Archive for August, 2011


Posted in Black Interests with tags , on August 31, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

From the inner-city to Island vacation homes in America hurricanes and earthquakes have no cut-cards.  They are equal opportunity disasters!  Somewhere and sometime in our lives they will make a house call without an invitation or warning.

According to a story in one of the local Washington, DC newspapers, the recent earthquake cause shaking and the shaking led to confusion.  Confusion led to anxiety.  Anxiety led to evacuating. And then evacuating led to milling.

The story said, the earthquake that struck DC on Tuesday August 23, 2011 shook the city’s carefully constructed rhythms.  There was looseness and a jangled quality.  People who normally passed each other silently in the office suddenly became “New best friends!”   They stood together on the streets smiling and talking.

The folks driving the Mercedes, BMWs and Bentleys were blowing their horns, smiling and saying hello to those driving Mazdas and pick-up trucks!

The story went on to say, there was a sense of getting away with something, wandering outside in the middle of the day, past lunchtime, contemplating a cocktail, waiting for someone to tell you what to do or not to do. There were mother’s texting their children and husbands calling wives.

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake can make you take a look at your priorities.  It struck the Nation’s Capitol without checking-in with the White House or Congress and it also bypassed airport screenings.

One observer was heard to say “It kind of builds a sense of community, to experience something beyond your control.” 

There were people standing around in groups who said “It makes you really, really feel lucky.”

For those of us who have not forgotten who is in charge, blessed would have been a better word to describe what had just taken place!

This was one of those enlightening moments you will always remember exactly where you were when Mother Nature stopped by to say “Hello.”  I was sitting on the side of my bed preparing to meet a friend for a 3:00 PM business meeting at Denny’s Restaurant in NE Washington, DC.

I am a sixth generation Washingtonian and I have never felt anything like the rumble in my bedroom that day.  I thought it was an upcoming storm with a thunder and lighting warning, until I went to the window to see what was happening.  It looked like the patio furniture was moving and then I thought “Earthquake.”

My wife Hattie was downstairs playing cards in the community room.  I immediately left the apartment and went to the balcony  to see her standing in the parking lot yelling for me to get out of the building.  It made sense until I turned to see our next door neighbor a white lady in her 90’s standing in the door trembling and confused.  Her first words were “Can you help me?”

Ms. Watson had lived next door to us for 6 years and this was the first time she had ever spoken to me.  She was not prejudice, her problem she was hard of hearing and could hardly see.  The only time we would see her was when she was going to the trash room or sometimes at the mailbox downstairs.

I grabbed her by her hand and said I would help her down the stairs to the outside of the building but she asked me if I would call her nephew first, I said “okay what is his number?”

She went back into her apartment and brought me a tattered telephone book and asked if I would look under the name of James Cook.  I could not find a listing for him but then I notice there were several numbers with names already programmed into her telephone.

I started to push the buttons and got nothing but the answering service for each number.  I left messages for each number I dialed.  I then turned to Ms. Watson to take her out of the building when she said “I am okay you go ahead!”  She was still confused about what had just happen and insisted on staying upstairs in her apartment.  I then told her I was going downstairs to check with my wife and I would return for her.

After checking with Hattie I told her I had to go back into the building and get our next door neighbor.  She looked at me as if confused and said “okay be careful.”

On the way back up the stairway I saw another neighbor by the name of Gloria helping another wheelchair bound 97 year old neighbor Ms. Rumsey down the steps.  She mentioned that her Aunt was still upstairs, but she was okay.

When I got back up on the 4th floor I notice another young man walking behind me with a gun on his side and he said “I am on the way to get my aunt.”  Ms. Watson was waiting in the doorway for me and we started the journey back down the four flights of stairs.

It seemed like it took forever, but God had my back.  When we made it to the outside there were cheers waiting for us which caught me completely by surprise!  I said “Please, I thought that I was only doing what neighbors are suppose to do for each other.”  There were skeptics among the cheerleaders.

I thought back to my missed meeting with my friend and thought to myself “If he and I were sitting together in Denny’s Restaurant in ‘The Hood’ what if the earthquake or Irene (she shown up two days later) had struck while we were having our meeting?   Would the earthquake or Irene been able to tell the difference between a ‘Boys in the Hood Meeting’ and billionaire Bill Gates having a meeting in Georgetown with one his boys?”

I don’t think so Mother Nature could have cared less!

One of the cafeteria workers in one of the government buildings downtown said “I only knew some of the people who ordered lunch as only another face in the lunch line. But while waiting on the side walk people started to come over to me and I got to talk to some of them!”  They suddenly had a relative in common—Mother Nature!

How many natural disasters do we have to have before human beings (the 1% who control all the wealth) reach out to help others before they realize we are all in this life together?

Several days after the earthquake scare my wife Hattie and I walked back into the lobby of the apartment building that we live only to be greeted by our neighbor Gloria.  She wanted to thank me for rescuing her aunt and helping her down the steps.  I was a little taken back because that rescue never took place, but I didn’t correct her because too many people were standing around and I didn’t want to damage my “Halo.”

I told Hattie that Gloria had gotten me mixed up with someone else, after giving it some careful thought I remembered the young man with the gun on his side.

He turned out to be a Prince Georges police officer and evidently while rescuing his aunt on the way out of the building he encountered Gloria’s aunt and helped her out of the building also.  He and I are about the same height and weight.  We are both black and “They say” we all look a like sometimes!  The next day I saw Gloria and explained what had happen and she said, ‘Thanks anyway!’ 

There are times when you can get caught up in your own ego trips and forget we are not the only one that care, remember I encountered Gloria first helping the 97 year old wheelchair bound Ms. Rumsey down 4 flights of stairs—-but also remember, a hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich (smile). Wake Up Everybody!

A newspaper and television personality and former friend of mine once said “Harold you bless us all” I beg to differ it is God who blesses us all!

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site H. B. Sports

The Bridge: A King Sized Mistake

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on August 31, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

I’m accustomed to having a divergent viewpoint, even though some people still get all strange and twisted reading my column.

But to those who still think on a regular basis, this piece should come as no surprise.

I’m a Brother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s  illustrious fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and I sharply disagree with something that people across the land are lauding as a monumental achievement.

Alpha Phi Alpha spearheaded the raising of more than 100 million dollars to erect a monument of our beloved Dr. King in Washington, D.C.

Some people are so proud that they are angry at any detraction from the celebration of such an accomplishment.

But I have no celebratory mood to offer.

I have no cheers or “attaboys” to contribute.

I have nothing but sadness and disappointment.

I am sad and disappointed for several reasons.

First, Dr. King was a man who placed his life on the line for improvement of mankind, not so that he could be lauded and celebrated.

He was a man who exemplified the true spirit of our beloved fraternity, in that he was a man who lived his life in service. He was a genuine spirit because he did so without seeking glory.

In his “Mountaintop” speech, Dr. King made it clear how he wanted his life and his contributions to mankind to be remembered:

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy…tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize. That isn’t important. Tell him not to mention that I have 300 or 400 other awards. That’s not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school. I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.”

Yes, he tried to love people and that is what he wanted people to remember.

I remember when Stevie Wonder led the effort to get a national holiday in honor or Dr. King. Oh, how the people worked and oh how they celebrated when the day of celebration became a law.

But I also remember that over the years, the day began to lose its shine and its reason for people having a day off of work. Many people forgot about the reason for the day and began to forget about magnifying the works of our beautiful hero.

But there are other reasons why I have been opposed to the monument and why it saddens me to see it come to fruition.

I am disappointed because more than 100 million dollars were raised for a monument that will be great for children to visit, while millions of children are unable to eat and unable to afford clothing.

I am disappointed that 100 million dollars were raised for a celebratory rock, while millions of people are living between a rock and a hard place on the streets.

I am also disappointed that 100 million dollars were raised and that people will be sticking their chests out, while our collective war chest is empty—empty of resources and empty of promise for the future.

The 100-plus millions could have been employed for purposes that would have changed lives and made strides toward the dreams that Dr. King gave his life for.

Instead, we will have a rock that we hope will teach a lesson or two.

But the greatest lesson we could have learned has been ignored.

We should have learned that instead of seeking to idolize any of us, we should empower many or most of us.

But we keep waiting for a savior to do that for us.

Sadly, we are waiting, but Dr. King ain’t coming back.

Without a savior to guide us and die for us, we are divided and confused and so we rally around things that sound good, but have little substance.

Like the effort to memorialize Dr. King in the nation’s capitol with a piece of rock.

Many are angered and many more will be angered that I dare to oppose my beloved fraternity, and/or that I dare to oppose any effort supported by the masses of Negroes.

But the lesson I learned from Dr. King and from heroes like him, was to think for myself and to evaluate efforts based on the intrinsic goal and the intrinsic result.

The goal of this rock was misguided by people who have taken personal enrichment from the effort and the result is dubious given that empty impact the rock will have on people who cannot eat, and who have no place to live.

As a Black man in America, and as a brother of Dr. King’s fraternity, I hold his memory near and dear to my heart.  I try to live my life walking in the path he and other brave men and women blazed for me with their very lives.

I find it embarrassing that more than forty years after his death, the best that we can do is to erect a monument in his memory, while the memory of his dream is waking us up to a nightmare of broken promises.  We are waking up in a cold sweat to that same non-negotiable promissory note written to the sons and daughters of slavery in America by a nation that has never looked at us as full human beings.

Dr. King led a fight in the streets of America, forcing her to face her crimes against us in front of the world.  He was followed by millions of humans in this nation and around the globe.  He inspired us all to dream of a better world and to claim the right to have it.

A monument can not do that.

Forty years after The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated for daring to dream of a better world and for fighting for our right to have it, Black people have united to raise money for something that may make us feel good, but will do little to further the dream of the man himself.

My point?

Simply this:  We don’t need a symbol, we need something real.

Dr. King had a dream.

His monument may become our nightmare.

I believe it is a King-sized mistake.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Has Anyone Seen Our Old Friend Martin? He’s Not On The DC Mall

Posted in Uncategorized on August 30, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

 In recent blogs ( I have discussed the sad and poor state of Black America.  The recent topics were; A Crime: Being Black and Angry in America, The End of Anger, The Help: Role Models for Black Men in America.

The blogged story lines were followed with a commentary by television personality Tavis Smiley on CBS Sunday Morning.  The commentary spoke to how the poor has been overlooked in America by the Powers-To-Be and how 1% of America controls all the wealth!

Next there was a written commentary on the unveiling of the King stature by Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy.  I started to notice that their concerns were similar to mine!

For Tavis Smiley’s brutal but honest commentary click on link below;lst;3

Black politicians and Black preachers continue to look the other way as “Business as Usual” is conducted at our expense.

The business; a white man makes 20 times the salary of a black man, unemployment in the black adult community doubles that in the white adult community, black youth unemployment doubles that of white youth unemployment.  The drop-out rate of black youth now hovers above 50%.

There is still Justice and Just-Us!  Jails have become “Big Business” and we are their business.

Crimes against black people are on the rise but you are not reading about them because main street media refuses to report it.

Remember the serial stabber in Michigan and the recent lynching by pick-up truck in Mississippi?  The more things change the more they remain the same, follow link below for update

The problem with most black people, they are shame to be black and poor.  It is rather tough to be rich when 1% of America controls all the wealth.

We are the last to know when there is an opportunity to join that 1% (stock market tips, sweetheart real estate deals, computers, cell phones, etc).

I don’t remember any of my friends telling me that Bill Gates (Google) or Steve Jobs (Apple) called them to attend a meeting because they had a hot tip that would make them rich!  I bet they called their friends and family.

Black people would rather put up a front Keeping up with the Jones than to admit “I cannot afford this home in Woodmore, Kettering, Largo, Fort Washington, The Hamptons, etc or the car note for this Mercedes. But I have to keep up my front!”

You wonder why the Asian own Toyota car company would flat out tell Black Media “We don’t need your business” after blacks have spend over 50 million dollars in car sales—-no respect!

There would be a different story if we start to buy American, but the Asian community is well aware we don’t stick together.  We have to be cool and be seen driving our Alexis down the highways and byways of main street America.  The Asians laugh all the way to the bank.

Columnist Courtland Milloy recently hit a Homerun as it relates to his column titled “Having a Black Sculptor for King would have been nice!”

I have been saying the exact same thing since the work was commissioned to the Chinese.  Why do we spend our money with people who don’t like us—Chinese don’t like black folks, but than again we don’t like each other!

I have often wondered where, how and when did we become so selfish, when did our word become nothing when we gave it?

Let me ask this question again would the Chinese commission a Black to carve out a sculpture of a Chinese leader?   The answer is no—case closed.

The China man chosen as the sculptor Lei Yixin can’t event speak broken english or ebonics!

It behooves me why that when blacks make a case of keeping and spending our monies in our own community the Race Card is played and we are called “Racist.”  Every group is allowed to spend money with their own but black people.  And you wonder why there is no “Old Money” in our community?

The reason, we are never allowed to accumulate any “Old Money” is because we are to busy making other folks rich and judging from our history we are satisfied being TRIGGER rich!

Courtland wears his “Diplomacy Hat” well in this column when he shines the light on Dr. King’s fraternity and gives them their props for making the unveiling of the stature possible.

Courtland writes, “Now, I recognize that without the inspired leadership of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, there would be no King Memorial to speak of.  And those who say now ought to be a time for celebration and not complaining have a point.

Nostalgia notwithstanding, the fact remains that Lei (sculptor) hails from a country that oppresses ethnic minorities, exploits its workers, and jails human-rights activists and the attorneys who try to defend them.  In their day, King and civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall would likely have been taken by the Red Guard and never heard from again.”

If Courtland wanted to say how he really felt he would have said, “Dr. King and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall must turning over in their graves to see their frat brothers perpetrate this fraud on the black community all in the name of a dollar bill.”

Why is it that we are required to “Play fair” when everyone else is cheating with aces up their sleeves?

The sad scenario to this charade it is other blacks calling Courtland a racist and trouble maker!

Ed Jackson Jr., executive architect of the project really gave  Courtland a piss poor excuse for not hiring a black sculptor.

He said, “Not only did we need an artist, we needed someone with the means and methods of putting those large stones together.  We don’t do this in America.  We don’t handle stones of this size.”

And we want to know why our kids don’t know Black History—meet Ed Jackson, Jr.

Slave labor built the Capitol and the White House and it took large stones to complete those historical monuments.  Suddenly we no longer have large stones!

See Courtland’s complete story follow link below

In the meantime I am patiently waiting for someone to write a column “The Invisible King Family!”  There is one thing that I do know if my father was being honored on the mall in the Nation’s Capitol I would be seen and heard.

Where were they doing the negotiations and when the picture was being chosen for his likeness?  The stature on the mall looks nothing like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and where they when the frat was selling their father out for pennies on a dollar?

It is rumored that they were given an $800,000 licensing fee and now their lawyers are trying to figure out a way to split up the money evenly without another “Family Feud.”

I attended Thursday’s luncheon Celebration titled “Civil Rights Leaders, Past, Present and Future.”

There were remarks by, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson and  U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder was given a standing ovation when he was introduced for his outstanding work in Civil Rights.

The show stealer was the Reverend Dr. Amos Brown senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of San Francisco.  He spoke about the black community standing up and telling the truth that we have fallen short in our efforts to build on the “Dream” of Rev. King.  Rev. Brown was given a standing ovation as he left the stage.

The Master of Ceremonies Marc Morial President and CEO of the National Urban League closed out the luncheon with a direct challege to the American people.

He said “For those of you who are saying there has been no progress, you are wrong and for those of of you who are saying we have accomplished the Dream you are also wrong.  There is much more work to do!

Can you imagine The Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. looking down on the proceedings and saying, ”Amen.”

The State of the Dream

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men with tags , , on August 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

With all the attention being focused on the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, I have been pondering what he would have to say about the state of his legacy.  In the immortal words of Lionel Richie (former lead singer of the Commodores):

“I may be just a foolish dreamer but I don’t care

Cause I know my happiness is waiting out there somewhere

I’m searching for that silver lining

Horizons that I’ve never seen

Oh I’d like to take just a moment and dream my dream

Oooh, dream my dream” (from the song Zoom1977).

I can imagine King looking down from on high and observing the state of his dream:

What the hell has become of my dream?

Nothing is what it really seems.

My people have been emancipated, but yet are not free,

Just look at the high rate of poverty.


My people have better education,

But they also exhibit less dedication.

Their thirst for material possessions,

Seems to be their only obsession.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project,

Let the record show I totally object.

To spend $ 120 million and to what end?

That’s not what the dream was about my friend.


Lei Yixin, the sculptor that was chosen,

When I found out, my mouth was frozen.

A man from China where there are no human rights,

You can believe I would have put up a big fight!


$ 800,000 to my family for the use of my name,

Yolanda, Marty, Dexter, and Bernice what a shame.

Yeah, I know there is money in intellectual property,

But, my dream was always more towards the heavenly.


A German to build a memorial to the Holocaust?

The Jewish community would have been at a loss.

But my people gave the work to a non American,

This oddity I really can’t understand.


You couldn’t have chosen someone like the sculptor Ed Dwight?

Afterall, the U.S. Air Force trusted him to take planes into flight.

A Black man trained as a sculptor, aviator and an aeronautical engineer,

His choice should have been crystal clear.


Getting the raw materials from a foreign land,

To build the platform on which I stand.

From China of all places, a repressive regime,

This choice makes me want to scream!


Temporary workers from China you brought to this land,

What, there were no American workers skilled with their hands?

No doubt this was all about cheap wages,

This has been man’s downfall throughout the ages.


Oh, and what’s this I hear about the granite brought in from China?

You couldn’t find any in North Carolina?

Has my dream really come down to this?

I thought by now there would be a new twist.


When I left earth to take my rest,

I thought my people could pass the test.

Now, as I look down on this situation,

I wish I could have one more incarnation.


But, who am I to question what God has started?

Maybe that’s why I am a member of the dearly departed.

I now wish I could have one more run,

But my fate was tied to the barrel of a gun.


So, as I leave you with these final words,

I hope the true meaning of my vision is what you heard.

I am not allowed to come back and continue the fight,

So, please try to get my dream right.


I will pray that God will open your eyes,

Because what I see is a stunning surprise.

The dream was not about the money spent,

But helping those who could barely pay their rent.


Yes, it’s true that the dream was for all of mankind,

But, what I see you doing is not what I had in mind.

My dream was not about the color of the skin,

But, tell me where does the Black man fit in?


But, giving contracts to those from a foreign nation,

Was not part of my dream of emancipation?

Everything for this project could have come from within

Please understand what I am saying to you my friend.

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 ( & USAfrica Magazine ( 


Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists, Racism with tags , , on August 23, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By William Reed

My hope is that the farmers and their families who were denied access to USDA loans and programs will be made whole and will have the chance to rebuild their lives and their businesses – Barack Obama

It’s time President Barack Obama paid up on Pigford.

Pigford represents a landmark case of racial discrimination in America and illustrates how government leaders have, and continue to use a plethora of tricks to avoid paying Blacks their just due for wrongs do for wrongs committed against them in America.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been the bane of American racism and held the reputation of “The Last Plantation” for decades.   Twelve years after the USDA agreed to settle the discrimination illustrated in the Pigford case, the money promised remains unpaid.

Pigford is proof positive of institutional racism in America.  Occasionally patterns of racism are scheduled for righting.  In 1999 federal courts ruled that the USDA engaged in racist practices by denying financial help to economically distressed Black farmers.  North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford, along with hundreds of other Black farmers, won their class-action discrimination lawsuit against then-Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman when Pigford v. Glickman discovered that between 1981 and 1996 “minorities received less than their fair share of USDA funds for crops and disaster payments and loans.   The case was settled out of court and about 15,000 farmers were paid a total in excess of $900 million.   But Pigford continued with tens of thousands of claimants who filed claims after the settlement deadline.  Now many in Congress and the federal government seek to deny these farmers their due.

Payment for Pigford is mocked by many.  Flooding damage to mid-western farms along the Missouri River provided Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) a press audience.  Reporters asked them if their calls for drastic cuts in federal spending would mean less money for emergency aid to help beleaguered farmers.  King responded that there would be more money for the mostly White farmers if the government was not paying so much to settle cases involving racial discrimination against Black farmers.  Presidential candidate Bachmann joined King in saying that the mid-western farmers deserved the money and charged that a large percentage of the USDA settlement consisted of “fraudulent claims”.  “King said “I’d like to apply that money to the people that are under water right now” and characterized the Black farmers’ suit as “modern-day reparations.”

Despite having won the largest civil rights discrimination settlement in history, Black farmers are still struggling to get paid.  Flagrant discrimination has dominated Black lives on farms in America.  Although the U.S. government never followed through on its promise of “40 acres and a mule” to freed slaves, and in spite of systematic processes and programs to stymie their efforts African-Americans were able to establish a foothold in Southern agriculture.  Black land ownership peaked in 1910, when 218,000 African-American farmers had ownership stakes in 15 million acres of land.  But, through the machinations of southern bureaucrats and the USDA, by 1992 Black ownership numbers had dwindled to 2.3 million acres held by 18,000 farmers.  The problem is the number of Black farmers that have been forced off their land. In 1920, one of out seven U.S. farms was Black-owned and operated; but by 1992 Black farmers operated just one of every 100 farms.

Pigford shows America’s legacy of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow.  Black farmers have been done a series of injustices and those who have lost family land and legacies shouldn’t be slandered as bums looking for a handout.  The Pigford settlement was not reverse racism, or for undeserving people trying to pull some scam on the government.  It was the end result of a thorough legal process “to make them whole.”

Many African Americans are owed “a debt” of reparations.  But for Black farmers the USDA was an agency that never played fair with them.  The USDA caused generations of Black farmers enormous economic hardships; now viable steps toward funding Pigford and Black farmers’ claims are in order.

William Reed is a syndicated columnist and Publisher of  “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America.”  He’s also President of Black Press Foundation.

William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via


Posted in Black Interests, Black Men, Guest Columnists with tags , , , on August 22, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Mike Ramey

Citing the need for both biblical and spiritual solutions for a host of problems which have surfaced in the Black community, the first annual national conference of the Trusted Partners in Christ, Inc. wrapped up its inaugural run in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“It is already half-passed late,” said Dr. Henry J. Lyons, national president, to a gathering of church members and pastors from some fifteen states. “Every believer needs to wake up and gear up for war. Some will say it is time we stopped fighting. And these people are right! It is time we stopped fighting–each other.” Lyons, pastor of the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church of Tampa, Florida, brought the conference to the Midwest in mid-August of this year after prayerfully planning for the national launch of the organization for nearly a decade. Lyons, former president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. is back in the national spotlight once again, bringing forth a coalition of churches and Christians to not only develop local training programs to help various communities through the church, but to train pastors and members to better recognize the biblical mandate in solving problems through the power of Jesus Christ. “The gospel is just as relevant as today’s newspaper. Psychology has a place. Politics has a place. Organization has a place. But Satan has outgunned us in every one of these areas. And, if you try to build your church with those things, your (churches) are going to fail.” Lyons said.

National Trusted Partners For Christ held a variety of workshops and training sessions where churches could learn about new technology, and use it along with some old-fashioned common sense in reaching people for Jesus Christ. Also, programs were being aimed at youth and the pulpit, including raising up and training the next generation of preachers. The event ran during the week of August 15th at the Indianapolis Hilton in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

The first portion of Lyons’ remarks during the final evening of the event took on the tone of inspired leadership, readying the troops for battle and conflict. “This 21st century up to this point has proven to be a mean-spirited, cruel generation with a mind to destroy all minorities…and ESPECIALLY Blacks. With all that in mind it is our determination to meet every challenge with the love of God.”

Lyons pointed out to the assembled multitude–some coming from as far away as Arkansas–that Satan has been attacking Black families, and our communities with unrelenting force. Marriage is under an onslaught. Children and education are under attack. Even President Barack Obama is not immune from social and political attack.

“We must get our people ready for the next election in 2012.” Lyons said. “Lead on (Mr. President), for no group, no party, no force can destroy what God has ordained.”

Following his inaugural leadership remarks, Lyons lifted up his Bible, and brought the Scriptures into play, further highlighting the scope and reach of the NTPFC. As a Baptist preacher, Lyons knows that the Bible is the key in the solutions that much be used to reach our communities. It boils down to individuals and churches being trained to not only recognize problems, but to have solutions at the ready.

The conference was well received by many who attended. Plans are already underway to spread the influence of the organization into other portions of the country, as well as expanding the types of workshops and trainings available–some of them to be offered via the Internet. The NTPFC is already looking forward to coming back to Indianapolis for the next annual event.

For next year, one such subject that will likely be explored: How urban churches can get an upper hand against the spread of gangs in their respective areas. Programs on this issue are being explored and resarched.

Lyons is also the president of the General Baptist State Convention of Florida. He has had a few widely publicized ups and downs over the last 15 years. Those negative events appear to be firmly behind him. In his own words, Lyons has reconciled with whom he has been blessed to reconcile, and apologized with whom he has been able to apologize. In the end, he may have enemies, but forgiveness will have to overcome bitter feelings over past wrongs, real or imagined.

“When you were born again, you were born to fight in a battle. And not only fight. When you were born again, you were born to win! That is more than just rhetoric. It is Truth! And, it’s high time we stop singing “Hold the Fort,” and began singing “Onward Christian Soldiers!” God IS calling Trusted Partners to victory.” Lyons said.

Lyons can be reached through, or at,

RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. His writings appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email © 2011 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.


President Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus and Rising Unemployment Equals One Big Mess for America

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Politics, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , on August 17, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

(August 17, 2011) As he seeks re-election in a submarine deep recession and a terrible economy, President Barack Obama announced today that he will introduce an economic plan next month.  The last report that I read had the nation’s unemployment rate at 9.1%.  The unemployment rate for blacks is 16.2%.  For black males it’s 17.5%; for black teens the unemployment rate is a whopping 41%. 

No President in recent history has been re-elected with a jobless rate that high.  The President also announced that the housing market may not improve for a year.  Speaking of housing, if the President and his economic team don’t improve jobs and housing, the President will be looking for a new home.

I am on the record for not being impressed with the President’s economic team of advisers.  I think the collective body does not have enough of a connection with the black community and has given the President terrible advice.  I know he is President of the United States.  I know the political ramifications of “appearing” to give black folks any kind of preferential treatment. 

That being said, no one can ignore the fact that nearly 14 million people are unemployed and millions more have given up looking for jobs or haven’t found a way to move from part-time to full-time work.

According to an analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, in Charlotte, N.C., the unemployment rate for blacks is 19.2%.  If you factor in people who have given up looking for jobs, that number exceeds 20%.  Folks, these are Great Depression numbers.

It is a fact that President Obama inherited this economic mess from the Bush administration.  It is also a fact that statistically the economy has been weaker under President Obama than it was under President Bush, which is probably why President Obama’s disapproval rating on the economy is low (around 60%).

This series of events begs the following questions:  How much criticism should President Obama get for his administration’s management of the economy?  Is President Obama responsible for the soaring black unemployment rate?

It’s no coincidence, (at least in my mind) that the White House has serious concerns about President Obama’s popularity in the black community.  A few months ago the White House launched a dedicated web page for black folks (President Obama and the African American Community).

In recent weeks, President Obama has been harshly criticized by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West.  These two men are on The Poverty Tour:  A Call To Conscience.  While Smiley and West have been scorned by many in the black community for criticizing the President.  I believe they have a right to challenge him on the issues.  The problem for many, (myself included), is Tavis’ reputation for being petty and self-serving precedes him.  In addition, the attacks from Smiley and West on the President are perceived by many as “personal cheap shots.”

Yesterday during the Congressional Black Caucus “For the People Jobs Tour” town hall in Detroit, MI, Black Caucus members told the mostly black audience to “unleash” them to confront President Barack Obama on the issue of jobs.  WTF?

According to report filed by Correspondent Jeff Johnson posted on The, California Rep. Maxine Waters a leading participant on the five-city Congressional Black Caucus “For The People” Jobs Tour, expressed her and other Black Caucus members’ dilemma of having to walk a line.  Who is forcing the elected officials to “walk a line?”

Waters was quoted saying that the Congressional Black Caucus does not put pressure on the President.  She explained, “Let me tell you why. We don’t put pressure on the President because ya’ll love the President.  You love the President.  You’re very proud…to have a black man [in the White House] …First time in the history of the United States of America. If we go after the President too hard, you’re going after us.”

Whoa.  Let me step back and digest this.  My first reaction to reading this story was that the Congressional Black Caucus members who feel that they cannot put pressure on the President during this period of Great Depression era unemployment are weak-kneed, gutless and spineless.  Don’t get me started.  I’m trying to trim down on my cussing.

What a bunch of inept elected officials.  In my mind, the facts reflect that this is a crisis.  Courageous people take action during a crisis.  They don’t stand around waiting for permission to take action.

Detroit’s unemployment may be the worse for a major city in America.  According to folks in the audience, President Obama has not come to Detroit during the worst days of the recession.   With unemployment in the city at almost 50 percent that’s justifies asking:  Why hasn’t the President visited our city to address this issue?  If he can visit Iowa and other places in rural America, he should be able to find time on his schedule to visit the Motor City.

There is growing concern, even among hardcore supporters that President Obama is allowing himself to be detached from the “urban poor”—translation “poor black people.”  President’s Obama’s approval rating is reportedly 80% among Black America.

I don’t care if the President’s approval rating is 100% among black folks.  Given this economy he needs to be questioned and pressured to force his administration to provide a plan for how they will address this issue for black, poor and working Americans.  His ass should be in Detroit, Los Angeles and other cities that are suffering with double-digit unemployment.

Something is terribly wrong when black elected officials are afraid to challenge the President because he’s black.  Has politics trumped common sense and doing the right thing?  It appears that some members of Congress are more concerned with keeping their job, than doing their job.  That’s some terribly “flawed logic.”  Another way of saying it is:  “That’s some bullshit!”

If I am one of the President’s advisers, one of my primary concerns for the 2012 Presidential election would be voter apathy, especially in the black community.  Capturing and killing Osama Bid Laden will not be enough to secure this election.  This election is about the economy– specifically, JOBS and curtailing rising unemployment.  If things don’t improve for black people, and the President is perceived as being disconnected and not having addressed the issues–black people will not show up at the polls to vote.   CTRL + ALT + DEL  = Game Over!

As for the Congressional Black Caucus, here’s a piece of advice:  How about doing what you were elected to do and represent the best interest of your constituents and not yourselves.  If that means criticizing the President of the United States to get him to address one of the most important issue of our time, then do it.  I would like to know what the Congressional Black Caucus is doing to help create jobs and solve the soaring black unemployment rate in the black community.  One would think that this would be the number one action item for this group of black elected officials.  Has the Congressional Black Caucus put forth any recommendations or solutions to help the President solve this issue?  Hey, I’m just asking?  Hopefully, if Caucus members have been working on helping to create jobs in the communities in which they serve this will come to light.

One can always hope.

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.

Source:  Unemployment statistics courtesy Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Bridge: Conflicted Minds

Posted in Black Men, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags on August 16, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

America is a nation of conflicts and confusion.

For example, many people proclaim America to be a Christian nation.

And with that proclamation, one would imagine that the so-called “Christians” would seek every opportunity to help others who are in need.

Instead, the American Way is to judge those at the very bottom, and to do so in order to justify turning a blind eye to their need.

The most popular excuse is to pretend that the people who ask for money on the streets are all drug addicts or alcoholics, and so undeserving of any assistance.

Some people go as far as to lie and proclaim that the beggars are already on government assistance and are simply too lazy to accept a real job.

And, sadly, these are people who probably go to church regularly and claim to be deserving of God’s mercy, even as they have no mercy for the common man.

I almost understand the thought process that advocates away from giving money to the homeless or beggars, because the money may be supporting a habit, but that is simplistic and in many ways, inhumane.

The reality is that many of us who have homes drink and many of us even imbibe in controlled substances.  But, we really have no idea what will happen to money we donate or give away, and if we are being freehearted, then it is only important that we give.

We donate freely to non-profit organizations without a thought as to where the money is going, and many of us tithe to the church without ever reviewing the church books.  Our friends and family hit us up for loans and God only knows what use those funds will be put to.

Americans have some very strange ideas about people in need.

For example, ask a person who calls themselves conservative or Republican and typically, they will tell you that too many Blacks are abusing the Welfare system, an ideology put in place by the late Ronald Reagan, which was proven untrue.

The fact is that the traditional Welfare Queens are white women abusing the system, and of course they are the traditional Welfare Queens, because they comprise the majority of the Welfare rolls.

Truth be told, I, like many Blacks realize that Welfare doesn’t work, but the answer is not to villainize or punish those who need it as a failsafe for their families.  The answer may be to deal with it even-handedly, like perhaps, curtailing corporate Welfare.  But of course, Welfare Queens like Enron would get all strange on us.

Further, some people hold strange ideas about Affirmative Action, as though it is being abused and as though it is abusing Blacks.  Their argument is that Blacks who enter college through assistance based on their skin color feel inferior.

My immediate response is: “Who asked you to think for us?”  My second response is that the idea is dead wrong.

I am unashamedly a product of Affirmative Action and for the record, I don’t feel one bit inferior to anyone.  I realized, even as a child, that the deck was created to be stacked against me and that if I got assistance with college admission, it would at least give me a chance to prove my worth.

Employment works the same way.  If you give me the job because I am Black, that ceases to matter on the first day of work, when I will begin working my behind off to prove that I am qualified for advancement.

But I do realize that Affirmative Action can be abused and misused.

Affirmative Action got our dimwitted former president George W. Bush into Yale and the Texas Governorship.  It also got him a baseball team and an oil company.  Finally, it got him into the highest office in the land.  Unfortunately, he has proved that his kind of Affirmative Action is a truly bad idea.

Affirmative Action for Georgie meant that doors opened for him that he should not have gone into.  Opportunities were given to him that he was not only unqualified for, but at which he failed miserably, including the presidency.

Yet, I hear voices opposing Affirmative Action for African Americans, which only benefits the qualified to begin with.  No Affirmative Action opponent can produce one shred of evidence that a student who nearly flunked out of high school was admitted to college on Affirmative Action, and there is no data to show that Blacks with little experience were given management jobs they were unqualified for.

It’s sad, but many otherwise, smart and forward-thinking Americans speak in platitudes, strongly and vehemently, without knowing what the heck they are talking about.  Moreover, people feel too comfortable offering opinions about things that they don’t even have any way of knowing.

A glaring example of this can be found in dating.  There are too many single people with poor relationship histories giving advice on relationships.  They have done no research, and have spoken to no more than the people with whom they are acquainted, yet, they give advice on how to deal with ALL women or ALL men.

Without a basic examination of the world or at least a piece of it larger than your own experience, you can do little but offer confusion to those who probably didn’t ask you anyway.  It is typically dangerous to offer advice if you have bad experience or no experience.

And, it makes no sense to advise people to do what you would not do yourself.

So, the next time you are doling out advice, or speaking sanctimoniously about social ills and who is doing what, think carefully, and if you don’t really know what you are talking about, just keep your mouth closed and your mind open.  You may learn something.

And you just may resolve some of the conflicts in your mind.

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.”  James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running all Summer. View previous installments of this column at Reach James at


Author Vernon Williams Shows Students How to Graduate from College Debt Free

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Money/Economics with tags , on August 15, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Columbia, Maryland – August 10, 2011Noted personal finance expert and respected author Vernon Williams has published 425 Ways to Stretch your $$$$.  Since the average college graduate has accumulated more than $27,000 in loans, students will be particularly interested in Chapter 9 – 33 Ways to Get a Degree without Debt. The chapter is jam-packed with practical strategies for reducing the cost of tuition and finding and winning scholarships and grants.

Here’s what one parent had to say about 425 Ways to Stretch your $$$$: “As a single mom, one of my biggest concerns was how I was going to pay for my son’s education. Thanks to 425 Ways to Stretch your $$$$, I was not only able to lower the cost of college, but I was able to save money by finding college scholarships and grants for college. I also got some ideas on how to save money on everyday household expenses, as well.” -Sharon Maloney

But that’s not all. Vernon has broken the book into sections so students save almost 40 percent by only downloading the chapters in which they are interested.

For more information about 425 Ways to Stretch your $$$$$, please click

About the author

Vernon Williams has lived his passion of helping consumers achieve financial success for over 20 years. He has taught hundreds of workshops on goal setting, setting up and managing a budget while eliminating unnecessary expenses. He has discussed money-saving tips on several media outlets including National Public Radio Station WEAA and Comcast’s Money Matters Today program.

In addition to 425 Ways to Stretch Your $$$$, Vernon is the author of 3 Rules that Guarantee Financial Success.

Vernon has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and he is a sought after speaker by both public and private sector organizations.

Vernon is a member of the American Council on Consumer Interests and the Better Business Bureau.

Visit Vernon at


Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on August 12, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Viola                 Cicely              Octavia

By Harold Bell

I have often said my heroes and role models could not run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds, throw a football 60 yards in the air, hit a jump shot beyond the free throw line or hit a baseball out of the park.  My heroes were black women with names like Grandma Bell, Mommy B, Ma Brown, Sister Grace Paige, Ms. Powell, and Harriet Tubman.

The black women that starred in the movie “The Help” brought back memories of those great women who touched my life!

This movie is based on a best-selling novel with the same name.  Emma Stone stars as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Abilene and scene stealer Octavia Spencer as Minny.

These are three different but extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 60s, who build and unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.  From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with changing times.

Washington, DC take notes, especially, Capitol Hill politicians.

Emma Stone plays the writer and white woman who was raised by one of the maids.  She returns home from college to discover her maid (Cicely Tyson) no longer works at her home and her parents are very invasive about why she is no longer there.

Ms. Tyson who plays the missing maid makes a cameo appearance.  She has long been one of my favorite actresses.  As an actress she was one of a kind she refused to play roles that that were distasteful and put black women and black people in a bad light.

Ms. Tyson is a furiously independent woman who still marches to her own drum beat.  There was little doubt in Hollywood that she was one of the best actresses black or white during her era.

I remember seeing her for the first time up close and personal at the Florida Avenue Grill.  She was having lunch with famed DC civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, the legendary Dovey Roundtree.

My friend and high school and college teammate the late Attorney Allen “Stu” Roberson worked in the firm of Attorney Roundtree.  I had met her several times when I visited the office.  I was trying not to stare when Attorney Roundtree beckoned me over to the table and introduced me to Ms. Tyson.

I was impressed she was gracious and a beautiful black woman.  She later starred in a 1994-1995 television series that depicted the life and times of Attorney Roundtree.

“The Help” was turned down by dozens of movie studios before it was given the green light!  The book has been on the bestseller list now for several years.  Now those who had an opportunity to the screen rights but said “No” are eating Ninny’s Chocolate pie!

This movie is definitely a roller coaster ride with numerous highs and lows.  You will experience anger, tears, laughter and an inspired ending.  This movie I recommend to today’s black men and women who think that they cracked the “Glass Ceiling” in Corporate America all by themselves and owe nothing to anyone.

The performances by Emma Scott and Viola Davis were great but the show stealer was “Ninny” played by Octavia Spencer (Mommy B).  I think the Chocolate Pie might have been border line too nasty and dirty for my mother but her never give up or give in attitude reminded me of Mommy B.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 2+ more rewarding hours in a movie theatre than the one I spent watching “The Help.”

The movie was based on a true story of some courageous black women in Mississippi. They worked as maids cleaning, cooking and raising some lazy ass white women’s children.  Their thanks they were treated like less than human beings.

The movie should follow the best selling book and should be a no-brainer for an Academy Award.  The best actress award nominee should be Emma Stone and the best supporting actresses should be Viola Davis and Octavia Davis.  There is no way you can nominate one and don’t nominate the other.

But knowing Hollywood and its history it will be a difficult task for Ms. Davis and Ms. Spencer to win the best supporting actress.  First, their roles are not ones where they are rolling in bed with some white actor or playing a crooked cop with a gambling habit!

This movie is a reminder for those of us who are keeping it “Real” the struggle continues full throttle.

The struggles of the black maids were during a time when racist and racism was a way of life in America.  It was in the turbulent 60s when civil rights leader and advocate Medgar Evers was gunned down in his Mississippi driveway by a coward hiding in the dark.

On June 12, 1963, at the young age of 37 he was assassinated by a White Citizen’s Council member by the name of Byron De La Beckwith.  Mr. Evers as field secretary for the NAACP was involved in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi.  He fought in World War II only to return home to die on American soil facing the real enemy of black people—racism in America.

President  John F. Kennedy followed Mr. Evers in death when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.   These two events should give you some idea how brave and courageous these black women were with murder waiting just around the corner.  The beat still goes on America!

Sometimes it takes a policeman’s billy club to land upside our heads before we get that needed wake-up call.  There was a scene in the movie where the town’s police officers pulled one of the maids off the bus and arrested her for theft.  The maid made the mistake of struggling and as the other maids looked on one of the cops took his billy club to her head!

It was this brutal scene that brought all the maids in the struggle together (sisterhood).

Hopefully, this movie will be a wake-up call and a lesson for media personalities like Tavis Smiley, Professor Cornel West, Tom Joiner, Al Sharpton, Steve Harvey, etc.  The lesson, a house divided will surely crumple and fall!

It maybe wishful thinking but it would be great gesture if President Obama would invite all of the feuding personalities to the White House for a beer and to view the movie “The Help.”

If the President could spare the time for a photo shoot with a can of beer on the White House lawn with a racist cop and a black Harvard professor—-why not?  President Obama has a stake in this because the feud centers on him!

The struggles in the black community are ongoing in 2011 for example; a white man makes 20 times more than a black man, 1% of the America population controls all the wealth.  The unemployment rate in Black America doubles that of White America, black youth unemployment is 43% and white youth unemployment is 20%!

Justice in the American Court system is still defined for the Black Community as “Justice and Just-Us.”  Have you checked out the prison population lately?

The most vulnerable are children and senior citizens.  They have no one to lobby for their rights in Washington, DC.

The AARP will make a claim they are looking out for the welfare of seniors.  If that is the case how did they just sit on their hands and let the politicians sign a bill not allowing us a cost of living increase for three years?

That decision was a death sentence for most of us.  Black male leadership is non-existent.  I will jump over ten James Clyburns and take one female similar to the black women in Mississippi.  “The Help” had the balls to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”

The thing that really scared me was a conversation that I was having with NFL legendary running back Jim Brown.

He is one of the foremost authorities on gang violence in the country.  I was venting my frustrations about how everyone was using our kids for just a “Pay Day” for themselves.  His response almost knocked me out of my chair.  He said, “Harold you have got to get over that kids don’t vote so who cares?”  I have looked at Jim in a different light since that day.  Now I see the great NFL player only!

If you think racism is a thing of our past lets go back to presence day Mississippi and be re-introduce to “I just ran that nigger over.”  Follow this link /

It was several years ago in Texas that a like group of white men tied chains to the legs of another black man and dragged him through the streets behind their pick-up truck to his death!  Mississippi is closer than you think.

The month of August 2011 comes to a close on the mall in Washington, DC with a “Celebration” of a stature that resembles the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, instead of a celebration we should be in a state of mourning.

Dr. King has to be rolling over in his grave to know that his family and friends allowed a sculpture of his likeness to be commissioned and carved up outside of the black community!  The decision was a slap in the face to black sculptures world wide.

The sculpture was made in China.  I would guess the decision makers were thinking like, everything else in America is made in China why not a sculpture of Rev. King!

Someone in the family or in the black community (John Lewis) should have demanded that a line been drawn.  The Chinese could care less about black people!  There is no way the Chinese would commission a black sculpture to carve up a likeness of any Chinese leader.

There was a no-show by black men in the movie with the exception of a news highlight of Medgar Evers untimely death and a black brother working in the restaurant. We are still a no-show today when it comes to our community.  Black women like in “The Help” are an endangered species.  Our new theme song is “Its all about me.”

My wife Hattie use to have to make me sit through the end of the movie and see all the credits as they rolled down the screen.  Vocalist Mary J. Blige made it easy for me to sit through these credits.  She sang the musical score for the movie and it was beautifully done.

We arrived just in time for the start of the movie and the only seats available were down front where it looks like you are sitting on top of the screen.

When we got up to leave we turned around only to discover three rows of white folks sitting in the upper tier of the theater waiting for the movie to completely end.   Hattie and I were the only two blacks left.  The whites stood up in their seats but never moved toward the exit until we made our move!  I guess they were not taking any chances of us starting a riot.  Man, a guilty conscience is a bitch.

On the ride home I thought about how those white folks felt watching “The Help.”  It was great movie but it re-opened a lot of wounds.  And some of us still have not yet completely healed.  It is sad that some whites are returning to their roots (plantation mentality) and still have the balls to ask “When are you people going to get over racism?”  It looks like never as long as you keep reminding us!

In closing, I still live by the phrase that I coined to end my sports radio talk show,  “Inside Sports” in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  “Every black face you see is not your brother and every white face you see is not your enemy.”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site H. B. Sports

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