Archive for August, 2010

DEA Seeks Ebonics Experts To Help With Cases

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , , , , on August 26, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson
Aug. 23, 2010

According to a report from the Associated Press out of Atlanta, federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics. WTF? How many of you are old enough to remember the debates held inside and outside of the black community about the necessity of speaking “proper” English in America?

Ebonics translators. Is a precedent about to be set? How do you know if you are getting the best Ebonics translator? Are you required to be a certified Ebonics translator? If so, where do you get certified and what are the competency levels? Are there established “Ebonic” language schools? Is this a skill that will be added to resumes under language skills? How do you determine fluency levels? What’s a passing score on the test? I’m not aware of any standardized Ebonics placement exams. Help me people. Help me!

Let me see if I understand this situation. The system that educates our children does not recognize Ebonics. However, the system that incarcerates our children recognizes Ebonics. Hmmmm.

Ebonics is defined as “Black English” or a vernacular of English. The psychologist who coined the term defined it as a combination of English vocabulary with African language structure. According to the AP report, some DEA agents already help translate Ebonics, but this may be the first time DEA has ever sought to hire outside Ebonics experts as contractors.

This is a tight job market. What’s the starting salary of an Ebonics translator?

What do you think about the DEA effort to seek Ebonics translators to help solve drug cases?

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The Flag of Hypocrisy

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , , on August 21, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

I am amazed that the controversy surrounding the proposed Muslim mosque and community center in New York City at ground zero is still going strong.  America has turned into a country where if you don’t agree with someone, you are painted as a bad person.  This is exactly what is going on in New York City.

Those who oppose the project have lost the legal battle, but now they are attempting to turn it into a political battle.  I find those in opposition full of hypocrisy, especially those in the Republican Party.

When President Obama used the word “empathy” to describe one of the qualities he looked for in a Supreme Court nominee, Republicans ripped into him (and rightfully so).  Our legal system is based on the law, not how one feels about a given case or person involved in a case.

Now, when it comes to the proposed mosque at ground zero, these same people want the Muslim community to be “sensitive” (i.e. empathetic) towards the family members of those killed and others impacted my 9/11.  Mind you that everyone agrees that the Muslims have the legal right to move forward with the project—not even the most vocal opponent argues this point.

Their whole argument is about “sensitivity.”  How ironic that when Obama suggested empathy in a Supreme Court nominee, he was excoriated.  Now, these very same people are encouraging the same thing, albeit in a different circumstance.

As a long time Republican, I have had many conversations with white folks in the party regarding the confederate flag (pictured above) and its place in our society.  These people see absolutely no problem with the flag flying on the dome of state capitols around the country, even though they know it’s very offensive to the Black community.

I have been told on many occasions that I (and the Black community) was being overly sensitive and that those who support the flying of the flag are within their rights.  Additionally, I was told, you can’t expect people to forget their heritage because of the sensitivities of the Black community.  After all, “me nor my parents or grandparents were part of the confederacy.  But, it is party of our family’s history; therefore, we celebrate it.  We had nothing to do with slavery, nor do we support any type of discrimination.”

Isn’t this the same argument the Muslims are using in New York?  They had nothing to do with 9/11.  But, yet they want to be able to celebrate their religion, despite the bad feelings that others may experience.

Once again, these same Republicans who oppose the Muslims in New York on grounds of “sensitivity,” will not take the same stand on the confederate flag when it comes to the Black community.

Principles are guides to one’s life that are not relative or situational.  Principles have to be consistently applied for one to be credible and maintain the moral high ground.  You can’t pick and choose when to apply one’s principles.

Through what’s going on in New York, maybe, just maybe, Republicans will better understand how Blacks feel about the confederate flag.  And maybe, just maybe, the next time Blacks express their feelings about having the confederate flag flying atop government buildings, Republicans won’t just blow us off.  But, maybe they will be “sensitive” to the pain the flag evokes within our community.

Can you honor the confederate flag without being a racist?  Without a doubt.  Can you support the Muslim project in New York without being “insensitive?”  Without a question.

To believe one without the other is to fly the flag of hypocrisy.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).

Don’t forget to register to listen to my radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on my photo to join my group.

Raynard Jackson has been named to Talkers Magazine’s “Frontier Fifty.” The “Frontier Fifty” is a selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.

A RED SEA OF HATRED: U. S. NAVY STYLE!

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on August 17, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

The 4th of July is celebrated by millions of Americans annually.  On this day many celebrate Independence Day.  We honor those who gave their lives and those who are still giving their lives to make and keep America free to insure that there is equal justice for all.

Frank Knox comes from a long list of military family members that have served proudly, honorably and with impeccable distinction for this great nation of ours.

Many of his family members have served in World War I, II, Korean, Vietnam and the conflict Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Some family members were led to believe that other relatives may have served during the civil war.

Frank’s quest for a military career was inspired by those family members.

He adamantly wanted to serve with honor and distinction for the country that he and his family love so dearly.

Frank boarded the ship USS Saratoga in 1973.  Prior, to boarding his squadron, there had many episodes of racial tension and abundance of hatred aimed directly at black enlisted men. In witnessing and seeing this, it put a tremendous amount of stress on him.

His assistant supervisor was a man called Red (as in Redneck).  Red made it his position known as it related to Frank and his kind from the very beginning, he said, “Me and my Klan boys are going to kill all the Niggers and anybody else that don’t look like us when we get out to sea.  You won’t be coming back”.

Reds’ words reminded Frank of the many thousands of his ancestors who were thrown overboard during “The Dark Passages” from Africa to the United States.  They were thrown overboard just for fun and games.

Overall, he was fearful of Red’s words because there was no one to speak up for him.  He knew if he said anything regarding the issue of racism he would have been disciplined in the harshest manner.

Frank feared he would have been kicked out of the Navy which almost occurred on several occasions.

While on the flight deck, he tried desperately to focus on his job because the flight deck was a very, very perilous place, especially, at night.  He remembered there were no lights on deck just miles of an endless Dark and scary ocean.

On many occasions he got blown into flight equipment because he expended a tremendous amount of energy worrying about his situation and fearing for his demise.

In addition, all the overwhelming stress led to fatigued, sleeping problems and eating irregularities.  He had reduced emotionality from thinking about Red’s fearful threats and throwing him off the ship or Red and his boys killing Frank when he went ashore for liberty.

Sometimes, he felt as though he was walking on thin ice, and the situation only exacerbated his stress when he saw his first plane crash.  It was an A-6  that crashed right into the ocean and killed the pilot.

He had to pull himself together and re-group and do his job professionally and competently even though he lived on the edge and with intense fear.  Frank was hassled daily and this situation was compounded by his lack of sleep and seeing planes crashes intensified the situation.

To make matter worse, he was assigned to the night shift after complaining that he was having problems with Red.  He was then assigned to the day shift, which was not much relief.

Overall, he was never able to relax the entire time he stayed attached to VF-103.   On several occasions, he endured a long-grueling-16-20 hour shift, 7 days a week, and in his case, 30 hours.

In preparation of his shift change, he was told that his plane was never secured properly.  He was made to stay over many times, even though his plane was secured!

Many of his colleagues knew his plane was secured professionally and competently but never spoke up on his behalf. Painstakingly, this was just one of many of the examples to ostracize him and debased his credibility as a man.

For example, each plane is secured with 16 chains, as a tie-down and he carried chains and did the work of 3 and 4 other people.   During his extra working details, he participated in morning operations and witnessed another A-6 crashed right off the flight deck, fortunately, they were able to recover the RIO, but the pilot died.

After the plane crashes, it would take him 3 weeks before he began to slowly get back into the routine of things. With a steadfast desire for success and thanks to mind over manner, Frank maintained positive thoughts such as being with family and close friends.  His faith in God helped him through this ordeal.

However, he was always fearful and looking over his shoulder for Red and his gang.  Working on the flight deck, was a dangerous job.

Despite the danger, he was not going to let anyone jeopardize his strong patriotic values that he held in the highest regards for his country, and values taught by family.

While all this was going on, he maintained his equanimity and esprit de corps in helping co-workers stay focus during night operation even though he was tormented by his own oppression.

One particular night, he was waiting for his plane to return when an A-5 tried to land on the flight deck and crashed.  The pilot missed his mark, the plane ended up into a big inferno ball of fire that killed the pilot andRio instantly.

Shockingly, everyone stood still and couldn’t move at all!  Frank jaw dropped to the floor and his legs were immovable. Frank said, “My entire body was shaking from incredible trepidation.  Eventually, I told myself to snap out of it and secured my plane.  However, others stated that they were not going back on the death zone (flight deck).”

It was no surprise, Frank ended up securing their planes as well.  He carried their chains on his already delicate and fragile back.

The latest plane crash did not allow him to sleep for months and the little sleep that he did get- he woke-up with frightening dreams.  Prior to witnessing the plane crashes he barely got 3 hours of sleep.

Additionally, he worried about Red’s ignominious and scurrilous reclamations, which only compounded his situation.  Frank said, “Red had my body working triple over-time.”

When he finally got liberty, most of the time, he stayed on the ship, it was the safest place to be.  If he took liberty it would only provoke an already intolerable malevolent and agonizing situation.   There was no telling where Red and his boys maybe lurking.

He decided to take other co-workers’ watches/off-duty assignments for extra money and saved it for his college education.

However, he decided to set his fear aside , the next time liberty came around he had made up his mind he was ashore.  He took liberty with Aean Wells.  Aean was his dear friend from Alabama and he had been an eye-witness to the trials and tribulations Frank had to endure under Red.

Frank warned Aean that they would avoid Red and his boys at all cost.

Unfortunately, Red saw Frank before he saw him.  He called him every inhumane and nasty name he could think of and than followed that up with a brutal physical attack.

He grabbed Frank by the neck and began squeezing and choking the life out of him.

Frank could see several shipmates standing by but no one came to his aid.

He said, “This kind of pluralistic ignorance is the worse case of uncompassionate and shame towards humanity.”

Frank remembers gagging and experiencing breathing problems.  He grasped for air and began to pass out, but still no one step-up to stop this horrifying act of attempted murder!

Only by the grace of God was he able to extricate himself from the stronghold of Red’s vise-like death grip.

Frank survived this nefarious and vicious act of physical lynching.  He was terrified by what had just happen to him and ran for his life, gagging and coughing all the way.

As luck and God would have it he came upon the Navy Shore Patrol (military police).  He explained to them what had happened, while trying to regain his breath.

They ordered him back to the ship.  A few minutes later, his friend Aean Wells came along later and said, “Frank, I thought they were going to kill you.”

Frank said, “We must remember during those times (70s) if a black man was involved in any form of altercation with a white person in a supervisory capacity, we (African-Americans) received the maximum punishment, even if we were right.”

He tolerated the cruelty and profound humiliation the best way that he could for him to survive.

Frank sustained emotional fatigue, tension, fearfulness, anger and constantly looking over his shoulder for “The Boggie Man” named Red.  There was no cultural sensitivity, racial training or political correctness.

African-Americans and minorities had limited rights and resources. He was reminded on some occasions that the Navy was for white men and not place for monkeys and apes.

Those debasing and derogatory words were harsh reminders that hurt him deeply.  These deplorable actions by his shipmates made him reach down deeply to muster all of his strength to upheld his diligence and dedication to duty.

Frank refused to let this chapter of his life be impacted with profound hatred and negativity.  After all, they were kicking out minorities in record numbers and all he and other blacks wanted was to serve this great nation of ours honorably and with admiration.

There were also riots in the chow hall because of racial tension and hate.  He stayed away from the chow hall just about the entire deployment.

Frank lived on box lunches and sometimes just drank the water which was always tainted with JP-5 fuel.  He believes the poison water at Camp Lejeune and tainted water on the ship caused all his abdominal problems.

Red continued to make his threats up until Frank got out of the navy.  Red’s bigotry was well known but it was always business as usual in his Navy.

Frank continued to get little sleep and when he did get to sleep he would have nightmares about Red choking the life out of him.  Plus, the last horrible inferno plane crash on the flight deck was additional.

After his departure from the navy, Frank still could not sleep and barely ate anything for months.  He started working out and that gave me some relief from his anger, frustrations and being on edge.  Once home he told of the horrendous atrocities to his family members.

There were many that cried with disgust and wondered how a fellow Navay man would treat  another human being of a different color worst than they would treat a wild animal.

Frank’s family advised him to go to the VA and get some immediate help for what he had horribly endured.  The nurse told him to file a claim, if he thought the Navy was at fault for all his problems.

Frank told her he did and she directed him to go and file the proper paperwork.  He filed in 1976.

Upon filing his paperwork, there was no help at the VA it was a “Dead End Street.” He completed the paper work and was interviewed by some of the most unprofessional, uncaring, and unsympathetic individuals that he ever encountered.

Frank said, “I thought the VA had played a cruel joke on me and hired Red and his boys at the hospital.”

The VA staff had had the same hateful and disgusting traits and characteristics of Red and his boys.  There was no compassion whatsoever for black veterans.  After about 20 minutes of intense humiliation, he still was not allowed to tell what had happen to him.

The insensitive hospital personnel were only concerned about whether he heard voices or hallucinations?  He was hurt and felt deeply disrespected from ship to home.

Frank blurted out, “Sir, I was almost killed and choked to death.”

The doctor stated that he was not interested in hearing about his personal trials and painful tribulations.

Frank remembers saying ‘Enough is enough’ and got up and left the room.  He remembers vividly laughter as he exited the room.

He had an ace in the hole, the Reverend Goodman would be his spiritual savior.  Frank would tell him about his horrible military life, the racial strife and profound indignation and attempted murder from his supervisor and military members.

He found Reverend Goodman comforting and a strong supporter of his situation.

Months later, he got the “Bad News” he received a letter from the VA denying his claim and minimizing his deeply-rooted traumatic/anxiety situation.   His story of horrific and terrifying acts of attempted murder he endured from another service member had fallen on deaf ears.

The rejection hurt deeply, and for months he wondered how he would get the necessary medical treatment to help him cope with all the problems.  Especially, when he was denied and coldly turned away by the VA.

The traumatic military experienced did not hinder Frank’s feelings to overtake his ambition for success.  Frank refused to allow Red and his Navy cohorts to disrupt his return to a normal life.

Frank, with a little help from his Pastor, friends and relatives began to map out a positive course of action for his return to civilian life.

There were times it was a bitterly and difficult road of uncertainty and there were moments of anger, agitation, overwhelming nightmares, sleeplessness, and frustrations.  There were days and nights he fought fatigue but decided failure was not an option despite the laughter he heard from doctors as he left the VA hospital.

It was God, family and friends who directed his destiny.

In addition, some of Frank’s veteran friends were also seeking immediate help from the VA but they also hit a brick wall while applying for the same claims and benefits.

Unfortunately, many of them chose drastic measures while coping with their profound disappointments.  Many black vets were left homeless and some lost their minds and souls from uncaring doctors they thought would provide for then the necessary intervention that many so desperately cried out for and needed. 

This was a harsh reality of life in the “Real World” no one cared for veterans of color.

“The system failed them and me horribly.”  Especially, when we needed them” said, Frank.

Frank chose a positive course of action, even though the VA did not.

Today, he can still see that plane crash and a big ball of fire crashing into the ocean and, on many occasions, there are nightmares when he would wake up thinking Red’s hands around his neck, choking the life out of him.  He says, I still have my nervous moments but I am coping.”

Painstakingly, he has been dealing with this situation since 1974 and the VA regional office in Ohio, since 1976 have not resolved his and other veterans’ situations and continue to play games with our lives.

Even today 2010 and he still has those same hateful and bitter individuals whose intentions are not to help the veterans.  But instead, they profoundly procrastinate and hope that all veterans just go away and die.  This is the American way when it comes to settling claims, especially, by and for African-American veterans.

Frank’s medical conditions only worsen from working on the ship doing paint chipping that involved removal of asbestos materials from the floors, ceilings and walls.

To make matter worse, he was placed on a recalled medication, Reglan, which caused him all sorts of problems.  Furthermore, he was hospitalized for severe chest pains and he brought it to the VA medical staff’s attention that he had taken Reglan and they dismissed his claims.  The associations of Reglan and his heart problems are all related.

They clearly never gave him a definitive diagnosis.  Instead, they just made one up.

The Veteran Administration is a broken system that needs immediate revamping.  The Veteran Administration does not facilitate a viable and caring process to hire veterans first or provide top-notched immediate resolution of all veterans’ claims.

Frank is in favor of the Veterans Administration’s Regional offices having an outside independent entity that can resolve the veterans’ claims expeditiously and accurately.

There are Veterans’ Regional offices that act like it’s their money and they play games with the veterans prior to dispensing them their money regarding their claims, especially, black veterans.

It has taken Frank 34 years to resolve some of his claims.  He hopes and prays that the people involved in the gulf oil strickened areas do not have to wait as long for their claims like most veterans do.

“Something is awfully wrong with the Veteran’s Administration and Congress.  They need to immediately do something about this horrible situation,” says Frank.

According to a study in 1978, if Frank’s prolonged stress persists, the pituitary gland and adrenal cortex will lose their ability to maintain elevated hormone levels.  The physiological processes will begin to break down, causing fatigue, depression and can affect all other areas in his body and even cause his demise.

He wondered why had his case lingered for over 34 years and why are veterans like him being treated like 4th class citizens?

One reason is hatred, our country is on the verge of increased racial strife with an increased of hate and militia groups participation, only because a bi-racial man occupies the white house.

The stories found in the media about all of this negativity as relates to racial hatred reminds him deeply of all the overwhelming hate that he and others endured on-broad the USS Saratoga.

Frank Knox joined the military because he loved his country, but it is now evident his country does not love him.  It allowed racist like Red to exist and excel in a United States military environment without consequences.

He was totally ostracized and never accepted as Red’s equal, despite the historical Civil Rights march on Washington, DC led by Rev. Martin Luther King in 1964.

The 1960’s assassinations of President Kennedy and his brother Bobby, Rev. King, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers all sacrificed their lives fighting for equal justice for all.

Almost 5 decades later despite a black President occupying the White House justice for all still eludes people of color.  From “The Dark Passages to the USS Saratoga” we are still being thrown overboard by a system that still operates on Justice and Just-Us.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger Apologizes For Use Of The “N-Word”

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , on August 13, 2010 by Gary Johnson

Talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger has issued an apology for saying the N-word several times in an on-air conversation with a caller that she said was “hypersensitive” to racism.

During the exchange on Tuesday’s show, Schlessinger said the woman who called herself Jade was too sensitive for complaining that her husband’s friends made racist comments about her in their home. ( Listen to the audio on MediaMatters.org.)

After listening to the audio, it seems clear that the good doctor is terribly misguided, ignorant and/or racists in her rants and behavior.  She also may have continued her rant knowing that she would garner some attention (her ratings aren’t what they used to be).

Schlessinger said the word “Nigger” on the air 11 times and told the caller (a black female married to a white man) she should not “marry out of your race” if you don’t “have a sense of humor.”

Black Tea Party Members Deny Racism Claims; Bash Obama

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Politics with tags , , , on August 5, 2010 by Gary Johnson

Kevin Jackson of the Black Conservative Coalition

Black members of the tea party movement on Wednesday denied accusations that the group’s activists are racist, saying they oppose President Barack Obama strictly because of his policies.

The members met at a Washington news conference in the wake of allegations about its leadership, heightened by the recent split with a Tea Party Express leader who had posted a letter on his blog written from “Colored People” to Abraham Lincoln. The post suggested that black people would choose slavery over having to do real work.

The black members said the racism that has been attributed to the tea party movement came from outsiders who infiltrated the groups to discredit their work and it should be rejected.

“These people do not oppose Barack Obama because of his skin color. They oppose him because of his policies,” Lloyd Marcus, a spokesman for the group, told the Associated Press.

The NAACP last month approved a resolution condemning racism within the tea party movement and called on activists to “repudiate the racist element and activities” within the political movement. At the news conference, several members had harsh words for Obama and the Democrats.

“Democrats have re-enslaved America,” said Kevin Jackson, president of the Black Conservative Coalition. He said tea party activists, if successful, would reduce the size of government and set in motion another Emancipation Proclamation, the document that President Abraham Lincoln signed that effectively ended slavery.

“This time, even the white folks get freed,” said Jackson, who also accused Obama of viewing fellow blacks as “mongrels.”

Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan declined to respond to the tea party leaders’ criticism. The White House also declined to comment.

Other tea party speakers called Democrats white supremacists and elitists. Conservative Moms for America leader Mary Baker said Democrats were pushing “anti-God politics.” “Destroy America. That’s what the D in Democrat Party means,” she said.

Alan Keyes, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate against Obama in 2004, said the president “got elected on a virulent form of racism” by exploiting his race during the 2008 campaign.

The Tea Party Express, one of dozens of libertarian-leaning and anti-tax groups, organized the meeting with reporters to denounce racism and then accused its opponents of using allegations of racism to censor dissent.

This article was sourced from EUR Web.

Republicans are the Mecca of Hypocrisy

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , on August 5, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Here we go again.  We Republicans are supposed to be the party of the rule of law, smaller government, and individual freedom.  But every time I turn around, I am confused by the hypocrisy our party will display for political expediency.

The most glaring example of this in recent time was the case of Terri Schiavo back in 2005.  She became brain dead due to an accident and her husband wanted to remove her from all life support.  Her family asked Republicans to usurp the authority of her husband by way of various political maneuvers to strip the husband of his right to make medical decisions about his wife.  Ultimately the federal courts sided with the husband and she was removed from life support.

Republicans were more interested in scoring political points than protecting the rights of an individual not to have the government interfere in the private affairs of a spouse.  Whether you agreed with the husband’s decision or not was totally irrelevant.  This was one of the reasons Republicans lost control of congress in 2006.

Now, they are repeating the same mistake in 2010 in the case of the proposed mosque near the site of the twin towers in New York that were destroyed during the attacks on 9/11.

Two days ago, The Landmarks Preservation Commission of New York City voted 9-0 to reject landmark status for the building that is on the site of the proposed mosque.  If the commission had granted landmark status, the building could not have been torn down, thus killing the project.

The decision paves the way for construction of the project to begin.  The project is to include a mosque and an Islamic community center.  The project is being spear-headed by a group called the Cordoba Initiative.  According to them, they are a group of moderate Muslims.  The total project cost is approximately $ 100 million (raised by private money).  So, what is controversial about this?  Absolutely nothing.

Republicans have decided to play politics and play on religious intolerance to score political points.  But, as in the Schiavo case, this too will backfire.

Now, I will give you the stated reason why opponents are against this project.  I hope you are seated—with seatbelt on.  Their opposition is based on the great “legal” principle that the “location would be insensitive (because the group is Muslim) and it disrespects the memory of 9/11 victims.” Yes, you heard me right—INSENSITIVE.  They claim the site is too close to the twin towers that were destroyed on 9/11.

Now, I will tell you who “they” are.  Some of the most notable opponents of the project are:  9/11 first-responders, family members of those killed in the attack,  former New York congressman and current Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rick Lazio, Abraham Foxman from the Anti-Defamation League, former speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, radio entertainers, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, to name a few.

These are all people that are supposed to be big supporters of the first amendment (freedom of speech) and the right of the individual and the rule of law.  But yet, they supported the attempted hijacking of a government body in their attempts to strip away the rights of Muslim Americans to erect a building.

Is this what Republicans mean when they talk about “limited government?”  Government that is limited only to what they believe?

After the vote to allow the buildings to go up, Foxman arrogantly stated, “the group’s proposal fail to address the crux of opponents’ criticism that erecting the mosque near ground zero is insensitive to 9/11 victims’ families.”  Foxman continues, “Some legitimate questions have been raised about the Cordoba Initiative’s funding and possible ties with groups whose ideologies stand in contradiction to our shared values.”

Has he lost his mind?  So, he believes in individual freedom as long as it’s agreeable to him?  This issue is not about terrorism or Muslims, or 9/11.  This is about the rule of law—I thought a core bedrock Republican principle.

These are the same Republicans who want Obama to enforce our immigration laws, but don’t want New York City to enforce the laws that give these Muslim Americans the right to build their Islamic community center near ground zero!

To the family members of those killed during 9/11, your personal pain should not be used to deny an American citizen the exercise of his constitutional rights.  Would you feel the same way if the Catholic Church was erecting the building?

This whole debate has an undercurrent of religious intolerance.  Politicians and talk radio are trying to push specific agendas at the expense of individual liberty and freedom.  Did Republicans learn nothing from the Terri Schiavo disaster?

Maybe we should build a shrine to the Republican Party at ground zero and call it the “Mecca of Hypocrisy.”

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).

Don’t forget to register to listen to my radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m.  Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on my photo to join my group.

Raynard Jackson has been named to Talkers Magazine’s “Frontier Fifty.” The “Frontier Fifty” is a selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.

Joe Gans: Gone But Not Forgotten!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 1, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

On Sunday August 8, 2010, a group of admirers will gather in Baltimore to pay tribute to a man considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time.  Would you be surprised if his name is not Sugar Ray Robinson or Muhammad Ali?

Joe Gans was the first black boxing champion in the history of the sport.  He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, and August 10, 2010 will mark the 100th anniversary of his death.

What many historians have forgotten is that the first professional athlete was a black man.  He came out of slavery.

During the 1700s, slave owners had become fat and rich off the backs of free labor thanks to their slaves who worked from sun up to sun down.  Many of the owners became bored and had too much leisure time on their hands.

One day, an owner was watching two of his slaves’ race each other back to their quarters after a hard day in the fields.  It was then and there the owner came up with a “Kodak Moment”.  Why not develop a competition among his slaves for our entertainment?

The “on plantation” competition soon spread to the other plantations.  The slaves wore the colors of their owners to distinguish one plantation from another.

There were foot races and horse racing and boxing. Many times the owners would bet heavy wages on their slaves.  Plantations were sometimes won and lost on the fleet of foot or knock punch of a slave.

They had everything but ESPN cameras on hand to record the games.  It was entertainment up close and personal.  The games between the plantations helped and won many slaves their freedom and many were hung for losing.

The slaves were the experts when it came to the peculiar ways of the thoroughbred horses.  Boxing and thoroughbred racing were the most popular sports.

Because of those plantation games the first pro athletes emerged.  Those bloodlines produced names like Gans and Johnson who would later take over the boxing world.

Whites dominated professional boxing in the 1800s, but Gans and Johnson would eventually deal racism a crushing blow and integrate the sport.

The Godfather of thoroughbred racing was the great Isacc Murphy.  He competed in eleven Kentucky Derbys.  He was the first jockey to win three Kentucky Derbys.  There were times in the 1800s when all the jockeys were black.

Isaac Murphy is the only jockey to have won the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Clark Handicap all in the same year (1884). He is considered to be one of the greatest jockeys in American history.  He won 628 of his 1,412 starts, a 44 percent victory rate that has never been equaled, and a record which Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro said: “There is no chance that his record of winning will ever be surpassed.”

When the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame was established, Isaac Burns Murphy was the first jockey to be inducted.

The history and legend of Joe Gans has been lost on residents of Baltimore.  They honor hometown heroes like Babe Ruth, Billie Holiday and Thurgood Marshall and rightfully so, but how did Gans slip from memory?

In New York City at Madison Square Garden, there is a statue of Joe Gans. A painting of him hangs in the National Gallery of Art, and there is a plaque on display in a small town in Goldfield, Nev.  The plaque commemorates the historical fight Gans won there in 1906.

There are no such memories or historical landmarks that Joe Gans ever walked the streets or lived in Baltimore.  His boyhood home on Argyle Avenue is non-existent, and the hotel he owned at Colvin and Lexington Streets where the legendary jazz pianist Hubie Blake first got his start is also gone.

The real sad part of the legend of this great man is that he has been forgotten by his own.  The Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland Black Culture and African-American History home has one photo of him on its walls!

I now understand what playground basketball legend and NBA Color Analyst Sonny Hill meant when he said, “Your hometown will be the last to show you any love.”

A recent quote from an unknown author sheds more light on the plight of Joe Gans and African-American legends like him, “Until the lions hire their own historians the glory of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

Spearheading this tribute is not Don King or some other high profile boxing personality; it is a young man by the name of Kevin Grace.

Kevin works for Southwest Airlines’ ground operations and moonlights as a historian during his off hours.  The link and common denominator of the two men: they are both black and are Baltimore natives.

Kevin is a street wise brother in his early 40s.  He has hopes and dreams of becoming an actor in his screen debut on the award winning show “The Wire” and he had a forgettable moment when he delivered his only line “What the fuck?”

He is the historian that the Lions needed to hire, but Joe Gans’ story beat them to the punch!

In 2007, Kevin stumbled upon the name of Joe Gans while reading a biography of a man I consider “The Greatest”—Jack Johnson.  He would later learn from a friend that Gans was born and raised in Baltimore, and as they say “Curiosity can kill the cat.”   The cat in this case was Kevin Grace.

Kevin started out checking out local archives and the Enoch Pratt Library’s microfilm collection, scanning turn of the century newspapers for Gans’ name.  He found landmarks like the hotel Gans owned and his boyhood home only to discover that they had disappeared without a trace.

He became frustrated with leads that were leading to nowhere.  He contacted local fighters, politicians, and community leaders.  Kevin had big ideas like a commemorating stamp with Joe’s picture, a street named in his honor, a sculpture, and a documentary, but politics and “Player Haters” became stumbling blocks.

He made a pitch to the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, who seemed to be caught off guard by his pitch to honor Joe Gans.  But Jon Wilson, Deputy Director of Operations for the museum, was sympathetic and was impressed with Kevin’s passion to see the project through.

Mr. Wilson said, “Whenever we do any sort of wax figure, it is done by corporate sponsorship, but this is a story we want to tell.”

Kevin’s savior was when he met actor Clayton LeBouef, who jumped on board with no strings attached.  Clayton’s credits include the award winning series “Homicide: Life on the Streets”, and he is also the nephew of the radio and television pioneer Petey Greene.

He has also persuaded “Showtime” ringside analyst Al Bernstein, former Baltimore Colts’ running back Lydell Mitchell, and boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar to participate.

His hometown may have forgotten, but boxing historians like Bert Sugar have not.  In his book, “The 100 Greatest Fighters,” Sugar has Gans rated No. 15.

Bert says, “Joe Gans invented the left jab and he is the cleverest fighter to ever grace a boxing ring and he was known to the world as the Old Master.”

The tribute and celebration for Baltimore natives Joe Gans and Henrietta Vinton Davis will be held on Sunday August 8, 2010 at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Center located at 847 North Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland.  For ticket information call (410) 225-3130.

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