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CENSUS CHAMPIONS – Jeri Green’s Life-Long Crusade to Reverse Historic Undercounts

CHARLESTON CHRONICLE — Jeri Green’s passion for the census is still sunrise bright. An outspoken champion of the concerns of African Africans and any people who have been diminished, marginalized or systemically undercounted, she is an enthusiastic and determined advocate for how participation in the census can contribute to healthier communities and a more equitable America.

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Jeri Green at her desk at the US Census Bureau in 2016. For over three decades, Green has helped make the decennial census a leading civil rights issue, both as a Census Bureau insider, and now as an advocate for the National Urban League

By Khalil Abdullah

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jeri Green’s passion for the census is still sunrise bright. An outspoken champion of the concerns of African Africans and any people who have been diminished, marginalized or systemically undercounted, she is an enthusiastic and determined advocate for how participation in the census can contribute to healthier communities and a more equitable America.

“Let’s talk about the need for public education,” Green said. “We know African American children continue to be undercounted every census and likely will be so again in 2020. Same for Latino and Native American children. When we say, ‘Count every child in your household,’ it means just that. Grandchildren count, foster kids count, play cousins count. Unless this message is delivered and repeated over and over, families will miss receiving resources that are rightfully theirs.”

“And, quite frankly, why can’t we do a better job of counting formerly incarcerated Black men? We already know they are a disproportionate percentage of the over 650,000 individuals coming back to our communities from jails and prisons every year. They are returning citizens and we should be able to design ways to make sure they show up in the census as well.”

During her 20-year career at the Census Bureau, Green coordinated visits by congresspersons, the General Accounting Office and the Inspector General’s personnel, among others, to census field sites. “Individuals who have oversight responsibility or whose agencies conduct audits to make sure taxpayer dollars are being well spent, have a right to inspect and observe, but those visits have to be scheduled and conducted in a way that doesn’t interfere with the enumeration process or the public’s right to privacy.”

In 2017, she retired as Senior Advisor for Civic Engagement to former U.S. Census Bureau Director, John Thompson.

“He had left the Census Bureau and returned after a decade as a political appointee. He asked me to help him get reacquainted with the issues and concerns of the Civil Rights community, to establish some outreach.”

Green’s experience made her ideally suited for the task.

“When I started full-time, I was working on the advisory committee level,” she recalled. “In addition to serving as the liaison to the technical advisory committee, I was responsible for the five ethnic stand-alone advisory committees: Black; Hispanic; Native American and Alaskan; Asian; Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

“Back then, each committee had its own chair and vice chair. My job was to understand their needs, engage with them and get to know and understand their issues. I just thought I could automatically do this, that it was just a natural fit for me because – I’m Black! And I know all these issues. Wrong, wrong, and more wrong,” she said laughing.

“You cannot just assume, because you’re a person of color, that you understand another culture. It took time to talk to Native Americans, to understand the road they traveled and their customs. It was the same for each of those committees. It was a very humbling experience that made me a stronger employee and a stronger translator for the Census Bureau. I had to develop a level of trust that the Bureau didn’t have with these communities.”

Regarding her decision to resign, she said when Director Thompson opted to leave in 2017, “I followed him out the door. It was time.”

Her 10 years of prior employment in the District of Columbia government counted toward federal retirement eligibility. Reasons for leaving were personal and professional. For one, the politicization of the Census Bureau, under the Department of Commerce’s then new Secretary Wilbur Ross, carried some weight.

Green opposes Ross’s efforts to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 form. She concurs with other experts that doing so would likely reduce the number of survey respondents and thus undermine the government’s constitutional mandate to count all residents. But, the citizenship dispute, soon to be decided by the Supreme Court, was just one factor in her decision.

Despite the Census Bureau’s growing emphasis and reliance on technology for the 2020 count, “we are still going to need human capital and the funds won’t be there,” Green said. During the Obama administration, the Republican-controlled Congress mandated that 2020 Census costs be held to the life-cycle costs of the 2010 Census. “Who in the world can buy 2020 groceries on a 2010 budget?” she asks. In her opinion, already, and as a direct result of insufficient funding, there have been other consequences that may negatively impact census accuracy.

Between imagining how her daily work might be constrained and what she would do with more time to herself – continue practicing and performing with D.C.’s own KanKouran West African Dance Troupe or devoting longer hours to genealogical research – the idea of retirement began to fit like a favorite garment. She didn’t see the phone call coming, but she heard the message loud and clear.

“Marc Morial dialed me up on my cell phone right after I retired from the Census Bureau and said, ‘We need you,’” Green recalled. As president of the National Urban League (NUL) for over 15 years, a two-term mayor of New Orleans, and a former Louisiana state legislator, Morial knows and understands how census-derived revenue pours into county and city coffers to fund infrastructure projects and social service programs.

Morial chaired the 2010 Census Advisory Committee, an entity not reconstituted by the Trump administration for the 2020 Census. The committee focused on Hard-To-Count communities and had become part of Green’s portfolio during Morial’s tenure. Green now serves as senior advisor to the NUL on the 2020 Census and is a key participant in the NUL’s Census 2020 Black Roundtable, but her path to the NUL began long before.

Just as the Morial family can trace part of its lineage to the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana, Green’s folk, on her mother’s side, are descendants from formerly enslaved laborers on the Worsley Plantation near Rocky Mount in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.

Green was born in Washington, D.C., a descendant of part of the African American Worsley migration that eventually settled here. “My grandfather used to make me and my little sister hoe-cakes. He couldn’t read or write, nor could his mother, who was a formerly enslaved woman.”

After Eastern High School, Green pursued her undergraduate degree in Afro-American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. At the time, there was no rapid public transportation linking her Washington neighborhood to the College Park campus as the D.C. Metrorail system had not been built. Without a car, the bus ride stretched out interminably. Travel time proved less a barrier than the social climate she encountered.

“Yes, it was only 15 miles, but it was like going to the Deep South, culturally and otherwise,” Green explained. “It was a real eye-opener for me. The whole blackface thing with Gov. Northam in Virginia? That was nothing. We saw blackface all the time at College Park in the 70s, a land-grant university built by formerly enslaved people.”

At College Park, she also encountered the Pan Africanism of Kwame Turé, the former Stokely Carmichael. “He made regular visits out there and would encourage us to be active and to fight injustice. We were the ones who fought for tenure for Black professors, for African American studies programs, and for the establishment of the Nyumburu Cultural Center, which provides a physical space for meetings and activities and is still there today.”

“African Americans are struggling to deal with police brutality, voter suppression, gentrification, and access to health care … so getting them to turn their attention to the census takes time and commitment.”

While earning her master’s degree in Urban Planning and Urban Affairs at Washington University in St. Louis, Green had her first prolonged encounter with “reams and reams of census data.” Job opportunities brought her back home where she worked for a few organizations before being hired by the D.C. Department of Public Works. It was a sprawling agency that Green recalls “was responsible for almost anything in the city with wheels, from public transportation to trash collection” before its duties were parceled out in a city government reorganization. Most of her time was spent working out of the mayor’s executive office. She served under Mayors Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt Kelly.

A mentor encouraged her to apply for openings at the Department of Commerce during its recruitment drive to staff the 2000 Census.

“I left a full-time job at the District government to join the Census Bureau as a temporary employee in 1997,” Green said.

The practice of bringing former temporary workers aboard after a decennial year is not unusual, those workers’ skills and performance having been subject to evaluation by Census Bureau staff who can then make full-time job offers to the best prospects.

Green is a veteran of three censuses. “I worked on the run-up to the 2000 Census; through the 2010 Census; and for the run-up for the 2020 Census when I left the Bureau in 2017, and I’m still working on 2020 issues with the National Urban League.”

“African Americans are struggling to deal with police brutality, voter suppression, gentrification, and access to health care,” she observed, “so getting them to turn their attention to the census takes time and commitment. But when you look at the issue of Black men being counted where they are incarcerated instead of where they reside, and how that affects political representation and the electoral process, what we at the National Urban League call prison-based gerrymandering, and then you also count the per-person census dollars lost to their communities because, again, that money stays within the communities not their own where they are imprisoned, we cannot remain silent.”

Green still bristles as she talks about the first census in 1790 when African Americans were not counted as full human beings – Native Americans not counted at all. And she has found, within an analysis of the 1860 Census data – and, due to the Civil War, the last census that recorded a captive population – names and information on some of her forebears in North Carolina. She knows full well, however, that most Africans Americans won’t be as fortunate in their quest for family, kinship, and identity.

“Instead of being defiant and not participating in the census, be defiant and let America know we’re still here,” Green inveighed.

Looking to the other side of the 2020 Census, Green envisions more time with children, grandchildren, and, she said, quite frankly, “I’m trying to be on somebody’s beach.”

This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle

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PRESS ROOM: 100-year old legendary African-American debate coach awarded 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from NSDA

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year resume includes teaching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time at Morehouse, former U.S. Reps. Leland and Jordan, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who sought out Freeman’s expertise to coach the cast of the Golden Globe-nominated film “The Great Debaters.”

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The National Speech & Debate Association has honored Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year legacy with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.
The National Speech & Debate Association has honored Dr. Thomas Freeman’s 70-plus year legacy with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

100-year old legendary African-American debate coach Dr. Thomas Freeman has been awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Speech & Debate Association.

Freeman’s 70-plus year resume includes teaching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his time at Morehouse, former U.S. Reps. Leland and Jordan, Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, gospel superstar Yolanda Adams, and Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington, who sought out Freeman’s expertise to coach the cast of the Golden Globe-nominated film “The Great Debaters.”

Freeman was the Texas Southern University debate coach for six decades before his retirement in 2013. Freeman recently celebrated his 100th birthday on June 27, 2019.

“The National Speech & Debate Association is deeply honored to award Dr. Freeman with our 2019 lifetime achievement award,” said J. Scott Wunn, Executive Director of the National Speech & Debate Association. “Our members, board members, coaches, and students hold Dr. Freemen with such high esteem – he’s like a celebrity within our organization. Freeman is the epitome of who our members hope to become – someone who defies the odds and uses the power of words to propel change. His words of encouragement at our National Tournament in Dallas will always echo through our hearts.”

About the National Speech & Debate Association

The National Speech & Debate Association is the largest interscholastic speech and debate organization serving middle school, high school, and collegiate students in the United States. The Association provides competitive speech and debate activities, high-quality resources, comprehensive training, scholarship opportunities, and advanced recognition to more than 150,000 students and coaches every year. For 90 years, the National Speech & Debate Association has empowered nearly two million members to become engaged citizens, skilled professionals, and honorable leaders in our society. For more information, visit www.speechanddebate.org.  

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Empire Star Taraji Henson Speaks on Suicide and Mental Health on Capitol Hill

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death, I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So, I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school,” Henson told the members of Congress and those in the audience in a hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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Award-winning actress and Empire star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community. (Photo: YouTube)
Award-winning actress and Empire star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community. (Photo: YouTube)

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

“I am here using my celebrity, using my voice, to put a face to this, because I also suffer from depression and anxiety. If you’re a human living in today’s world, I don’t know how you’re not suffering in any way.”

Award-winning actress and ‘Empire’ star Taraji P. Henson testified before members of Congress on mental health issues in the African American community.

The Congressional Black Caucus launched a task force on mental health issues in April of this year. They have held hearings on mental health and the increasing number of suicides among black youth. The CBC Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health is chaired by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).

The members of the task force are Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO), Danny Davis (D-IL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), John Lewis (D-GA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

“I’m here to appeal to you because this is a national crisis,” Henson said. Henson founded The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness in the African American community with a specific emphasis on the suicide rate among Black youth.

“I really don’t know how to fix this problem, I just know that the suicide rate is rising,” she said. “I just know that ages of the children that are committing suicide are getting younger and younger,” the actress added.

“It breaks my heart to know that 5-year-old children are contemplating life and death, I just…I’m sorry. That one is tough for me. So, I’m here to appeal to you, because this is a national crisis. When I hear of kids going into bathrooms, cutting themselves, you’re supposed to feel safe in school,” Henson told the members of Congress and those in the audience in a hearing room on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Every year, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness, but a National Alliance on Mental Illness study discovered that black adults utilize mental health services at half the rate of white adults.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

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Verniecia Green-Jordan Builds Family/Perris Legacy

PRECINCT REPORTER GROUP NEWS — From the far reaches of the antebellum south where Afro-Appalachian descendants fought through slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crowism to keep hundreds of acres of land in the family is the lore that legacies are made of.

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Clarence Muse
By Dianne Anderson

From the far reaches of the antebellum south where Afro-Appalachian descendants fought through slavery, reconstruction and Jim Crowism to keep hundreds of acres of land in the family is the lore that legacies are made of.

Over the weekend, Virniecia Green-Jordan celebrated her rich beginnings of “Zeketown,” and well beyond its borders where everybody knows their name.

“Part of it is genes, and attitude,” said Green-Jordan. “I come from a family, especially the Coe’s. The Coe Colonies, Coe Ridge –  that’s half of my genes right there.”

Her “Fulfillment of a legacy” event celebrated some of the most influential people in her life. Her strength starts with great great great grandfather, Ezekiel, who bought over 300 acres of land after abolition, as well as her inspiration and friend, the late great Clarence Muse.

She feels that he never really got his due.

“Clarence did a lot. I knew him personally, and he was a lawyer. That’s what they didn’t like about him in Perris,” she said. “The good ole’ boys don’t have that kind of background. They don’t understand how [he could] withstand some things.”

Much of the event highlighted her own well-documented family journey that began in the Hills of southeast Kentucky through generations of fight, sometimes won by gun.  Keeping family together through the ravages of slavery was the motivation, and her great great great grandparents were determined to hang on to family land.

“The fight was daily. What happened on the ridge [is that] my direct line were the leaders,” she said. “They [whites] were definitely trying to get us to leave.”

To this day, she and the family still catch up at annual reunions. She knows their story holds special relevant lessons for this generation.

“We just got two landmarks, our cemeteries are over 150 years old in Kentucky,” she said. “We have people used to defending their property. I come from that background. I’m going to defend and develop my land. That’s mamma’s side.”

Over time, some land on her father’s Mississippi side was bought by slaves, but lost mostly due to the color line. Her grandfather was an educator, a mathematician, and a preacher. Her mother and cousins could pass for white, but her grandfather was dark skinned, which also made him a target.

“They did all they could against him because she died, and we lost the property in Mississippi over my cousins,” she said.

Through the years, she has returned time and again back to the old landmarks, both physically and emotionally, to strengthen her own local fight.

Green-Jordan was the first African American elected in Perris in 1985, and is still seated on the Perris school board. To her knowledge, she is the longest-serving elected African American school board member in the Inland Empire.

Coming in over three decades ago held its share of challenges. Riverside County has always been more conservative than San Bernardino County.

As a child and teen, she lived through major civil rights era riots, including Detroit and Watts. Her family bought 2.5 acres in 1959 in Perris, where she came to live in 1968.

But she and her brother faced local education discrimination on a few different fronts.

Both were at the top of their class, and her brother was an exceptionally high achiever, yet Black students back then didn’t have access to scholarships. He attended UCR as a physics major, and holds a master’s degree in astrophysics.

He also worked in the space sector, but at Perris High School, he received no accolades.

“They were not very nice to us in high school when we moved out here. They gave us no scholarships,” she said. “Scholarships and name recognition at Perris were only for white students.”

Despite the fight that continued all the way to Perris, there is a sense of pride in the bloodline that comes from being the great great great granddaughter of Ezekiel and Patsy Coe.

On her mother’s side, three books are written about the “infamous” Coe Family, whom she calls the “true feuders.” Since her parents bought land in Perris, they also continued to make their local mark, having held an instrumental role in bringing lights, roads and electricity to the dark parts of town.

“It’s the fact that we don’t get our history documented as a people. We have done a lot –  the streets, the lights and the roads, and Mead Valley. Those areas were done by African Americans,” she said.

For nearly three decades, she has also committed to honor the memory of Dr. Clarence Muse through arts programming offered with Perris Valley Arts & Activities Committee. The project was founded by Muse and wife Ena in 1963 under the auspices of the Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Muse was multi-talented, encompassing several areas of arts and entertainment, including songwriting, playwright, and as a Broadway show director. He was featured or performed in over 200 films starting in 1929, including Porgy and Bess, Buck and the Preacher, and Carwash.

He died in Perris fifty years later, leaving behind an indelible impression for the local creative community to carry forward.

“Our story has not been told. Clarence Muse when he lived, he would say that the stories Black people have are real drama. We had to live through that,” she said.

Over the years, Green-Jordan, who holds two masters degrees, is also the recipient of numerous awards and recognition for her work to strengthen the community.

Green-Jordan founded, or has been involved in numerous community-based programs and projects, including UCR Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Corona-Norco Teachers Association Special Education Committee, Willie May Taylor National Council of Negro Women, Perris NAACP Chapter, and Perris Valley African American History Month Committee. Among many other commitments, she also served as Coalition of Black School Board Members Vice President and the Activities Committee, Executive Director.

Much of what drives her passion for the future comes from the past.

“That’s why I called it ‘Fulfillment of Legacy’ because it goes back to slavery. It has been ingrained,” she said. “I was raised to give back and to develop the community.”

For more information, see https://www.pvaac.com/

This article originally appeared in the Precinct Reporter Group News.

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Black History

Fight Continues to Install Plaque Memorializing Madison County Lynchings

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — The Jackson Madison County Community Remembrance Project will continue trying to install a plaque that would memorialize three lynchings which took place in the late 1800s in Madison County. The JMCCRP is a partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative that consists of Madison County and Jackson citizens. The coalition is focused currently on installing the plaque, despite the plaque having been voted down at a Madison County Commission meeting in June. 

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Renderings of a historical marker to be installed in Madison County that would memorialize lynchings that took place in Madison County during the late 1800s. (Courtesy photo of Dr. Cindy Boyles)

By Malorie Paine

JACKSON, TN — The Jackson Madison County Community Remembrance Project will continue trying to install a plaque that would memorialize three lynchings which took place in the late 1800s in Madison County. 

The JMCCRP is a partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative that consists of Madison County and Jackson citizens. The coalition is focused currently on installing the plaque, despite the plaque having been voted down at a Madison County Commission meeting in June. 

The plaque would provide information about the three known people and the events that took place on one side of the plaque, and on the other side, there would be information about lynchings that took place throughout America.

Dr. Cindy Boyles, JMCCRP project manager, said the plaque is meant to draw attention to the events so that others may research the events. The lynchings took place without due process, and it’s important to talk about that, Boyles said.

Though lynchings no longer take place, today’s society is still very much shaped by the historical inequalities that took place, she said.

“It impacts us today,” Boyles said. “In the United States, we’ve remained very silent about the impacts of slavery, the end of the Civil War, lynching and the Civil Rights Movement. Our silence really hasn’t worked for us. We may not have lynchings today, but we can clearly see the impacts of the lack of due process through mass incarcerations that we have today.”

Talking and learning about the events are the first step in the healing process, Boyles said.

“We tried to say if we don’t talk about it and we don’t look at it, and we put it under the rug, everything will get better, but everything has not gotten better,” Boyles said. “We still see racial divides between people, we still see economic and racial disparities between whites and African Americans and other minorities. If keeping quiet had worked, we really shouldn’t see any racial and economic disparity.”

The plaque would be funded through the EJI, Boyles said. This is part of a movement taking place across the South and other areas of the county, she said.

Dr. Liz Mayo, another JMCCRP member, said she was disappointed but not surprised that the Madison County Commission had voted against the installation at the County Courthouse. However, she feels the plaque is an important step in moving forward. Mayo said she was born and raised in West Tennessee, but did not learn about the lynchings that had taken place in Madison County until she was in graduate school at The University of Memphis.

“I’m a native West Tennessean, born and bred in this area, and this was not part of my K12 education,” Mayo said. “I wondered why did I not learn this when I was growing up. Why did it take me until graduate school to find this out?”

Mayo is an educator and says she makes it a point to talk about the history in her own classroom. 

“Students still in the South are not learning about the true history of what happened with lynch mobs in this region,” she said.

The plaque is important not just for remembrance but as a sort of recompense of the past to make amends, Mayo said.

“It’s also really powerful to say to someone ‘This happened to you, and I recognize it. We’re not going to bury it anymore and pretend it didn’t happen to your ancestors,” Mayo said.

Mayo believes it is her responsibility to acknowledge the past and work to change to future. She feels the historical plaque would be one way to begin that process.

“There’s a form of cultural gas lighting that occurs when we try to tell someone that racism is in the past and that it doesn’t matter anymore,” Mayo said. “Instead of doing that, if we own and say ‘You know what, my ancestors were awful to your ancestors, and I’m sorry for that. Even if I didn’t personally do it, I’m still benefitting from those things that occurred during those times and places that have kept underrepresented minorities down and have given me a leg up.’”

Mayo wants to see all people work together to change the trajectory of the future and move towards a less racist society through acknowledging and dealing with the past. 

The JMCCRP will work to determine other locations in Madison County that would also be appropriate for the historical plaque.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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The Storied History of the NAACP

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Much has changed since the creation of the NAACP 110 years ago, and as we highlight these achievements during this year’s convention, we cannot forget that we’re still tirelessly fighting against the hatred and bigotry that face communities of color in this country,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said.

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Accordingly, the NAACP’s mission remains to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice. (Photo: The Oklahoma Eagle)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The NAACP plans to highlight 110 years of civil rights history, and the current fight for voting rights, criminal justice reform, economic opportunity and education quality during its 110th national convention now happening in Detroit.

The five-day event which began on Saturday, July 20, will also include a session on the 2020 Census, a presidential roundtable, CEO Roundtable, and LGBTQ and legislative workshops.

“We are excited to announce the 110th annual convention in Detroit, my hometown,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

“For me, it is a homecoming and I will also be excited to announce our theme for this year which is, ‘When we Fight, We Win,’” Johnson said.

Winning is what the NAACP was built on – winning battles for racism, freedom, justice and equality.

The NAACP was formed in 1908 after a deadly race riot that featured anti-black violence and lynching erupted in Springfield, Illinois.

According to the storied organization’s website, a group of white liberals that included descendants of famous abolitionists Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard; William English Walling, and Dr. Henry Moscowitz, all issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice.

About 60 people, seven of whom were African American, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell, answered the call, which was released on the centennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln.

“Echoing the focus of Du Bois’ Niagara Movement for civil rights, which began in 1905, the NAACP aimed to secure for all people the rights guaranteed in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution, which promised an end to slavery, the equal protection of the law, and universal adult male suffrage, respectively.”

Accordingly, the NAACP’s mission remains to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice.

“The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through democratic processes,” Johnson said.

The NAACP established its national office in New York City in 1910 and named a board of directors as well as a president, Moorfield Storey, a white constitutional lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association.

Other early members included Joel and Arthur Spingarn, Josephine Ruffin, Mary Talbert, Inez Milholland, Jane Addams, Florence Kelley, Sophonisba Breckinridge, John Haynes Holmes, Mary McLeod Bethune, George Henry White, Charles Edward Russell, John Dewey, William Dean Howells, Lillian Wald, Charles Darrow, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Fanny Garrison Villard, and Walter Sachs. Despite a foundational commitment to multiracial membership, Du Bois was the only African American among the organization’s original executives.

Du Bois was made director of publications and research, and in 1910 established the official journal of the NAACP, The Crisis.

By 1913, with a strong emphasis on local organizing, the NAACP had established branch offices in such cities as Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and Detroit.

NAACP membership grew rapidly, from around 9,000 in 1917 to around 90,000 in 1919, with more than 300 local branches.

Joel Spingarn, a professor of literature and one of the NAACP founders formulated much of the strategy that fostered much of the organization’s growth.

He was elected board chairman of the NAACP in 1915 and served as president from 1929-1939.

The NAACP would eventually fight battles against the Ku Klux Klan and other hate organizations.

The organization also became renowned in American Justice with Thurgood Marshall helping to prevail in the 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that overturned Plessy.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, which was disproportionately disastrous for African Americans, the NAACP began to focus on economic justice.

Because of the advocacy of the NAACP, President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to open thousands of jobs to black workers when labor leader A. Philip Randolph, in collaboration with the NAACP, threatened a national March on Washington movement in 1941.

President Roosevelt also set up a Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to ensure compliance.

The NAACP’s Washington, D.C., bureau, led by lobbyist Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., helped advance not only integration of the armed forces in 1948 but also passage of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1964, and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

NAACP Mississippi field secretary Medgar Evers and his wife Myrlie would become high-profile targets for pro-segregationist violence and terrorism.

In 1962, their home was fire bombed, and later Medgar was assassinated by a sniper in front of their residence. Violence also met black children attempting to enter previously segregated schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, and other southern cities.

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s echoed the NAACP’s goals, but leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, felt that direct action was needed to obtain them.

Although the NAACP was criticized for working too rigidly within the system, prioritizing legislative and judicial solutions, the Association did provide legal representation and aid to members of other protest groups over a sustained period of time.

The NAACP even posted bail for hundreds of Freedom Riders in the ‘60s who had traveled to Mississippi to register black voters and challenge Jim Crow policies.

Led by Roy Wilkins, who succeeded Walter White as secretary in 1955, the NAACP collaborated with A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and other national organizations to plan the historic 1963 March on Washington.

The following year, the Association accomplished what seemed an insurmountable task: The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Much has changed since the creation of the NAACP 110 years ago, and as we highlight these achievements during this year’s convention, we cannot forget that we’re still tirelessly fighting against the hatred and bigotry that face communities of color in this country,” Johnson said.

“With new threats emerging daily and attacks on our democracy, the NAACP must be more steadfast and immovable than ever before to help create a social political atmosphere that works for all,” he said.

The NAACP provided all historical information for this report.

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VIDEO: Hamilton County Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter Dragged Off to Jail — Literally

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Hunter was initially charged with committing nine felonies. After charges were dropped on all but one, she was convicted and entered into a lengthy appeals process. The state supreme court of Ohio refused to hear her appeal, sending the case back to the lower court and resulting in her ultimate sentencing.

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Former Hamilton County, Ohio Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter is dragged from the courtroom following her sentencing for unlawful interest in a public contact, after she illegally helped her brother keep his county job by mishandling a confidential document. (Photo: YouTube)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Former Hamilton County, Ohio Juvenile Judge Tracie Hunter appeared overcome with emotion as she was literally dragged from a Cincinnati courtroom by a sheriff’s deputy on Monday, July 22, after she was sentenced to six months in jail for charges stemming from a controversial conviction in 2014.

A jury convicted Hunter of unlawful interest in a public contract after she was accused of helping her brother keep his county job by mishandling a confidential document.

Hunter was initially charged with committing nine felonies. After charges were dropped on all but one, she was convicted and entered into a lengthy appeals process. The state supreme court of Ohio refused to hear her appeal, sending the case back to the lower court and resulting in her ultimate sentencing.

With a courtroom packed with supporters — and many more who stood outside of the proceedings — Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker dispensed Hunter’s punishment.

Prior to sentencing, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters wrote a letter asking the court to consider having Hunter undergo psychiatric evaluation based on questions he has about what he calls Hunter’s “mental condition,” according to reporting from WLWT5.

Hunter’s attorney David Singleton disagreed with the request, adding that he “couldn’t believe” Deters would ask the court to have Hunter undergo evaluation and that they plan to file a motion to dismiss the case.

With all of the support Hunter has received based on both real and perceived biases during the initial trial and appeals process, Mayor John Cranley wrote a letter to Dinkelacker asking him not to place Hunter in prison, saying that she has suffered as a result of her conviction and doesn’t appear to pose any risks to others.

Postcards were sent to Dinkelacker’s house asking for leniency in his sentencing. He read some of the postcards during the hearing.

“I violated no laws, I did not secure a public contract, I did not secure employment for my brother who worked for the court for about seven years before I was elected judge,” Hunter said.

At least one of Hunter’s supporters was arrested at the courthouse after trying to intervene when deputies attempted to take Hunter into custody.

Others shouted, “No Justice, No Peace,” and accused the court of racism.

In June, former Cincinnati State Sen. Eric Kearney had expressed to NNPA Newswire that Hunter’s incarceration was “going to be a problem” and the city would “explode. I’m telling you, black people [in Cincinnati] are not going to take [Hunter going to jail] lightly,” Kearney said. “The city is on edge.”

Kearney, Hunter and her vast number of supporters have said the process used to convict her wreaked of politics, corruption, nepotism and racism.

The jury that rendered the guilty verdict in her trial was comprised of political foes and others associated with the prosecutors and a Republican establishment that didn’t take kindly to Hunter breaking the GOP and white-male dominated stronghold to win a seat on the bench in 2010, her supporters have pointed out.

For example, one of the jurors worked for WCPO Television, a local station that has filed numerous lawsuits against Hunter.

Court documents revealed that the jury foreman contributed $500 to state Sen. Bill Seitz, the father of county jury coordinator Brad Seitz, who was responsible for compiling the panel of jurors that arrived at the guilty verdict, which required a unanimous decision from the jury.

Hunter said that the only three black jurors, none of whom had known ties to prosecutors and all of whom held out for acquittal, ultimately yielded to pressure from other jurors. The judge refused to allow defense lawyers to poll the jury after announcing the verdict.

In every American criminal trial, particularly those that end in guilty verdicts, it’s the right of attorneys to request the judge to poll all 12 jurors to ensure each is in agreement with the verdict.

“The judge refused a motion for a retrial after he refused to poll the jury, in clear violation of the law and at the request of my attorney,” Hunter told NNPA Newswire in June.

“If the judge polled the jury, it happened in a blink, but I don’t remember that happening,” Kearney said.

At the close of the trial, three jurors came forward and said that their true verdict was not guilty and “if Judge Norbert Nadel had polled the jury, they would have said so,” Hunter said.

Hunter also wanted her supporters to know that she is not suicidal.

“I want everyone to know that I don’t drink … I don’t do drugs … I have no intention of harming myself,” she said.

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