The new US Postal Service Forever stamp featuring author-poet Maya Angelou will be officially released on April 7th. As an author, poet, actress, and champion of civil rights, Angelou (1928–2014) was one of the most dynamic voices in 20th-century American literature. The book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” an autobiographical account of her childhood, gained wide acclaim for its vivid depiction of African-American life in the South.
CASH IN THE APPLE FOR 3-5-15
By Cash Michaels
“PARDONS” OFFICIALLY SELECTED - As proud as can be that our film, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten” has been officially selected to be screened during the 14th Annual NC Black Film Festival March 26 – March 29th at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington. We don’t know exactly what day and time it will screen until we get closer to the date, but the fact that a wide and diverse audience from all over the country will get to see this film about and important part of North Carolina history is exciting.
This will be the second North Carolina film festival this year to feature “Pardons…”, and we hope that there will be more. Of course we will continue to screen the film in the community throughout the state. We’ll keep you posted.
LEONARD NIMOY – There was certainly a collective sense of sadness and gratitude last week when word came that Leonard Nimoy, whose portrayal of the legendary “Mr. Spock” on the old “Star Trek” TV series made him a cultural icon, had died. He was 83.
Sadness because Nimoy has been a fixture in our lives since most of us were kids, having grown up with “Star Trek” on television for so many years. Who didn’t know who Spock. Capt. Kirk, Lt. Uhura or Scotty were?
And gratitude because Nimoy has been one of the most enduring actors on stage, screen and TV for the past 50 years, also appearing in “Mission: Impossible,” four Star Trek movies (directing four of them), and directing the comedy hit, “Three Men and Baby” with Tom Selleck.
Nimoy was perhaps our culture’s first popular nerd, giving a nod and a wink to many a college student that the pursuit of knowledge was a worthy pursuit indeed.
But Nimoy was also someone who believed in diversity and equal treatment, taking time to give his celebrity to many causes, supporting the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and writing a published 1968 letter to a mixed race child to be the very best that she can be, despite the odds.
So we’re certainly sorry to see Leonard Nimoy go, but we are thankful for all of the great moments he’s given us, and the many causes for humanity that he supported.
“EMPIRE” – If you haven’t seen me right anything about the hit Fox TV show “Empire,” there’s good reason. It’s not because I don’t like it, but because I’ve never seen it. That’s right, the hottest show of television right now, and I have not taken the time to watch even one episode. One of the reasons why is because I’m not really interested in the subject matter, namely a dysfunctional black family which owns a record company, and the things they deal with to stay on top.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Mind, I don’t have quibble with the actors involved. Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson are two of the best, and famed Hollywood director-producer Lee Hamilton is in charge, so I have no qualms about the production values.
I’m just tired of seeing stuff like that, an have no real interest. Probably the same reason why I turn my nose up on watching “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” on ABC. That crap will rot your brain if you watch enough of it.
So thanks, but no thanks. A lot of folks say this is a golden age with so many black shows and so many black characters on television doing well (especially black actresses) And “Empire” is special because it is literally increasing audience every week that it’s on, which is an historic feat.
Well GOD bless ‘em, but that’s not enough for me to watch.
MO’NIQUE – Yes, yes I’ve also been following actress Mo’Nique’s sorry “I’ve been blackballed from Hollywood” tour in the aftermath of the Academy Awards. Remember the former comedienne won a Best Supporting actress Oscar for her turn in the Lee Daniels’ film, “Precious” in 2010, but strangely disappeared from the scene shortly afterwards. She did have a nightly talk show on BET for a short while, but that didn’t last long.
Mo’Nique says Lee Daniels, her “dear friend” told her that she wasn’t working because she had been blackballed. Apparently Mo’Nique refused to help promote “Precious” at the Cannes Film Festival in France because she wanted some down time with her family, she says. Yet when the studio pressed her to make time, she asked for money, which they refused (studios pay all promotional expenses, but never fees). So the woman got branded hard to deal with, and has been blackballed ever since.
To be clear, Mo’Nique tried to act as if she was someone the studio needed to bow down to, and it blew up in her face. Now that she’s paid the price, she’s trying to make like she’s the victim. No sympathy here. When you decide to become part of production, you show your worth by showing you’re a team player. When that happens, people want to work with you more because they know they can count on you. Give folks attitude, and they get the message, and find ways to work around you.
Mo’Nique did this to herself, and from what I hear, her manager husband didn’t help matters any with the manner in which he allegedly tried to push everyone’s button.
The girl just has to learn.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.waug-network.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html).
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 3-5-15
UNC SYSTEM BOARD ELIMINATES THREE CAMPUS CENTERS
[CHARLOTTE] As expected, the UNC Board of Governors Feb. 27th voted to discontinue three campus centers it deemed to be unnecessary, amid criticism that the Republican-led board did so out of political retribution. Acting on a recommendation from its committee, the board eliminated the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at Chapel Hill, the NC Center for Biodiversity at East Carolina University in Greenville, and the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University in Durham. The centers, none of which receive any state funding, are slated to close by Sept. 1st. Prof. Gene Nichol, director of the UNC Poverty Center, is a known critic of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP-led NC General Assembly. NCCU Prof. Jarvis Hall is the director of the Institute. Both have strong ties to NCNAACP President Rev. William Barber, who is a devout critic of Republican leadership.
DEATH PENALTY SOUGHT IN TRIPLE MURDER CASE
[CHAPEL HILL] The suspect in the triple murder of a three Chapel Hill Muslim students will now face the death penalty, says Durham District Attorney Roger Echols. Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the Feb. 10th execution-style slayings of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21; as her young sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. Investigators say Hicks allegedly killed the three college students over parking spaces at their condominium complex. Federal authorities are still trying to determine if Hicks killed them because of their Islamic faith. Hicks’ wife, who says she is now divorcing him, insists that the Muslim faith of the victims had nothing to do with their murders.
MCCRORY DEFENDS NCDOT SEC. TATA’S DAY OFF DURING SNOWSTORM
[RALEIGH] The last place most North Carolinians would expect the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation to be during a snowstorm crippling the state would be in Chicago promoting his new book. But that’s exactly where NCDOT Sec. Tony Tata was last Tuesday as snow six to ten inches in some places snarled traffic and cancelled several school systems. Tata’s boss, Gov. Pat McCrory, says he has no problem with Tata’s absence, adding that Tata “did an outstanding job” overseeing statewide road clearing operations throughout the day from Illinois. The governor said his employees are expected to handle their jobs on their days off when needed, and adapt to “changing conditions.”
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 3-5-15
DID RACE PLAY A ROLE WHEN THREE BLACK TEENS WERE MADE TO LEAVE CRABTREE MALL?
Last Saturday, Jordan Bowden, 17, did what other shoppers at Crabtree Valley Mall do after they make a purchase – namely sitdown at the Food Court. But apparently Crabtree security felt Bowden, his brother, 11, and his two friends, ages 15 and 14, were doing more, and escorted the four young black males from the premises, accused of loitering. Their parents want to know why. So does the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for African American Children, which joined the parents in telling reporters this week raced was a factor in what mall security did, and they want answers. Bowden has a dated receipt proving that he shopped. He and his friends say they were embarrassed. Crabtree counters that the four were violating posted policies by occupying table for an extended time without shopping or eating. The parents want to meet with officials.
DUKE STUDENT NEWSPAPER REPORTS SEXUAL ALLEGATIONS AGAINST FORMER PLAYER
Was Rasheed Sulaimon drummed off the Duke Blue Devil Basketball team in January because of sexual assault allegations against him? Duke University’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, reported Monday that sources alleged that Sulaimon, a junior, was involved in two sexual assaults on two females, even though no criminal complaint was ever filed with police or the school. An attorney representing Suliamon says the accusations are false. The Chronicle report alleges that Blue Devil Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff knew about the allegations as early as March 2014, even though he refused to comment to reporters on Monday.
BILL CAMPBELL TO SPEAK AT TRAILBLAZERS CELEBRATION
A major figure in Raleigh’s black history is coming back home to speak. Former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, who was the first black student to integrate the Raleigh Public School System in 1960, will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 Black History Trailblazers Celebration, sponsored by the Wake County Board of Education, on Friday, March 13th . 6 p.m. at Marbles Kids Museum, 201 E. Hargett Street in Raleigh. The purpose of the event is to honor community members that played a pivotal role in desegregating Wake County public schools.
JUSTICE DEPT REPORT CITES
FERGUSON POLICE RACISM
By Cash Michaels
In the aftermath of the fatal August 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. that touched off weeks of national debate and demonstrations, the US Justice Dept. has concluded that even before that fateful incident, the police department there demonstrated clear patterns of racial bias towards its black citizens.
According to published reports this week, a Justice Dept. review, that The New York Times called “scathing,” found that the Ferguson Police Dept. routinely acted on racial stereotypes to make a disproportionate number of unwarranted traffic stops, arrests and to employ the use of excessive force.
The report stated flatly that the constitutional rights of African Americans were repeatedly violated.
And the racism wasn’t limited to just Ferguson police officers. Emails secured during the exhaustive federal review of some 35,000 pages of the small city’s records, in addition to hundreds of interviews, revealed racist emails from municipal court officials about black people on official documents.
A 2008 Ferguson official email joked that President Obama couldn’t be president for very long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.” Another racist email from a Ferguson public official citied a local black woman receiving a check from Crimestoppers two weeks after she had had an abortion.
The Justice Dept. is expected to now force the Ferguson Police Dept. to make substantial changes in both policies and practices, if not personnel, under the threat of a federal court order if an agreement cannot be reached.
Published reports say Ferguson officials are cooperating.
The Justice Dept. report confirmed what many black longtime citizens of Ferguson have been saying ever since the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by Officer Darren Wilson last year. Even though Ferguson is 67 percent black, African Americans historically shared little of the power and control over their town, or their lives.
Whites literally dominate all areas of city government, particularly the police force, where there are only three black officers. As a result from 2012 to 2014, the Justice report says, African Americans made up 85 percent of all traffic stops, 90 percent of all citations, 93 percent of all arrests, and an astonishing 88 percent of cases where police used force.
Given those numbers, the Justice report cited an even more astonishing statistic – even though blacks were at least twice as likely as whites to be stopped in traffic and searched, whites were found more than blacks to be carrying illegal drugs and weapons.
The report makes clear that the majority of the black traffic stops and arrests were without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. And part of the motivation for the traffic stops was charging fines and fees to the mostly low-income blacks that were forced to go to court repeatedly.
The resulting revenues, the second largest source behind sales taxes, literally helped to balance the Ferguson city budget, the Justice report says.
Darren Wilson, the now former Ferguson police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown last August, will not be charged with a civil rights violation in the matter, published reports say. Outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder says he’d like to see the threshold for making civil rights charges stick in police shooting cases lowered.
CONCERN ABOUT THE
By Cash Michaels
If published reports are to be believed, US Attorney Loretta Lynch has the US Senate votes to be confirmed the next Attorney General of the United States, succeeding the outgoing Eric Holder.
But supporters are growing more and more concerned that the longer the Senate takes to hold a confirmation vote on the North Carolina native’s nomination, the more time those who oppose her have to cause problems, and make that vote a lot closer than many believe it should be.
According to the Washington Post this week, Senate Republicans “…aren’t talking to Democrats about when they will” hold the vote.
“Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch has passed her senatorial job interview. She answered questions for eight hours during her confirmation hearing, submitted detailed responses to almost 900 written questions, and met individually with at least 59 senators. She has earned the support of members of both parties, top law enforcement groups and 25 former U.S. attorneys from Republican and Democratic administrations,” wrote Sen. Amy Klobuchar [D-Minn] this week in a Politico Magazine op-ed titled “Immediately Confirm Loretta Lynch.”
“So why has her nomination languished for nearly four months — longer than any nominee for attorney general in recent memory?’ the Minnesota senator continued. “And why have senators like my colleague Ted Cruz [R-Arizona] insisted that she is somehow lawless? Why have they gone to such lengths to torpedo her confirmation?”
“Loretta Lynch is supremely qualified to be our nation’s top cop,” Sen. Klobuchar concluded, “and she should be confirmed immediately.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-8 last month to send Lynch’s nomination to the full Senate for confirmation.
Three Republicans – senators Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona – voted with the committee’s Democrats in support.
But the rest of the panel’s Republicans, most notably Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, voted against Lynch, primarily because of her seeming support for President Obama’s executive action on immigration.
“I think she’s probably a pretty fine person,” Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain told Politico. “But when she said she thought that the president’s executive orders were ‘reasonable,’ I can’t support her. I can’t support her.”
For Tillis, there was one additional bone of contention with Loretta Lynch – her refusal to commit to ending the federal lawsuit against North Carolina over its new voter ID laws if she’s confirmed. Tillis was the North Carolina speaker of the House that helped to push what many say are some of the most restrictive voter identification laws in the nation. He’s named in that lawsuit, and asked Lynch during the Judiciary Committee hearings if it was the “best use” of ten Justice Dept. attorneys.
“I look forward to learning more about it should I be confirmed, and I believe the matter will proceed to court and we will await the results there,” the nominee replied, to Sen. Tillis’ dissatisfaction.
Tillis also didn’t like that Lynch had directly referenced the Justice Dept.’s voter ID litigation during a speech she made in January 2014 in Long Beach, NY, months before Pres. Obama nominated her for Attorney General.
“We stand in this country, at a time when we see people trying to take back so much of what Dr. King fought for. We stand in this country. People try and take over the statehouse and reverse the goals that have been made in voting in this country,” a tape of Lynch’s remarks show her saying.
“But I’m proud to tell you that the Department of Justice has looked at these laws and looked at what’s happening in the Deep South, and in my home state of North Carolina, has brought lawsuits against those voting rights changes that seek to limit our ability to stand up and exercise our rights as citizens. And those lawsuits will continue.”
The junior Republican senator from North Carolina was not pleased.
“By all indications, Ms. Lynch would continue to pursue the costly and frivolous lawsuit against the state of North Carolina to overturn a common sense and constitutionally sound voter ID law,” Sen. Tillis said. “That same law is supported by the vast majority of North Carolinians, and the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that similar state photo ID laws are in fact constitutional.”
“In light of the testimony at her confirmation hearing and her subsequent refusal to provide straightforward answers to written questions from myself and other senators, it appears that she would represent little, if any, tangible policy or management difference from Attorney General Eric Holder,” Tillis said. “I cannot vote to confirm a nominee who will not make a firm and explicit commitment to reverse the partisan politicization that presently exists at the Department of Justice.”
North Carolina’ other Republican senator, Richard Burr, joined Tillis in his opposition.
“I am unable to support her nomination due to her advocacy for continuing federal lawsuits against states like North Carolina who seek to uphold the integrity of their elections. I believe states have an obligation to ensure the fairness and accuracy of their elections, but unfortunately this hyperpartisan Justice Department has challenged voter ID laws for political advantage. I wish Ms. Lynch the best in her future endeavors, but she is not the right choice for Attorney General.”
North Carolina Congressman and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, G. K. Butterfield, wasted no time blasting Tillis for his no-vote on Lynch.
“I am deeply disappointed, as I’m sure many North Carolinians are, in Senator Thom Tillis’ vote this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee,” Rep. Butterfield said Feb. 26th. “Senator Tillis voted against the nomination of North Carolina’s own, Loretta Lynch, for Attorney General of the United States, despite a successful 30-year legal career as a lawyer, prosecutor, and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Senator Tillis had an opportunity today to be on the right side of history in supporting the nomination of Ms. Lynch, who would be the first African-American woman to serve as Attorney General.”
“The politics that Republicans have played with Ms. Lynch’s nomination is deplorable. Ms. Lynch’s nomination has been pending for more than 100 days. During this time she has been open and transparent, answering hundreds of questions requested by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Opposition to her nomination is nothing more than a political ploy by Republicans to once again use any means necessary to show their disdain for the President.”
“It is disturbing that Senator Tillis is beginning his tenure in the Senate by casting such a misguided and politically calculated vote,” Rep. Butterfield added. “However, I’m confident that the full Senate will confirm Loretta Lynch, a daughter of North Carolina, as the next Attorney General of the United States.”
In a published interview, Butterfield said that he was also concerned that 51 House Republicans had sent a letter over to the Senate Judiciary Committee prior to its vote, urging members not to sign-off on Lynch. North Carolina congressmen Mark Meadows and Richard Hudson were among them.
"We appreciate Ms. Lynch for her many years of outstanding service to our nation,” the House GOP letter said in part. “Nonetheless, having observed her nomination hearing testimony, we can only conclude that she has no intention of departing in any meaningful way from the policies of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has politicized the Department of Justice and done considerable harm to the administration of justice. Our larger concern is with Ms. Lynch's apparent unwillingness to stand up to the President and his unconstitutional efforts to circumvent Congress and enlarge the powers of his office."
The civil rights community has joined the Congressional Black Caucus and Senate Democrats in pushing back against Republican opposition to Loretta Lynch, and pushing for an immediate vote for her confirmation.
“Now, just as the long nomination process is about to draw to a close, a last minute ad feminam attack has been launched against her by Congressional Tea Party members, who apparently have no shame,” wrote NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber and Executive Director Rev. Michelle Laws in a recent letter to Sen. Tillis. “We respectfully ask you to disassociate yourself from this attack that only dishonors Ms. Lynch, the Senate, and the high office she will soon hold.”
Other statements of support for Lynch have come from the Washington, D.C. based Advancement Project, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
If Loretta Lynch is eventually confirmed, she would become the first African American woman ever to serve as US Attorney General. Born in Greensboro and raised in Durham by Rev. Lorenzo Lynch Sr. and his wife, a librarian, Lynch is currently the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she has prosecuted numerous terrorist, organized crime and civil rights cases successfully.