Saturday, April 30, 2011

Regal Black Women from Around the World

Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World



Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World


Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World


Click here to read about these women and others on Black Enterprise

HBCU Student Not Allowed to Graduate Because of Facebook Post

HBCU student sidelined from graduation for Facebook post

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action 

Roman Caple is a senior at St. Augustine’s College.  He was set to graduate this weekend until he was informed by the school that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk with his classmates.  Caple says that his punishment was due to a Facebook post that allegedly "jeopardized the integrity of the college."

Caple argues that the reaction of school administrators came as a result of his posts following a tornado that hit Raleigh, NC two weeks ago.  But he says that most of his comments were meant to be uplifting.  One of his posts said the following:

"We all need to set our differences aside and help one another. Falcons we will continue to fly high because that's what we do. Help your neighbor, if need be, Falcons are one."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Report Says that Obama’s Father Was Forced Out of Harvard University



BOSTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's father was forced to leave Harvard University before completing his Ph.D. in economics because the school was concerned about his personal life and finances, according to newly public immigration records.

Harvard had asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to delay a request by Barack Hussein Obama Sr. to extend his stay in the U.S., "until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him," immigration official M.F. McKeon wrote in a June 1964 memo.

Black Americans Not Getting Good Financial Advice


by TEWire
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Afro American Newspapers
Originally posted 4/27/2011

Only two out of every 10 African-Americans are on a path to achieve their retirement goals, according to a six-month-old survey of Blacks conducted by a major wealth manager.


click to read

Thursday, April 28, 2011

GOP Rep Says Black People Don’t Work as Hard as Whites and Expect the State to Take Care of them


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action

Republican State Rep from Oklahoma Sally Kern seems to think that black people don’t work as hard as whites and that we are more likely to go to prison because we think the government will take care of us.

“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that's tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don't want to study as hard in school? I've taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn't study hard because they said the government would take care of them."

click to read

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President Obama, Appeasement, and The Birth of a Nation


by Frank IgweYour Black World 

"Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.” -Winston Churchill

As Hitler’s Third Reich expanded across Europe, and leader after leader sought to placate and temper his appetite for war by surrendering territory in the hope for peace, Winston Churchill took a stand, and stated: "Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.”You see, Churchill understood a basic truth that has been around since the beginning of time: A bully will continue to be a bully, until you take a stand and fight. Hitler’s aggression was built on a platform of racial superiority, of dividing the world into “in-groups” and “out-groups”, the chosen and “the others”, slaves and slave masters. He may have succeeded in his quest for world domination, and global ethnic cleansing had it not been for one courageous leader who said, ENOUGH!

Oprah Winfrey Asks President Obama about the Birth Certificate

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey

Your Black World Reports

On a recent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, President Barack Obama was asked about the birth certificate issue.  The president recently released his birth certificate to the public in order to squash growing controversy about his birthplace.

"Why did you wait so long, though?" Oprah asked. "When it first came up, were you thinking, I hope I was born here?"

Father Michael Pfleger Gets Suspended from the Catholic Church

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

If there were ever a human being who best embodied the words “What would Jesus do?” it would be Father Michael Pfleger out of Chicago.  Father Pfleger has put it on the line for 30 years as the head of the St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the south side of Chicago.  The church is predominantly black, but Father Pfleger connects with his parishioners as if they were his family.

Richelle Carey on CNN Discusses the Case of Tanya McDowell (Video)



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quote of the Day: The “After-Birthers”

Quote of the day: "The birthers are now going to have to change their name since the birth certificate has been release.  Instead of being called 'the birthers,' they are now going to be called 'the after birthers," because they simply aren't going to quit."  - Mark Thompson, host of “Make it Plain with Mark Thompson”

The Impact of Fatherless Homes


Please watch this PSA that shows the devastating impact of fatherless homes on the African American community.  The video is incredibly powerful. 



Tanya Pleads Not Guilty and We March Next Month

PHOTO: Tanya McDowell, a Connecticut mother, was arrested for allegedly lying about her home address to send her son to a better school.

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

Tanya McDowell, the mother in Connecticut who was charged with larceny for allegedly stealing an education for her son, has pleaded not guilty today in court. McDowell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for sending her child to a school outside his district. The problem is that no one seems to know where McDowell was living because she is homeless.

McDowell’s son, AJ Paches, was sent by his mother to Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, CT. As a kindergartner, Ms. McDowell wanted to ensure that her son had access to a high quality education. The problem is that when school officials found out that AJ didn’t belong, they put him out. The school system that he was sent to, in nearby Bridgeport, CT has significant problems, where many of the schools are in danger of being taken over by the state.

Students Fight to Save HBCU in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Eye-level watermarks, gutted buildings and rows of mobile classrooms linger as reminders of the flooding from Hurricane Katrina that nearly wiped out Southern University at New Orleans in 2005.

Now the predominantly African-American university faces what students and administrators view as a new threat: Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to consolidate the school with the nearby, mostly white University of New Orleans.

President Obama Releases His Official Birth Certificate

White House releases Obama birth certificate

Your Black World reports

President Barack Obama has officially released the long form of his birth certificate in response to the questions about whether or not he was born in the United States.  Originally, the president had only released the short form copy, which led to speculation that he was born abroad.

Things I Learned about Tyler Perry While Being Interviewed by Mo’Nique

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

I watched Tyler Perry last night on the Mo’Nique Show on BET.  It was an interesting interview, with Mo’Nique fawning over Tyler’s brilliance in the way you would expect an actress to kiss up to one of the most powerful filmmakers in the world.  I fully expect that Mo’Nique will get some coveted roles in future Tyler Perry films.

President Obama Picks a New Defense Secretary


Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will name CIA Director Leon Panetta as his nominee to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, a senior defense official and another U.S. official said Wednesday.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will be named to replace Panetta as CIA director, a senior defense official said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rocky Clark is Dying: Unless We Find a Way to Help

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

To join our coalition for Rocky, please visit

I woke up thinking about a person I met just two weeks ago.    I was thinking about this man because he is going to die unless we find a way to help him.  He is paralyzed from the neck down, has one working lung and that lung has enough blood clots in it to kill him.

Meet Rasul “Rocky” Clark, a 27-year old man living in Illinois.  Rocky was once a promising young high school athlete at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Il.  His future came to a halt when he took a bad hit on the football field that left him with the inability to ever use his arms or legs again.  As you can probably imagine, the earth-shattering transition from being a healthy 16-year old boy to becoming a quadriplegic is beyond daunting, and many of us could never recover from this kind of devastation.

Dr. Boyce Spotlight: Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe Works to Save the Black Male in America

Dr. Bledsoe_Pic

As I mentioned last night on the Bev Smith Show, saving the black male in America is one of the most critical problems being faced by our community today.  Over the last 30 years, black males have been subject to mass incarceration (mostly due to drug felonies after the Reagan Administration opened the door for the crack cocaine epidemic), subject to massive handgun violence (as guns followed the flow of drugs), and poor educational systems (we know how bad inner city schools are in America).  As a result, many of these men are poorly equipped to become good husbands and fathers later in life, leading to the suffering of an entire community.  The majority of black homes are fatherless, and our boys are bombarded with media that tells them to emulate the behavior of self-destructive hip-hop stars, or to toss away educational opportunities in exchange for an athletic lottery ticket.  Something needs to be done.

Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe and his organization are working to solve these problems.  Fighting for the black male is not popular in a society that is designed to destroy us.  But even if society wants to see us dead and gone, that gives us no excuse to endorse the idea of killing ourselves and each other.  It is for his outstanding work in the black community that Dr. Bledsoe is today’s Dr. Boyce Spotlight on Your Black World:

1) What is your name and what do you do?

Tonya McDowell in ColorLines magazine

From Colorlines Magazine

A homeless Connecticut mother has been arrested and charged with larceny for allegedly stealing her son’s education from a public school police say he had no right to attend. Tanya McDowell is a 33-year-old Bridgeport resident who used her babysitter’s address in Norwalk, where the schools were better, so her five-year-old son Andres Justin Paches could go to school. A.J. was enrolled in Brookside Elementary School’s kindergarten from September to January. They’ve been living out of her van.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tavis Smiley Breaks His Silence About Obama



Your Black World reports

Talk show host Tavis Smiley spoke publicly about President Obama this week on the Today Show, as he promoted his new book about how to overcome failure.  The host, Ann Curry, gave Smiley an opportunity to discuss his concerns about the Obama Administration, and this is what he had to say:

Huffington Post: Women Should Not Be Arrested For Sending their Children to School


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Huffington PostYour Black World Coalition

When I heard about the case of Tonya McDowell, the homeless mother sent to jail for sending her 5-year-old son to the "wrong" school district, I immediately thought back to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar not long ago. I wondered how the world has gone mad enough to somehow think that it should be against the law for mothers to find ways to get their children access to a high quality education.

As a result of this homeless single mother having the audacity to get her child into a good school, she is being charged with first-degree theft and also being asked to repay the $15,686 it allegedly cost to educate her child in the Norwalk, Conn. school district. No one cares that this family has no home. No one seems to care about what will happen if this child grows up without the only woman on earth wired to love him unconditionally. No one seems to care about the massive costs to the state of prosecuting this mother and eventually the child, as we deliberately trap them in an intergenerational cycle of poverty and criminal justice. All that seems to matter is that they keep this little boy out of their school.

Richelle Carey: Thanks for Your Support on Tonya McDowell

richelle carey, black journalists

From Dr. Boyce Watkins

I just spoke this morning with Richelle Carey from CNN HLN.   Richelle mentioned that she has a strong interest in the Tonya McDowell situation and wants to remain updated.  I appreciate Richelle, for she has always been conscientious in her desire to keep the world aware of critical issues that face black people across the country.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Malcolm’s Daughter Walks Off Interview When Asked About Her Father’s Sexuality

Your Black World reports

It appears that Malcolm X’s daughter did not take well to piercing questions from Michel Martin on a recent NPR segment.  Ilyasah Shabazz walked off the interview after being asked one too many questions related to the release of a new book about her father’s life.  The interview transcript is below:


You might have heard about a controversial new biography of Malcolm X, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" was written by prominent African-American scholar, Manning Marable, who died on April 1st just days before the book was released. The book has gotten a lot of attention, in part, because of that unfortunate circumstance. But also because the book makes some provocative assertions about the activist's life and death, including some assertions about his early years, speculations about his personal relationships and the circumstances of his murder.

Gov’t Tells Snoop He Can’t Sell His Destructive New Drink


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

Sixteen separate states are stepping in the way of Snoop Dogg’s latest big money venture with the Pabst Brewing Company. Attorneys General from Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, Utah, California, Idaho and Connecticut stood against the release of Snoop’s drink in their territories. Additionally, Guam's attorney general and the city attorney general of San Francisco all signed a resolution stating that the drink Blast by Colt 45 is dangerous and being marketed to young people.

The drink contains 12 percent alcohol and is sold in 23.5 and seven ounce containers. It is said to have as much alcohol as five beers in one can. There are several fruity flavors for the drink, including: grape, raspberry watermelon, strawberry lemonade and blueberry pomegranate flavors.

Black Republican Allen West Calls Obama a “Low Level Socialist Agitator”


Allen West Obama Socialist

Your Black World reports

Allen West, a Republican Congressman from Florida, engaged in some interesting black-on-black political crime this week by referring to President Barack Obama as a “low level socialist agitator.”  During an interview with Laura Ingraham, West attacked the president in ways that are rare for an African American.

The Congressman referred to President Obama as a “low level socialist agitator” and said that he displayed “dictator like arrogance” during his budget speech last week. West then went on to Fox News and stood by his remarks:

Youth Offenders with Life IN Prison Asking for a Second Chance

From the NY Times

CHARLESTON, Mo. — More than a decade ago, a 14-year-old boy killed his stepbrother in a scuffle that escalated from goofing around with a blowgun to an angry threat with a bow and arrow to the fatal thrust of a hunting knife.

The boy, Quantel Lotts, had spent part of the morning playing with Pokémon cards. He was in seventh grade and not yet five feet tall.

Mr. Lotts is 25 now, and he is in the maximum-security prison here, serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for murder.

The victim’s mother, Tammy Lotts, said she lost two children on that November day in 1999. One was a son, Michael Barton, who was 17 when he died. The other was a stepson, Mr. Lotts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NAACP Report on Gulf Coast: Healing Is Nowhere Near Being Complete

“My Name is 6508799”

State of the Gulf, One Year After the Oil Drilling Disaster

This numbered moniker is how a participant at the Destin, Florida Town Hall meeting with Gulf Coast Claims Facility Administrator Kenneth Feinberg introduced herself.

For many residents residing in communities along the Gulf of Mexico, they feel as if their lives have been reduced to a number in the Gulf Coast Claims Facility database which holds so much power over life, livelihood, health and overall wellbeing.


One year after the Gulf Oil Drilling Disaster of April 20, 2010, thousands of Gulf residents not only have not been “made whole” from the disaster, but many have faced elevated levels of toxins in their bloodstreams, community conflicts, destruction of families, culture erosion, loss of property, including homes, cars, boats, etc., and, for many, an end to their way of life for the foreseeable future. Only a fraction of Gulf residents truly believe that the systems that have been set up to serve them have made demonstrable strides towards “making it right”, as has become the mantra representing the aim of recovery and restoration processes.

Based on dozens of interviews with affected communities and the organizations that represent them, a review of consensus documents and other reports from technical  experts as well as organizations representing thousands of gulf residents, and examination of response systems set up to address the Gulf Oil Drilling Disaster, this report tells the illustrative stories and shares the analysis of the pervasive unmet needs and gaps in the response system one year after the Deepwater Horizon Macondo Well explosion took 11 lives and dealt a crippling blow to the ecosystem, including the communities, of the Gulf of Mexico.


Click to read more.

Black Cop Sues Harvard for Racism

Black Cop Sues Harvard Over Racial Slurs, Lack Of Promotion


BOSTON — The Harvard University Police Department passed over a black officer for a number of promotions and superiors routinely made racist remarks about blacks and Latinos, according to a federal lawsuit.

The complaint by Officer George Pierce, a veteran patrolman who is black, said he applied for open sergeant positions a number of times only to be passed over for less-qualified, non-black employees. The reason Pierce didn’t get promoted was his race, the lawsuit alleged, citing various instances when Pierce sought a sergeant spot but was turned down.

“Throughout Pierce’s employment at Harvard, Harvard and the department have created and maintained a pervasive racially-biased environment within the department,” the lawsuit said.

Donald Trump Says He’s Finding Surprising Information about President Obama’s Birthplace

Your Black World Reports

Donald Trump is still pushing his birther agenda against President Barack Obama. The real estate mogul recently told CNN that Americans will be “very surprised” by the results of his investigation into President Obama’s birthplace.

"We're looking into it very, very strongly. At a certain point in time I'll be revealing some interesting things," Trump said.


Click to read

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Black Republican Armstrong Williams Debates with Dr. Boyce Watkins

Your Black World reports

In this audio clip, Dr. Boyce Watkins and conservative Amstrong Williams debate on “Open Line” on Kiss-FM in New York City.

Dr. Watkins and Mr. Williams stand on different sides of the ideological fence as it pertains to how to cut the national debt.  Williams argues that deep cuts in government spending are necessary, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  He says that the United States government is at risk of default within the next 10 years, which could send our country into an economic tailspin.


Click to read.

Your Black World News: Police Release Video of Teen Being Shot

Your Black World Reports

The shooting of 18-year old Andre Pitts in Brooklyn is nothing short of a tragedy.  In order to find the killer of Pitts, the NYPD has released the video of the teen being shot as he enters into an elevator.  To date, gun violence is the number one killer of African American males, and efforts to slow down the manufacture and sale of guns have failed.  


Click to read more.

The Obamas Made Far Less This Year than Last Year


Your Black World  Reports

It appears that the Obamas earned two-thirds less this year than they did last year.  According to their tax returns, Michelle and Barack Obama earned “just” $1.7 million this year, after earning $5.5 million last year.  The family also gave 14% of their income to charity.

The decline in income is due to the fact that President Obama’s books, “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope” are not selling as well as they did in the past.


Click to read

Monday, April 18, 2011

Obama as a Chimp? Oh Really?


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World 

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the Republican Party does it again. Orange County Republican Committee member Marilyn Davenport is in hot water after distributing an email that features President Obama as the child of a family of chimpanzees.  In the email, which was widely-distributed, the long-standing committee member sent out the picture with the caption, “Now you know why – No birth certificate!”

County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh has called for Davenport’s resignation, saying that the picture was "dripping with racism and is in very poor taste." He also referred the matter to the GOP Ethics Committee.  But in spite of the backlash from many of her fellow Republicans, there are some in the leadership who are standing firm with Davenport.

Ms. Davenport, however, seems to think that the email has nothing to do with racism.  She described the email as a “joke” and wanted to find out who leaked the email, writing “Anyone brave enough to come forward?”  She also had this to say when contacted by reporters:

Click to read more.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mass Incarceration in the African American Community: How Do We Solve This Problem?


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In the video below, Jeff Johnson, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous discuss an issue that is very dear to me:  the problem of mass incarceration in America.  As part of our Never Going Back initiative (which we hope you’ll sign up for),  our goal is to align 10,000 committed African Americans who are willing to do whatever it takes to make this terrible problem go away.

Click to read.

Prof. Cornel West and Al Sharpton Fight Over the Black Agenda


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


I just returned from the Measuring the Movement forum hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City.  The forum was insightful and empowering as it pertains to getting members of African American leadership to see the value of accountability.  NAACP President Ben Jealous gave time to the forum, and even President Barack Obama came through to give a speech.

In many ways, the convention was arguably the most successful gathering of its kind.  I find Sharpton’s approach to action-oriented solutions to be refreshing, and as a person who sat on a panel with both Jealous and Sharpton, it’s a relief to be involved with a forum where the goal is not to simply provide the best sound bite.  “Sound bite leadership” in the black community needs to die and be replaced with strong, direct action that recognizes the urgency of our deadly situation.


Click to read.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

President Obama’s Remarks at the National Action Network



Sheraton New York Hotel

New York, New York

6:01 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Good to be in New York City.  Let me begin by acknowledging some very, very special guests.  Dr. Richardson, thank you.  Charlie Rangel, for your outstanding work on behalf of your constituents.  Mayor David Dinkins.  (Applause.)  Governor David Paterson is here.  (Applause.)  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  DiNapoli, excuse me.  This is another one that’s hard to pronounce:  Stevie Wonder.  (Laughter.)  Martin Luther King III.  (Applause.)  All the Keepers of the Dream honorees with us tonight, and the National Action Network.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dr. Boyce: Real Sports Says Athletes Almost Sat Out of NCAA Tourney in 1995

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

I was proud to watch Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel last week, as Gumbel decided to dig into the issue of college athlete compensation. Securing the labor rights of college athletes has been a passion of mine for quite some time, and I was excited that 2011 provided a tremendous amount of momentum around the topic. Our coalition, The Athlete Liberation Academic Reform Movement (ALARM) now has thousands of supporters around the country and Ben Jealous of the NAACP has joined Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a call to reform of one of the most exploitative systems in America.

The Real Sports episode had me on the edge of my seat, as one couldn’t help but laugh while the beneficiaries of the system, Rich Rodriguez (former University of Michigan football coach) and Billy Packer (CBS Sports commentator), were trying to defend a system that they themselves would never accept. Both of these men have been made into millionaires from the labor of college athletes, and have a direct incentive to keep the money away from the players and their families.

The most interesting part of the show was when Bernard Goldberg interviewed former University of Massachusetts player Rigo Nunez. Nunez shocked Goldberg by acknowledging that he and other players around the country were planning to sit out of the 1995 NCAA tournament. To protest the fact that coaches were earning millions while many of the athletes’ families were in poverty, prominent players around the nation decided that they were going to have no part of the NCAA tournament that year.

Here’s how the conversation went down:

Nunez: At one point it was pretty organized among players that maybe the biggest impact that we can have, and the biggest opportunities for us to have a stand, will be prior to the NCAA tournament.

Goldberg: Well, how was that gonna happen?

Nunez: We were not gonna play.

Goldberg: What?

Nunez: We were just gonna go to the middle of the court and sit down. Every game, in the whole country.

Goldberg: Because you weren't getting paid?

Nunez: Because it was not fair to us.


Click to read more

Research Study: Black People Watch Entirely Too Much Television

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

A recent study by Nielson says that African Americans watch 40 percent more television than the national average.  Black people spend an average of  7 hours, 12 minutes each day in front of the TV, while the national average is 5 hours, 11 minutes.  Asians watch the least television, averaging 3 hours, 14 minutes per day.

I am on my way to a meeting, so I’ll give very quick thoughts on this study:

1) It’s probably no coincidence that Asians also have the highest test scores in school, while we have the lowest.  Perhaps we can learn something from our friends across the sea.

2) While we might criticize the “Tiger Mom,” (Amy Chua) for pushing her kids toward excellence, I am willing to bet that the Tiger Mom’s kids weren’t spending all their time planted in front of a TV or video game.  While I don’t agree with all of her tactics, I do advocate for having a loving influence on your child’s daily activities.  It’s not natural to sit around watching BET for 12 hours a day, so don’t let your child do it.

Click to read.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dr. Boyce Watkins - Malcolm, Manning and Black Men: The Brilliance of the Dearly Departed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

The death of the great Manning Marable at Columbia University was hard for me. At the young age of 60, Professor Marable took his rightful place with the legends of the black history, ending an amazing life and remarkable career. Professor Marable passed as one of the great black scholars of our time, and had the vision to expand the walls of his classroom to include millions of black and brown people across the world.


Click to read.

Malcolm, Manning and Black Men: The Minds of the Dearly Departed

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action

The death of the great Manning Marable at Columbia University was hard for me. At the young age of 60, Professor Marable took his rightful place with the legends of the black history, ending an amazing life and remarkable career. Professor Marable passed as one of the great black scholars of our time, and had the vision to expand the walls of his classroom to include millions of black and brown people across the world.

In spite of the fact that my god daughter is a student athlete at Columbia and one of my best friends is on the faculty, I’ve admittedly never had a chance to meet Professor Marable (plus, I can be a bit of a hermit at times). But even though I never had the honor of knowing him personally, I’ve always carried extreme admiration for any black male scholar with the passion, purpose and intellectual courage possessed by this brilliant human being.

Professor Marable’s work with the Hip Hop Summit Action Network showed that he was willing to look to our youth for new ideas in order to advance our collective cause. Far too many black scholars spend their careers behind the walls of academia, frightened by anything different and progressive. They consider those outside of academia to be “unscholarly,” and end up wasting their lives writing a long list of research papers that no one is ever going to read. Much of this is a function of the fact that black scholars never told themselves how to be scholarly; instead, they were told that behaving in a particular way is the path to opening doors into universities that are controlled by those who care nothing about the state of black America.

Professor Marable’s last and perhaps most significant book, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, allows him to finish his career with an academic bang. I am probably biased, since Malcolm X is my greatest historical hero. But many of us can learn from the lives of both Malcolm and Manning, as we realize that for the black man in America, his intellect is his greatest weapon in a society that is designed to destroy him.

I encourage other black scholars to reinvent themselves in the same way as Malcolm X and Manning Marable. We must commit ourselves to a revolution of the mind and rise above the academic imperialism that keeps us from using our education to serve our communities. We must also realize that having academic degrees does not make you into a scholar, and being a scholar doesn’t require you to have an academic degree. Every black man in America should embrace the idea of lifelong learning, community involvement and courageous action that will help him to secure a positive social footprint.

Life is too short for mediocrity. Professor Manning Marable chose to be great, and scholars for many generations will learn from his contributions. I am proud of Professor Marable, one of my academic fathers, and he deserves his place in heaven next to Malcolm.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

YBW Poll: Over 60% of African Americans Oppose Gay Marriage



by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In a recent poll on, 60% of the African American respondents claimed that they are against gay marriage.  The results from the poll are intriguing in light of the African American affiliation with the Democratic Party, which tends to support gay rights.

My personal interpretation of the results is that the poll numbers show that the black community is actually far more conservative than most people think.  Results like these are in line with the strong affiliation that most African Americans have with the black church, which tends to lean against things like gay marriage.  I would expect to see similar results on issues such as abortion.

Click to read.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Prof. Cornel West Rails Into President Barack Obama

Click to listen to Prof. Cornel West speak on his disappointment with the Obama Administration.