Black History 24/7/365 – African American News – Black News – Colored News – Negro News African American News & Issues - Black News Mon, 26 Jun 2017 21:38:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Did You Know: Pelham, Texas – A Tribute To African-American Greatness In Navarro County Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:40:08 +0000 Pelham is a small community of about 50 people and spreads over approximately 5,000 acres in Navarro County.

Pelham is on Farm Road 744 just east of the Hill county line, one mile northwest of Navarro Mills Lake and twenty-five miles west of Corsicana in west central Navarro County. It was settled by newly freed slaves in 1866, when it was called Forks of the Creek.

It is rich in history and residents have worked diligently to share with others how it originated and, even more intriguing, how it continues.


The Texas slaves did not hear about the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on Jan. 1, 1863, until after the Civil War ended in April 1865. Two months later, a regiment of Union soldiers landed at Galveston. Its leader, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, issued the order that freed an estimated 250,000 slaves in Texas. It was June 19, 1865, commemorated every year in Juneteenth celebrations.

The freed slaves, newly emancipated after the Civil War, made their way to this arc of land fed by three creeks on the western edge of Navarro County. They not only survived — they thrived, building schools, churches and a nurturing community under Jim Crow segregation.


In 1878 the Wesley United Methodist Church was founded. It housed the first school in

the town. The post office opened in 1900 but closed in 1908. Postmaster Lewis Richie’s wife renamed the town Pelham for her hometown in Alabama. Pelham flourished during the Navarro County oil boom from 1894 to the 1920s. Its population peaked at 350 in 1926 and declined to twenty-five by 1936. From 1966 to 1990 the population was estimated at seventy-five. Maps of the 1980s indicated a school, a church, and businesses at the site.

Preserving History

The Pelham History Museum has artifacts to demonstrate its beginnings and give acclaim to the ancestors who at one time lived in the community. It will also share the lineage of families who remain in the community and those who return to keep the heritage alive.

The museum, originally built in 1890, served as the school. About 1922 or 1923 it was moved and became the community and lodge hall.

According to records, people invested in remodeling the old school and performed approximately $40,000 in renovations  into keeping history alive and going.”

The building has been beautifully restored and was dedicated as The Pelham Community History Museum. Residents hope people will come and share artifacts, photographs and other items from the past and continue to educate the future generations.

Local historians report a rich history filled with stories about being raised and taught by former slaves during a time when there was no radio or television. Much of the teaching was done by the older folks in the community through talking and sharing.

Learning was an ongoing process in Pelham. Wesley United Methodist Church was founded in 1878 and housed the very first school in the community.

Before being named Pelham, the area was called Forks of the Creek and was settled by black families after 1866. As more people came, other churches also began to develop.

In addition to the already established Methodist church, Brown’s Chapel A.M.E. was also formed in 1905 and Union Baptist in 1916. Today the three churches are still active and services are alternated from one church to the other.

Additional first settlers in the community included the Caruthers family.

“Henry Caruthers founded our community,” according to the report from Joan Younger Davis, who served as a secretary of the museum committee at the time. According to Davis at the time, Caruthers was just about everybody’s “great, great, great, great-grandfather.”

Also, his son, John Caruthers son was the first school teacher in Pelham, according to Davis.

In 1975 Pelham was recognized by the state and was awarded a historical marker. It was the first black community to be awarded a historical marker in Navarro County.

In addition to that marker, another marker was placed at Wesley United Methodist Church in 1995 in memory of Elmer O. Porter.

According to historical records, the small Black community grew and a post office was granted in 1898. Eventually the town was renamed by postmaster Louis Richie’s wife for her home in Pelham, Ala. By 1926 the population in the Navarro County community had peaked at about 350 residents.

In time, several businesses were started in the community and there were many firsts that took place. In some of the history recorded by Catherine Porter, the community was the starting place for a variety of opportunities.

One of the opportunities was a loan from Farmers Home Administration, given to Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Porter to build a new home.

Some of the businesses that operated out of Pelham included various grocery stores, a cafe and gas station. The Pelham Telephone System and the Pelham Gin were also part of the community businesses.

In the late 1920s families who had telephones were serviced by one wire that ran along the county road. Often times the line was fastened onto tree limbs and fence posts. It was a party line service with all of the residents on one line. Besides the telephone system a cotton gin was built in 1920 and employed six workers. It burned in 1931.

Education was a way of life in the area and there were several who became teachers.

Since education had always been an important factor in the community the High School Alumni Association, who also started the historical committee, decided the best way to preserve the history of Pelham and those who lived and died there was through a museum.

The community would like to see others share artifacts in the museum and help to preserve a special time in history.


Information for Story from the Texas State Historical Association, U.S. GenWeb Project and Barbara Forman, May, 16, 2002, Corsicana Daily Sun

Submitted by: Darwin Campbell

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Hon. Albert Ely Edwards- The Modern Father of Juneteenth in Texas Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:03:28 +0000 State Representative, Hon. Albert Ely Edwards was born in Houston, Texas on March 19, 1937. Edwards is the sixth child out of the sixteen children born to Reverend E. L. Edwards, Sr. and Josephine Radford Edwards. He graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School and attended Texas Southern University, earning his B.A. degree in 1966.

At the age of forty-one, Edwards entered politics and was elected to the Texas State Legislature from Houston’s House District 146. His first major goal was to ensure the establishment of a holiday that recognized the emancipation of slavery.

In 1979, legislation recognizing Juneteenth Day, initiated by Edwards, passed the Texas State Legislature and was signed into law.

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is an annual holiday in fourteen states of the United States. Celebrated on June 19th, it commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas.

While serving in the legislature, Edwards also founded his own real estate company.

Though deeply involved with local issues, Edwards remained active in many issues outside the Texas State Legislature. In 1983, Edwards was appointed as a member of the board of Operation PUSH. Edwards also served as the Texas State Director of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s two presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988.

In 1986, Edwards also founded Operation Justus, a community faith-based organization that serves as a referral service for persons with social problems and concerns. Edwards was also arrested in Houston and went to jail for peacefully demonstrating against apartheid in South Africa in 1987.

During the Bill Clinton administration, he was often invited to the White House as the guest of President Bill and Hillary Clinton. I

In May 1994, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the African American Biographic Association in Atlanta, Georgia . Al Edwards was elected Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus and held that position for six years. He was Vice-Chairman for ten years.

Reverend Edwards received his Doctorate of Divinity from World Bible Christian University in San Antonio.

In 1999, Al Edwards was appointed Chairman of Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Cultural and Historical Commission by Governor George Bush. While serving in the legislature, he has had the distinct honor of serving with Governor George Bush, who would later become the President of the United States of America.

Edwards left the Texas legislature in 2007 after twenty-eight years of serving the people of District 146. As a veteran member of the Texas Legislature, Edwards served on three influential committees. He was the Chairman of the Rules and Resolutions Committee, Chairman of Budget and Oversight of the Ways and Means Committee and a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Source: The HistoryMakers, August 10, 2007.


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Carlos Walker- BIO Sun, 18 Jun 2017 18:12:29 +0000 Carlos Walker, 35, a budding artist was born and raised in Halifax, CO., Va. To Hilton and Inell Walker, who has 6 children. Mr. Walker being the sixth. Carlos has been drawing since the early age of eight. He was encouraged to continue to do so in school by Mrs. Fitzgerald his high school art teacher and now by his family and Washika Arnold his future spouse. Not envisioning a future in art Mr. Walker choose to put this talents to the side and sell drugs. Which landed him in prison at the age of 24, when most young men and women are just starting to live life and start their careers. For him, little did he know GOD had a blessing in store and his career would just be getting started to become an artist/ activist and book writer.

While incarcerated he put together 3 exhibits and a single piece, plus he has written a book based on his artwork entitled “What If”. One of his projects is a 48-piece illustrated entitled “Walk A Mile In Our Shoes And Will Understand From Whence We Came”,

Illustrations called “Endangered Species”, a 3-piece illustration entitled “The Greatest”, and a single called “Hunting Season”.

His greatest work of art is arguably “Walk A Mile In Our Shoes”, because what it portrays is the BLACK EXPERIENCE in a different way. In creating this exhibit, he seeks to show a mirror effect to Caucasians of what the BLACK EXPERIENCE looks like.

Mr. Walker’s pictures have been created with the sole intent to invoke a thought in all who refuse to understand the plight that Blacks have had to endure in their experience from slavery up until now.

His work can be viewed on Facebook….@walkers_gallery.


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Hidden Secrets & Untold Stories Baseball Documentary Details Historical Trials of Black Players Sun, 18 Jun 2017 15:08:41 +0000   HOUSTON- In the eyes of Baseball’s forgotten greats, the game still lags in honoring and respecting the history, the trials and tribulations of past players and the current challenges of Black players in Major League baseball.

Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line in 1947, but it took another generation of Black and Latino players to make the sport truly open to all. Playing in remote minor-league towns, these were the men who, before they could live their big-league dreams, first had to beat Jim Crow.

Behind the hidden truths and untold stories are gems of historical value that unlock vaults of knowledge to help Black athletes today understand and navigate in a world that continues to disregard their worth and value to the league.

A Long Way from Home

A Long Way from Home: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Desegregation is the start of efforts to collect that dying history and revive interest in the game among young blacks who are not as interested in the history of the game or its impact on helping propel dreams to the next level.

The documentary, by award-winning filmmaker Gaspar González, documents the experiences of retired African-American and Afro-Latino Major League Baseball (MLB) players who lived through the perils of racism, prejudice and the effects of Jim Crow laws and attitudes on the game and communities.

“Jackie Robinson is justly celebrated for breaking baseball’s color line,” González said. “However, what often gets overlooked is the prolonged struggle of Black and Latino players to tear down the structural barriers that relegated them to second-class status, even after desegregation. We felt strongly that that story needed to be told as well.”

The 45-minute film, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the pioneering black and Latino players who followed Jackie Robinson, often playing minor-league ball in small, remote towns where racial segregation remained a fact of life well into the 1960s.

“How long does it actually take for baseball to be desegregated [after Jackie Robinson]? It takes thirteen years for all sixteen teams to include Black players, but you still have players that you would associate with the 1960s who are still breaking barriers through the minor leagues, said Matthew Frye Jacobson, Historian, Yale University and film writer. “These are stories that unroll really over 30 years and against the backdrop of a changing America.”


The Players

The film also sheds light on the decades long struggle toward racial equality for America’s favorite pastime through original and revealing interviews that also include former James “Mudcat” Grant, Tony Pérez and Orlando Cepeda, Octavio “Cookie” Rojas and Orlando Peña.

These former MLB stars endured racism on and off the field to pursue their big-league dreams – ultimately playing a significant role in making America’s pastime truly open to all.

González has produced documentaries for the BBC, PBS, ESPN, and others. His credits include the national PBS release Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami, the Grantland short documentary Gay Talese’s Address Book, and the ESPN 30 for 30 Short The Guerrilla Fighter.

Joining Gonzalez to also tell their personal stories, challenges living through it all and current share insights about the game were former Major Leaguers Jimmy Wynn, Deacon Jones, J.R. Richard, Enos Cabell and Bobby Tolan.

Many shared their experiences throughout their careers that included being shunned and threatened by Whites across the North and South and having to experience name calling (N-Word) on and off the field.

Others faced issues with fellow Whites who did not want to accept the idea of playing alongside Black players.

With all of the hardships, though, the players recalled that the games in black baseball were just fun.

Jones said one of the main things was brotherly connection he felt between other Black players as each strived to stay together and support one another through though tough times.

Grover William “Deacon” Jones is a retired American professional baseball player, coach, manager and scout.

“All we wanted to do was play the game, but were forced to see hate up close and personal,” he said. “That experience made us stronger because it helped us understand life better because we had to live it.”


Black History and The Game

African Americans have played baseball as long as white Americans. Players of color, both African-American and Hispanic, played for white baseball clubs throughout the early days of the organizing amateur sport, according to

As early as 1867, the racism of the post-Civil War era showed up in the national pastime: The National Association of Baseball Players, an amateur association, voted to exclude any club that had black players from playing with them.

In 1871 the first professional white league formed. Bud Fowler became their first professional black baseball player, with a non-league pro team in 1872.

Fleet Walker a catcher, appeared in 42 games with the Toledo Blue Stockings of the American Association in 1884.

Yet the racial tensions between white and black people that were present in society showed up on baseball fields. Cap Anson refused to play in a game with a negro pitcher, George Stovey at a game in 1887. This was a famous, but hardly isolated incident.

In that same year, the International League‘s Board of Directors voted against approving any further contracts with black baseball players. While black players continued to find a few jobs in other leagues, the move set into motion racist tendencies that led to the unwritten “gentleman’s agreement” a bar on black players in both major league and independent baseball clubs affiliated with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

Black baseball developed its own network of formal, semi-formal and informal pro and semi-pro leagues. The progress of the leagues’ development was much slower, because they lacked both the economic resources and the political clout to evolve as rapidly.

The first professional black baseball club, the Cuban Giants, was organized in 1885. More teams sprang up. Sometimes they played in their own small parks. Some major league owners, smelling additional revenue, made deals with black clubs to play in the major league parks on away game days.

By the early 1890s professional black baseball was foundering, with only one ballclub in operation. Closer to the turn of the 20th century, though, that turned around and leagues began to emerge in two power centers: Chicago and the Midwest and the New York-Pennsylvania corridor.

In the dead ball era, black clubs were independent, without a real league. They played each other. They played semi-pro teams and barnstorm clubs. Some attempts at formal leagues formed and failed. Generally, each team booked its own schedule.

Rube Foster, a former ballplayer with a gift for organization, founded the Negro National League in 1920. A second league, the Eastern Colored League was established in 1923. These became known as the “Negro Leagues.” The Negro Southern League formed around the same time, but because of its distance from the East-Midwest power centers, and its poor finances, it remained independent and out of the loop from the other leagues.

From 1924 to 1927, these two black ‘major’ leagues held four Negro League World Series.

The ECL was relatively prosperous but always unstable due to almost perpetual in-fighting amongst its owners. It folded in 1928. In its wake the American Negro League formed in 1929, but disbanded after one season. The surviving Eastern teams went back to the old system of booking games.

The Negro National League did well until 1930, when Rube Foster suffered a debilitating illness and died. Without a strong leader, the league entered into the Great Depression and folded, with its surviving franchises returning back to independent team operation.

By 1932, the Depression had hit new lows. Unemployment, particularly in the African-American communities, was sky-high. Without money to buy tickets, and without the patronage of white major league baseball, whose contract purchases kept many independent league ballclubs afloat, most of the teams closed, sending players scattering anywhere to find work. Barnstorming tours kept a few employed. The East-West League folded mid-season of their first year. The Negro Southern League used to working with less, became the defacto ‘major’ negro league that year because it could keep major league players playing. Many more players went to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other Latin American nations to find work in places where their skin color would not be an issue.

Gus Greenlee and several others revived the Negro National League in 1933, piecing together teams from both the old NNL and the ECL leagues. As it was one league, the only rivalry between the two sides of it became the East-West All-Star game.

In 1937 the Negro American League formed with teams from the Eastern part of the country and survivors of the Negro Southern League as its core. The Negro National League realigned as a more Eastern league as well. The composition of the two began to mirror the white major leagues’ structure. From 1942 to 1948 the Negro League World Series was revived. This was the golden era of Negro League baseball, a time when it produced some of its greatest stars, and when it did so well financially that white baseball sat up and took notice.

Usual references to Branch Rickey‘s breaking of the color-line make it seem like some sort of Ghandian exercise in liberation. Certainly, from Rickey’s Methodist Midwestern roots, the racism of the sport could not have sat well. More importantly though, the Brooklyn Dodgers‘ General Manager was a fierce competitor, a shrewd businessman and an apt showman. He watched the full stadiums at Negro League games. He saw the powerful talents on the field. WWII had been a drain on baseball’s coffers, as many of their star players went to fight overseas. While post-war enthusiasm for the national pastime was good, Rickey believed that it could be better. Paying customers all had one color: The green of money.

So, with the stroke of his pen Jackie Robinson signed the deal that on July 5, 1947, signaled the end of the Negro Leagues.

The full effect was not felt until 1948, when stars like Satchel Paige were signed out from under the black clubs by white baseball clubs. The Negro National League folded again in 1948. Survivors moved to the Negro American League, which continued to play, in one form or another, until 1960.

The Negro Leagues produced scores of players who were on-par with their white contemporaries. Some notable players included pitcher Satchel Paige and catcher Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell and Hank Aaron. Aaron played with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1952, after racial segregation of the teams ended.  Effectively though, the Negro Leagues ceased to be of ‘major’ quality after 1948.


The road was hard for black baseball players. Many towns had whites-only hotels and restaurants. Players slept in the homes of fans on good days, on the bus, in a barn, or the booth of a tonk or bar on not-so-good ones, and out in open fields on bad ones. Sometimes they had to keep moving rather than stop for a meal, where none could be found. Usually though, once a team had established its “route,” it also established a network of resources that would keep it running on the road that it would use in following years.

Teams from the different Negro leagues learned that they played for cash in those transit stops, and for keeps in games with other black clubs.

It would not be uncommon for a great black ballclub to lose a game to much inferior semi-pro or town team to keep the peace. Black athletes had far more to consider every time they took the plate, or appeared in public, than did their white contemporaries.

 Historical Respect Well Deserved

Richard and Jones agree that Big League Baseball has not done enough to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Black players and that many potential Black upcoming stars playing the game are being ignored.

is an American, right-handed, former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career, from 1971 to 1980, with the Houston Astros.

“All we want as Black players are to be represented, respected and treated fairly,” Richard said. “There are still some great players out here, but the opportunities for Black players are just not there and doors are not opening like in former days.”

He said the only way to change the system is to stand up, talk and speak out for the respect and fight for that respect.

“If we do not wake up, we will be like Native Americans who have been pushed aside and treated badly,” he said.

Reed is working to start a foundation to teach life lessons using the game, Black history and offer career and dream guidance for youth. He is seeking help from churches, schools and others to support his visits with young people at various locations.

Gonzalez said the real history of Blacks in the game is yet to be fully told, but seeks to recapture that flair for future generations.

“Baseball has done a better job of recognizing black players and their contributions to the game, but the story remains incomplete,” he said. “That’s the reason I made this film. I want the story to be told in fullness and with texture.”

The documentary premiered nationally on June 6 in D.C. and will also be screened in and Miami on June 27. To watch the trailer and learn more about the film, visit

Information from of baseball in the United States contributed to this story and the National Endowment for The Humanities

By: Darwin Campbell

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OSCAR DUNN- 1825-1871 Fri, 16 Jun 2017 18:03:11 +0000 Oscar J. Dunn is best remembered as Louisiana’s first Black Lieutenant Governor, serving from 1868 to 1871. Dunn was born in New Orleans to an unknown father and a Black mother who kept lodging rooms patronized by White actors and actresses. She later married a mulatto stage carpenter named Dunn—the name Oscar Dunn adopted. As a young man, Oscar Dunn was a slave who fled bondage and purchased his freedom.


Before manumission, Dunn was self-educated (from reading letters) and learned the art of public speaking from actors who stayed at his mother’s lodging establishment. As a child Dunn worked as an apprenticed plasterer and as a young adult he was a music teacher.


During the Civil War, Dunn fought in the Union Army for the 1st Louisiana Native Guard, rising from Private to Captain.  The Native Guards were one of the first all-black regiments to fight for the Union during the Civil War (1861-1865).

Dunn’s career as a public official unofficially began in December 1864. At mass meetings in New Orleans, he emerged as one of a handful of powerful radical voices demanding Black legal equality and suffrage in Louisiana’s new state government. Although this demand was not immediately won, Dunn was not swayed from his ambition to play a vital role in Louisiana’s Reconstruction efforts.

In 1868, Dunn became one of only seven Black men in Louisiana’s Senate, and the only former slave elected to that body.  From 1868 until death in 1871, Dunn pushed for Black civil rights and suffrage.

He opposed President Andrew Johnson’s policies of pardoning former rebels without enforcement of a loyalty oath; returning their lands (often seized by former slaves during the Union occupation of Louisiana in the Civil War); and the forcing African Americans back on their former slave owners’ plantations as sharecroppers and “convict” labor.

Dunn organized a statewide Republican Convention in 1870 that challenged the power of Louisiana Governor Henry C. Warmoth.  He unsuccessfully challenged Warmoth for the governorship and later led a radical faction of Lincoln Republicans who attempted to have Warmoth impeached for corruption.

Warmoth found allies among the former slaveholders and temporarily became a Democrat in 1871 to frustrate Dunn and other Louisiana Republicans who opposed him, and to deprive Dunn of the power to appoint committees in the Senate.  Warmoth was finally impeached in December, 1872 and removed from office paving the way for the elevation of Lieutenant Governor Pickney Benton Stewart Pinchback to briefly serve as the nation’s first black governor.

Dunn however never saw that day.  On November 21, 1871, Oscar J. Dunn died of congestion of the brain.

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: Harper’s Perennial, 2002); W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 (New York: Touchstone, 1995); “Lieut.-Gov. Oscar J. Dunn—Cause of His Death—Some Reminiscences of His Career” The New York Times, November 28, 1871.

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DID YOU KNOW: Lee Roy Young Mon, 29 May 2017 17:35:05 +0000 In 1988, Lee Roy Young became the first African-American Texas Ranger in the 20th Century.

Lee Roy Young was the first Black in the police force’s history.

Young grew up in South Texas dreaming of joining the legendary law enforcement agency popularized by TV, movies and books dreamed and said the reality has pretty much lived up to the dream.

The history of the Texas Rangers began in 1820 when the Mexican Government gave permission for 300 families to enter the territory of Texas. On August 10, 1823, permission was granted to employ ten men from a group of volunteers to protect the new Texas frontier.

Rangers are charged with four duties: protecting life and property by enforcing state criminal statutes, suppressing riots and insurrections, investigating major crimes and apprehending fugitives.

During his exciting career that lasted almost 30 years, he was involved investigating high-profile murder cases and helping put criminals behind bars.


Young is also very proud of his Black Seminole heritage. His great-grandfather, Ben July, was a Seminole Negro Indian Scout and fought in three Seminole Indian wars. His ancestors lived in the swamps of Florida, and were relocated to Oklahoma in the “Trail of Tears.”

After completing school, Young joined the Navy for four years during the Vietnam War. He was a second class petty officer and worked on a destroyer tender. He then earned an associate of arts degree from Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde.

Young said he attended Sam Houston State University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology with an emphasis in criminology.

After college, Young joined the DPS and worked as a state trooper in Austin, Bryan, Eagle Pass and eventually in Del Rio, where he had graduated from high school. He was stationed in San Antonio at the DPS’ Department of Criminal Investigation. He then joined the Rangers in 1988 and received his badge in September 1989.

Some of the cases he was been involved in investigations of kidnapping, murder, narcotics, forgery, missing persons and fugitive cases. He also worked and investigated cases in Collin, Dallas, Kaufman, Rockwall, Grayson and Fannin counties, and in South and Central Texas.

He retired in 2003.


Texas Ranger State Museum, McKinney Courier Gazette and Los Angeles Times contributed to this story.

Photo by Brandi Hart – Mckinney Courier-Gazette
Submitted by: Darwin Campbell


Kara McCullough, a scientist working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been crowned Miss USA. Mon, 15 May 2017 18:23:54 +0000

LAS VEGAS, Nevada- Kara McCullough, a scientist working for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, has been crowned Miss USA.

McCullough, who represented the District of Columbia in the decades-old pageant, was born in Naples, Italy, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She said she wants to inspire children to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“I love science,” McCullough said after the Sunday event. “I look at this as a great opportunity to … get to experience worldwide culture, as well as just having the opportunity to be impacted by so many children, hopefully in the math and sciences.”

McCullough bested 50 other contestants and will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe contest.

This was the second year in a row that the representative of the nation’s capital won the Miss USA title. Last year, District of Columbia resident Deshauna Barber became the first-ever military member to win Miss USA.

This year’s top five finalists were asked questions that touched on the pros and cons of social media, women’s rights and issues affecting teenagers. McCullough was asked whether she thinks that affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege. She said it is a privilege.

“As a government employee, I’m granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs.”

McCullough said she will be discussing with her supervisor whether she will take a leave of absence from her job at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during her one-year reign.
Miss New Jersey Chhavi Verg, who studies marketing and Spanish at Rutgers University, was the runner-up at the event held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the Las Vegas Strip.

Verg was one of five women who participated in the pageant who told The Associated Press they immigrated to the U.S. with their families at a young age. Verg and the women representing Florida, North Dakota, Hawaii and Connecticut described the challenges and opportunities they faced as immigrants.

Verg told The AP that she and her parents immigrated from India to the U.S. with only $500 in their pockets when she was 4 years old. Her first winter she did not have a winter coat and the family struggled to adjust.

“I want to show Americans that the definition of what it means to be American is changing,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s not just one face. There are many different people who are Americans, and I feel like Asian-Americans often times are left out of the conversation.”

The contestants’ remarks contrast with the controversy that surrounded the pageant in 2015, when then-part owner and now U.S. President Donald Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House.

Trump co-owned The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, but the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the show. Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling the pageant to talent management company WME/IMG.

Source: ABC13

Blind Lemon Jefferson Mon, 15 May 2017 15:48:34 +0000 The first artist to take the blues back “down home” on a national scale was Blind Lemon Jefferson, the “King of Country Blues.”

Proud Texan

He became the first male blues recording star, and by far the most popular country bluesman of the 1920s in terms of record sales.

Jefferson, a native of Couchman, Texas, was born on Sept. 24, 1893, the blind son of Alec and Cassie Jefferson, according to the 1900 census, or Oct. 26, 1894 and according to his registration for the World War I draft (required even though he was blind).

He had no formal music education and instead traveled from place to place in Freestone and Limestone counties, playing his guitar and singing songs, most of which were his own compositions.

Career History

By the time he was in his twenties, Lemon had moved to Dallas and had become successful enough, playing the streets, brothels, and other affairs, to buy himself a car, get married, and find himself a recording contract.

Jefferson became a well-known figure in the Deep Ellum district of Dallas. There, he met Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Leadbelly, and for a time they played in brothels throughout Texas .

He traveled far and wide, preceded by the fame of his records wherever he went.

Jefferson was discovered by a talent scout for Paramount Records while in Dallas and was lured to Chicago. He made 79 blues and jazz records for Paramount in the 1920s, each estimated to have sold 100,000 copies. He also made two recordings under he Okeh label.

In Chicago, he most of his sides for Paramount, but Lemon reportedly also earned most of his income from playing house rent parties.

Popular Song Originals

Among Jefferson’s most recognizable songs are “Match Box Blues”, recorded not only by Carl Perkins and the Beatles but by Albert King; “Jack o’ Diamonds Blues,” a favorite among Texas bluesmen; “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” a folk-blues standard; “Blind Lemon’s Penitentiary Blues,” “That Black Snake Moan,” “Rabbit Foot Blues,” “One Dime Blues,” and “Bad Luck Blues.” His songs have been recorded by bluesmen from all parts of the country, from Detroit and Chicago to Mississippi to the Piedmont and East Coast to Texas, Oklahoma and California.

He also recorded spirituals under the pseudonym Deacon L.J. Bates.

Influential Impact on Music  & Artists

Jefferson undoubtedly paved the way for Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, Big Bill Broonzy, the urbane city blues of the 1930s, the so-called ‘Bluebird Beat,’ T-Bone Walker, and by extension, the modern electric blues of HIS emulators. He saturated, as well, the blues traditions of his native state, as is readily apparent in the work of Texas Alexander, Smokey Hogg, Lil’ Son Jackson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and scores of others.”

Voice Still Speaks From The Grave

On Dec. 19, 1929, less than two months after his final recording session, he died from causes that continue to be questioned. According to Welding, “Some accounts allege foul play, while others attribute his death to overexertion, heart failure, freezing to death in the bitter winter cold of Chicago, or some combination of these causes.”  His body was shipped back to Texas for burial.

Jefferson was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1980.

Decades after his death a marker was finally placed on his grave, and today there are fans who visit the site and recall the words he sang: “See that my grave is kept clean.”


Sources: Blues Hall of Fame, Memphis; Jim O’Neal,; Bob Bowman, All Things Historical, March 25, 2001


Get ready to be inspired by Malcolm X Festival 2017; Celebrating the Potential and Genius of Our Youth Tue, 09 May 2017 17:30:50 +0000 The theme for the 2017 Malcolm X Festival is, ‘Don’t Give Up On Our Youth, Educate! Educate! Organize!’ celebrating the energy, potential and genius generated by our young folks. The free festival will take place Saturday May 20th, from 11a.m. to 7 p.m., inside the Glendale Shopping Center, located at 4466 S. Marsalis Ave., Dallas Texas 75216.

Organizer Akwete Tyehimba says, “Malcolm X is a mirror of many of our youth today, portraying a negative personality that they know is not them. They are crying for us to help educate them about their history and culture, and to help transform their current negative reality and future. They can look to Malcolm X and know that they too can go from being one of the worst, to become one of the greatest leaders in world history”.

With all the negative images and stories of young folks in the media, the Malcolm X Festival Committee made a decision to shout out to our youth that ‘we’ believe in them, ‘we’ are here to help, and that ‘we’ know that ‘we’ made it ‘only’ because our community elders didn’t give up on ‘us’, thus ‘we’ will never give up on them.

Unlike festivals dreamed up over corporate marketing meetings this festival continues to swell from its community’s heart, just as it did 43 years ago when it sprang from a nascent South Dallas grassroots alliance.

The day long free festival will celebrate the legacy of Malcolm X, African culture and bring to communities of color important and relevant news and information. Along with a marketplace, food, live bands, poetry, children’s oratorical contest, face painting, percussion instrument making corner, Math is Me; learning the African seed counting game Mankala, debut film of ‘Message to the People’, and other cultural arts projects.

The festival will also address issues such as the criminal justice system, housing and land issues, food equality, movement building, and police brutality.

Featured performances by; Barri Pearson Band, Inner City All-Stars, Sir Tones, Bro. Shawt, vocalist Mahogany Miller, vocalist Modupe, Poet Leo Hassan, Reilford Children’s Dance Company, and a host of other artists.

The 2017 Malcolm X festival is sponsored by The Pan-African Connection Bookstore, Art Gallery and Resource Center and City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. It is free and open to the public. For more information contact 214-943-8262.

DID YOU KNOW!!! Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:38:54 +0000 The TWENTY-FOURTH UNITED STATES INFANTRY played a significant role in protecting American freedom and history, but their “Thank You” from Houston was disrespected like no other in African-American History.

Their glorious achievements and a brief stint in Texas was marred by part of the regiment being involved in the Houston Riot of 1917.

History of the 24th US Infantry

Glory Days

On July 28, 1866, the United States Congress reorganized the regular army into five artillery, ten cavalry, and forty-five infantry regiments. Six regiments were reserved for black enlisted personnel, in partial recognition of the role black soldiers had played during the Civil War.

Three years later, however, Congress consolidated the regular force, reducing the infantry regiments to twenty-five. As part of this reduction, the Thirty-eighth and Forty-first regiments, two of the units reserved for black troops and including many former slaves, were combined to form the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment.

The Twenty-fourth helped garrison several posts in western Texas and along the Rio Grande until 1880, when the regiment was transferred to the Indian territory. There it remained until the late 1890s, when it was shifted to Fort Douglas, Utah.

During its years in Texas, the Twenty-fourth Infantry, as did most frontier regiments, engaged largely in garrison duty, routine patrols, and minor skirmishing. Several companies, however, took part in Mackenzie’s expedition toward the headwaters of the Freshwater Fork of the Brazos River in 1872 and Shafter’s 1875 and 1876 forays into the Staked Plains.

Strong contingents from the regiment also participated in Shafter’s subsequent expeditions into Mexico, which were designed to interdict Indian raids into the United States.

Detachments also saw action in the campaigns against Victorio. Composed entirely of black enlisted men and white officers during this period, the Twenty-fourth’s soldiers encountered a good deal of racial prejudice despite their strong record in the campaigns against the Indians.During the Spanish-American War the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment once again distinguished itself in the bloody engagements at El Caney and San Juan Hill.

The following year it was sent to the Philippines, where the regiment participated in anti-insurgency operations until 1902. In 1916 it served in the punitive expedition against Mexico.


Houston’s Disrespect & Ingratitude

In the spring of 1917, shortly after the United States declared war on Germany, the War Department, taking advantage of the temperate climate and newly opened Houston Ship Channel, ordered two military installations built in Harris County—Camp Logan and Ellington Field.

The Illinois National Guard was to train at Camp Logan, located on the northwest outskirts of the city. To guard the construction site, on July 27, 1917, the army ordered the Third Battalion of the black Twenty-fourth United States Infantry to travel by train with seven white officers from the regimental encampment at Columbus, New Mexico, to Houston.


From the outset, the black contingent faced racial discrimination when they received passes to go into the city. A majority of the men had been raised in the South and were familiar with segregation, but as army servicemen they expected equal treatment. Those individuals responsible for keeping order, especially the police, streetcar conductors, and public officials, viewed the presence of black soldiers as a threat to racial harmony.

Many Houstonians thought that if the black soldiers were shown the same respect as white soldiers, black residents of the city might come to expect similar treatment.

Black soldiers were willing to abide by the legal restrictions imposed by segregated practices, but they resented the manner in which the laws were enforced. They disliked having to stand in the rear of streetcars when vacant seats were available in the “white” section and resented the racial slurs hurled at them by white laborers at Camp Logan.

Police Culture of Harassmen

Some police officers regularly harassed African Americans, both soldiers and civilians.

Most Black Houstonians concealed their hostility and endured the abuse, but a number of black soldiers openly expressed their resentment.

The police recognized the plight of the enlisted men, but did little to alert civil authorities to the growing tensions. When they sought ways to keep the enlisted men at the camp, the blacks disliked this exchange of their freedom for racial peace.

Boiling Point Brings Chaos

On August 23, 1917, a riot erupted in Houston. Near noon, two policemen arrested a black soldier for interfering with their arrest of a black woman in the Fourth Ward.

Early in the afternoon, when Cpl. Charles Baltimore, one of the twelve black military policemen with the battalion, inquired about the soldier’s arrest, words were exchanged and the policeman hit Baltimore over the head. The MPs fled. The police fired at Baltimore three times, chased him into an unoccupied house, and took him to police headquarters. Though he was soon released, a rumor quickly reached Camp Logan that he had been shot and killed.

A group of soldiers decided to march on the police station in the Fourth Ward and secure his release. If the police could assault a model soldier like Baltimore, they reasoned, none of them was safe from abuse. Maj. Kneeland S. Snow, battalion commander, initially discounted the news of impending trouble.

Around 8 P.M. Sgt. Vida Henry of I Company confirmed the rumors, and Kneeland ordered the first sergeants to collect all rifles and search the camp for loose ammunition. During this process, a soldier suddenly screamed that a white mob was approaching the camp.

Black soldiers rushed into the supply tents, grabbed rifles, and began firing wildly in the direction of supposed mob.

The white officers found it impossible to restore order. Sergeant Henry led over 100 armed soldiers toward downtown Houston by way of Brunner Avenue and San Felipe Street and into the Fourth Ward. In their two-hour march on the city, the mutinous blacks killed 15 Whites, including 4 policemen, and seriously wounded 12 others, one of whom, a policeman, subsequently died.

Four black soldiers also died. Two were accidentally shot by their own men, one in camp and the other on San Felipe Street.

After they had killed Capt. Joseph Mattes of the Illinois National Guard, obviously mistaking him for a policeman, the blacks began quarreling over a course of action. After two hours, Henry advised the men to slip back into camp in the darkness—and shot himself in the head.

Early next morning, August 24, civil authorities imposed a curfew in Houston.

“Just Us” Injustice

The military tribunals indicted 118 enlisted men of I Company for participating in the mutiny and riot, and found 110 guilty.  It was wartime, and the sentences were harsh.

Nineteen mutinous (19) soldiers were hanged and sixty-three (63) received life sentences in federal prison. One was judged incompetent to stand trial.

Two white officers faced courts-martial, but they were released and no white civilians were ever brought to trial.

The Houston Riot of 1917 was one of the saddest chapters in the history of American race relations.

Source: Texas State  Historical Association; and partial Bibliography information from Robert V. Haynes, A Night of Violence: The Houston Riot of 1917 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1976); The Employment of Negro Troops (Washington: Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Army, 1966);

Morris J. MacGregor, Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940–1965 (Washington: Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1981); Austin American-Statesman, March 20, 1989. Houston Chronicle, July 15, 25, 1917. Houston Press, August 24, 25, 1917; and William G. Muller, The Twenty Fourth Infantry, Past and Present (1923; rpt., Fort Collins, Colorado: Old Army Press, 1972).