February , 2019

Top Chicago Young Professionals Gear up for Second Installment of Young & Ambitious Speaker Series ...
Letters to Editors A message to area residents from Gene Tenner, North Side Safety Organization   I am ...
Attorney General Lynch and Solicitor General Verrilli Statements on the Passing of Supreme Court Justice ...
This January, Smiley and his All-Star Panel discuss a ‘Vision for a New America' Los ...
Cook County kicked off the second phase of public engagement in development of its Long ...
NAACP National Board of Directors Elects New Members, Passes Resolution on Flint Water Crisis at Annual ...
CHICAGO, IL- As the holidays approach many people would like to help others in need ...
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White will be distributing over 13,000 hams and turkeys ...
The family of Christian Griggs, who was killed in 2013 by a white pastor ...
 (A Message from the Better Business Bureau)    Chicago, IL - The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago ...

Archive for August 26th, 2013

Dr. King Asked Kennedy for Second Emancipation Proclamation – What Happened?

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Part Seven of an 11-Part Series on Race

A Second Emancipation 

One hundred years after Lincoln signed the Proclamation, Martin Luther King Jr. tried unsuccessfully to get President John F. Kennedy to issue a second one. That failure changed the course of history.


By Taylor Branch and Haley Sweetland Edwards

In October 1961, Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy took an after-lunch stroll through the elegant hallways of the White House residence. Their meeting that day was not official: it was not in the White House’s appointment book, and King had not been formally invited to discuss any sort of business. It was instead a guarded and rather stilted introduction for leaders of professed goodwill, in a political climate that remained extremely sensitive about race.

When the men passed the Lincoln Bedroom on their tour, King noticed the Emancipation Proclamation framed on the wall, and took the opportunity to raise, ever so delicately, the pressing issue of civil rights. King suggested something radical: a second Emancipation Proclamation, a proposal that would become the centerpiece of King’s lobbying campaign for the next year.

Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning civil rights scholar and biographer of King, recently sat down with Washington Monthly editor Haley Sweetland Edwards and explained this idea, what happened next, and how Kennedy’s choice on the matter altered King’s thinking and the course of the civil rights movement.

How did the off-the-record meeting between King and Kennedy come about that October evening?

The administration had summoned King to Washington for a meeting that day at the Justice Department, where officials insisted that one of his advisers was a dangerous communist subversive and that King had to get rid of him. King was still shaken by the demand when he went into the residence, not the West Wing, for his private meeting with the President. An appointment with the President would have been too controversial-King was still a radioactive figure then. He had gone to jail in the South; he’d been indicted and tried for violating segregation laws embedded in the constitutions of the southern states; and he’d been denounced by the same governors who’d supported the President. King’s White House visit was deliberately made intimate but hidden, and social. He was led upstairs to the residence for a private luncheon with President Kennedy and Jackie.

Jackie’s presence was a signal to King that he couldn’t say anything political that would ruin the moment-nothing about segregation or the sit-ins or the Freedom Rides that shook the country that year. They talked politely about their educations in Boston, their children, and that sort of thing.

Why, of all things, did King suggest a second Emancipation Proclamation?

When they were walking down the hallway, King saw the Emancipation Proclamation hanging on the wall in the Lincoln Bedroom. It provided an excuse for him to bring up politics in a positive way-to talk about the historic glow of Lincoln’s decision. King suggested that perhaps the president would consider issuing a second Emancipation Proclamation for January of 1963, on the 100th anniversary of the first one. Just as Lincoln had used an executive order to abolish slavery in the Southern states, King said, Kennedy could outlaw segregation.

King loved the idea of a second Emancipation Proclamation. He thought it would be easier for Kennedy than passing legislation-southerners had strangled every significant civil rights proposal in Congress for a century. At the same time, King hoped for an initiative by the president to make things easier for a struggling civil rights movement. King had not joined the Freedom Rides himself, nor yet accepted the personal sacrifice of a determined campaign to end segregation. He deeply hoped that if the president issued an executive order, there could be an easy way out for both of them.

What happened after that conversation outside the Lincoln Bedroom?

For the next six months, King and his lawyers drafted a second Emancipation Proclamation in Kennedy’s name. Then in May of 1962, when King was in Washington for a meeting to launch his Gandhi Society for Human Rights, he delivered a copy to the White House personally. It was a very fancy draft, bound in leather for the president, with copies for all the lower-level officials involved in civil rights. The cover letter said, “We ask that you proclaim all segregation statutes of all southern states to be contrary to the constitution, and that the full powers of your office be employed to void their enforcement.” The idea was to get the president to issue this second executive order on September 22, 1962-the hundredth anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, issued after the Civil War battle of Antietam.

How did Kennedy respond?

He didn’t. Not even by private letter. A while later, when King received an invitation to a White House luncheon for the archbishop of Cyprus, he declined. The standoff turned into an understated duel of manners. Kennedy was trying to keep things social, and King, by turning down the luncheon, was trying to signal that he could not be bought off. He had very real business that required attention.

For Kennedy, addressing segregation was a hornet’s nest. Because he knew that no Democrat could hope to be elected without the support of the solid South, it was never quite the right moment to become politically exposed on the issue of segregation.

During his 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy had promised action to reduce segregation wherever the powers of the federal government reached. He’d said he could end segregation in federally subsidized public housing “with the stroke of a pen” – in other words, without getting it through Congress. Once in office, however, he stalled. Supporters of civil rights actually mailed thousands of pens to the White House in a publicity campaign with a rare touch of humor, saying the president must have misplaced his pen.

Meanwhile, excruciating dramas over segregation continued after the Freedom Rides in the summer of ’61, which Kennedy said were embarrassing the United States. When Kennedy met with Premier Krushchev in Vienna, he said he had to endure criticism-from the Soviets, of all people, who had no freedom!-that America could not be free, judging by the way it treated its Black citizens. By September of 1962, it still took a lethal riot and a year’s occupation by 20,000 U.S. soldiers to secure the token integration of Ole Miss by its first Black student, James Meredith.

So the September anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation came and went without note from the White House?

This was a big disappointment to King, and a shock to King’s allies in Congress. King actually got them to write a letter saying that they’d understood the president was going to come to an event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on September 22. Their fallback plan was to goad the White House into action on January 1, 1963, the 100th anniversary of the New Year’s Day on which the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.

Toward that end, after months of lobbying, King delivered another draft of the second Emancipation Proclamation to the White House on December 17, 1962. It was much shorter. By this point, he’d backtracked on asking the president to proclaim all the segregation laws null. Instead, this draft called only for the nation to celebrate the spirit and example of the Emancipation Proclamation throughout 1963, invoking Lincoln’s legacy behind President Kennedy.

How did Kennedy react to that draft?

It bounced around the White House for a bit-but remember, this was December ’62. Kennedy had just weathered the global threat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and his administration was preoccupied with efforts to free the Bay of Pigs prisoners still in Cuba. He just didn’t respond to the draft proclamation, and missed the January 1 deadline, too.

After that, the White House announced a plan to host a social event for Lincoln’s birthday. From Kennedy’s point of view, it was a good solution-he could avoid the risk of issuing an executive order in a way that emphasized how much the emancipation tradition belonged to Republicans, not Democrats. He used Lincoln’s birthday as the occasion to invite many Black dignitaries into the White House, which had been mostly off-limits except in token ways. The White House endured a great deal of negative press for inviting Sammy Davis Jr., who had a White wife. The idea of a mixed-race couple in the White House was still very controversial in 1963-which in itself is a pretty good sign of how blighted and benighted people were about race.

Did King go to the White House event for Lincoln’s birthday?

No. When Kennedy blew the New Year’s Day anniversary, King realized he could no longer count on Kennedy to take leadership on civil rights. Nor could he bear any longer to let young people-that is, college students, the Freedom Riders, the ones going to sit-ins and to jail-bear the whole burden of raising the issue of segregation. King was worried he was losing his window in history. He believed every movement was about political timing: you only get so much capital to spend, you only get so many chances. He thought the issue of desegregation was beginning to recede. He said southerners were rallying to the defense of segregation more strongly than supporters of the Brown [vs. Board of Education] decision were rallying to freedom. King felt they needed to change the climate of public opinion in their favor-and that meant taking a risk.

It was after Kennedy blew this second deadline that King realized he had nothing left to wait for. He had to “go for broke,” as he called it, and head down to Birmingham, Alabama, which was considered the toughest bastion of racism in the South. It’s hard for people to understand what a big leap that was for him, but one way of understanding it is that he didn’t tell his own father, or the board of his protest group, that he was going. He didn’t want them to try to stop him.

Would it be fair to say that Kennedy’s failure to embrace the second Emancipation Proclamation catalyzed a turning point in the civil rights movement?

King knew that Lincoln had issued the original Emancipation Proclamation in the middle of a war with lots of people dying. I think he realized that in order to get the president, or anyone, to act, what he had to do was go to Birmingham and essentially recreate those conditions-not a full-fledged civil war, but something that dramatized the moral imperative of the segregation issue in America.

In the end, King authorized not only high school students, but also elementary school students as young as 6 years old, to participate in a huge wave of demonstrations beginning May 2. That’s when Birmingham brought out the dogs and fire hoses and shocked the world. That’s when the issue of segregation really broke through people’s emotional barriers, not only in the United States but around the world. Up until that point, people had always found ways to evade the problem, to say it was someone else’s responsibility or that time would solve the problem. King had always known on some level that he’d have to join the students in the street, but like all of us who are human, he looked for an easier way until every door was closed and his conscience wouldn’t let him avoid it anymore.

Did Kennedy miss a major moral opportunity to do the right thing?

It’s historically accurate to say that Kennedy was not the vanguard figure in civil rights that popular history makes him out to be. It’s also true, however, that his fears were probably justified. Had he issued an executive order against segregation through a second Emancipation Proclamation, it probably would have weakened his administration without accomplishing anything. The southern states would have declared it illegal. They would have said he couldn’t declare a war measure since there wasn’t a war going on. And that would have made Kennedy look ineffectual, reduced his prestige, and perhaps cost him the next election. And then the next president would be even less likely to take on the entrenched power of the southern states. So unless you expect your political leaders to give up the prospect of holding office, you have to acknowledge that he had pretty good reason not to act on a second Emancipation Proclamation.

Kennedy did finally go on television and propose a civil rights bill in June of 1963, but by that time demonstrations of sympathy for what had happened in Birmingham had broken out in hundreds of cities across the country. At that point, Kennedy didn’t have any choice but to calm the fires of protest before they consumed his government.

King succeeded in getting Kennedy to act, just not in the way he’d intended.

People are always tempted to say that presidents and leaders should supply all the initiative, but in fact what worked in the civil rights movement was the combination of an aroused citizenry, which claimed rights and changed the political mood, and responsive national leaders. President Johnson later said that if, at the right time, King and the priests and ministers who were risking their lives down in Selma changed the political climate enough, then I can and will propose the voting rights bill. And he did. And that was really the pinnacle of cooperation between citizens taking responsibility for their government and government leaders responding to a political climate-a political climate created by the citizens themselves.

Taylor Branch and Haley Sweetland Edwards collaborated on this article. Branch is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who first wrote for the Washington Monthly in 1969. His new book, “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement,” is being published in January 2013. Haley Sweetland Edwards is an editor of the Washington Monthly.

This article, the seventh of an 11-part series on race, is sponsored by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and was originally published by the Washington Monthly Magazine.


Final defendant sentenced in 2009 brutal gang murder of teen

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

The fourth and final defendant charged with the murder of a 15-year-old  South Side teen who refused to flash a gang sign when confronted by a group of gang members has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for the brutal 2009 attack, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Erick Ortiz, 19, of Chicago, was sentenced today to 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections in connection with the murder of Alex Arellano, who was burned, beaten and shot to death in a vicious attack by gang members on May 2, 2009. 

According to prosecutors, Arellano was walking to a friend’s house in the 3000 block of West 54th Place in Chicago with two girls when he was confronted by two Latin King gang members on bicycles who questioned him about his gang affiliation.  Arellano responded that he did not belong to a gang, and the two gang members rode off. 

Moments later a car containing other Latin King gang members approached Arellano and the two girls as they continued walking.  Defendant Alisa Campos, a member gang, exited the vehicle and began to beat Arellano with a baseball bat.  When Arellano attempted to run away, he was struck by the car the gang members arrived in, which was being driven by defendant Edgar Silva. 

According to prosecutors, Arellano was able to get up and run to a nearby abandoned house.  Arellano’s two companions ran from the area and called police as the gang members then followed Arellano and continued to beat him. Defendant Erick Ortiz dragged Arellano into a gangway and held him as fellow gang member, defendant Jovanny Martinez, shot him one time, point blank, in the head.  Arellano’s body was found the next day, burned beyond recognition, presumably to conceal evidence of the homicide.

“This case represents another senseless and tragic slaying of an innocent child by gang members who have absolutely no regard for human life,” State’s Attorney Alvarez said.  “This is a fitting and appropriate sentence for this defendant and all of those involved in this outrageous act of violence.  We thank everyone involved in this case who worked so hard to obtain some measure of justice for this victim and his family.” 

Ortiz and co-defendant Martinez, 19, of Chicago, were found guilty of first degree murder on April 29, 2013 at a bench trial in front of Judge Maura Slattery Boyle.  Martinez was sentenced to 75 years on June 27, 2013.  The other two defendants in the case, Campos, 26 and Silva, 22, both of Chicago, previously pled guilty.  Campos pled guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to 23 years on January 8, 2013.  Silva pled guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years on April 30, 2012, in exchange for his testimony in the trials of Martinez and Ortiz.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked the Chicago Police Department and Assistant State’s Attorney John Maher for their dedicated work on this case.

I.D.O.C. Commander, Chicago Police Department Training Coordinator, and former Police Chief Endorses August 28th March on Chicago City Hall for Police Accountability

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Commander for the Illinois Department of Corrections (I.D.O.C.), and former Police Chief Percy Coleman has endorsed the August 28th March on Chicago City Hall demanding the institution of an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council with the power to prosecute police crimes.
Percy Coleman is the commander of I.D.O.C parole district 1 in Chicago, is former Commander for the Chicago Housing Authority’s Community Policing, the City wide training coordinator for the Chicago Police Department C.A.P.S and COPS programs. In addition he held the position of Chief of Police for two suburban Chicago Police Departments.
Percy Coleman was personally affected by police violence when his son Phillip Coleman was brutally beaten, tasered, tortured, and killed by unidentified Chicago Police officers on December 13th, 2012. Philip Coleman, 38, was a scholar, community activist, and business owner who held degrees from both the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, and had no criminal record of any kind.
“Philip was denied any required medical treatment despite obvious facial trauma in addition to injuries of his hands,” said Percy Coleman, who said that officers ignored his requests for treatment. “Philip Coleman was sentenced to death because of the Chicago Police Department’s arrogance of power, unchecked abuse, and misuse of their police authority. This is just another factual reason why C.P.A.C legislation must be enacted by all concerned.”
In endorsing the March, Commander Coleman joins almost 200 community leaders and organizations, as well as dozens of family members of people killed by police and tortured and convicted based on false confessions.
Demonstrators are demanding passage of a law creating an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council.  The August 28, 2013 Rally at Federal Plaza will convene at 11 am, and will march to Chicago City Hall 11:30 am, where demonstrators will reconvene for a noon rally.
The movement was initiated by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and its Stop Police Crimes Organizing Committee.
For more information visit http://www.stoppolicecrimes.com/, or call 312-939-2750

Be an Advance Guard for Jobs

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


By William Spriggs

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In August 1963, as was the case 100 years earlier when the cemetery for the heroes of Gettysburg was dedicated, many speeches were delivered; but one stood out as a galvanizing moment to redefine and repurpose a movement. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, delivered in November 1863, clearly defined the issue of the Civil War to be whether states’ rights could trample the rights of anyone. Similarly, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech came to define the civil rights movement of a century later.

It has come to be interpreted as a call for a colorblind society, instead of a call to end racial injustice. His vision was more powerful than the sanguine, “not judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” interpretation that has seen right-wing conservatives quoting Dr. King’s speech to justify racial disparities; in the same way that tea party members embrace Lincoln’s “government of the people,” to somehow mean no government at all.

The 1963 march was the March for Jobs and Freedom. Dr. King, who would become a strong champion for reforming America’s economic system so it worked to advance people-not crush them in poverty as sacrifices for progress-did not use the word “jobs” that day or make mention of the millions of Americans who were unemployed. Dr. King’s body of work, his push to end poverty in America, is clearly part of his legacy. He stands as a drum major for justice, not just racial justice but economic justice. But, his “I Have a Dream” speech was an articulation of how the civil rights movement was a fulfillment of the founding principles of America in line with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address. It clearly argued that racial injustice was so incompatible with American ideals that it could not be defended.

But, the march was a March for Jobs and Freedom. The march was the dream of A. Philip Randolph, who was the senior statesmen of the major civil rights leaders. In 1963, Randolph was 74 years old, King was 34, and the only living major speaker of the day is Rep. John Lewis, then the head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, who was 23. Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, was a union president and saw economic rights as inseparable from civil rights. And so it was Randolph who wanted the march to be a march for jobs.

As the leader of the march, Randolph opened the ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial and was the master of ceremonies for the day of speeches. His characterization of the march was, “we are the advanced guard of a massive, moral revolution for jobs and freedom.” While acknowledging racial injustice, he said, “We want all public accommodations open to all citizens, but those accommodations will mean little to those who cannot afford to use them.”

And most importantly, he pointed out that equal opportunity to jobs means nothing if we have an economic system that is destroying jobs. A simple yardstick would suggest that the civil rights changes since the march have exceeded what could have been imagined. In 1963, very few blacks were registered to vote, there were no Black members of Congress from the South and few local elected officials. Yet, today, both John Lewis and one of Dr. King’s lieutenants, Andrew Young, have served as members of Congress representing Atlanta, and there are Black members of Congress from every Southern state. In 1963, mostly limited to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, only about 4 percent of the Black population had college degrees; today about 21 percent of African-Americans have a college degree and attend every flagship public university in the South. But, the March for Jobs and Freedom was launched when the Black unemployment rate stood at 10.9 percent, today it stands at 12.6 percent.

The march did usher in many economic changes. The Civil Rights Act that passed the following year in 1964 made employment discrimination illegal, ending practices of major newspapers, like The Washington Post, posting help wanted ads for “nurse (practical) white, for small nursing home.” This was followed by President Johnson issuing Executive Order 11246, requiring firms contracting with the federal government to take affirmative actions to ensure compliance with the Civil Rights Act in their hiring. And, the call to raise the minimum wage was answered with an eventual boost to $1.60 an hour in 1968-the equivalence of $10.70 today, and the minimum wage’s highest value. The minimum wage coverage was extended to state and local government workers, boosting the earnings of Black workers who gained entry to low-wage public-sector employment.

The result was that the median earnings of black men rose from below poverty for a family of three at $16,051 in 1963 to a peak of $23,135 in 1973, way above the poverty level. And, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in 1969. So, not surprisingly, the poverty rate for black children fell from 65.6 percent in 1965 to 39.6 percent in 1969. In 2010, 39 percent of Black children lived in poverty, the median income of Black men stood at $23,475 in 2011, and today the unemployment rate for Black men is at 12.5 percent.

Today, the challenge remains for civil rights to fight against the mass incarceration of black men, protect the Voting Rights Act from activist Supreme Court judges on the right and prevent vigilante acts coded into “Stand Your Ground” laws that killed Trayvon Martin. So, let us hope that this current generation, armed with social media, can outperform the generation of typewriters and index cards in putting hundreds of thousands into a march to redeem the dream in Dr. King’s speech to end racial injustice.

Thanks to the successes of the 1963 march, today’s young people will not be asked to march in the middle of the week as was the case in 1963. Afraid of a large gathering of “protesters,” the march organizers were forced to hold the march on a Wednesday to keep the crowd down and to agree that the marchers would all leave Washington by sundown. So, holding the march on a Saturday, and with the freedom to stretch the message longer than “sun up to sundown,” this generation has overcome those barriers of the past.

But, let us also hope that this generation will see that they must again mount a campaign for jobs. If more than 250,000 Americans marched on Washington when the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent demanding full employment policies are at the center of economic policy, how will this generation respond? If more than 250,000 Americans marched on Washington demanding a raise in the minimum wage when its value was $9.54, how will this generation respond?

To encourage this generation, the AFL-CIO sponsored a scholarship competition to grant 60 scholarships to young people willing to commit themselves to recommit America to the demands of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom. Each of the students will be receiving a one-time $5,000 scholarship to help them afford college this fall. The 150th freshman class of Howard University will be at the march this Saturday. So, some young people are committed to respond.

Will our political leadership respond? Will it pass a new Civil Rights Act? Will it pass a Full Employment Act? Will it raise the minimum wage? 

Follow Spriggs on Twitter: @WSpriggs.

Contact: Amaya Smith-Tune Acting Director, Media Outreach AFL-CIO 202-637-5142.


DuSable Museum reenacts 5oth Anniversary of March On Washington

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS
Activists lay out challenges
By Chinta Strausberg

For those unable to attend Wednesday’s 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, The DuSable Museum of African American History held a reenactment of this iconic event Saturday where hundreds heard Civil Rights leaders like Attorney Thomas N. Todd, Father Michael L. Pfleger and 9-year-old Zyon Nichols who recited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech by memory.

For two-hours, hundreds braved the burning rays of the sun in Washington Park, outside of the Museum headed by Dr. Carol Adams. A string of elected and appointed officials like Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and activists Mamie Pratt from the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Attorney Lewis Myers, Rev. Al Sampson, Rev. Janette Wilson from Rainbow PUSH, Andrea Zopp from the Chicago Urban League, Rev. Jedidiah Brown, Young Leaders Alliance, Dr. Chandra Gill, Black academically Speaking, Father David Jones, St. Benedict the African, KAM Isaiah Israel Rabbi Frederick Reeves spoke of Dr. King’s dream and 12-year-old Mae Ya Carter Ryan who sings like Mahalia Jackson with TV personality Richard Steele as the Masters of Ceremonies.

And, John Umphlett, manager of the Customer Services Operation for the Chicago District, U.S. Postal Service unveiled the commemorative “March On Washington” postage stamp.

Gov. Quinn said Dr. King’s speech he made 50-years ago will live on forever. When Dr. King lived in Chicago, Quinn said his physician, Dr. Quentin Young, was Dr. King’s doctor.  “Dr. King said one of the worse forms of discrimination was in health care…. Health care wasn’t a privilege. It was a fundamental right,” said Quinn.

He announced in a few months the state of Illinois will be implementing the Affordable Care Act. Dr. King understood how important health care was to all of us. Quinn thanked President Obama for “remembering what Dr. King said that day that we have to live out our creed, live out our Constitution, and make sure everybody is in and nobody is left out,” said Quinn.

And in the spirit of the women of the Civil Rights movement, Dr. Adams honored several women who “have been very actively engaged in fighting for freedom right here in Chicago” including Rev. Attorney Janette Wilson, Brenetta Howell Barrett, a 1963 fighter for freedom, Ayesha Jaco with the Lupe Fiasco Foundation and Diane Latiker with Kids Off the Block who was not present, but those who were present spoke without mincing their words.

“We are in an era of Smartphones, Ipads, Androids and all the technology replacing in many instances the hard work that we had to do by hand,” said Attorney Todd.“No matter how smart your Smartphone is or no matter how sophisticated your computer is, no matter how much technology you have, you still can’t download freedom. “There’s no app for that.”  “If would be free, you must become free the old fashion way. You have to work and work for it.”

In challenging the black community to come back home, Todd told the crowd, “We have resources. We have the man power and the woman power, and we have the talent, but it’s been working for somebody else.”

Referring to poet/writer Langston Hughes, Todd said, “We have become frosting on somebody else’s cake.” In challenging the black church he called the “most powerful institution” in the black community “to come home, get off their knees…and stand up and deal with the hell that’s here today.”

To the black lawyers, teachers, educators, doctors and other professionals, Todd told them, “You need to come home. Sometimes they are more concerned about their 401-K than they are about the new KKK.”

To the black preachers he said, “We can’t do it without you. We need the preachers because that is our natural leadership, but what we need are protesting preachers, not payroll preachers,” said Todd. He said 50 years later, “Freedom is still not free. Equal is still not equality. Fairness is still not equal, but we can meet these challenges and do what we have to do.”

Looking out over the crowd, Father Pfleger referred to Dr. Eugene Carson Blake who was the first white clergy to be arrested in the Civil Rights movement and who spoke after A. Phillip Randolph at the March on Washington. “He said he wish he could be speaking forall the people of faith. At least he could have been the voice for them and stood up for them, but he said he couldn’t do that because the people of faith were so disunited and so divided.

“He said he couldn’t do that because the people of faith were not ready to stand upand march and fight for freedom,” said Pfleger. “He said the people of faith said all of the right things, but they didn’t do the right things. They were not ready to act. They were not able to put their own house in order when it came to desegregation…..

“Fifty-years later, I wonder if things are not just as bad or perhaps even worse than they were 50-years ago,” Pfleger said. “The church, the foundation what Dr. King stood on and fought for…has become part of the problem. The faith community has too often become part of the institution and when they are not joining the institution they’re too silent to challenge the institution.

“If we are to move forward to freedom, the church has to clear its throat. The church has to redeem its prophetic voice and take the lead rather than the caboose of this society…. We must do more than invocations and benedictions. We must be the conscious of a society that seemingly has lost its conscious,” bellowed Pfleger.

“We must be the lobbyist for the poor, the lobbyist for the disenfranchised. We must ask the questions nobody wants to ask anymore, and the faith community has to once again be the moral voice in an immoral world,” said Pfleger.

“We must do as Dr. King said. We can past laws to make lynching and inequality illegal, but only a faith community can change a heart but we can’t change anybody’s heart until we have the heart of the God we say we represent. It’s time for us to change our hearts. We have to be the ones to make the rough smooth, the crooked straight, the valley filled in and the mountains kept out….”

Referring to the Sunday prayer in churches, Pfleger recited, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Well, it’s time to stop just praying it. It’s time to start doing it.  It’s time to not just remember Dr. King. The greatest injustice we could do to Dr. King is to just remember him. Be like him and let’s be the voice again of justice.”

Standing in the footprints of Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the March 7, 1965 “Bloody Sunday” by law enforcement officials, Rev. Brown said 50-years ago Lewis represented the student activist non-violent part of the march.

In quoting Lewis, Rev. Brown said, “We want our freedom and we want it now. Fifth-years later, are we free? Are we free when the Voting Rights Act has been crippled? Are we free when we see schools closing in our neighborhoods and we have no say so. Are we free when we are afraid to let our children be children because they are slain in their own community?

“John Lewis said we will not wait for the course to act for we have waited hundreds of years. Well, I say we waited 50 more. Dr. King made it clear. Nobody else can do this for us. Nobody’s document can do this for us. No Civil Rights bill can do this for us. If we are truly going to be free, we must move down into the inner resources of our own soul and…” come up with our own emancipation proclamation.

“We cannot address black excellence or black power until we can again say it loudand declare and mean it, I am black and proud. My black is beautiful. We need to sign ourselves over to freedom. The Emancipation Proclamation was signed over 100 years ago. Today is our turn,” said Brown.

Referring to the media portrayal of African Americans, Rev. Brown said, “Still today we are portrayed as lazy and aggressive, suspicious, or suspect. We are still portrayed as poor and conscious animals and the biggest lie” he has heard ]]s that “the black man is hopeless because hopeless and chosen don’t mix. Through racism, through slavery, through prejudice, through stereotype, through disenfranchisement and unlevel playing fields, God didn’t bring us this far to leave us now,” said Brown.

Saying we are all Trayvon Martin’s, Rev. Brown said while the souls of blacks need cleansing America’s souls also need cleansing, too. Brown urged blacks to unify and said of the presidency, “Black men are great. It’s not enough to have one black president, but let’s elect a president so black that it’ll make every racists scream every time they wake up in America….”

Brown called on blacks to stop spending its $1 trillion in other communities and to support each other. “We want our freedom and we want it now.”

Rabbi Reeves said, “As Americans, we are a people of hope. We are not dismayed by the racism that remains after these 50 years. We recognize there is still a long way to go on the road to the mountain, but we know that we will continue to walk on that road with occasionally steps backward but continual steps forward because of the hope that energizes our path….”

Saying Americans are strong “because of and not in spite of but because of the differences that we embrace and bring together,” Reeves said. “American culture is the expression of all of these cultures together growing with one another, influencing one another, sharing the hope of freedom that comes from justice.

“This hope that we all share that speedily and in our own day we will come to know an America that is not divided in opportunity, not divided in education, not divided in justice but rather as united in freedom. We might not finish the work, but we are not free to give up working for the day when we all know that we are one,” Rabbi Reeves said.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com. 

New Black Country Artist, Kandia Crazy Horse

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

She’s Country strong and she is Black

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Bluebilly Records releases California on iTunes and Amazon and Google Play, the first single from the debut album, Stampede, by award-winning writer-turned-country artist, Kandia Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse is an African American, and she may bring the biggest surprise to country music in 2013. Buzz about Kandia and her recording project has been going around since the early part of this year. Early next year, she will release a full-length album, Stampede. Country music will now have an African American lady ascending the charts.

Kandia’s music is born out of her strong cosmic and sonic connection to the California Canyon sound. Her Zeus is Crosby Stills & Nash. Her tree of influences include Jackie deShannon, Kris Kristofferson, Stevie Nicks, Ray Charles, Tom T. Hall, and Gram Parsons.

Albert Menendez, California’s producer, and Olgui Chirino, background vocalist, became available when Colombian hit-maker Shakira took time off to have a baby and do her turn on The Voice. The rest of Kandia’s players, most with Cuban roots, have decades of touring and doing studio sessions at top levels behind them. Their turn at country brings an interestingly fresh extension to the genre. The music comes strong with newly conceived take-backs to the sixties and seventies when the golden state’s coolest musicians had big impact at the top of the charts.

Indeed, coming out as a country singer-songwriter and creatively joining with mostly Cuban-American musicians, she will probably send the comfortable cognoscenti reeling backwards. Kandia is a gamechanger when it comes to putting out fresher and more probing ideas on culture and music.

When the Stampede album is released, the biggest revelation will be for the public and media, to be fully introduced to the arrival of a new wave of African American country singers slugging their way up country and crossover charts.

Kandia has a real thing about horse power (project name for a second album already in the works). She plans to take her creative energies full throttle, as she makes creative and artistic imprints upon country music’s landscape.

The Florida-based Bluebilly Records brings to the forefront a new, extended voice in country music and a forward-looking stable for emerging and independent artist. Kandia plans to take her creative energies full throttle, as she makes creative and artistic imprints upon country music’s landscape. For sure, her sassy tag not only rings right it is also country strong.

Be prepared to saddle up!

Photo Caption: Kandia Crazy Horse

Mormon legal battle coming to Chicago

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Tickets available for dramatization of 1840s extradition hearings of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith


The University of Chicago is one of the sites for the dramatization of the extradition hearings of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church.

Tickets are now available for the Oct. 14 Chicago presentation of Smith’s habeas corpus trials and panel discussion on this seminal event that originally took place in Illinois in the early 1840s. The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, 915 E 60th St.

Tickets for the Chicago reenactment and discussion are $15 and are available at www.josephsmithcaptured.com. 

This is the final event of the programs sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission; and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.  A group of attorneys and judges, including Illinois Supreme Court Justices Rita B. Garman and Anne M. Burke have been heading up months of work to present this event to the public.

The Chicago event will be a two-hour presentation of the three habeas corpus hearings involving Smith, the Mormon Prophet, followed by a panel discussion of the use of habeas corpus from Joseph Smith to Abraham Lincoln to Guantanamo Bay. 

David A Strauss, the Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, will moderate the panel discussion featuring the Hon. Sue E. Myerscough, Judge for the U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois; Michael A. Scodro, Illinois Solicitor General; Jeffrey D. Colman, Jenner & Block; and Jeffrey N. Walker, Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Another performance of the hearings will be held in Springfield at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on Sept. 24.  In historic Nauvoo, Illinois, one of the key settlements in the early years of the Mormon faith, tours will be conducted on Sept. 23 along with a presentation by The Church of Latter-day Saints’ Elder Dallin H. Oaks.

For further information, contact John Lupton, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission in Springfield at 217-670-0890, ext. 1.  John.lupton@illinoiscourthistory.org

Immigration Reform Forum set for Northeastern Illinois University September 7th

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS


Race, Border Walls and the Politics of not Selling Out

Politicians promoting “Immigration Reform” are trying to sell us the idea that limited rights for the “good immigrants” can be won in exchange for increased repression of all others. Join us for a forum about grassroots struggles to confront criminalization and resist borders without buying into the politics of “worthy” vs “unworthy” people, “good immigrants” vs “criminals” and so on.

The forum will be held Saturday, September 7 at  Northeastern Illinois University – Student Union Building, 10:30A.M. – 5:00P.M. It is free and open to the public. Lunch and childcare are provided.

The forum will bring together local and national struggles around prisons, policing, racial justice and migrant justice. The forum will also highlight indigenous perspectives and struggles around border militarization, migration and trade featuring a delegation from the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose lands are cut across by the US-Mexico border.

Program is as follows:  

Session1: Race, Criminalization and How Not to Throw Other Communities Under the Bus
Session 2: Indigenous perspectives on Border Militarization, Migration and Trade
Workshops include:
⁃ “What’s up with Immigration Reform – ¿Qué onda con eso de la Reforma Migratoria?” (Moratorium in Deportations Campaign);
⁃ “Hip Hop is Resistance”; a beat-making workshp for youth with Shining Soul from Phoenix
⁃ Confronting Anti-Blackness (TBA)
⁃ PIC and Immigrant Detention (TBA)

The forum is organized by the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign with Undocumented, Resilient and Organized.

For Detailed program description, map and more information

IDES Offices Closed Sept. 2 to Observe Labor Day

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Customers Should Certify; Services Available on Internet

CHICAGO, IL – Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) offices will be closed Monday, Sept. 2, in observance of Labor Day. All services are available on the IDES website. Claimants scheduled to certify are encouraged to use the Internet. Regular office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. will resume Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. The labor movement created the tribute to honor the economic and social achievements that the American worker brought to our nation. The first celebration was in 1882 in New York city. The day was a Tuesday. The holiday moved to Monday in 1884. Although there are conflicting reports that the holiday began either with the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners or with the International Association of Machinists, there is agreement that the Central Labor Union was responsible for the initial demonstration and picnic.

Municipal ordinances first recognized the day in 1885. New York was the first state to propose legislation creating the holiday, but Oregon was the first to enact a law in 1887. Illinois created the holiday in 1891. In 1894, Congress established the first Monday in September to be the legal holiday. In 1909, the American Federation of Labor declared the Sunday before Labor Day as Labor Sunday. It recognizes the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

Although IDES offices will be closed, services are available at www.ides.illinois.gov People can file for first-time unemployment benefits, certify for benefits which is necessary to receive payment, and switch that method of payment to direct deposit. Because Monday is a federal banking holiday, the availability of some benefit payments might be delayed. The IDES does not determine federal banking holidays.

There are 100,000 help-wanted ads on Illinoisjoblink.com, the IDES employment website that links job seekers with employers. This no-cost, career resource allows individuals to create multiple resumes that emphasize different talents and allows businesses to search for specific skills. The keyword matching technology increases the likelihood of a successful new hire. Illinois JobLink emphasizes Illinois jobs, scrapes other commercial job boards, and compares favorably to private efforts that cost hundreds of dollars for a single advertisement.

Dr. Conrad Worrill Street Naming Ceremony Highlights his life

Posted by Admin On August - 26 - 2013 2 COMMENTS

Sign reminder of his Civil Rights legacy

By Chinta Strausberg

The nearly three-hour street naming in honor of Dr. Conrad Worrill took place Thursday inside of the Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 East Oakwood Blvd., where a string of supporters including Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) professed their love for the activists and Civil Rights Leader who also received proverbial roses for his lifelong commitment to educate his people including teaching them about their African ancestry.

Rush said Worrill deserves “the honor and respect.” He told Worrill, “You have carved a legacy…in the hearts and minds of our young people….”

Award-winning Chicago Suntimes columnist Mary Mitchell, who was the Masters of Ceremony, said if journalists got it wrong they would expect a call from Worrill to set them straight.

The street naming ceremony drew a standing room only crowd where people spilled out into the street straining to hear the ceremony that was also attended by Sharon Hahs, president of  NEIU, and her husband Billy, along with other faculty members, students, former classmates and friends who came from other states to support Worrill.

Also present was Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), Father George Clements, Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader, activists and retired Professor Robert Starks and the children of Worrill including Sobeanna his daughter, his brother, Oscar, Femi S. Skanes, his other daughter, and other relatives. Also present was Ise Linda Carruthers, the wife of the late Jacob Carruthers for whom the Center was named.

With his wife, Talibah Worrill, by his side, she said of the ceremony, “I am excited, elated and encouraged. Conrad has been working a very long time, and it is nice for him to get this recognition while he is still alive. A lot of times people wait until they are no longer here to give them their flowers, but he is getting his flowers today.”

Mrs. Worrill, who has been married to Dr. Worrill for 20-years, said the sign “means a legacy…that will remind generations to come who walked the earth and did such amazing things.”

Echoing some of Mrs. Worrill’s sentiments were former Ald. Dorothy Tillman (3rd) and Dennis Muhammad, regional protocol director for Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.  “So often we gather like this after death, but we came together to honor him while he lives. It was a testimony of all the things he did. It’s an honor that we are not at a funeral but a celebration while he lives,” said Tillman.

A long time friend and colleague, retired NEIU Professor Robert Starks, said that Worrill “was richly deserving of the tribute because he has been a stalwart protector of the Center for Inner City Studies, a great teacher and activists.”

According to Worrill, the Center for Inner Studies is 47-years-old. He told of during the 1930’s Horace Cayton and Sinclair Drake lived on the seventh floor of the university when they did the research on the book, Black Metropolis that was a study about Negro life in a Northern city.

Olumanji, a longtime friend of Worrill who heads the Dr. Bobby E. Wright Institute for the Advancement of Critical Consciousness, said the sign is a “landmark based on the person who has done something very worthwhile for a lot of different people over a consistent period of time…. It’s an acknowledgement of the work that we do in our communities for people who call themselves organizers and community developers….”

Led by two Congo players, the unveiling of the street sign, Conrad Worrill Way, was held at corner of Oakwood Blvd. To many, it represents a roadmap of his life and legacy that spans decades of marching, boycotting and fighting for economic and civil rights for African Americans. When Worrill pulled the string, it broke leaving the paper covering the name. Armed with an umbrella, two men knocked the paper off exposing the new street name.

Standing by the sign that bears his name, Dr. Worrill talked about what it means to him. “Hopefully that my name is associated with the history of this neighborhood and the work we’ve done. It is a great honor, and I am very humbled.”

Murrel Duster, professor emeritus at the Northeastern Illinois University and emeritus vice president and the daughter of the late Ora Higgins, said, “This has been a glorious celebration of a man who should be recognized for the work he’s done. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of students, faculty and staff who were touched by his wisdom.”

A Chicago native, Ajamu Webster, chairperson Kansas City Chapter of the Black United Fund, who called Worrill his Godfather, first met him 32-years ago in Chicago. “Whether it’s fighting for reparation overdue an unpaid or champion the movement for African centered education…,” Webster said Worrill has inspired the lives of many generations.

“Not only has he followed the path laid out by our honorable ancestors but he’s also blazed the trail for others of us for generations to follow in his footsteps. ”Webster called him a man of vision with integrity who has “the ability to be a wise counselor and a supreme organizer.”

Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis said Worrill saved his life and has been an inspiration to him. He chanted the motto, “We are an African people….. While he has helped so many Chicagoans…, Davis said, Worrill’s “ripple effects” span into thousands of people he touched throughout his life including his push for education and his love for African people.

David Leaman, associate dean of College of the College of Arts and Sciences at the Northeastern Illinois University, said, “I love history and Dr. Worrill is such a historian…a historical storyteller. This event brought together history, family and the struggle of equality and the ongoing struggle for democracy and this is what my university represents every day. I am so happy to be a part of it.”

Iris Dunmore, event coordinator for the Black United Fund and ETA, said the street sign “was well deserved by Dr. Worrill who has been in the struggle for 40-years. I met him in 1968 at George Williams College…. He came and brought Fred Hampton to speak to us. That was the first time I laid eyes on Dr. Worrill….” She said the sign would help youth to learn about Worrill and his legacy. Michael Cotton, who hosted the event, echoed Dunmore’s comments.

But, Thursday afternoon, all eyes were on Worrill, who on August 15th celebrated his 72nd birthday. Born in Pasadena, California, Worrill was drafted in the Army in 1962 where he began his love affair with black history having witnessed racism in the military, but he learned about social justice at the knees of his father, Walter F. Worrill, who passed last April and who was an activist with the NAACP and the YMCA where Dr. Worrill once worked.

When Worrill came back from the Army, he enrolled at the George Williams College where he majored in Applied Behavioral Sciences. It was there he immersed himself in the Black Power Movement including joining the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

When Worrill graduated in 1968, he was hired as a program director for a West Side YMCA, but he soon enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in Secondary Social Studies.

After received his higher degree, Worrill taught for two-years at the George Williams College then transferred to Northeastern Illinois University where he became very active in the University’s Inner City Studies program where he is currently the director.

Having a consistent passion for social justice for his people, Worrill was very instrumental in the success of the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980’s, the 1995 Million Man March, the National Black United Front and was a commissioner with the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America better known as NCOBRA. Worrill was also a street organizer for the election of Mayor Harold Washington. He is also a syndicated weekly columnist for his “Worrill’s World” columns in black newspapers across America.

At the end of the ceremony, Henry English, chairman of the Black United Fund of Illinois who last year had a similar street sign unveiling on 71st Street, presented Worrill with the street sign before heading outside for the official unveiling of the Dr. Conrad Worrill Way sign.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com. 

Recent Comments

Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

Recent Posts