Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ander Cooper 360 Digs into the Heather Ellis Case

Editor’s Note: Watch Randi Kaye’s full report tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 10pm ET.

Randi Kaye| BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Is it a classic case of “he said, she said,” or is it a brutal case of racism? Whatever it is, it may land a Missouri woman, a preacher’s daughter who has never been in trouble with the law before, in jail.

It all apparently started at a Walmart store in Kennett, Missouri where according to police, customer Heather Ellis had cut in line to pay for her items. What followed is at the heart of a court case that may send Heather Ellis to jail for as many as 15 years!

Let me first say Ms. Ellis has pleaded not guilty. But here’s how police tell it: officers say they were called to the store after Ellis caused a “disturbance” at the cash register by “yelling and cursing.” Officers say when they tried to get her to leave the store, she turned and yelled at them, “I ain’t going nowhere until I get my (expletive) change back” but that even after she got her change, she continued to be “belligerent.” The lead officer says they tried to get her to remain calm and leave in a peaceful manner and told her they’d arrest her if she refused. That is when the lead officer says Ellis “issued a threat to assault” and said if the officer put their hands on her “she was going to beat my (expletive).” Well, it turned ugly according to police, who say she became “combative and began fighting.” The officers say Ellis “continued to fight, yell and curse” and was “completely out of control.” They say she “resisted arrest” and “stiffened her body” when they tried to put her in the police car. Read the full police report here.

Click to read.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Black News: Larry Langford, Mayor of Birmingham, Convicted

It's hard to blame residents of Alabama's most populous city if they've got the Birmingham blues.

An interim mayor took over Thursday after her predecessor, Larry Langford, was convicted on 60 felony counts for bribery and kicked out of office.

Across a park from City Hall, officials at the Jefferson County Courthouse are trying to avoid filing the largest municipal bankruptcy ever, a mark the governor says would stain the entire state.

Citizens are moving out of Birmingham by the thousands, and few are replacing them. The population has dropped to an estimated 209,639, down more than 13 percent since 2000. The state high school football championships even left town this year, abandoning decrepit Legion Field for the state's two major universities.

Ronnie Coats, 42, has been living in Birmingham and volunteering in local politics for almost three decades, and says he's disgusted.

"There's a problem with government here. It's called greed," he said.


Click to read.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dr Boyce Watkins: The NCAA Destroys Black Families


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, Black Planet 

I am not a fan of the NCAA, a sports league that earns money on the par of the NFL and NBA, but has somehow decided that they don’t have to properly compensate their employees or give them standard rights to negotiation. What’s worse is that the NCAA does tremendous harm to the African American community, sucking up kids with hoop dreams and destroying their futures with inferior educations.

When I recently read that the NCAA may be hiring a black president (Dr. Bernard Franklin), the only thing I could say is “whoopty-damn-doo.” While some of us might be tempted to applaud such an achievement, we must fully understand that the disease of racism is sometimes delivered through the hands of a black overseer.

RELATED: OPINION: Ivy League Can Teach NCAA About Coach Diversity

Dr. Franklin, while running around the country applauding his organization for giving one opportunity to one black person, should probably think of the thousands of African American families being used up by the very system he has been trained to manage. The NCAA is, without question, one of the most exploitative regimes in the history of America, right next to slavery and the prison system. Billions are earned each year off the backs of African American families, while the league has worked together with Congress to create a nexus of regulations that keep the athlete and his/her family from getting a piece of the economic pie.

Click to read.

News: Secretary’s Error Costs Pepsico over $1 Billion Dollars

What's the cost of not showing up to court? For PepsiCo Inc., it's a $1.26 billion default judgment. A Wisconsin state court socked the company with the monster award in a case alleging that PepsiCo stole the idea to bottle and sell purified water from two Wisconsin men.

Now the company is scrambling to salvage the situation. The damages award was handed down on Sept. 30. PepsiCo filed motions to vacate the order and dismiss the claims on Oct. 13, saying it wasn't even aware of the lawsuit until Oct. 6.

The litigation began in April when Charles Joyce and James Voigt sued the soft drink maker and two of its distributors, alleging they had misappropriated trade secrets from confidential discussions the plaintiffs had with the distributors in 1981 about selling purified water. The information was illicitly passed to PepsiCo, which used it to develop and sell Aquafina bottled water, the plaintiffs allege in the case filed in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County before Judge Jacqueline Erwin.


Click to read.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Having a Higher Purpose – Dr. Julianne Malveaux

by Dr. Julianne Malveaux, President: Bennett College

Dr. Niara Sudarkasa, the first woman President of Lincoln University, has a name that reflects her reality. Niara means woman of high purpose, and that she is, indeed. After leaving Lincoln University in 1998, she traveled and consulted, and has recently been scholar-in-residence at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Last week, she donated her papers and personal library, including more than 3800 books, 4100 issues of journals and periodicals, plaques and other collectibles, including the outfit she wore when she was enstooled as a chief in the Ife Kingdom of Nigeria. This is a sister and scholar whose name ought to be spoken frequently among African American people, especially those who have concerns about the African American family, and those who have interests in things African. We are more likely to know entertainers, however, than we are to know scholars. This is a scholar certainly worth knowing.

I had the honor of traveling to Fort Lauderdale to help salute Dr. Sudarkasa on the occasion of her very generous gift (valued at more than $270,000) to the library. In thinking about Niara's life and career, I was especially focused on the work she has done as an Africanist and anthropologist, long before it was fashionable for African American people to look at our African roots. Indeed, Niara learned Yoruba as part of her doctoral work and studies the work that women did in African society for her dissertation. Her early work lays the foundation for contemporary work on linkages between Africa and the United States.

Click to read more.

Dr. Boyce Watkins Discusses the Heather Ellis Case

Dr Boyce Watkins discusses the Heather Ellis Case, the rally and plans to find justice for Heather and her family.

Dr. Elaina George Discusses Swine Flu on Michael Baisden - 10/20/09

Dr. Elaina and Michael Baisden break down the hype and misinformation about the Swine flu.

Texas Southern University Removes Tavis’ Name from Building


A long-simmering disagreement between broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Texas Southern University ended Friday when the university's governing board agreed to strip Smiley's name from its communication school.

Smiley promised in 2004 to donate $1 million and to raise another $1 million for TSU. The school later created the Tavis Smiley School of Communication in his honor.

In return, Smiley made one $50,000 donation in mid-2005 and raised $250,000 from three corporate donors.

But he said Friday that he had intended to fulfill his personal $1 million pledge.

“Any institution that turns away a $1 million gift in this economy, I think ought to have good reason for doing that,” he said in a telephone interview.

He also said former university President Priscilla Slade offered to name the school for him before he pledged any money.

“I even made a joke, how much is this decision going to cost me?” he said. “She said, ‘This decision has already been made.'”

“It doesn't feel good,” he said of the board's decision. “My intentions were to help the students.”


Click to read.

Tyler Perry vs. Spike Lee

Watch Tyler Perry defend himself against Spike Lee's accusations of buffoonery on 60 minutes

Monday, October 26, 2009

Writer Claims Malcolm X was Bi-Sexual


Peter Tatchell wrote a piece in the UK Guardian, called “Malcolm X Was Bisexual, Get Over It.”Tatchell writes that he is disappointed in the lack of recognition for gay and lesbian African Americans for Black History Month (Black History Month is in October in the UK). He writes:

Perhaps it is unintentional but Black History Month sometimes feels like Straight Black History Month. Famous Black LGBT people are not acknowledged and celebrated. Either their contribution to Black history and culture is ignored or their sexuality is airbrushed out of their biographies.

He goes on to write that one famous Black LGBT person is none other than Malcolm X:

A good example of this neglect is the denialism surrounding the bisexuality of one of the greatest modern Black liberation heroes: Malcolm X. The lack of recognition is perhaps not surprising, given that some of his family and many black activists have made strenuous efforts to deny his same-sex relationships and suppress recognition of the full spectrum of his sexuality.

Click to read.

Your Black News Hot off the Grio – 10/26/09

Cornel West on HNICs

Dr. Cornel West's HNIC quote was used by Kathleen Ford.

When a white mayoral candidate in St. Petersburg, FL referred to the city's black deputy mayor as an "H.N.I.C" on an Oct. 13 radio show, she was quoting Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West. "The time is past for black political and intellectual leaders to pose as the voice for black America....The days of brokering for the black turf--of posing as the Head Negro in Charge (H.N.I.C.) are over," West wrote in his seminal book on American race relations, 'Race Matters.'

Click to read.

Why We Must March for Heather Ellis Now

Why we will march for Heather Ellis

On November 16, 2009, the Your Black World Coalition, NAACP, National Action Network, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference plan to converge on the small town of Kennett, Missouri to fight for justice in the case of Heather Ellis, a 24-year-old college student who faces 15 years in prison for cutting line at a Wal-Mart.

When Justin and Journi, my assistant's children, brought this case to my attention, I was heartbroken. Their passion about the charges pushed me to action, so I reached out to others to form the "Journey for Justice" to honor the two young children who inspired us to take action in Heather's case.

I have spoken with the Ellis family extensively, and I've also spoken with those who are familiar with the case. It is my opinion that this trial represents one of the greatest travesties of justice imaginable. The greater concern is that Heather's dilemma is not the root of the problem - it is merely a symptom of broader systemic patterns of civil injustice.

In nearby Poplar Bluff, MO, a 15-year old boy, Walter Currie Jr., was doused with gasoline and set on fire by his classmates, with the perpetrator allegedly yelling racial epithets as he did it. Heather's case is just the tip of the iceberg when referring to the ultra-conservative Bootheel area, less than 100 miles away from the town where Rush Limbaugh was born.

Here are the 5 reasons why we will march on Kennett and why we are not going to stop:

Click to read.

Your Black News: Steps in on the Heather Ellis, KKK Case

Racial injustice rears its ugly head again, this time in rural Missouri, where heavy-handed prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff is threatening to impose a lengthy prison sentence on a woman after an altercation at a local Wal-Mart almost three years ago.

In January 2007, 20-year-old Heather Ellis, then a student at Xavier University, and her cousin David went to a Wal-Mart in Kennett, Missouri, near the Tennessee border, in an area commonly known as the Missouri Bootheel.  Kennett, in rural and conservative Dunklin County, which boasts that it seceded from the Union during the Civil War, is overwhelmingly white.

At the check-out line, the pair split up in order to find the shortest line.  When Ellis left her line to join her cousin at a shorter line, customers complained and a store employee accused her of cutting, at which point an argument ensued and a manager notified a security guard, an off-duty Kennett Police officer.  The situation escalated from there:

In the Ellis version, she was shoved by another customer, had her items pushed aside by the clerk and then was short-changed when she finally was checked out. The police affidavit contends, at numerous times, Ellis became belligerent, loud, abusive and cursing when she was told to leave by the store's assistant manager. Summoned by a frantic phone call from her son, as the pair walked out to the parking lot, [Ellis' aunt] Blackmon says she arrived in time to witness her niece being brutalized by police during attempts to place her in a squad car.


Ellis was charged with disturbing the peace, trespassing, resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a police officer. Yet, curiously after being described in the police affidavit as "completely out of control" during her arrest, she was released to the custody of her parents to receive medical attention only 45 minutes after being jailed. However, her arrest triggered a whole series of problems. Although she returned to school in Louisiana, two months later, an attorney hired by the family tried to talk Heather into taking a plea deal offered by powerful Dunklin County Prosecutor, Stephen Sokoloff.


Click to read.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Walter Currie Lives Near Heather Ellis - Set on Fire by a White Kid

To give you a picture of the location in which Heather Ellis fights for her freedom, meet Walter Currie, a 15-year old in nearby Poplar Bluff, who was set on fire by his classmates with the attacker allegedly yelling the words "Burn nigger burn" while he did it - visit

Updates on The Heather Ellis Case

Heather Ellis is a college student facing15 years in prison for cutting line at Walmart - visit for more details on the national protest to be held in Kennett, MO on November 14.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

President Obama Declares National Swine Flu Emergency

Hundreds of residents line up for free H1N1 vaccinations Friday at an Encino, California, clinic.

President Obama has declared a national emergency to deal with the "rapid increase in illness" from the H1N1 influenza virus.

"The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve. The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities," Obama said in a statement.

"Thus, in recognition of the continuing progression of the pandemic, and in further preparation as a nation, we are taking additional steps to facilitate our response."

The president signed the declaration late Friday and announced it Saturday.

Calling the emergency declaration "an important tool in our kit going forward," one administration official called Obama's action

Click to read.

Dr Boyce Web Chat: Megan Williams is Definitely a Liar

No matter what, Megan Williams is definitely a liar - the question is what did she lie about?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chris Rock Good Hair: Did It Bomb at Theatres?

Chris Rock is very emotional about criticism he has received since releasing good hair, saying that he disrespects black women and said that Oprah Winfrey looks like a slave - is any of this true?

Michael Baisden and Elaina George: Do you Need a Swine Flu Vaccination?

Michael Baisden, Dr. Elaina George and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Warren Ballentine Tells Juan Williams to “Go Back to the Porch”

I have no idea why FOX News political commentator Juan Williams is defendingRush Limbaugh, perhaps the most divisive, hateful person in American media today. I'm not sure why Williams is letting FOX News use him in the same way Armstrong Williams has always trotted out to defend conservative issues. (It's hard out there for a journalist.)
However, I do know that he does not deserve to be told to "go back to the porch," as radio talk show host Warren Ballentine said during a debate about Limbaugh last week.
The comments were made by Ballentine during a discussion with Williams on the 'O'Reilly Factor' about Limbaugh being dropped from a bid to purchase the St. Louis Rams football team. Williams and Ballentine disagreed about whether the 'Barack the Magic Negro' song that Rush Limbaugh played was "racial."
BILL O'REILLY: The reason that Limbaugh is not going to be able to buy in to the NFL is because a bunch of made-up stuff became legend, and he got hammered.
WARREN BALLANTINE: Okay, we won't look at the made-up stuff. Let's look at him playing 'Barack the Magic Negro,' and we're going to say that's just funny, that's just a joke, that's not racial either. It is racial to real black people.


Click to read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Shocker: Man Arrested for Being Naked In His Own House?

You might want to think twice before getting naked in your house - a man faces a year in jail for being naked in his own house.

Your Black Health Tips: Avoid the Whites in Your Food

Deborah Stroman

by Dr. Deborah Stroman, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Do you need a simple rule to begin a smart nutrition routine? Try to make a change in your diet by “avoiding the whites” – those additives that supposedly will make your food taste just right or have the right consistency. To live well and be healthy, we need to make changes that may feel uncomfortable at first and possibly illogical to friends and family.

Salt, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, accounts for nearly 150,000 premature deaths every year primarily due to complications from high blood pressure. We do need ~ 6g of salt per day to live. Sadly, the average intake of salt is between 9g and 10g a day! Salt is a commonly occurring mineral, the technical name of which is sodium chloride. It is the sodium part of salt that is important. Sodium helps to maintain the concentration of body fluids at correct levels. It also plays a central role in the transmission of electrical impulses in the nerves, and helps cells process nutrients.

Click to read.

Dr Boyce Watkins: The Craziness of Meghan Williams’ Story

Megan Williams' story is simply unbelievable

by Dr. Boyce Watkins 

  • Megan Williams, left, and her mother Carmen Williams stand outside of the Logan County Courthouse Thursday, March 13, 2008, in Logan, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner)

Megan Williams, an African-American woman who was allegedly raped, tortured and kidnapped by a group of seven white men in West Virginia two years ago at the age of twenty is now claiming that she was playing with our minds. It is a shock to hear that Williams is now saying that the story is a lie, a complete fabrication. She is set to recant her story in a press conference today.

The stomach-turning story that involved drinking urine and eating human feces while being raped repeatedly and subjected to racial slurs was something she apparently made up for fun. If Williams were playing with our heads, I only wish she'd come up with a less disgusting way to do it. The problem is that the prosecutor, Brian Abraham, isn't buying Williams' new story, and neither am I.

The prosecutor's position is that he did not convict the defendants based solely on Williams' testimony. Abraham has stated in published reports that he learned early on that Williams tends to exaggerate and embellish details, perhaps due to the fact that Williams has been described as being "mentally slow."

Abraham also claims that he did what any good prosecutor should do: achieve a conviction based on physical evidence and the defendants' statements. If there is evidence that a sexual assault occurred and proof that Williams endured kidnapping and torture, such evidence should certainly outweigh the significance of any statements made by Williams. There are also other possibilities in this case, such as the chance that Williams may be receiving threats that have pressured her to change her testimony.

Click to read.

Man Shoots Boy for Having Sex with His Step Daughter

A man shoots the boy having sex with his step daughter and aimed for his pelvis.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Barack Obama White House Address: Attacking Insurance Companies

In his weekly address, president Obama gets nasty with insurance companies.

The Politics of Attitude: Black Women on Trial

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University, AOL Black Voices 

Serena Williams has been listed as a headliner for this year's Australian Open. The problem is that it's not clear whether she'll be allowed to play.

Because of a recent outburst in which she threatened a line judge, Williams may be banned from at least one Grand Slam tournament. According to published reports, Williams told the judge, "You don't know me. You better be right. I swear to God I'm going to take this ball and shove it down your throat."Given that a ball going down your throat might actually kill you, the judge felt that Serena had threatened her life. Then again, Serena's from Compton, a town that has become famous for finding creative ways to kill people. Serena does not, however, need to take "the hood" with her all the way to Australia.

To make matters more interesting, Serena recently got naked for the cover of ESPN magazine, certifying her status as an iconic and thought-provoking figure for the early 21st century. These two events, plus the fact that she just happens to be one of the most dominant female tennis players in history, makes her the kind of woman we'll all be talking about for the next 100 years. Our great-grandkids won't be talking much about the boring apolitical figure called Michael Jordan. We'll congratulate Tiger Woods for being the first incredibly rich black man to consistently beat the crap out of the arrogant guys at the country club. Serena Williams' name, though, will come up in classes on feminist theory, history and sociology. Like Muhammad Ali, Serena is becoming bigger than her sport, and my greatest hope is that her ability to transcend tennis is guided by a desire to serve all humanity, and not just herself. Her nude body on the cover of ESPN is her way of yelling to the world that she is more than a tennis player. I agree that she is.

Click to read more.


If the link doesn’t work, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Woman Teaches Kids in Jail How to Get It Together with Beats, Rhymes and Poetry

T. Denise Manning is emerging as a leader for at-risk youth and teaching them how to get it together using a microphone, pad and pen as their weapons of choice.

Black Political News: Protests Planned in Heather Ellis Case

from Your Black World,

Kennett, MO. – Heather Ellis, a young college student out of Kennett, MO is now facing 15 years in prison if she is sentenced after being accused of cutting line at a local Walmart. Her case has gotten the attention of the nation, and has been the subject of extensive online protests.

Heather was in a Walmart store 3 years ago with her cousin. The two split up to find the shortest line. Since her cousin was in the shorter line, Heather joined him. That’s when the clerk accused Heather of cutting in front of the other customers. An argument ensued, leading to the manager and security guard being called, and finally the police.

The incident left Ellis, an honor student on her way to medical school, charged with disturbing the peace, trespassing and two counts of assaulting a police officer. After Heather refused to sign a plea agreement, Stephen Sokoloff, the town’s prosecutor, filed felony charges against Heather.


Click to read.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Black News: Tom Joyner Pardons His Late Uncles for Murder

South Carolina board pardons Tom Joyner's ancestors


Nationally syndicated radio host Tom Joyner holds up the signed pardon given to him from Samuel Glover, right, director of the South Carolina Dept. of Pardon, Probation and Parole, as Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., third from the right, smiles after a hearing Wednesday Oct. 14, 2009, in Columbia, S.C. A posthumous pardon was given to Joyners' great-uncles Thomas and Meeks Griffin, who were wrongly sent to the electric chair for the 1913 murder of a Confederate Army veteran.

(AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Two great-uncles of syndicated radio host Tom Joyner, sent to the electric chair for the 1913 murder of a Confederate Army veteran, were unanimously pardoned Wednesday by South Carolina.

Officials believe the men are the first in the state to be posthumously pardoned in a capital murder case.

Black landowners Thomas and Meeks Griffin were executed 94 years ago after a jury convicted them of killing 73-year-old John Lewis, a wealthy white veteran living in Blackstock, a Chester County town 40 miles north of Columbia. Two other black men were also put to death for the crime.

"This won't bring them back, but this will bring closure. I hope now that they rest in peace," Joyner said. "This is a good day."

Joyner, who lives in Dallas, and his attorney made a presentation to the state parole and probation board on Wednesday, then left the room while the board voted. Family members who flew in for the hearing included his wife and sons, of Dallas, and brother and his family, from Jackson, Miss.

Though he talks to roughly 8 million listeners on the radio daily, Joyner said facing the seven board members "scared me to death." When he was told how they voted, he said he waved his hands and hugged family members in a flood of relief and joy. He also called in to his radio show.

Joyner learned about his uncles' fate two years ago during filming of the PBS documentary "African American Lives 2," which traced his lineage and 11 others' through the research of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Click to read.

Visit Your Black World for Black News!

Method Man Arrested for Taxes, but Not Nicolas Cage?

Method Man was arrested for tax evasion, but not Nicolas Cage - What's up with that?

Heather Ellis on CNN: Faces 15 Yrs For Cutting Line at Walmart

The KKK has threatened Heather Ellis,who faces 15 years for cutting line at Walmart.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Black College Student Faces 15 Years for Cutting Line at Walmart: KKK Threatens Her Family

by Dr. Boyce Watkins,, Your Black World 

I mentioned the story before about Heather Ellis, the young woman who was threatened by the KKK after protesting about her arrest that took place in a Walmart store. The story was quite interesting in that Ellis now faces 15 years in prison for effectively cutting line at a Walmart. The unfortunate events occurred when Ellis was shopping with a cousin in Kennett, Missouri.

Heather and her cousin went to separate lines and when her cousin found the shorter line, Heather joined him. Ellis was then accused of cutting line by the person checking out customers, which led to an altercation. When Ellis was asked to leave the store, she argued with the managers, which led to the police being called. Ellis was eventually charged with disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and two counts of assaulting a police officer.

Click to read.

If that link doesn’t work, please click here.

What We Can All Learn from Martin Luther King’s Angry Children

What you can learn from Dr. King's family squabble

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black world, AOL Black Voices, MSNBC’s 

Martin Luther King is rolling in his grave. Yes, I said it. So sue me.

Well, you might actually do that if you were one of Martin Luther King's children. In fact, yesterday Martin Luther King III and Rev. Bernice King - who were suing their brother Dexter for mismanaging the funds in their parents' estates - avoided a jury trial and settled their longstanding feud. The three children had been the only shareholders in King Inc, the corporation created to control their father's valuable legacy. Dexter is still the president and CEO of the estate, and had been, until late last night, its administrator.

Martin and Bernice had accused Dexter of wrongfully taking money from the family, alleging that he took "substantial funds" out of their mother's estate and "wrongfully appropriated" money from their father's. I am not sure what the difference between "wrongfully appropriating" money and good old fashioned stealing is, assuming that there is one, but perhaps I am not wealthy enough to know the distinction. Of course Dexter denied the accusations.

Click to read on MSNBC’s

Visit Your Black World for more news and information!

Black News: People Physically Fight Over Stimulus Money

Detroit residents, right, pick up forms to apply for federal ...

Scuffles erupted as several thousand Detroit residents jockeyed, pushed and shoved Wednesday to get free money being offered to only 3,500 of the city's recently or soon to be homeless.

Several received medical treatment for fainting or exhaustion while frantically trying to obtain the applications for federal housing assistance. The long lines and short tempers highlighted the frustration and desperation that Detroit residents feel struggling through an economic nightmare.

The line around Cobo Center, a downtown convention center, started forming well before daybreak. Anger flared within a few hours as more people sought out a dwindling number of applications for the program.

Members of the Detroit Police Department's Gang Squad and other tactical units were called in for crowd control. Several people reportedly passed out from exhaustion and had to be treated by emergency medical personnel. Some minor injuries were reported, and no arrests were made.


Click to read.

Martin Luther King's Kids Won't Stop Fighting

Dr Boyce Watkins analyzes Dr. King's kids and their legal drama.

Black News from TheGrio –10/14/09

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dr. Julianne Malveaux on the Unemployment Rate

The bureau of labor statistics issues a report, The employment situation, on the first Friday of every month ( For the past several months, the report has contained no surprises. We know the jobless situation is getting worse, and we only wait for their statistical confirmation of our pain.

This month the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent. More than 200,00 jobs were shed, but more than that, more and more people are shrugging the labor market off, feeling that they can't find work. The 9.8 percent for everyone translates into 9 percent for whites, 12.7 percent for Latinos, and 15.4 percent for African Americans. But the reported data are only part of the fact. According to BLS, the real overall unemployment rate is more like 17 percent. Using the same algorithm, the rate for African Americans is more like 27 percent.

Translation. One in six Americans is jobless. More than one in four African Americans cannot find work. Everyone else in the universe has been bailed out, especially the bankers and mercenaries of our world. What about the people, the ones who need their job to buy food, to pay for school supplies, to sustain families? These are the folk who have been ignored by the so-called economic recovery, the folks who have been shrugged off by the notion that the economy is in recovery.

Recovery doesn't mean much when we know that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of recovery. In other words, we can see some small bounce in the stock market, or even in GDP growth, but until people are put back to work, the economy will not soar. Until people are put back to work, they will not spend. Until people are put back to work, we are stagnant.

There are ways to put people back to work. We can simply make jobs, make jobs. That means we can create public sector employment opportunities. We can put people to work in libraries and in childcare centers. We can have people administer the swine flu shots and provide public health information. We can offer government subsidized after school care. Yes, the tea party crowd will go nuts, but so what. From where I sit, they are already nuts. Bottom line -- we need to create jobs so that we can jump start this economy.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author and commentator, and the Founder & Thought Leader of Last Word Productions, Inc., a multimedia production company.

Last Word Productions, Inc. is a multimedia production company that serves as a vehicle for the work and products of Dr. Julianne Malveaux. For the last 10 years the company has centered its efforts on Dr. Malveaux's public speaking appearances, her work as a broadcast and print journalist, and also as an author. Currently, Julianne Malveaux is President of Bennett College For Women in Greensboro, North Carolina.