, but conceded it couldn’t be done overnight. He stated that Trump’s 2017 tax cuts have helped to provide businesses with the needed resources to make a minimum wage hike possible.
With climate change a serious and growing issue, Jones stated the importance of the Black Press to continue to cover topics of environmental justice.“A lot of work needs to be done,” he stated. “But, I don’t have much confidence in the Environmental Protection Agency under this administration, which is why the 2020 election is very important.”
Jones concluded the chat by noting the critical role of the Black Press, his disappointment in mainstream media, and his message to veterans in the wake of the new conflict with Iran.
“I think the press, in general, is critical. Overall, I’m a little disappointed in mainstream media, and I think the Black Press has a unique role, so the Black Press must stay focused on the issues,” Jones stated.

Newswire : Congressman Elijah Cummings dies at 68

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Cong. Elijah Cummings


The Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and a titan of the U.S. Congress, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD-7), died early Thursday morning. He was 68.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the congressman’s wife and chairman of the Maryland Democratic Committee, said Cummings died at 2:45 a.m. at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mrs. Cummings said her husband’s death resulted from complications concerning longstanding health challenges.
Recently, and in increasingly rare sightings of the congressman, Cummings was seen using a walker. He underwent an undisclosed medical procedure, and his office expected that he would only miss about one week of work.
“He was an honorable man who proudly served his district and the nation with dignity, integrity, compassion, and humility,” Mrs. Cummings said.
Cummings obtained his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Howard University, serving as Student Government President and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.
The recipient of 13 honorary doctoral degrees, Cummings dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he was sworn to represent, according to his biography.
He began his career in public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years, becoming the first African American in Maryland history to ascend to the position of Speaker Pro Tem.
Since 1996, Cummings has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cummings was committed to ensuring that the next generation has access to quality healthcare and education, clean air and water, and a strong economy defined by fiscal responsibility. Children “are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see,” he often said.
In addition to the contributions he made to improve the lives of all Americans, the congressman was a passionate advocate for his beloved Baltimore, where he was born and raised.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump disparaged the city – particularly parts of Cummings’ district — labeling the city as a “rodent-infested mess where no human being would want to live.”
Cummings immediately responded: “Those in the highest levels of government must stop making hateful, incendiary comments that only serve to divide and distract the nation from its real problems, including mass shootings and white supremacy.”
“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior,” Cummings added.
“He was a champion of the people, a soldier and a warrior for his city, the state, and the nation,” said Baltimore Times Publisher Joy Bramble. “Elijah Cummings made Baltimore and all of those who came across better.” The congressman told a local reporter that he and Trump had just one face-to-face conversation since the president took office in 2016.
“I said, ‘Mr. President, you’re now 70-something, I’m 60-something. Very soon, you and I will be dancing with the angels. The thing that you and I need to do is figure out what we can do – what present can we bring to generations unborn?”
His last act in Congress came on Oct. 8, when he joined three others from a bipartisan group to introduce legislation called “The Family Asthma Act.” The bill seeks to expand federal, state, and local efforts to improve care for individuals with asthma.
“Long live the freedom-fighting spirit of Brother Leader Congressman Elijah Cummings,” National Newspaper Publishers Association President, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., said. “On behalf of the Black Press of America, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Cummings and to the Cummings family.

Newswire: Black News Channel (BNC) TV launches in America

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. (pictured at right), Former Republican U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts, chairman of BNC (left) and Jacksonville Jaguars owner, Shad Khan, who is a primary investor in the new network (center).

In a joint teleconference broadcast live from the Four Season’s Hotel in New York’s Financial District, the Black News Channel (BNC) and the National Newspaper Publishers Association announced the official launch date and time for the nation’s first 24-hour, 7-days a week all-news TV channel that will focus on African American news.
The new channel promises to inform, educate, and empower nearly 50 million African Americans now living in the United States.
The potential for the network appears almost limitless.
BNC will immediately have the potential to reach 33 million households daily in all the major media markets across the nation.
Combined with the millions of readers who consume information from NNPA’s Black-owned newspapers and media companies each week, the BNC could quickly become the top destination for all who want to consume African American news on TV and on mobile devices.
BNC, which officially launches at 6 a.m. on Friday, November 15, 2019 has agreements with Charter Communications, Comcast and DISH TV. The network already has commitments for carriage in major African American hubs like Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, DC, Baltimore and Los Angeles.
Tallahassee, Florida, houses BNC’s headquarters, and the network will have news bureaus around the country, including Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Former Republican U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts is chairman of BNC, which is backed financially by business mogul and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
“This platform will create a venue for the African American community to have a dialogue to talk about news, education and cultural things,” stated Watts, who added that the network has been in the planning stage for many years.
“I had an afro when I started this,” Watts referenced.
“It’s especially important to have the Black Press of America join us in this venture. I bet most people don’t realize that there are 223 African American-owned newspapers in the NNPA, and that’s content for us,” Watts stated.
“We suffered a big blow with the loss of Ebony and Jet, publications I grew up reading. But I still read the Black Press in Oklahoma City, growing up.”
NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who participated in the teleconference, said the NNPA’s partnership with the BNC is a profound win-win for Black America.
“This year marks the 192nd year of the Black Press of America. Black Americans striving for excellence in all fields of endeavor give life to our culture that attracts and impacts all people. We set trends for ourselves and others,” Chavis stated.
“We’re not a cursed people, and we are a blessed people. We continue to strive for excellence, and to have Shad Khan announced as a primary investor for the launch and sustainable development of the BNC is of major significance,” Chavis noted.
Kahn told NNPA Newswire that the decision to back BNC was easy once he looked at the mission and the business model.
“I am a big believer in the fact that we have a number of communities, obviously especially the African American community, who are underserved,” stated Kahn, a magnate in the auto equipment industry.
In addition to the Jaguars, he owns the Fulham Football Club of the English Football League, All Elite Wrestling, and the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
“I hope that as time goes on, this becomes a bridge to connect all the cultures, including obviously south Asian. But I do believe there is an undeniable calling for everything the Black News Channel will deliver to African American television audiences, who have historically been underserved in an era where networks have otherwise successfully targeted news to specific demographic groups and interests. My decision to invest is an easy one because we get to answer that calling,” Kahn explained.
Both Watts and Kahn promised that BNC will give a voice to the varied experiences of African Americans and will not just tell a segment of the story but will tell the entire story.
“We will inform, educate, inspire, and empower the African American community,” Watts added.
BNC will have three primary anchor teams who will host the network’s evening newscast, morning newscast, and mid-day D.C. Today Live broadcast. In addition to primary anchor teams, BNC also will have high-profile expert contributors who will add commentary and information to each newscast.
The network will work with historically Black colleges and universities to ensure that all African Americans have a voice.
A BNC correspondent will examine life on the HBCU campuses and explain why the experiences students have at these institutions of learning are so meaningful in the cultural development of many students’ lives. The weekly one-hour program will focus on what is happening at HBCUs that is good, positive, and uplifting.
Additionally, one of the many topics will include Sickle Cell Diseases, the blood disorder that disproportionately affects African Americans.
Veteran TV anchor Kelly Wright, who will host a 6 p.m. show on BNC, said his inaugural program would include a segment on the NNPA’s missing black girls national series.
That series spotlights the more than 424,000 African American women and girls who have gone missing in the United States over the past half-decade.
“We’re not looking to be Republican or Democrat. There will be current affairs, but we are culturally specific to the African American community. MSNBC, Fox News, CNN may have African American faces on their news shows, but they are not necessarily covering the community from a cultural perspective,” Watts stated. “We’re not looking to be left or right. We will be authentic and true to enriched and diverse African American experience.”

Greene County High School holds 4th annual Tie Tying Ceremony

. — photography Cynthia Crawford

Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne assisting student
Marcus Steele assisting students
Student assisting student

The Greene County High School 9th Grade Academy, in its fourth year, held its annual Tie Tying Ceremony, Tuesday, August 6, 2019 in the school gymnasium. The Academy program focuses on detailed guidance and assistance for the incoming Freshman Class. The students will receive in depth academic monitoring, counseling, tutoring and guided postsecondary advising The 87 student Freshman Class, with an expected high school graduation date of 2023, will adorn the classic school uniform of navy blue blazer, white shirts and kaki pants with their own distinguishing red and white stripped tie. The ties were provided complimentary of the Greene County Children’s Policy Council, where District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne serves as President.
School Personnel and community stakeholders assisting students in learning appropriate tie tying included Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, GCHS Principal Willie Simmons, Assist. Principal Andrea Perry, Marcus Steele, Sr., Alphonzo Morton, III and Alphonzo Morton, Jr., Mr. Gary Rice, Mrs. Theresa Mack and Joshua M Campbell.

Newswire: Black troops fought bravely at Normandy 75 years ago

By Leonard E. Colvin, Chief Reporter, New Journal and Guide

Black troops at Normandy


The United States, Great Britain, France and other allies recently observed the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landing on five beaches along Southern France at Normandy on their way to defeat Nazi Germany.
The modern images of the allied leaders, including the U.S. President and other participants, captured by the media at the Normandy Beach event appeared mostly white.
Seventy-five years ago, the mainstream news media and various movies such as “The Longest Day” and others also captured the images of white soldiers valiantly fighting on the sandy beaches against withering gunand cannon fire from the Germans.
But thanks to the written words and imagesrecorded by members of the Black Press who were eye witnesses to the action in Southern France to Berlin, the contributions and valor of Black military men and women were recorded, too.
Along with a quarter million Black servicemen, Black newsmen from the Norfolk Journal and Guide, the National Newspaper Publisher’s Association (NNPA)and the Associated Negro Press (ANP) were on hand to recordthis history left out of the mainstream press then and recently.
Throughout WWII and especially D-Day in 1944, the Black Press dispatched reporters such as the New Journal and Guide’s John Q. ‘Rover’ Jordan and P.B.Young, Jr.,Thomas Young, Lem Graves and the ANP’s Joseph Dunbar to the European and South Pacific War Zones to cover the exploits of the Black soldiers.
In many of the stories printed on the pages of the GUIDE, one could detect the toneof the accounts indicating that the reporters wanted to make clear that “Negro” soldierswere making significant contributions.
They worked on the ground and the air in combat, in support roles like driving trucks, operating machinery,medical support units, military police, tactical and leading administrative work.
The tone countered the daily newspapers which catered to its white readership, ignoring any significant contributions of the Black Warriors.
“If it were not for those GUIDE and other Black reporters, the story of Black men and women on D-Day or in other areas related to World War II would have beenignored,” said Dr. Henry Lewis Suggs, Professor Emeritus of American History, Clemson University, who is retired now.
Dr. Suggs wrote the biography “P.B. Young, Sr., Newspaper Man.” Young, who founded the GUIDE newspaper after serving as the editor of its predecessor, the Lodge Journal newsletter dating to 1900, was a leading Black media,political and civic leader in Virginia and nationally from the early 1930s until he died in 1962.
Weekly, during the war, the GUIDE published local,state, national, Virginia and Peninsula editions of the newspaper. Each edition included news about the war and the rolesthat Black soldiers, sailors, Coast Guard and civilians played at home and abroad.
The articles not only pointed out the bravery and professionalism of the Black troops, they also noted the heavy number of casualties Blacks suffered in combat.
The stories which were distributed to other Black newspapers also recorded acts of racial bias against the Black patriots.
There were stories of the many cases where Black and white troops worked “shoulder to shoulder” withno tension away from the field of battle and during it.
“In Norfolk, the only source of news Black civilians got about Black soldiers and sailors overseas or at home was from the Black Press,” said Suggs.
Suggs said the contributions of the Black warriors during WWII helped fuel African American efforts after the war to pursue socio-economic and political equality.
Further, the thousands of Blacks who fought in the war, used the G.I. Bill to secure an education and other support to attend Black colleges which helped them grow.
Suggs said that African Americans had their great generation of Black men who participated in the war. They later became the Black lawyers, doctors and educators and other professional and political class who fostered the Black middle class.
“Negro troops did their duty excellently under fire on Normandy’s beaches in a zone of heavy combat,” General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion Forces, declared.
That statement was a greeting sent by the General, fondly known as “Ike” by the Black troops, to the NAACP’s Wartime Conference meeting In Chicago held that year. It appeared in the July 15, 1944 edition of the GUIDE under the headline “Eisenhower Proud of Our Troops in France,” verifying history.
It also noted Black leadership’s citing the resistance and their insistance for sending Black Women Army Corps (WACs) to the front.

Newswire: FBI again attacks character of Martin Luther King Jr

By Barbara Reynolds

Rev. Martin Luther King, at Atlanta Univ. for SCLC-sponsored student conf. (Photo by Howard Sochurek//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TriceEdneyWire.com) – In 1970, only two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his widow Coretta Scott King received the horrific news that haters had shot into her husband’s crypt in Atlanta, using it for target practice. Though grieved by the news, she conceded it was an omen that even in his grave the assassination of Dr. King would continue by fabrications and vile assaults on her husband’s character.
To her, the words, “you can kill the dream, but not the dreamer,” were not just a catchy mantra. She used them to brace her for the backlash she feared would come.
The recent trove of salacious and ill-reported old rumors being bandied about by Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow falls seamlessly into that anticipated outcome. Mrs. King who died in 2006 had often shared with me her distrust of Garrow because of his close ties to the F.B.I., an agency that has historically schemed to nullify Black leaders and according to former FBI agent Donald Wilson, agents cheered in the Atlanta bureau upon news of his death..
The controversial information was obtained from F.B.I. bugging of hotel visits as Dr. King traveled across the country. The newest scandalous claims, according to an FBI agent, place Dr. King in a hotel room when a minister friend of his, now deceased, raped a woman, and King “looked on, laughed and offered advice” and that he also fathered a child with a mistress.
The information Garrow reportedly uncovered was recently reported in Standpoint, a conservative British magazine along with an article labeling King a “sexual predator” and “the Harvey Weinstein of the civil rights movement.”
As the news reverberated in London, Keith Magee, a senior scholar at the University College London(UCL) expressed his outrage. “This is part of the right wing’s offensive to dismantle and destroy everything revered by people of color. As President Trump visited London, certain people couldn’t bear to see a Black man being more respected than Trump, so there was a move to destroy Dr. King’s image.”
Meanwhile, several right-wing news outlets are blowing up the fabricated scandal; in one instance calling for the dismantling of Dr. King’s statue on the mall in the nation’s capital.
Clayborne Carson is King’s biography and oversees the Dr. King records headquartered at Stanford University. He says he has seen the same information Garrow has but reached a different conclusion. “None of this is new. Garrow is talking about a recently added summary of a transcript of a 1964 recording from the Willard Hotel that others, including Mrs. King, have said they did not hear Martin’s voice on in. The added summary was four layers removed from the actual recording. This supposedly new information comes from an anonymous source in a single paragraph in an F.B.I. report. You have to ask how could anyone conclude King looked at a rape from an audio recording in a room where he was not present.”
In my Coretta King memoir, “My Life, My Love, My Legacy, “ she talked about this material mailed to her home on Nov. 2, 1964, that her sources later confirmed were dispatched by the F.B I. “I set up our reel-to-reel recorder and listened. I have read scores of reports talking about the scurrilous activities of my husband but once again, there was nothing at all incriminating on the tape. It was a social event with people laughing and telling dirty jokes. But I did not hear Martin’s voice on it, and there was nothing about sex or anything else resembling the lies J. Edgar and the F.B.I. were spreading.”
Although she and other aides dismissed the tape, she could not dismiss the poorly typed letter in the package, suggesting the information to be released to the press was so damaging King should commit suicide. It read: “King we’ve found you out… You are done for there is only one way out.. You have thirty- four days before you are exposed and publicly defamed.”
What should be made clear is the letter was sent 34 days before Martin was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize but was not opened until the couple returned from the Nobel ceremonies in Norway. Mrs. King said that Hoover hated Dr. King and was outraged that King was receiving the honor he felt he deserved. “Our source told us Hoover had ordered the doctored tape to be sent to me in the hopes I would divorce Martin, which would bring him down. Despite all the rumors, Martin and I did not take the bait.”
Believing the FBI is a friend of Black people would require amnesia as the agency has historically worked to nullify and destroy Black leaders, author Anthony Summers says in his Hoover biography entitled “Official and Confidential.”
The long list includes orchestrating the jailing and deportation of the fiery Jamaican leader Marcus Garvey, bugging and blackballing the great singer Paul Robeson, the ruthless assault on the Black Panthers and the well-documented COINTELPRO, the FBI program waged in the 1960’s to prevent the rise of a Black Messiah, generally thought to be Dr. King.
Over the years, Mrs. King has defended her husband’s reputation attesting he was faithful to his marriage. Others, however, such as Carson, a historian, do not put King in a category of perfection. “There are no perfect men, but it is still wrong to use undocumented, tainted evidence to smear a man when history shows that many men with documented sordid private lives, still remain heroes.”
While the scandal is brewing, the words of Mrs. King are worth remembering: They may kill the dreamer, but Dr. King’s dream of diversity and justice will outlive his enemies.
Dr. Barbara Reynolds a former editorial writer and columnist for USA TODAY, has written for numerous publications, such as The Washington Post, Essence Magazine, Playboy Magazine, and the Trice Edney News Wire. She is an author of seven books. The latest is Coretta Scott King, My Life, My Love, My Legacy.

Board members recognized for School Board Appreciation Month; public challenges criticism of superintendent and school system

Robert Brown Middle School students demonstrate walking and dancing robots they created.

In keeping with recognizing January as School Board Appreciation Month, each of the Greene County schools honored the local school board members with special accolades at the monthly meeting held Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Eutaw Primary students Ja’Siyah Spencer and London Gould, under the direction of 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Keisha Williams, rendered a poem. Principal Barbara Martin invited board members to a special luncheon.
Robert Brown Middle School Students Jami Williams, Omar Elnaham, Kailee Coleman, Jocelyn Pelt and Anthony McMillian, Jr., under the direction of 7th & 8th grade teacher, Ms. Janice Jeames, demonstrated the walking and dancing robots they created in science class.

The group presented board members with sweets and certificates of appreciation.
Representing Greene County High School, Mr. Alphonzo Morton, III, science/biology teacher and Mr. Siegfried Williams, Choir Director, rendered a poem and song and presented board members with bags of sweets and certificates of appreciation.
Superintendent Dr. James Carter, Sr., representing the Central office staff, presented board members certificates of appreciation and fruit baskets.
Phillis Belcher, Executive Director of the Greene County Industrial Development Authority, also recognized the school board members with bags of healthy treats and copies of the spiritual guide, Chicken Soup for the Soul.
Returning to its regular order of business, the board acted on the following personnel recommendations of the superintendent.
Approved resignations of Sondra Green, Health Science Instructor, Greene County Career Center, effective January 15, 2019; Lesley Carlisle, Maintenance Supervisor, effective January 31, 2018.
Approved catastrophic leave for Tyreice Mack, 5th grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School.
Approved employment of Derrick Williams, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Approved salary adjustment for Accounts Payable Clerk, for duties outside regular duties.
Approved supplemental contracts for Shayla McCray, Charlayne Jordan-Riley, and Angelia Hood for duties performed outside regular contract.
Approved supplemental contract for Fredrick Square as School Safety Coordinator.
Approved supplemental contract for Alfonzo Noland, for duties outside regular duties.
The board also approved Dr. Carter’s recommendation that supplemental contracts for coaches remain as is with the caveat that coaches be given extra pay consideration upon completion of annual evaluation, number of students who earn scholarships, won and lost record, practice schedule, and morale of students and coaches within the program.
CSFO LaVonda Blair presented a financial snapshot for the period ending November 2018:
General Fund Balance – $659,662.79 (reconciles to the summary cash report); Check Register Accountability Report – $486,097.48; Payroll register – $898,072.90; Combined Fund Balance – $2,950,901; Local Revenue for the month included property taxes – $202,633.59 and bingo collections – $58,620. Statement ending balance in Merchants & Farmers Bank – $592,538.82 with ending book balance at $659,662.679. The School system’s reserved fund balance is $2,950,901.15
Morgan attempts to buy-out superintendent’s contract
When the board members returned from executive session, board member William Morgan offered a motion which in effect would buy-out Superintendent Carter’s contract and end his services in the system as of Feb. 1, 2019. In the December board meeting, the majority of the board voted to non-renew Dr. Carter’s contract when it ends in June, 2019. Morgan’s motion was deemed out of order, since discussion of the superintendent’s contract was not on the agenda and to add it would required unanimous consent of all board members. Morgan proceeded to expound on the reasons for his motion. He stated that the school system is in great disarray; teachers do not get support they need; principals don’t do their jobs; students don’t get resources needed and all this, according to Morgan, is failure of the superintendent to do his job. Morgan made several disparaging statements against the superintendent, implying the system needed someone new immediately before everything just fell apart. Mr. Leo Branch, board president, had to resort to gaveling Morgan back to order, with the latter insisting he had the floor.
Superintendent Carter followed with his own remarks, refuting Morgans statements of how bad the school system is. Carter pointed to the new and continuing initiatives and the progressive work going on in the system.
Board member Carol Zippert indicated that she wanted clarity that Morgan did not represent her views on the school system. She said that are lots of good things going on in our schools and problems and issues cannot be corrected overnight. It takes a process for progress to continue, with everyone playing a part. She stated that the system is continuing to improve.
During public comments, several members of the audience, including Ms. Hattie Edwards, former Mayor or Eutaw, District Judge Lillie Jones Osborne, Commissioner Lester Brown, community leader Spiver Gordon and retired teacher Mary Otieno, challenged the statements made by Morgan and noted specifics of how they viewed progress in the school system. Each speaker indicated that many entities are responsible for students’ success, including parents, teachers, administrators, the community and students themselves. They all said it is not entirely up to the superintendent. One speaker urged the board to find a way to work together for the students.

Newswire:  Indictments and trials finally come in police shootings of Blacks, minorities

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia

Amber Geiger and Botham Jean

Recent indictments and convictions suggest a swinging pendulum, and at least some cracks in the “Blue Wall” that all too often conspires to hide details and protect officers guilty of unjust shootings of African Americans and others. Prosecutors in Chicago have won an indictment, alleging that three Windy City police officers conspired to protect a fellow officer after he fatally shot a Black teenager, Laquand McDonald, in 2014. The officers did so in spite of available videotaped evidence of the shooting, prosecutors said. McDonald, who was 17, was armed with a knife when he was shot 16 times. In Dallas, Texas, an officer was indicted last week on murder charges, nearly three months after she shot and killed an unarmed Black man whose apartment she said she entered by mistake, believing it to be her own. Also, in the last week, four Missouri police officers were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the assault of a fellow officer who was working undercover. Officers Dustin Boone, Randy Hays and Christopher Myers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, are accused of beating the undercover officer with a riot baton and tampering with witnesses to cover up the incident. Myers was also charged with destroying evidence and Officer Bailey Colletta was indicted on a charge of providing false statements to a federal grand jury in connection with the incident. According to CNN, the indictment details text messages between Myers and Boone in which they talk about how much fun it will be to beat “the hell out of these s**theads once the sun goes down and no one can tell us” apart. In Chicago, prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said in her opening statement that defendants David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney offered accounts of the deadly incident that conflicted with the video evidence. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. The bench trial is expected to run into next week, according to Reuters. Earlier, a jury found former Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of McDonald. What all of trials instances shares in common beyond the fact that officers are involved, and face prosecution, is that the perpetrators were white officers and the victims are all black males, and with the exception of McDonald, were unarmed when they were injured or killed. “For all the sacrifices and headaches of covering the murder trial of Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, it was worth it. Finally seeing a police officer led out of the courtroom left me speechless,” said Erick Johnson, who covered that trial for the Chicago Crusader. “Dressed in a black suit, he looked as if he was going to his own funeral. Only I, and a handful of Black clergy and activists in the courtroom were not mourning,” Johnson said, noting that “Silently, we were rejoicing.” The conviction, which led to Van Dyke being marched out of the court in handcuffs, was a day many Blacks in Chicago never thought they would see, said Johnson, who sat in the front row reserved for media and just yards away from Van Dyke. “A white police officer found guilty of killing Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager, and locked up immediately after his historic conviction. For Black Chicago, it was the trial of the century, a moment they had been waiting for a long time,” he said. “For this Black journalist, it was history unfolding before my very eyes. It was a story that changed Chicago forever and the climatic ending was about to take place in courtroom 500.” Meanwhile in Dallas, Amber Guyger told fellow officers that she opened fire when Botham Jean appeared in the darkness. Jean, a 26-year-old native of the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, attended college in Arkansas and had been working in Dallas for accounting and consulting firm PwC. Jean’s relatives joined the district attorney for the announcement of murder charges against the disgraced officer. “I truly believe that she inflicted tremendous evil on my son,” Jean’s mother, Allison said after the announcement of the charges, according to ABC News. “He didn’t deserve it. He was seated in his own apartment.” Guyger was arrested on a manslaughter charge three days after the Sept. 6 shooting, prompting criticism that the original charge was too lenient. But Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said at the time that the grand jury could upgrade the charge, which it did last week. “When you look at the facts of this case, we thought that it was murder all along,” Johnson said. After finishing her shift, Guyger told investigators, she returned home in uniform and parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex’s garage, rather than the third floor, where her unit was located, according to an affidavit prepared by the Texas Rangers. She said she got to what she thought was her apartment — Jean’s was directly above hers — and found the door ajar. She opened it to find a figure standing in the darkness. She said she pulled her gun and fired twice after the person ignored her commands. “The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) for decades has chronicled racially-motivated police murders and brutality against Black America,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. “The recent indictments and sentencing of perpetrator police officers across the nation is long overdue. The NNPA will continue to demand an end to these systematic deadly actions and policies,” Chavis said. An analysis by the Associated Press also marked the latest developments in the national conversation on issues of law enforcement and race. A slew of law enforcement officers have faced charges for the shooting deaths of Black people. They include Guyger, Van Dyke, Stockley, and Robert Bates, a white Tulsa, Oklahoma, volunteer sheriff’s deputy who was sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter in the April 2015 death of Eric Harris, 44, who was unarmed and restrained.

County Commission re-organizes: Tennyson Smith selected as Chair; Roshanda Summerville selected as Vice Chair

Shown L to R: Greene County Commissioners Lester Brown, Allen Turner, Jr., Roshanda Summerville, Tennyson Smith and Corey Cockrell.

 

At the Greene County Commission’s annual organizational meeting, held Wednesday, Nov.14, 2018, Commissioner Tennyson Smith was selected as Chairperson and newly elected Commissioner Roshanda Summerville was selected as Vice Chairperson. Attorney Hank Sanders, who presided over the process, opened the floor for nominations for Chairperson. Commissioner Corey Cockrell nominated Commissioner Allen Turner, Jr. and Commissioner Lester Brown nominated Commissioner Tennyson Smith. Smith received three votes and Turner received 2 votes.

For Vice Chair, Commissioner Turner nominated Commissioner Cockrell and Commissioner Brown nominated Commissioner Summerville. Summerville received four votes and Cockrell received one vote. Following each nomination and vote, Attorney Sanders asked for a motion and second on the selection of officers for the record. Brown moved and Summerville seconded that Smith serve as Chairperson. The vote was again three to two for Smith. Brown moved and Cockrell seconded that Summerville to serve as Vice Chairperson. The vote was four to one for Summerville. The commission approved the second Monday of each month at 6:00 pm as its regular meeting schedule. The Chairperson’s appointment of Commissioners to chair various committees was tabled. The body also agreed to maintain the same designation of bank depositories, with Chairperson Smith and Vice Chairperson Summerville serving as signatories for checks. Smith and CFO Paula Bird will remain as signatories for the safety deposit box. The standard Rules of Procedure were approved. In other business the commission received and approved the finance report and payment of claims as presented by CFO Bird. The following bank balances as of October 18, 2018 were noted: Citizen Trust Bank $2,048,536.88; Merchants & Farmers Bank $4,351,360.62; Bank of New York $358,896.59; Bond Investments $921,428.30. The meeting was adjoined and public comments were invited.

Tennyson Smith defeats Pelt for Commission seat Greene County has high turnout for straight Democratic ticket; Not enough to stem state trend for Republicans

Gov. Kay Ivey and Tennyson Smith

Unofficial vote totals for Tuesday’s General Election show that 4,183 of Greene County’s 7,050 registered voters (59.3%) turned out and voted overwhelming for the straight Democratic ticket. In Greene County, in the Governor’s race, Democratic candidate, Walt Maddox received 3,506 votes (84.1%) to 661 votes (15.1%) for incumbent Republican Kay Ivey. Statewide Ivey received 849,410 (61%) to 562,521 (39%) for Maddox. Ivey becomes Alabama’s second woman Governor and at 74, the oldest elected Governor in the nation. In other statewide contests, the Republican candidates were all successful in their races including: Will Ainsworth for Lieutenant Governor, Steve Marshall for Attorney General, Tom Parker for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, John H. Merrill for Secretary of State, John McMillan for State Treasurer, Jim Ziegler for State Auditor, Rick Pate for Commissioner of Agriculture, Jeremy H. Oden, Public Service Commission, Place 1 and Chris ‘Chip” Beeker Jr., Public Service Commission Place 2. Beeker is a native and resident of Greene County. All seven of Alabama’s incumbent Congresspersons were reelected, including Terri Sewell, who ran unopposed for the 7th District. Sewell is the only Democrat in Alabama’s delegation to Congress. In local Greene County races, Tennyson Smith was reelected County Commissioner in District 2 by a vote of 620 defeating Independent Latoya ‘Mi-Mi’ Pelt with 191 votes. Tennyson Smith will be joining Commissioners Lester ‘Bop’ Brown (District 1), Corey Cockrell (District 3), Allen Turner, Jr. (District 4), and Roshonda Summerville (District 5), who were Democratic nominees from the primary who were unopposed in the General Election. This election also officially confirmed the election of other Greene County office holders who were nominated in the Democratic primary and unopposed in this election. This includes: Eddie Hardaway Jr, Circuit Judge, Veronica Morton-Jones, Circuit Clerk, Rolanda H. Wedgeworth, Judge of Probate, Jonathan ‘Joe” Benison, Sheriff, and Ronald ‘Kent’ Smith, Coroner. Greene County will also be represented by the same legislative delegation including Bobby Singleton, State Senator District 24, A. J. McCampbell, State Representative District No. 71 and Ralph A. Howard, State Representative District 72, who were unopposed and elected in yesterday’s election. All four State Amendments on the ballot were approved statewide by a 60% margin, however in Greene County voters opposed amendments 1, 2 and 4. Amendment 2, which says that Alabamians recognize the rights of the unborn, could lead to the outlawing of abortions and certain contraceptive measures in the future.