Alabama New South Coalition praised by Ben Chavis in Fall Convention keynote speech

Dr. Benjamin Chavis

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

 

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) was the keynote speaker for the Alabama New South Coalition’s virtual Fall Convention this past Saturday.

Chavis, a veteran civil rights fighter and current president of the national association of 200 Black newspapers, praised ANSC, “Alabama is a better state because of the Alabama New South Coalition and your organizing, advocacy and community building work over the past 35 years.”

“ANSC was organized in response to racial issues facing Black people and has continued with perseverance and courage to educate and uplift people in the state to fight injustice and build unity among people” said Chavis.

He said the forces of oppression and opposition: White Supremacy, Racism, Economic Exploitation and World Domination of people of color are still out there. “Every time we take a step forward, they react and try to push us backwards.”

Chavis said, “I hope you will continue to involve young people in the struggle. We have to be intentional about involving, embracing and encouraging young people to participate in our struggle. When I started working in the movement at 13, my parents did not scold me or stop me, they pushed me along.”

He spoke about his dissatisfaction with the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict of not guilty on all charges, in the murder of two and the injuring of several others demonstrators in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “The judge acted like one of the prosecutors in this case. Rittenhouse crossed state lines with an AR-57 rifle and the judge prevented the jury from deciding on this charge. Notions of white supremacy are still a part of our criminal justice system,” he said.

He closed saying, “We as a people need to retain our serious spirituality but not wait on God. God wants us to get involved, speak up and speak out for ourselves and we need to get involved in the struggle to change our lives for the better, as you in ANSC have tried to do.”

The ANSC Fall Convention also included a panel of state legislators speaking on issues of concern to the members in Alabama. State Senator Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham spoke about the lawsuit he has filed together with Senator Bobby Singleton and others on the newly adopted Congressional redistricting plan. They say the lines are drawn to “pack” Black voters in the 7th Congressional District when there are more equitable
District lines that can be drawn to enable the election of two Black members of the U. S. House of Representatives and allow for the plan not to divide counties into more than one district. Smitherman said he hoped the court would rule soon before the May 24, 2022 scheduled primary elections.

Representative Barbara Drummond of Mobile reported on steps the State of Alabama had taken to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. She was critical of Governor Ivey’s use of $400 million of state coronavirus funds for prison construction instead of assisting health care for Black and poor people.

State Senator Malika Sanders Fortier spoke on efforts to find a sustainable stream of funding in the state, to support the state’s matching funds needed to expand Medicaid. “We cannot use Federal funds from the virus funding as the state’s match for Medicaid, we must identify new state monies from gam9ing or other sources, which can support Medicaid expansion for the working poor.”

State Representative Merika Coleman of Bessemer, Alabama spoke on the work of the special legislative committee to remove racist language from the Alabama State Constitution. The committee after an educational process,
Agreed to change some major provisions to remove racist language. These changes will be the subject of additional Constitutional amendments to be approved by the voters in upcoming elections.

The members of ANSC approved re-election of state officers for a second two-year term, including Debra Foster, President, Everett Wess, First Vice President, Sharon Wheeler, Treasurer, Matilda Hamilton, Recording Secretary and Patricia Lewis, Corresponding Secretary. The Second Vice-President, who must be a youth, is Leslie Jones of Wilcox County replacing Ivan Peoples of Greene County.

Newswire: The majority of all U.S. children are those of color

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

In 2019, there were more than 73 million children in the United States – making up 22 percent of the nation’s population. Children of color made up 49.8 percent of all children, and more than half of the 19.6 million children under five in America were individuals of color. The statistics are part of the nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund’s “The State of America’s Children 2021 report.” It dovetails with the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest report that changing the United States’ racial makeup is most visible among children. The Census Bureau found that most children are projected to be of a race other than non-Hispanic white. “These changes mirror a broader transition in the United States to a more pluralistic population,” Census Bureau officials reported. The U. S. Census report this week deals with over population by state and confirmed that Alabama had over % million people and will retain its seven (7) Congressional seats. The Children’s Defense Fund’s comprehensive report also noted that most children under 18 were children of color in 14 states, including Alaska, California, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Texas, and the District of Columbia. In 2019 – the latest statistics available, 36.7 million children were white (50.2 percent); 18.7 million were Hispanic (25.6 percent); 10 million were Black (13.7 percent). Approximately 3.7 million were Asian (5.0 percent), 615,950 were American Indian/Alaska Native (<1 percent), and 147,057 were Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander (<1 percent). Previous estimates suggest that most U.S. children are children of color as of 2020, and the U.S. population will continue to become more racially and ethnically diverse. “The U.S. – and especially our youngest generation – is reaching a critical moment in racial and ethnic diversity,” Dr. Starsky Wilson, president, and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, told the Black Press in a live interview. “We need policies and programs that recognize and celebrate this growing diversity.” The State of America’s Children 2021 summarizes the status of America’s children in 12 areas – child population, child poverty, income and wealth inequality, housing and homelessness, child hunger and nutrition, child health, early childhood, education, child welfare, youth justice, gun violence, and immigration. Dr. Wilson remarked that America needs to better look after its children. “Our children have lost the health coverage they need to survive and thrive at an alarming rate,” he stated. Dr. Wilson noted that the Children’s Defense Fund’s new report revealed that an estimated 4.4 million children under age 19 were uninsured—an increase of 320,000 more children without health insurance since 2018. “The rates of uninsured children are especially high among Hispanic children, undocumented children, children living in the South, and children in families with lower incomes,” Dr. Wilson added from the report. Medicaid and CHIP are the foundation of the nation’s health insurance system for children. In 2019, nearly 36 million children under 19 received comprehensive, pediatric-appropriate, and affordable health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP. “While more than 3 million children and youth have contracted the novel coronavirus in the United States, all 73 million are impacted by the sense of uncertainty and disruption of routine it has caused,” Dr. Wilson insisted. “Even the improvements in the second school year of online learning have not resolved concerns of social isolation and the loss of important life milestones, like graduation and the high school prom. This loss of certainty, consistent routine, and the connection is leading to increased levels of depression and despair among our children and youth.” The fight for social justice and criminal justice reform could not be accomplished without considering children, Dr. Wilson insiste“The protracted struggle for democracy led to a change in partisan control of the federal government and a first in executive leadership for women, Black, and South Asian Americans,” Dr. Wilson exclaimed. “But it can’t be that we forget about the future generation, where now children of color make up the majority.”

FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

Members of FOGCE Federal Credit Union at Annual Meeting.

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its Annual Meeting and Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at the credit union’s offices in downtown Eutaw.
The meeting was well attended by more than 35 members who came to learn the status and future plans for the credit union.
Joyce Pham, Treasurer, gave a financial report indicating that as of December 31, 2017, the FOGCE had $503,782.56 in loans outstanding to the membership with assets of $1,343,153.16. There are 891 members and net income for 2017 was $13,819.19.
Mary Dunn, Chairperson of the Credit Committee reported that the FOGCE had made 333 loans in 2018, for a total of $421,537.69, which included ten automobile loans with a value of $153,839.
Rodney Pham indicated that the Credit Committee had increased the maximum loan for an automobile from $40,000 to $60,000. Loans are based on the car’s value, repayment ability and credit rating of the borrower.
Dr. Carol P. Zippert, President reported on the credit union. “ We started in 1975, 43 years ago, with around $25,000 in savings and we have grown to have $1.3 million in assets today. After years of operating in renter spaces, we now own our own building on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert continued, “ We recently received a $10,000 grant from Inclusiv (formerly the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) for technology upgrades, accounting and compliance, financial education and counseling for members and marketing and communications expenses to improve contact with our members. We plan to use these grant funds to grow and improve our credit union. We would like to have 1,000 members and over $1.5 million in assets by the end of 2019.”
Joyce Pham indicated that any person who lives, works or worships in Greene County is eligible to join the credit union. It takes $35.00 to join, with $10 for administrative fees to set-up the account and $25.00 as the initial share deposit. All savings are insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to a value of $250,000 per account.
Pham said the credit union is now getting payroll deduction of savings and loan payments from more than thirty employers and businesses in Greene County and surrounding communities including Aliceville, Demopolis, Tuscaloosa and others.
In the business meeting, the members re-elected three board members including Darlene Robinson, Rodney Pham and Mollie Rowe. Also re-elected to the Credit Committee were: Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson. .
Several visitors from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives made congratulatory remarks to the members. These included: Carrie Fulghum, Alabama Board member with the Federation, Dr. Marcus Bernard, Director of the Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, and John Zippert, long time Federation staff member.

Newswire : Nigerian leader promised banned military aircraft at meeting with Trump

Nigerian President with Trump.jpg
Nigerian President Buhari with President Donald Trump

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—At a long-awaited meeting between President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the U.S. president announced the approval of a dozen war planes for Nigeria whose sale had been frozen by former President Barack Obama.

Rebuking his Nigerian counterpart for the proliferation of violence throughout that country, Trump expressed concern for “the burning of churches and killing of Christians.”

President Buhari blamed the violence on militia trained by the late former Libyan President, Muammar Gadaffi. He thanked the U.S. for “giving us the aircraft that we asked for,” adding “We’re even more grateful for the presence of U.S. military advisors in Nigeria.”

President Trump called the sale of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft “the first-ever sale of the American military weapon to Nigeria. This new aircraft will help Nigeria target terrorists and protect civilians.”

In fact, the planes were in the pipeline since the Obama administration but the sale was frozen in one of Obama’s last decisions in office after a Nigerian fighter jet mistakenly bombed a government-run refugee camp, killing over 100 refugees including Red Cross volunteers.

The 12 aircraft, with weapons and services, are worth $593 million and include thousands of bombs and rockets. The plane, with reconnaissance, surveillance and attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer and in Jacksonville, Florida by Embraer and the Sierra Nevada Corp.

But fighting Boko Haram requires much more, commented Prof. Stephen Onyeiwu of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. “Unrest within West Africa is driven by local grievances, corruption and weak governance, human rights violations, and imported religious ideology.

“Buhari could also do with substantial non-military assistance. In particular, he needs help to address two huge social problems in Nigeria: the fact that 70% of Nigerians live in abject poverty, and that more than 50% of the country’s young people are jobless.

“But Buhari should not count on Trump to increase aid for the kind of economic transformation the country needs,” Onyeiwu continued. “In the 2017 financial year, the US budgeted a mere $608 million in foreign assistance to Nigeria, a number which eerily echoes the price tag for the 12 fighter jets Nigeria wants to buy.”

The much-heralded meeting of Trump and Buhari struck a sour note for the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria.

“One wonders if Trump is not aware or deliberately ignored the murder of several Muslims in a mosque at the University of Maiduguri, or those killed in mosques in Yobe and Zamfara and many other parts of the country,” said Saheed Ashafa, student group president.

“As Muslims, we condemn and reject all forms of terrorism, insurgency and oppression in whatever name being perpetrated. We should also remember that in Nigeria, most families are composed of Christians and Muslims alike, just as we have other faiths.

“Trump’s call for separatism when the world is advocating for collectivism is not a healthy offer.”

Newswire: Leading Black legislator calls for economic unity, action as Black Wealth 2020 celebrates second year

By Hazel Trice Edney

gregory porter.jpg
Indiana Rep. Gregory Porter, president, National Black Caucus of State Legislators
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The president of America’s largest organization of Black legislators has called for unity behind economic development initiatives prioritized by Black Wealth 2020, a movement launched two years ago to forge progress for Black-owned businesses, banks and homeowners.
“Economic development is the cornerstone for everything. It’s kind of interesting to talk to you all because you’re living it every day. You know what it takes,” said Indiana Rep. Gregory W. Porter, president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). He was speaking to Black Wealth 2020 founders, executives and associates at its second anniversary luncheon. “What it takes is for a community to get along. Also, we don’t spend with our people like we should and we know that. The bottom line is this: We know the whereases. We know what the problems are. Therefore, what are we going to do? Jesse [Jackson] said years ago ‘Can’t nobody save us but us.’… That’s what we’re doing right now, saving us.”
Backing from the NBCSL adds significant momentum to Black Wealth 2020, founded two years ago by Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers Inc.; Michael Grant, then president of the National Bankers Association; and Jim Winston, president of the National Organization of Black Owned Broadcasters. At least a dozen other major Black organizations have either joined or expressed support for its economic initiatives.
“We own too little land. We have too lower median income than other Americans. We have much lower family wealth than our White brothers and sisters and we’ve got to make that change,” Porter said to shouts of “Amen” and applause from the audience.
A strategy to unify with other organizations will be the key to success, said Porter, a Democrat serving his 13th term in the Indiana General Assembly.
“We’re working with the NAACP, Urban League, other groups and National Organizations because if we do that we’ll be strong together. We can’t continue to be silos. So, I know as we go forth, we will do it as a community. And so, remember, you have 600 legislators, we represent 60 million people. We’re in 45 states, plus U. S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. We have the means. It’s up to all of us to come together and have the will.”
Speaking to the luncheon gathering at HomeFree-USA, Porter listed a number of economic policies currently being pushed by NBCSL, which has a membership that blankets the nation; plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, DC. “We represent about 60 million people in rural communities and we come together two or three times a year in an annual conference.”
Pointing to long-held discussions about Black wealth, Porter, ranking minority member on Indiana’s Ways and Means Committee, stressed that the most important need now is less talk and more strategic action. “The bottom line is that we can talk all we want to, but we’ve got to have our independence in regards to economics,” he said.
As an example of action, he said he and likeminded legislators have had to hold up certain projects in order to assure Black participation.
“We’re the super minority, so a lot of us are fighting to stay relevant in this whole process,” he said. “They always go to the big company, but we’ve got to know how we’re going to build our capacity by choosing minority companies…We’ve worked very hard in dealing with minority access for sustainable financial institutions through our resolutions. As Black Caucuses across the country, we’re increasing our fair contracting opportunities and practices for economic parity. These are resolutions that we’ve passed.”
Among key economic issues being dealt with in legislatures daily are homeowner protection, anti-predatory lending, home affordability resolutions, anti-discrimination and gentrification issues. Preparation for the 2020 Census and making sure African-Americans are fully counted will also be key, he said. NCBSL’s next legislative conference will be held Nov. 28 at which time they will “look at Black wealth.”
Echoing the importance of unity in order to accomplish economic goals, HomeFree-USA President/CEO Marcia Griffin appealed to those in the room to “be our ambassadors, our messengers, etc. because we need to reach thousands with a sense of understanding and get people to wrap their arms around our goals. … We’re from all sorts of different segments of the Black community, but we’ve come together to work together to empower ourselves and empower our community and empower our country.”
Grant, now based in Nashville, where he is regional president of United Security Financial, a mortgage banking company, agreed with the appeal for harmony. “We’re not trying to upstage anybody. We’re not trying to compete with anybody. What we’re trying to do is pull our strength together so that when we speak with one voice, they’re looking at all of these organizations coming together and it’s hard to say no to that kind of power.”
Porter also underscored the importance of constituents holding lawmakers – including Black legislators – accountable and not taking for granted that they will automatically push for economic inclusion. He suggested that constituents:

Have their own kitchen cabinet and invite legislators to neighborhood and community meetings.
Come to state houses, visit the representatives’ offices.
Attend and speak at public hearings.

“You can’t be the invisible,” he said. “We’ve got to stay woke about economic development and the process that we have. We did build this country. We need to manage this country.”
Expressing the importance of this year being the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Dr. King’s Poor People’s Movement, Porter said, “It does mean a lot to us…You’ve got to know where you came from to know where you’re going.”

Dr. Dorothy Height to be honored on U.S. postage stamp

dorothy-height-stamp

Stamp honoring Dorothy Height

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – On Feb. 1, the U. S. Postal Service will kick off 2017 Black History Month with the issuance of the Dorothy Height Forever stamp to honor the civil rights legend.

The Dorothy Height Forever stamp will be the 40th stamp in the Black Heritage series. The late Dr. Height is considered to be civil rights royalty. Having led the National Council of Negro Women for four decades, Height was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded by President George W. Bush in 2004 for her pioneering work for the civil rights of African-Americans and women. President Barack Obama gave her eulogy upon her death on April 12, 2010.

Participants in the Feb. 1 event will be Ronald A. Stroman, deputy postmaster general and chief government relations officer, United States Postal Service; Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.); Alexis Herman, president, Dorothy I. Height Education Foundation; Ingrid Saunders Jones, chair, National Council of Negro Women; Naima Randolph, Dorothy Height’s great niece; Derry Noyes, art director; and Bishop Vashti McKenzie, bishop of the African American Episcopal Church.

Doors will open at 10 a.m. for the 11 a.m. event to be held at the Howard University Cramton Auditorium, 2455 Sixth Street Washington, DC. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Space is limited and admission is not guaranteed. To obtain a free ticket, visit the Cramton Auditorium Box Office.

FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting; Assets exceed $1.4 million; Savings at $923,381

IMG_0508.JPGOn December 15, 2016, the Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its 2016 Annual Meeting.
Rodney Pham, Credit Committee Chair, on behalf of the Manager reported that the credit union had $1.416,308 in assets as of November 30, 2016. Of this amount $ 923,381 are shares deposited by members and $200,000 in non-member deposits from other credit unions and non-profit organizations. The balance of the assets are in reserve funds and undivided earnings.
As of November, the credit union had $452,346.57 out in approximately 300 loans to members. The credit union makes loans against shares, personal loans, education, new and used car loans and other loans of benefit to members. Pham said, “The delinquency rate on loans was under 1%, which means our members understand that we are borrowing from each other and have a responsibility to pay back loans.”
Carol Zippert, President of the credit union reported that the credit union began in 1975 with 25 members and less than $10,000 in assets and has grown to 848 members and $1.4 million in assets. “This is a great achievement for a Black owned financial institution in one of the smallest and poorest counties in Alabama, “ she said.

The FOGCE – FCU is open to all people who live, work and worship in Greene County There is a ten dollar membership fee to join and a minimum share deposit of $25.00 then all other money you put in goes to your saving shares. FOGCE-FCU is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which reviews the credit union annually and guarantees member’s savings to a maximum of $250,000 per account.
Members of the credit union are the owners and have one vote towards electing the Board of Directors and Credit Committee of the FOGCE Federal Credit Union. The organization is a financial and economic development organization democratically controlled by its members. At the annual meeting, Willie Carpenter, Earnest Edmond and Carol P. Zippert were re-elected to the Board of Directors and Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson were elected to the Credit Committee.
The FOGCE-FCU has direct deposit of payroll for some Greene County employers and payroll deduction with most others. Members can save systematically and automatically through the payroll mechanism. Loan payments may also be made by payroll deduction.
Darleen Robinson, Chair of the Supervisory Committee conducts annual reviews and internal audits of the credit union to insure that all funds are used properly and are accounted for correctly. “ We welcome members suggestions and questions so we can improve the work and performance of the credit union,” she said.
John Zippert and Pamela Madzima of the staff of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives of which FOGCE-FCU is a member also attended the meeting and made supportive remarks.
Carol Zippert said that FOGCE-FCU must increase its membership and attract more young adults and millennials to our membership. “We need to set a goal for 2017, to have $1 million dollars in membership savings. This will require new members and old members depositing at least $ 75,000 in new savings into the credit union. I believe we can do this if we work together,” said Zippert.

Harriet Tubman to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill

By Kim Bussing

Harriet Tubman on $20 bill

Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill

On Wednesday, April 20, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, on the $20 bill.
The former slave and abolitionist is the first African-American, and the first woman in over a century, to be featured on the face of U.S. currency. The last female represented on U.S. notes was Martha Washington, who appeared on the $1 silver certificate from 1886 to 1957, when the certificates were discontinued. Tubman, who was selected by popular vote, faced fierce competition from powerful women like Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt. However, it was the African-American fighter for equality that appealed to the public the most. Born a slave in 1820 in Maryland, Tubman managed to escape while in her 20’s. She then dedicated her life to helping others achieve their freedom through the Underground Railroad, a system of safe houses and abolitionists.
Jackson will not disappear entirely from the bill: he will appear on the back, next to the image of the White House .Lew also announced design changes for the $5 and $10 USD bills. While Abraham Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton will continue to grace the front of the respective notes, the backs will feature women and civil rights leaders. The new $10 bill will have Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and Susan B. Anthony — All leaders of the 1913 suffragette movement that fought for the right of women to vote in public elections and to stand for electoral office.
The $5 bill will showcase historical moments related to the Lincoln Memorial. These include events like African American classical singer Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance there after she was forbidden to sing at the segregated Constitution Hall and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famous 1963 “I have a dream” speech.
This is the most significant overhaul of the U.S. currency since 1929. However, that was certainly not Lew’s intention when he asked the public to help select a woman to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 USD bill in June 2015. The denomination was due for a redesign due to counterfeiting threats, and the Treasury Secretary believed it would be a “feel good” gesture to ask American citizens for input.
Almost immediately following his announcement, the online group Women on 20s began a campaign to put a woman on the $20 currency note. They believed that Jackson did not deserve to be on the bill due to his tarnished legacy that includes forcible relocations of American Indians, supportive stance towards slavery, and opposition to a national banking system and use of paper money. But another women’s group called Girls’ Lounge opposed this. They wanted a woman on the $10 bill because they knew it was next in line for a redesign.
Ultimately, the $20 bill was chosen to feature Tubman, partly due to the growing support from the public and partly because of the popularity of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for drama. “The show has certainly caught people’s imagination, and I think it’s a great thing,” Lew said. “What we’ve been doing on the currency and what they’ve been doing on the show were really quite complementary.” Hamilton’s positive legacy as one of the nation’s founding father and the brainchild behind America’s financial system also played a role in Lew’s decision.
The final designs of the new bills will be revealed to the public in 2020, the 100-year anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. The new currency, starting with the $10 bill, will enter into circulation later that decade.

Bernie Sanders would apologize for slavery if elected President

Written By NewsOne Staff

Bernie Sanders

 Bernie Sanders campaigning

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders became known for his work during the Civil Rights Movement and was the first candidate to explicitly declare that Black Lives Matter, but would he address slavery if elected president?
Well, yes. In fact, the Democratic candidate said Wednesday at an event in Philadelphia that he would issue a “necessary and overdue” apology about the horrific system, The Hill reports: “An American president has yet to muster up the courage to formally apologize for the 400 heinous years of rape, death and inhumanity that occurred during the enslavement of black people in this country that still impacts million of slave descendants,” an audience member told Sanders before asking whether he’d apologize for it.
“Want the short answer?” Sanders asked in response. “Yes.”
His response isn’t all that surprising. In July, Sanders said the nation should apologize for slavery. He later reiterated his statement, saying, “as a nation we have got to apologize for slavery, and of course the president is the leader of the nation.”