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Archive for the ‘“From the Archives”’ Category

“Juanita’s Perspectives”: A New Column Premiering in CopyLine Magazine

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On November - 26 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(Editor’s Note: This Editorial was published in the First Issue of CopyLine Magazine, November 1990)

By Juanita Bratcher

Author, Editor & Publisher of CopyLine Magazine

It’s hard to remember many of the things that occurred during the early stages of my life. But I have a vivid memory of what it was like as a kid growing up in Georgia when I would read the newspapers or magazines or turn on the television or radio. It was a feeling of discontent, a feeling of anger, and sometimes a feeling of outrage, to see just how Blacks were projected in the media.

And never in my wildest imagination, at that time, did I entertain the thought that one day I would be part of a “Medium” that I so detested. The reason being, perhaps, was my one-woman opinion that the media engaged in stereotypical, lopsided and imbalanced reporting of the Black experience in America.

I knew – as a kid growing up in Georgia – as well as numerous others, that there were many Black role models in our community, and many “Unsung Heroes”. But the mainstream media, more often than not, focused on the criminal aspects – robberies, burglaries and murders; letting the positives go begging, whether intentional or not.

During that time, very few Blacks were seen on the “happy medium” television screen. Nat King Cole, a very talented Black entertainer, was a victim of racism when his nationally televised show was abruptly canceled.

Cole, the first Black to have his own nationally televised show, was dropped from the airwaves because of white protest. Sponsorships were canceled.

Today, however, the television industry has changed somewhat in that regard. There are many more Blacks in television roles, mainly sitcoms, but certainly more change is needed.

I can wholeheartedly relate to the first editorial that appeared in the first Black newspaper published on March 16, 1827, although it was long before my existence.

The editorial, published in Freedom’s Journal, stated: “We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us.”

In January 1859, the Anglo African magazine stated that in order for Black people in the United States to maintain their rank as men among men, they must speak for themselves, that no outside tongue, “however, gifted with eloquence, can tell their story; no outside eye, however, penetrating, can see their wants.”

Reportedly, the founding of the first black published newspaper in the United States was spurred by the New York Enquirer. A few freedmen had become adept at oratory, poetry, and autobiographical writing that had produced moving accounts in book form of what it meant to live as a slave. Some freedmen had seen their articles or letters published by white editors in the mainstream press. But then a vicious attack was made on some Black leaders by the editor of the New York Enquirer, and thus, the founding of the first black newspaper.

It is obvious that the same scenario is taking place today. Imbalance news reporting of the black community is still a stark reality. Black leaders are being attacked on every front; some deservingly so, yet many undeserved.

Between 1827 and 1865, 40 struggling black newspapers sprung up, all dedicated to the anti-slavery abolitionist movement.

Over the years, voices from the black community have criticized the mainstream media’s unfair reporting of the black community, the small percentage of minorities working in the industry, and the fact that very few minorities are in key decision-making positions. However, very little change, if any, has been made.

While the media have put Corporate America under close scrutiny for discriminatory practices against minorities – which is commending – it has failed to place its own industry under the same kind of scrutiny.

The Kerner Commission report, released in March 1968, reported that “Along the country as a whole, the press has too long basked in a white world, looking out of it, if at all, with white men eyes and a white perspective.”

The report also stated that “It is no longer good enough,” that “the painful process of readjustment that is required of the American news media must begin now.”

Perhaps the advice fell on deaf ears, because 22 years later, things have not changed very much.

In a published report some years ago, Carl Rowan, a renowned Black journalist, said that Black America is being “shafted” by the media, which does not employ blacks adequately, and which Blacks do not exploit to their best interest.

In that assessment of the media, Rowan alluded to a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report which stated that minorities and women are misrepresented on the television screen and under-represented in jobs behind it.

In a 1984 study conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), it was revealed that the news industry was still largely segregated – that more than 60 percent of the daily newspapers in America employ no minority journalists; less than six percent of journalists working on daily newspapers are minorities; 92 of the nation’s newspapers have no minorities in news-executive positions; and only 13 percent of broadcasting professionals are minorities.

Four years later (1988), ASNE conducted yet another study of the news industry. Statistics showed that very little, if any improvement was made in regards to minority hiring practices in the mainstream media.

The 1988 report found that 54 percent of daily newspaper newsrooms in the United States do not employ one minority professionals, that minorities make up only 7.54 percent of 56,200 newsroom professionals, and that the total industry employment of minorities is 16 percent.

The news industry is a powerful entity. It has a “Profound” impact on public opinion.

Former Vice President Spiro Agnew, a constant critic of the media, once stated: “No medium has a more profound influence over public opinion” than network television over which the three networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) have a “virtual monopoly.”

Critics of network television argue that news the public will see is determined by a handful of people, responsible only to their corporate employers who wield a free-hand in selecting, presenting and interpreting the great issues of the nation with broad powers of choice over which news pictures to select and which to reject.

Further, this small group of executive producers and correspondents can, by selecting the news, “create national issues overnight,” can make or break an individual, group, corporation or whatever; can elevate men from obscurity to national prominence, and can give national exposure to some, and ignore others, critics said.

The black community has long been victim of “selective” news reporting. And, it appears that things won’t change anytime soon. That’s why it is important that black publications, black radio, and black television, for that matter, take their rightful places within the news industry to try and fill the “balanced void.”

As for CopyLine Magazine, we will work toward balancing the imbalanced.

Juanita Bratcher is an Award-Winning Journalist, the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com and the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 37 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics.

Dr. King’s death…A sad moment in time

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On January - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Arson, riots and looting followed

By Juanita Bratcher

(From CopyLine archives)

It was a shot heard around the world. A dastardly act had sent shock waves throughout the nation, throughout the world. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, had been struck down by an assassin’s bullet…murdered on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. People of the world, of all races and ethnic backgrounds, were saddened, shocked, stunned, angry; grief-stricken over the senseless crime. They mourned the loss of a great American.

On April 4, 1968, the 39-year-old King, the “father” of nonviolence in the Civil Rights Movement, was struck in the neck by a bullet fired from a flophouse, while standing on the 2nd Floor balcony of the Lorraine Hotel. He was dead an hour later. He died in St. Joseph Hospital at 7 p.m. His body was taken to the County Morgue.

The night before his death, King told a crowd of some 2,000 cheering supporters that there had been threats directed against him in Memphis. Expounding further, he said, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountaintop. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but we, as a people will get to the promise land.”

His widow, Coretta Scott King, said the threat of death was always present.

As soon as the news of his assassination spread, it triggered off a national rebellion; violence erupted in cities across the nation, specifically in urban cities. Several cities went up in smoke. Angry crowds looted and burned stores in many black neighborhoods. Autos were overturned and windows were smashed. In some areas of Chicago it was a city in flames. Smoke blackened the skies as terror ripped through the neighborhoods of the West, South and Near North Sides of Chicago. But the brunt of the devastation was on the West Side, known as King’s second home. Scores of people were arrested. Mayor Richard J. Daley, then mayor of the City of Chicago, issued an order to “shoot to kill or mame.”

In Atlanta, bricks, rocks and garbage cans were hurled through the windows of white-owned businesses. Rifle fire erupted at Tennessee A&M University. Philadelphia Mayor James Tate declared a proclamation which forbade persons to congregate in groups of 12 or more. Police and national guardsmen were injured in an exchange of gunfire with snipers near A&T State University at Greensboro, N.C. Five hundred national guardsmen were ordered into Pine Bluff, Ark. by Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller.

The late Robert Kennedy called it a time of “shame and sorrow.”

Stokely Carmichael, a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), declared that “White America is incapable of dealing with the (race) problem,” and warned that there would be increasing violence in the streets.

“When White America killed Dr. King last night she declared war on us…” Carmichael said. “We have to retaliate for the deaths of our leaders. The executions of those deaths will not be in the courtooms. They’re going to be in the streets of the United States of America.”

At the outset of the riots, nine people were killed in Chicago; property damage was placed in the millions of dollars, and 3,000 national guardsmen were called in.

President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation to bring in about 6,000 federal and National Guard troops into Washington, D.C., to restore peace in a city where five people had already been killed, 350 hurt, and 748 arrested.

There were riots in other cities, including Detroit, New York, Philadelphis, Atlanta, Ga., Nashville, Tennessee, Pittsburg, Raleigh and Greenboro, North Carolina.

Johnson made an appeal to Whites, telling them to renounce racism, root out every trace of racism from their hearts, and to put pressure on Congress to pass civil rights and other legislation to help the “Negro.”

Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, one of King’s closest friends and confidant, called for nonviolence as he prayed over King’s casket. He stressed that one must “Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Trust in the Lord.” He said that Dr. King, the foremost apostle of nonviolence, image should not be tarnished by turning to violence.

It was a moment in time…a sad moment in time. The “dreamer” was gone, but not the dream – the dream that Dr. King so often talked about. During the historical “March on Washington”, King articulated that dream to more than 250,000 people.

King said: “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident ; that all men are created equal…And if America is to be a great nation this must become true…”

King was a “drum major” for justice and peace. He beat the drums for the poor, the disenfranchised, sometimes with direct action or confrontations, always non-violent. He tried to love somebody. “…I’d like somebody to mention that day (after his demise) that Martin Luther king, Jr. tried to love somebody…I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity…”

In 1955, King led marches in Montgomery, Alabama, against the city’s  transportation system, a protest triggered off by Rosa Parks, a Black woman who refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man. Parks was arrested.

He was also at the forefront of protest marches, calling for desegregation of public facilities, and he pushed for voting rights of African Americans in order to gain political and economic empowerment.

In 1966, King moved into a slum neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago (January 26) in a rundown apartment at 1550 S. Hamlin, to dramatize sordid life in Negro slums. He held rallies on the South and West Sides. At one of his many rallies – during the summer of 1966 – King told hundreds of his supporters, “This day we must decide to fill up the jails of Chicago, if necessary, in order to end slums.” In August of that year, while he was leading a march through Marquette Park, he was knocked down by a rock thrown from the crowd. However, King marched on. “I have to do this…to bring this hate into the open,” he said.

The “father” of the Civil Rights Movement never wavered on his nonviolence method to get things done. But the man of non-violence was met with violence.

King was born January 15, 1929.

Dr. King’s Legacy Lives

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On January - 11 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Select Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(From CopyLine archives)

“I’m tired of shootings! I’m tired of clubs! I’m tired of war! I’m not going to use violence, no matter who says so!”

Excerpts from “I Have a Dream” Speech

“In a sense we have come to our nation’s capitol to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead, of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check – a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice…”

“We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, ‘When will you be satisfied. ‘ We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels  of the highways and hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

“And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom right from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!…When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, Black men and White men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God almighty, we are free at last!’ ”

Before a cheering crowd in Memphis, Tenn., the night before his death

“It really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I’ve seen the promise land. I might not get there with you, but we, as a people, will get to the promise land.”

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

“I accept this award in behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice.”

Letter from Birmingham Jail

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

In “Where Do We Go From Here?: Chaos Or Community”

“A so-called limited war will leave little more than a calamitious legacy of human suffering, political turmoil and spiritual disillusionment. A World War will leave only smoldering ashes as mute testimony of a human race whose folly led inexorably to ultimate death. If modern man continues to flirt unhesitatingly with war, he will transform his earthly habitat into an inferno such as even the mind of Dante could not imagine. Therefore, Isuggest that the philosophy and strategy of nonviolence become immediately a subject for study and for serious experimentation in every field of human conflict, by no means excluding the relations between nations. It is, after all, nation-states which make war, which have produced the weapons that threaten the survival of mankind and which are both genocidal and suicidal in character…” 

 

A look back in time: Mayor Harold Washington; the “magic” of the moment

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On January - 10 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 

By Juanita Bratcher

Date of Speech: June 21, 2001

Good evening. It’s a pleasure to be here with you this evening, and to take a proud look back in time, a glorious time in the history of the City of Chicago, and indeed an exciting time.

I’d like to thank Dr. Robert T. Starks, chair of The Harold Washington Institute for Research and Policy; and Dolores Wood, the late mayor’s personal, executive secretary and confidant, for inviting me here tonight, and I thank all of you for coming out.

I consider myself fortunate, having covered the campaign trail of the Honorable Mayor Harold Washington, and of having the opportunity to be an eyewitness to history in the making. The stark memories in my mind of seeing history unravel; unfold right before my eyes are unique and precious to me. Because it was a proud moment in time, to see this campaign up-close and to witness that undying support of others who supported and worked for the candidacy of our illustrious mayor.

            Covering the campaign trail of Harold Washington was one of the most exciting assignments in my then six-year career as a journalist. And I’m proud to say that in January, this year (2001), I celebrated 25 years as a journalist. And, I must say, it’s been one helluva good ride.

I met the Honorable Harold Washington in 1981 when he was Congressman of the 1st Congressional District. I was very much aware of him as a politician; I just hadn’t had the honor to talk to him one on one. But my late husband, Neal Bratcher, a union executive, knew him quite well. The first one-on-one meeting with Harold Washington came about when I was down on 47th Street doing research on a Series I was working on for the Chicago Defender about the Greater Grand Boulevard area. The articles focused on a time when the nightclubs in the area were jumping, and the ideal place to be if you loved entertainment, the nightlife, and wanted to hob-nob with some of the greats who came to the area to perform. It came about when Rick Chapel, a Washington aide at the time, saw me walking through the area with a businessman who was introducing me to other business people there and showing me the rope to enhance my 12-article series I eventually wrote. Chapel informed me that the Congressman was also walking the beat chatting with businessmen there – in an off-election year. Washington was available to his constituency at all times. And it didn’t take an election campaign to bring him back to dialogue with his constituency.

Chapel told me that Washington was familiar with the area because he grew up there. And an interview with him would certainly add flavor to the series I was preparing to write. I agreed.

When I finally caught up with the congressman, he was sitting in one of the businesses chatting with people, was very comfortable, and seemed right at home. Harold always kept it real; he never lost the common touch.

A few days later, I had my first one-on-one interview with the Congressman, a product of the Greater Grand Boulevard area, at his congressional office located at 79th & Cottage Grove Ave. Washington was knowledgeable about the inner workings of government and politics, having been a public servant on various levels of government – city, state and federal. But there was one thing about the interview that stuck with me over the years. He repeatedly said in that interview that, “Everything is by design,” which caught my attention in a most profound way.

So as I stand here before you tonight, let me make a few observations. There’s no doubt about it:

* Racial profiling is by design.

* Institutional racism is by design.

* Predatory lending is by design.

* Last one hired, the first one fired, is by design.

* Drugs in our neighborhoods are by design.

* Poor housing stock is by design.

* Many political decisions made in this country, in this city, are by design.

* The disparity in sentences for crack cocaine use and of cocaine use is by design.

            And now that I’ve made note of that, let’s take a step back in time.

 On November 10, 1982, Harold Washington announced his candidacy for mayor of the City of Chicago. He threw his hat into the mayoral ring after supporters had fulfilled an ultimatum of condition to add 50,000 new Black voters to the voter registration roll (doubled that amount and more), and put in place adequate campaign funding to launch such an endeavor.

Now I’m going to take a slow walk back in history. The move to draft a Black for mayor of Chicago caught political fire in Bethel A.M.E. Church on the South Side of Chicago, one of the largest black churches in the city. Progressive Blacks, for sometime, had been planning and strategizing ways to oust the incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne from office. The coalition of grassroots organizations came together at the church and drafted Harold Washington to carry the banner, out of an initial list of 21 names. The survey was conducted by the Women’s Auxiliary of the Lu Palmer Foundation.

The Political Action Committee of CBUC joined the Auxiliary in its efforts.

 It was a period of jubilation for the MOVEMENT and other fair-minded citizens in this city who worked laboriously to elect a mayor of this city who strongly espoused a fair and open government.

 Reform in government was at center stage in 1982, and there was a clarion call on the part of many black activists to mobilize the voting electorate to bring about change. Many slogans were set into motion as an outcry for change, but the most effective ones were “We shall see in ’83,” and “Come Alive October Five.” The slogan “We shall see in ‘83” referred to the time of the next mayoral election, and an all-out effort to defeat the incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne.

The Honorable Harold Washington, the Movement’s handpicked candidate, was strong on the issue of fairness in government for all its citizenry. He vowed to open up government to the people, and he lived up to that promise when he signed the Freedom of Information Executive Order. He promised improvement in the neighborhoods, and he did so by distributing equal public services – streets, curbs and gutters – to all neighborhoods; and in education matters, he was a strong supporter of quality education for every child.

When Washington accepted the Movement’s draft request to run for mayor, he hit the ground running. The campaign train was moving at full speed ahead, faster than a speeding bullet, and picking up more steam and speed as it traveled along.

 A vote for Harold meant putting the death knell on the patronage system, a system that, over the years had bred waste and corruption.

Washington, an astute politician, was selected by a coalition of grassroots organizations to carry the banner. He was a man on a mission. He reluctantly answered the beckoning call to run, and only after he had put his menu on the agenda, what he expected and what he felt could bring about a win. He was driven by a vision and the people followed. But he was also looking at the big, overall picture. A wise man once said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”   

Harold Washington had a vision. And the Movement had a vision. And Washington pursued that vision with the backing of a strong and active movement. And as we all know, his vision became a reality. Harold had the drawing power to mobilize people, the capacity to pull various ethnic groups together. He was a coalition builder and a believer in coalition politics. A tireless leader and campaigner, energetic, like the energizer bunny – he kept going and going and going. He was charismatic, quick thinking, witty, and an intellectual. He was brilliant. He never sidestepped a good political fight. He was a people person. He had a robust smile, a strong presence when he walked into a room. On Easter Sunday – during campaign stops – he visited nine churches, in addition to three stops elsewhere.

 Harold could fire the people up. He’d look out from the podium at a campaign rally into a sea of faces and he’d ask: “You want Harold? You got him!” It was always met with thunderous applause. They truly believed that Harold was on their side, that he had theirs and the city’s best interest at heart, and Harold always made it known – every chance he got – that he loved Chicago and its people.

Listen to the way Radio great “Daddy ‘O” Daylie described it. “It was like magic. And “It wasn’t the Democratic machine that generated this kind of enthusiasm. I have a bowling lane on 87th Street. I watched the kids come in, way back when (the campaign) first started. I watched the winos. The winos were talking about getting out the vote – and they voted. There was something in the air. This kind of magic in the black community has never existed since Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali.”

Certainly, it was an accurate description of what was going on in the city at that time. The mayoral campaign of Harold Washington set off sparks all across the city, specifically in black communities. The campaign was so powerful that it woke up the sleeping giants who had been turned off from the political process. But they saw Harold as a winner! They knew he could articulate the issues in a city that needed a good shot-in-the-arm to move it into the right direction. And Harold was the man, in their eyes and in their hearts.

The last thing I want to do is give the impression that all Black people supported Harold Washington in his mayoral bid. There were some who were blunt, declaring that Washington didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. It was no secret; there were Blacks who supported the incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne’s re-election bid. And others supported Richard M. Daley, now mayor of the city of Chicago. There were some, Blacks as well as others, who said the time wasn’t right to elect a Black mayor, and that the idea was so farfetched. They urged black groups to get commitments from Jane Byrne and Richard Daley – likely contenders for the post – to put more Blacks in high city posts.

The black media, specifically black radio, gave Washington a forum to get his message out.

After an uphill struggle and much hard work, Washington won with 36 percent of the vote in the Feb. 22, 1983 primary election. He garnered 52 percent of the vote in the April 12, 1983 general election against his challenger, Bernard Epton, the Republican candidate.

Even after Harold won the primary election, members of his own Democrat Party jumped ship and supported his Republican challenger. At a press conference, Washington was asked about rumors that Democratic Party officials on the North and Northwest Sides were holding secret meetings to support Bernard Epton, the Republican candidate. Although he didn’t know the rumors to be true, he admitted that he had heard the same rumors.

“I still maintain that all of the 50 ward committeemen will give their support to this campaign,” he said.

But he warned that those committeemen who have not done “what they should have rightfully done, should get out of the party, posthaste. I carry the banner. I won it by right; no one gave it to me. It’s not something that someone passed on. I won it fair and square. And by right, I’m entitled to their support…I’m not making it easy for Democratic ward committeemen; they know their responsibility as well as I do…

Washington acknowledged that Blacks had made a tremendous contribution to the Democratic Party “and they could not have survived without our people. They would be a second-rate party if we weren’t in it.”

After Washington was sworn into office, the remnants of racial politics spilled over into the City Council. Three days after he took the Oath of Office, Washington adjourned a City Council meeting and walked out. His 21 supporters in the Council, including five Whites, were not far behind him. They walked out after the “29”, the Vrdolyak faction in the Council, had moved to adopt resolutions to change committee structure and rules by which the council operated. Washington vetoed the resolutions. The impasse in the council in regards to reorganization ended up in court.

We watched obstruction by the Vrdolyak ’29, holding up confirmation for Washington appointees to the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Transit Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority.

But Harold didn’t give in to the power plays and shenanigans of the ’29. He used the power of the veto to ward off unwanted legislation (ordinances). While his loyal 21-aldermen support base was firm and intact, it was far short of the numbers needed to give him a majority in the city council.

Harold won the political battle through reapportionment, enabling him to tear apart the stranglehold of the ’29 and his appointees finally taking over the strongholds of government.

In October 1984, about 86 Washington appointees were being held hostage. Washington was entitled to 900 confidential and policy jobs, exempt from political hiring and firing, according to a consent decree issued in U.S. District Court by Judge Nicholas J. Bua.      

Washington, in his April 29, 1983 Inauguration Speech at Navy Pier, acknowledged that his election “was the result of the greatest grass roots effort in the history of the city of Chicago. It may have been equaled somewhere in this country, I know not where,” he said, adding that, “we know the strength of the grass roots leadership because our election was based on it. We want this power infrastructure to grow because the success of tomorrow’s city depends upon it, and the world and country look for an example as to how we can find the way out.

“My election was made possible by thousands and thousands of people who demanded that the burdens of mismanagement, unfairness and inequity be lifted so that the city could be saved.”

And to all the activists and foot soldiers who worked laboriously to elect Mr. Washington, they listened intensely and cheered loudly, when at his Inauguration he declared: “Business as usual will not be accepted by the people of this city; business as usual will not be accepted by any part of this city; business as usual will not be accepted by this chief executive of this great city.”

The successful election of Harold Washington was the culmination of many years of struggle by “The Movement”; mostly grassroots people who were fed up with the establishment – and the “coming together” of a progressive coalition of Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians and others. It was an uphill struggle, but the Movement prevailed. And what’s more, his electrifying campaign woke up the sleeping giant, many of whom in the black community had been turned off from the electoral process.

After his primary win Washington stated, “People can speak when they want to speak, and they speak loudly and clearly. In doing what had to be done – after a hard fought battle – the people won this campaign,” adding that, “You have changed the course of this city forever. This city will never be the same – thank God, it shouldn’t ever be the same.”

It was the second time around for Harold. He had run for the post in 1977, racking up 11 percent of the vote – 77,000 votes.

So why did I write a book about Harold? I am a true believer in preserving Black history for generations to come.

Editor’s Note: The book is titled: “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor”.

We don’t hear that much about the Movement anymore, a movement that propelled Washington into the Fifth Floor office of City Hall, and brought about many constructive changes in the city. Is the Movement now in exile? Where is the movement that pumped up motivation and determination to make things happen for Harold? Where is the movement that actively worked to bring about change in this city? What happened to the revolution? Not a revolution with guns and ammunition, but the ammunition of knowledge and know-how. Have the old soldiers faded away and gone off into the sunset? Who will take up the banner in the struggle for liberation of people in their quest for civil rights, for human rights, those who have consistently been shut out of the system? How do we mobilize people? How do we get people to come together for the common good of all, for the community, other than in crisis?

In order to bring about constructive change one must be consistent and persistent. Time waits on no man. Success comes only to those who persist, not to those who start out and waiver, but to those who hold out to the end. We’ve got to build on what we already have, and we must create possibilities for those things that allows for growth and development, those things we do not have or want.

Collectively, we have an exceptional amount of power in our hand, in our community; but when will we use that power to the fullest extent?

Harold Washington loved the city of Chicago. He gave it his all. He left a legacy that should be preserved and protected.

But what have we learned since the Washington years? Are we better off in this city today than we were in 1983, 1987? I think not. The harsh reality is that the magic is gone. But we have the power in our hands to bring it back.

Coming Soon…

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 27 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

 

 “Lest We Never Forget: The Power of the  ballot”

 by Juanita Bratcher

Copyright (c) 2006

 

Introductions by Illinois Senate President Emil Jones and Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham. Contributors: Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris, and Rev. Harold Bailey.

This book is about the electoral process and the importance of voting.

The uphill battle for African-Americans to get the right to vote in the United States of America was not an easy task. At times, civil rights and human rights activists involved in voter registration efforts found themselves victims of circumstance – sometimes facing violent and punitive consequences in their efforts to bring it about. Sacrifices were made, and many bled and died in their quest to open up the ballot box to African Americans. Yet, they courageously kept their eyes on the prize.

African Americans encountered various barriers in their efforts to get the right to vote – hostile law enforcement officials that were indifferent to them having the audacity to pursue their goal of being added to the registration rolls, insulting literacy tests designed to be difficult, to deny them the right to vote, the Grandfather’s clause and poll taxes. Voting was mostly under state control. The U.S. Justice Department established that in many counties the tests were administered unfairly.

When African Americans were denied the right to vote in the United States, they had no political power or political influence. “Negroes” didn’t have the right to vote for anything. They made no decisions as to how government was run, notwithstanding decisions as to whether they would be a free man/woman in this country, and at the time, were recognized as three-fifths of a person. Yet, in this day and time, many African Americans fail to go to the polls to vote on Election Day. It is a sad commentary on those brave and courageous foot soldiers that paved the way to make it happen.

Many Americans – not just Blacks alone – have abandoned the ballot box. But Blacks must realize and they should never forget the history of systemic discrimination and racism in America, which to a certain degree, still exist today in the “land of plenty.” African Americans must remain cognizant of the fact that the right to vote in this country was not handed to them on a shiny silver platter, not even an unshiny one. It was a hard fought, hard won battle to get that right. And some of the faithful warriors, dedicated fighters in their effort to bring it about, were subjected to beatings, threats and intimidation, and sometimes made the ultimate sacrifice in their efforts to secure the rights of Blacks to vote in America. Sadly, today many current day beneficiaries take it for granted, ignoring the fact that there is “power in the ballot,” and that collectively, they can make a “powerful difference” within the electoral process.

Quotes From The Book

“Our hopes and our futures depend on our ballot. We must resoundly reject the deliberate, detrimental, culturalized indoctrination that, “My one vote does not count or matter.” – Former Illinois Appellate Court Justice R. Eugene Pincham

“…We have a duty to teach our children how precious the right to vote is in this country…what an incredible injustice is done when we choose not to participate in the electoral process.” Illinois Senate President Emil Jones

“Because of our past history, we cannot afford to have that two-thirds complacency in the voting process as exists in the other communities. There is no race of people in this country that has been through what we’ve (Blacks) been through. Therefore, we have to be extra vigilant and exceptional to bring the playing field even.” – Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris

“Why are questions always raised about whether Blacks will go to the polls to vote in any given election year? Why does this inquiry always pertain to Blacks? It is utterly ridiculous and absurd for anyone to think that Blacks will give up on the voting process simply because there have been so many problems with the last two Presidential Elections of 2000 and 2004. If one is not going to vote, it transcends across racial lines, not just one group. Blacks can be just as determined, and just as persistent as anyone else to go to the polls to cast their ballots. So enough said already!” – Juanita Bratcher, Author

 

Other Quotes

“…There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats Party and the Republican Party – that while their philopsophies may be somewhat different, both parties are run by men whose sole purpose is to maintain the status quo and keep the power within the ranks of their inner-circles. So, it’s not about party it’s about power – who holds the power.”

“No matter the severity of the task to bring about change, no matter the abuse and violence they faced, no matter the racial slurs and hatred they encountered, Blacks refused to take their eyes off the prize: They wanted the right to vote as any other citizen.”

“Today we face a new oppressor – not a fire hose, no dogs, no armed police officers or people pelting us with rocks or worse. This oppressor is one that is much more subtle, but just as effective. This oppressor’s name is apathy.”

“…If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one…” – Carter G. Woodson, in “Mis-education of the Negro”.

Copyright (c) by Juanita Bratcher

All Rights Reserved

 

       
     
     
     
     
Copyright © 2009-2010 Copyline Magazine and Books Bratcher McMillan Publications. All rights reserved.      
       

From the Editor’s Desk

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 27 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

Black History Month: Cause For Celebration, Also Time For Prayer

As we celebrate Black History Month, let us continue to pray for peace in this chaotic world that we live in, that our courageous soldiers are back at home and free from devastating occurrences they encounter on a daily basis in Iraq.

War is hell! But the security and welfare of our country are at stake and must be protected!

Why We Celebrate Black History Month

Black History Month is a time for African-Americans to reflect on their heritage, their culture, their rich history as a people. It is also a time to pay homage to those great men and women who left their footprints in the sands of time, in their own special way.

Moreover, it is a time to re-evaluate, to re-assess future goals and to recommit ourselves to the continuous struggle for justice and equality in a country that has yet to provide every American citizen the same opportunity to jobs, education, housing, healthcare and equal rights – in this land of plenty.

The struggle continues! And it will continue until every American – regardless of race, color or creed, can share in this great big melting pot.

As we celebrate Black History, we must make a concerted effort to build bridges for tomorrow, build upon our communities, support African-American businesses, support black institutions and preserve those things already accomplished through the civil rights and voting rights struggles; and never take our eyes off the prize.

Let us also remember the contributions of :

Charles R. Drew, father of blood plasma

Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights leader and Nobel Peace laureate

Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace laureate, and one of the highest ranking Americans in the United Nations

W.E.B. Dubois, scholar of international reputation and merit

Paul Laurence Dunbar, poet of dialect

Langston hughes, writer of Negro life in poems, short stories, novels and television scripts

Sojourner Truth, abolitionist who toured the nation denouncing slavery and injustice

Booker T. Washington, educator, lecturer

George Washington Williams, great black historian of the 19th Century

Malcolm X, religious leader and revolutionary

Elijah Muhammad, religious leader

James Weldon Johnson, author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, known as the Black national anthem

Hank Aaron, the superstar who led his team to two pennants and won the national league’s MVP award in 1957; a batting average of .322, and hit his 648th homer in 1972 at the age of 38

Robert S. Abbott, founder, editor and publisher of the Chicago Defender

Marian Anderson, one of the greatest contralto voices in history; opened up the doors of concert halls previously closed to African Americans

Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, the world’s greatest trumpet player

Crispus Attucks, the first martyr of the American Revolution killed in the Boston Massacre

Benjamin Banneker, scientist, mathematician, astronomer, clock-maker and surveyor

Mary McCleod Bethune, educator and humanitarian

Others: Mahalia Jackson, Nat Turner, Medgar Evers, Marcus Garvey, Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable

Frederick Douglass, lecturer, abolitionist, publisher of the New National Era, the first Black to serve as Recorder of Deeds and a U.S. minister to Haiti. Douglass as well as Robert Purvis, Frances Ellen Watkins, James Forten, Jr., Martin Delaney, Charles Remond, William C. Neil, William Wells Brown, Henry H. Garnet and other black abolitionists worked to free the slaves.

George Washington Carver, developed 300 systhetic products from the peanut, 118 products from sweet potatoes, and 60 products from pecan nuts

Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”.

Woodson preserved a large portion of black history through his organization, Associated Publishers, producers of publications on black life and culture; and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. One of Woodson’s most quoted book creations is “Mis-Education of the Negro”.

Woodson said (an exerpt), …If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcst, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one…”

And many, many more…

Did We miss your favorite role model?

If so, send us a 50-word essay on your favorite. We will publish the best ones on Online CopyLine

       
     
     
     
     
Copyright © 2009-2010 Copyline Magazine and Books Bratcher McMillan Publications. All rights reserved.      
         

Campbell Soup charged with discrimination in class action suit

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 27 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

Camden, NJ (BlackNews.com) – A nationwide class action lawsuit has been filed against Campbell Soup Company, charging that African American employees are denied professional development opportunities. The lawsuit has been filed in Camden, New Jersey, home of Campbell’s headquarters.

Filing on behalf of the Plaintiff Chester Hicks and the proposed Class are the Houston, Texas based firm, Nelkin, Nelkin & Krock, P.C., and Sidney L. Gold & Associates, based in Philadelphia.

The complaint asserts that African Americas are repeatedly passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified and less experienced white employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued a finding of probable cause in connection with Plaintiff Hicks’ charge. The Commission’s investigation revealed that Campbell’s was engaged in the practice of awarding promotions using a subjective, informal, and secretive method in which white managers were selected favored white candidates.

According to the Commission, the sales position of “Territory Manager II” was not commonly known to exist, nor were the promotions to that position given to whites competitively announced. Furthermore, this position was not listed, so neither Plaintiff Hicks nor other African Americans could have known to apply for it. Campbell’s contends that the position was created to “fairly justify retaining certain employees at an appropriate wage schedule after they had been reassigned.”

However, the Commission found that this explanation “is called into question by a number of factors, including the secretiveness with which these actions were handled, efforts to disguise the existence of this position and its quite belated bestowal on [Plaintiff Hicks] and another African American co-worker.”

As a result of Campbell’s discriminatory practices, Plaintiff Hicks, who received only excellent performance reviews over his 24-year tenure with Campbell’s sales force, “saw a steady stream of white co-workers progress through the ranks of Territory Manager, Account Manager, Account Executive, District Manager, Regional Manager and beyond, while he and his African American co-workers remained in entry level Territory Manager positions despite their years of experience and their qualifications.”

The complaint asserts that Campbell’s began requiring or strongly preferring four-year college degrees for all new Territory Managers on the sales force in an effort to justify its discriminatory treatment of African Americans.

Campbell’s instituted this requirement without ever conducting any studies to determine if a college degree was a bona fide occupational qualification for this position, or any other position within the career path to higher level positions within its sales force.

The Commission concluded that the bachelor’s degree requirement “would have an adverse disparate impact against African American job applicants and/or employees that would not satisfy the business necessity test as a requirement for hiring.”

Furthermore, according to the suit, for those very few African Americans who do advance past entry level positions, there is a “glass ceiling” that prevents them from being considered for higher management positions.

 

There was a time when Campbell’s hired an African American Director of Human Resources. The Director admitted to Plaintiff Hicks the existence of both a glass ceiling and a “glass wall.” This same Director appointed the company’s first African American Account Executive. Within months, Campbell’s decided to eliminate the Executive’s position and offered the African American individual a position three levels below the Account Executive position. The African American employee resigned from the company. Within three months of his resignation, Campbell’s reinstated the Account Executive position, and hired a white individual.

The lawsuit also charges that African American employees’ compensation is adversely affected by Campbell’s discriminatory actions.

According to the complaint, African American sales personnel are not only affected by unfair promotion procedures, but are assigned to smaller accounts in remote locations, negatively impacting their compensation.

Furthermore, African American sales employees are allegedly compensated at the lower end of the salary range for their job level. Thus, any percentage of salary merit increase compensates white employees at a higher rate than African American employees. Decisions as to account assignments, salary and merit increases are left to the discretion of the predominantly white supervisors.

Plaintiff Hicks filed the class action suit on behalf of himself and all African Americans employed by Campbell’s in salaried sales positions in the United States at any time after July 7, 2003. The suit seeks an injunction to end Campbell’s discriminatory practices and prevent current and future harm, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the Plaintiff and the class.

Black Star Project kicks-off “Take a Black Boy to Church” Day

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 26 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

In a joint effort to save the lives of black boys and rebuild the spirit of the black community, the Black Star Project and the pastors of twenty-five black churches have come together, urging religious leaders to invite African-American boys and men to their churches.

“Take A Black Boy To Church” day, sponsored by the Black Star Project’s Million Father Movement, is part of a coordinated effort to save the lives and spirits of Black boys.  

The Black Star Project, U.S.A., along with participating pastors, held press conferences at two Chicago churches – New Memorial Baptist Church and Gospel Temple C.O.G.I.C. – urging churches, mosques, synagogues and temples to “organize their congregations to invite Black boys and men between the ages of 2 and 32 years old into their worship services.”

In a prepared statement prior to the press conferences, the group stated that “The Black church is truly the heart of the Black community. Throughout all struggles for progress for Black people in America, the Black church has been a constant voice and leader in the improvement of the Black community.  

With the issues of Black boys and Black young Black men quickly becoming national emergency, the Black church is needed now more than ever.  Churches are being encouraged to reach out to Black boys and young Black men, wherever they are, and Black boys and young Black men are being encouraged to reach back to these churches.”

Churches participating In the 2008 “Take A Black Boy to Church Sunday” Day are:

City, Church, Pastor/or Organizer                                                                                                
Buffalo, New York
Zion Missionary Baptist Church            
Gregory Brice

Charlotte, North Carolina    
Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church  
Dr. Sheldon Shipman

Chicago, Illinois               
Gospel Temple C.O.G.I.C.  
Elder Sidney Grandberry & Gloria Grandberry

Chicago, Illinois                
True Vine of Holiness Missionary Baptist
Rev. Dr. Henderson Hill

Chicago, Illinois               
Cathedral of Love Church         
Daniel Allen

Chicago, Illinois
Inspirational Deliverance C.O.G.I.C.
Evangelist Shirley Hughes

Chicago, Illinois            
St. Mark Church                 
Rev. Ed Harris

Chicago, Illinois            
Midnight Warriors Ministries                    
Apostle Ulyesses Ruff

Chicago, Illinois           
Abba Church of Renewal Faith                 
Rev. Sharyon Cosey

Chicago, Illinois           
New Memorial Baptist Church
Dr. Roosevelt Walker, Jr.,  Minister Bernard Clark

Chicago, Illinois        
Stone Temple Baptist Church
Rev. Derrick M. Fitzpatrick

Chicago, Illinois       
New Pentecostal House of Glory
Pastor Lafayette E. Young, Sr.

Chicago. Illinois       
God Seed Ministries                               
Pastor Glenn Bone

Cleveland, Ohio        
Apostolic Faith Church                           
Lauren Clark

Cleveland, Ohio          
St. James AME Church                           
Mr. Steven Sims

Detroit, Michigan      
Liberty Baptist Church                            
Rev. Steve Bland

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida  
Mount Bethel Baptist Church                
Rev. C. E. Glover

Harvey, Illinois             
First Wesley Academy                         
Rev. Charles Woolery

High Point, North Carolina     
Temple Memorial Baptist
Rev. Thomas A. Bannister, contact Bridgett Herring

Kansas City, Kansas       
Cross Roads Christian Cathedral              
Pastor P. T. Hood
    
Los Angles, California     
Higher Order of Discipline Ministries          
De’Niece Williams

Mooresville, North Carolina        
St. Paul United Methodist             
Rev. Donald Mc Coy

Oakland, California        
Watson Temple Apostolic Church
Pastor James L. Williams

Rockford, Illinois          
Liberty Baptist Church                  
Rev. Herbert Johnson Jr,

The Silent Genocide –
Facts about the Deepening Plight of Black Men in America

In Education/Family

  • In Chicago, only three out of 100 Black boys will earn a college degree by age 25.
  • Only 42% of Black men graduate from high school in the United States.
  • Just 22 % of Black males who began at a four-year college graduated within six years.
  • 69% of Black children in America cannot read at grade level in the 4th grade, compared with 29% among White children.
  • 7% of Black 8th-graders perform math at grade level.
  • 32% of all suspended students are Black. Black students (mostly Black males) are twice as likely as Whites to be suspended or expelled.
  • 67% of Black children are born out of wedlock.

In Employment/Economics

  • In Illinois, 47% of all non-institutional Black men are not working.
  • At comparable educational levels, Black men earn 67% of what White men make.
  • White males with a high-school diploma are just as likely to have a job and tend to earn just as much as Black males with college degrees.
  • Blacks make up only 3.2% of lawyers, 3% of doctors, and less than 1% of architects in America.  Many of these are Black women.
  • 53% of Black men aged 25-34 are either unemployed or earn too little to lift a family of four from poverty.
  • Light-skinned Blacks have a 50% better chance of getting a job than dark-skinned Blacks.
  • While constituting roughly 12% of the total population, Black America represents nearly 30% of America’s poor.
  • The net worth of a Black family in America is $6,100 versus $67,000 for a White family.
  • In New York City in 2003 only 51.8% of Black men ages 16 to 64 were employed vs. 75.7% for White men and 65.7% for Latino men.
  • White men with prison records receive far more offers for entry-level jobs in New York City than black men with identical records, and are offered jobs just as often – if not more so – than black men who have never been arrested.

In Incarceration/Crime:

  • In 2001, the chances of going to prison were highest among Black males (32.2%) and Hispanic males (17.2%) and lowest among White males (5.9%).
  • Blacks account for only 12% of the U.S. population, but 44 % of all prisoners in the United States are Black.
  • Blacks, who comprise only 12% of the population and account for about 13% of drug users, constitute 35% of all arrests for drug possession, 55% of all convictions on those charges, and 74% of all those sentenced to prison for possession.
  • In at least fifteen states, Black men were sent to prison on drug charges at rates ranging from twenty to fifty-seven times those of White men.
  • In 1986, before mandatory minimums for crack offenses became effective, the average federal drug offense sentence for Blacks was 11% higher than for Whites.  Four years later following the implementation of harsher drug sentencing laws, the average federal drug offense sentence was 49% higher for Blacks.
  • 1,172 Black children and teenagers in the United States died from gunfire in 2003.
  • A young Black male in America is more likely to die from gunfire than was any soldier in Vietnam.
  • The Justice Department estimates that one out of every 21 Black men can expect to be murdered, a death rate double that of U. S. soldiers in World War II.
  • 1.46 million Black men out of a total voting population of 10.4 million have lost their right to vote due to felony convictions.

These statistics were compiled from various sources by The Black Star Project.  You may email the organization to request sources at blackstar1000@ameritech.net.  To join the movement to save young Black men and to educate Black children, call 312/842-3527, or email,  blackstar1000@ameritech.net or visit the website at www.blackstarproject.org.
For more information, contact: The Black Star Project at (773) 285-9600 or (312) 771-1010.

Senator Richard Durbin’s statement on Senator Roland Burris (following swearing-in ceremonies)

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 26 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS
“Mr. President, I want to say a word about my old friend, Roland Burris.  In 1978, I ran for Lieutenant Governor and he ran for Comptroller.  No one heard of either one of us or the offices we were running for.  We were obscure as possible so we found kinship at the back of parade routes as the bigwigs marched on but we struck up a friendship that has extended over three decades.  It’s a friendship that is based on more than just that happenstance of running in the same year.

Roland and I are from the same part of Illinois.  Roland Burris was born a few miles from my hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, in Centralia. But there is more.  That is one of the central parts of our nation when it comes to when it comes to railroads.  I come from a railroad family.  My mother, father, two brothers and I all worked for the New York Central Railroad.  Roland Burris’ father, Earl, ran a small grocery store to supplement his income as a laborer for the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

Earl Burris had a strong sense of community—and a low tolerance for injustice.  On Memorial Day 1953, Earl Burris decided to take a stand against injustice by defying Centralia’s unofficial “white only” policy for the city’s public swimming pool.  So he hired a lawyer and arranged for that lawyer to meet him and young Roland, then 16, at the swimming pool.

Guess what?  The lawyer didn’t show up.
Roland Burris later said he remembered his father, all summer long, saying if segregation and injustice were ever going to end, people needed to show up and be accountable. By the end of the summer, 16-year-old Roland Burris had made up his mind. He would show up.  He would pursue a career in politics and law.

Off he went to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, which incidentally has a record of being one of the most productive colleges in America for African American graduates.  Roland Burris studied political science, distinguished himself as a leader on campus, and headed a group that exposed discriminatory practices among Carbondale merchants toward African American students.
In 1963, he earned a law degree from Howard University, then became a federal bank examiner in the U.S. Treasury department—the first African American ever to hold such a position.  In 1964, he was hired by Continental Illinois National Bank, where he rose to the post of vice president in less than a decade.  He is also a past national executive director of Operation PUSH.

In Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, we have elected more African Americans statewide than any state in our union and we are proud of it.

Roland Burris paved the way for so many, including the man who will be sworn in as President next Tuesday, Barack Obama.  He has held two of our state’s highest elected offices and was Illinois’ first African American Comptroller, as well the first African American Attorney General.  He is a good man and a dedicated public servant.

Now he is the 48th United States Senator from the great state of Illinois, and the 1,907th person to be sworn in to this distinguished body.

Here is an interesting fact as well: Roland and his wife Berlean live on the South Side of Chicago in a home once owned by the great—the immortal—Mahalia Jackson, the original “Queen of Gospel Music.”  In 1948, Mahalia Jackson recorded a song that was so popular, music stores couldn’t keep it in stock.  It sold eight million copies.  The title of that song was, “Move On Up A Little Higher.”
For 50 years, Roland Burris has sought to “move on up a little higher”—not for his sake alone, but for the chance to help others, including our great state of Illinois. I congratulate him.”

 

Jackson’s everlasting music: A great legacy to the world

Posted by Juanita Bratcher On July - 26 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS

 

The Pop-Culture Icon’s Music Will Never Fade Into Oblivion 

By Juanita Bratcher

Michael the singer.

Michael the dancer.

Michael the performer.

Michael the entertainer.

The showmanship Michael.

Michael the whole package deal…and more.

His career was like magic, magnificent, magnetic. He was electrifying, energetic, spectacular…courting a barrage of flashy outfits/costumes that made his performances complete. 

Michael Jackson, pop-culture icon, was a phenomena, a brilliant singer, dancer, performer.

From “Thriller” to “Beat It” to “Billie Jean”And “Man in the Mirror”, Michael Jackson’s music will always be an electrifying presence in our lives. Jackson’s music is classic.

He was global. He was a legend. His music transcended race. And although the pop-culture/music icon died June 25, it would be hard-pressed for those who attended his many concerts or purchased his albums and videos, to forget that awesome energy he exhibited onstage, his musical brilliance, his stage dominance, and the incredible showmanship he exhibited at concerts here and around the world.

The images are tantalizing. Fans couldn’t get enough of him, and at times cried out in awe and admiration. He sang the kind of music that made its marks in our minds, souls and spirit. It’s the kind of music that will always be around, and will never fade into oblivion. Many of the songs are classics already.

 Jackson was a music genius, super-talented, a kindred spirit, and in a musical class all by himself. During his career, more than 750 million albums were sold worldwide. Once the king of pop put his mark on a song and released it out into the domain, it had staying power and it would be there forever. No matter how old the song or the music, it kept that magic and emotional touch in your heart and mind. There was just something about Jackson’s music; it was soothing, electrifying and played on your emotions.

Michael Jackson, by far, was the greatest entertainer ever. Other songs that were sheer delight were: “I Want You Back”, “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”, “I’ll Be There”, “Off The Wall”, “We Are The World”, which he co-wrote with Singer Lionel Ritchie; “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ “, and many many more.

The iconic star grew up right before our eyes.  He came onto the stage at the age of six, and remained there for more than four decades, until his death. We couldn’t get enough of the man and his music. And we always wanted more.

He was a born entertainer debonaire. He owned the stage. He made an indelible impact on the music industry. His famous “Moonwalk”, and his enduring music matched his enduring energy and spirit. He was driven. He was king.

Not only do we grieve the loss of Jackson, but one wonders what kind of music might have come from this talented music giant if he hadn’t left us so quickly. He had an incredible life and career.

Jackson was a legend, a musical genius. He made a profound impact musically in the lives of so many. He left a great legacy. And that legacy he left will always be a part of the music world culture. It will never fade into oblivion.

 

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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

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