Archive for March, 2013

Sisters Start Fundraiser To Help Their Brother with MS

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Events and Annoucements, Health & Fitness with tags , , , on March 25, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

We are John’s sisters. We are asking for your help to raise money to pay his medical bills associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

John was in training to be a professional football player. His dream! And now that dream is put on hold.

While at work, he experienced pain in his right foot. After a little while, it went away. The next day, he experienced that pain on his whole right side. This time it was more severe. His right side was numb, from his head to his foot. He could no longer stand or walk. His balance was completely gone. His tongue was swollen, which resulted in slurred speech. His vision was blurry and at times, he had double vision. He was admitted into Southern Maryland Hospital. He has never experienced this type of illness before.

After the initial observation, he was transferred to Georgetown University Hospital because we were told they are very good at this type of illness. However, they didn’t tell us what that illness was! The doctors did a CT scan, MRI, heart monitor, spinal tap, and a complete blood work. His diagnoses is multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease is not in our family. He is scheduled to see a neurologist April 1st to receive his medication and further information on how this illness with affect him and us for the rest of his life.

We are raising monies to help him with medication, hospital bills, neurologist visits and physical therapy he needs. He does not have medical insurance. He’s trying to go back to work earlier than what the doctors have told him because he is concerned with the hospital bill. Stress is the silent killer and he was told to keep his stress level down.

I’ve known John Williams for years.  He is one of the finest young men I’ve ever met.  He is of strong moral character and is a hardworking young man and productive citizen.  John hopes to be able to return to work in a few weeks and has already started reorganizing his life.

Your help will give him the peace he needs to stop worrying about the hospital bills and other bills associated with MS.  Whatever amount you give will be deeply appreciated.

Click here to donate and learn more:

Organized by: Salena and Taalibah Muhammad

NBA Hall of Famer Turned School Crossing Guard: It’s Not About The Money, It’s About The Kids

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America, Money/Economics with tags , , , on March 23, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Adrian Dantley

By Black Men In Staff

Washington, D.C. native and NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is one smart dude, who’s probably a bit cheap.  Since last fall, Dantley has apparently been working as a crossing guard in Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C.  In his new position, Dantley earns approximately $15,000 per year including a benefit package with health insurance.  NBA veterans aren’t provided health insurance.  According to reports, the 58-year old Dantley is not broke.  Say what?  A retired NBA player who still has his money?  Dantley is reportedly financially secure, likes working with children and does not want to sit around the house all day.

Dantley recently told CNN that he forked over $17,000 for health insurance coverage last year, which is more than his crossing guard salary, but health insurance comes with the job.

More power to A. D. for being a role model and keeping our kids safe.

U.S. Department of Education Announces New Executive Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on March 11, 2013 by Gary Johnson

David J. Johns

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has announced the appointment of David J. Johns as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

“David’s expertise will be critical in helping to address the academic challenges that many African American students face, and I am delighted to have him on our team,” Duncan said. “His wealth of knowledge and passion will help the Department move forward in its quest to ensure that all children are college and career ready.”

As executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, Johns will work to identify evidence-based best practices to improve African American student achievement-from cradle to career. The initiative will work across federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.

Prior to joining the Department, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Before working for the Senate HELP committee, under Chairman Harkin, Johns served under the leadership of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. Johns has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth and early childhood education, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males, both within academia and society. Johns is committed to volunteer services and maintains an active commitment to improve literacy among adolescent minority males.

Johns obtained a Master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African American studies.

Obama with Kids

For more information about other White House initiatives that specifically involve African Americans visit the White House website at:

Top 100 Family, Marriage, and Relationship Blogs for African Americans

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Businessman Wearing a Phone Headset at a Computer

Searching for content on the Internet can be a challenging task.  Depending on the topic, you can spend hours just conducting searches.  Well the folks at Best Black Dating Sites have made your job a lot easier by condensing and listing what they believe are the Top 100 family, marriage and relationship, community, relationship and self-improvement blog sites on the Internet for African Americans aka “black folks.”

Click below to visit the Top 100 Sites.

People Are Talking About Singer Bridgette Cooper

Posted in Black Interests, Music, Music and Video Releases, Women's Interests with tags , , , on March 2, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Bridgette Cooper

Critically acclaimed classical singer, actress and recording artist Bridgette Cooper is a 2012 Marian Anderson Scholar and was guest soloist for the 73rd Annual Lincoln Memorial Concert Revisited. Bridgette was recently notified that she is the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient from East Carolina University School of Music. Ms. Cooper made her Carnegie Hall debut in the Weil Recital Hall in the Voices of the New Millennium Concert in New York City. Her guest soloist engagements include singing for the People’s Inaugural Luncheon Tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama,  The International Caribbean Heritage Awards, The Bahamas Independence Day and Goombay Festival which celebrates her Bahamian heritage, The New Haven Connecticut Celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recital,  The Royal Palm Beach Celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Palm Beach, Florida, The !00th Celebration of Christ Episcopal Church in Miami, Florida,  as well as soloist for St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Haverville, Florida. Bridgette was also featured as guest soloist for the unveiling of Thomas Jefferson’s historical “North Star Newspaper” at the Benjamin Banneker Museum. She has performed in recital throughout the United States and Europe.

Ms. Cooper was featured on FOX45 Morning Show, singing a selection from her debut CD, Heavenly Grass: Great American Art Songs. Her television credits include the role of the clerk in fifth season of the HBO series THE WIRE, Toyota commercial, and the television pilot project The Washingtonian for HBO produced by Sarah Jessica Parker. Her debut CD Heavenly Grass: Great American Art Songs premiered to rave reviews.

Ms. Cooper has performed with The Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Charleston Symphony International Tour of Porgy and Bess performing the roles of Bess and Clara, The Israel Jerusalem Music Festival, Aspen Opera Theater and Opera Ebony Young Artist Program to name a few. Her debut with The Washington National Opera helped to establish her as not only a world class opera singer, but also an advocate for the education of opera for our younger generation, with The Washington National Opera Look-In Program where she performed the role of Tituba from Robert Ward’s The Crucible. Her operatic repertoire includes Carmen, Flora from La Traviata, Thisbe from La Cenerentola, Dorabella from Cosi fan Tutti and Dido from Dido and Aeneas, to name a few, as well as several oratorio works. Bridgette’s musical theater and stage play performances include the National Broadway Tour of Show Boat and American Theater of Harlem’s Picnic and Raisin in the Sun.

Ms. Cooper is the recipient of several awards including the Paul Robeson National Vocal Competition,  Marjorie Lawrence International Vocal Competition,  Bel Canto Competition of Chicago, the YWCA Studio Club Competition,  International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women, and  Ms. American Achievement of District of Columbia and the National Association of Teachers of Singing state and Regional Finalist. She is also contributing editor for several on line music magazines.

Bridgette received her Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance from East Carolina University where she was awarded outstanding College students of America and then went on to study at the prestigious American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. Her debut CD is available on, Best Buy, Walden Books, and all digital distribution outlets including Apple iTunes.

Bri Cooper Click here to learn more about Bridgette Cooper.

For more information on Bridgette Cooper contact Double XXposure Media Relations at

Black Americans Betray Forefathers with use of the N-word

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Racism with tags , , , on March 2, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By H. Lewis Smith

When Samuel L. Jackson sat down with film critic Jake Hamilton to discuss Quentin Tarantino’s  Django Unchained, Hamilton had a question that he wanted to ask Jackson relative to the n-word. But Jackson, who plays a Sambo, Uncle Tom prototype in the film, refused to answer the question unless Hamilton actually said the word “n**ger” in its full enunciation—and not a censored, more politically-correct, less offensive metaphor of the term. After Hamilton refused to say n**ger several times, Jackson retorted: “We’re not going to have this conversation unless you say it.” The nervous Jake Hamilton still refused to be coerced into saying the vile and sinister term. Jackson finally relented and asked: “You want to move on to another question?”  A deeply-relieved Hamilton responded affirmatively.

n banner square

Any self-respecting Black/African American who is proud of him/herself and their ancestry is incapable of seeing him or herself as a n**ga/n**ger, and would become appalled almost (if not certainly) to the point of physical contest if anyone referred to them as such. It is because this type of enlightened, self-dignified individual has transcended such an inferior state of mind, and now, instead, owns the rightful higher perception of self and toys with no one who approaches them at any other affirmed level of understanding. On the other hand, only an Uncle Tom sellout and/or ignorant inferior-minded individual lies fully relaxed and engulfed in the idea of being a n**ger/n**ga, and finds it humorous and acceptable to encourage others to the same.

Lisa Lampanelli, a white stand-up comedian and insult comic known for her racy and controversial style of comedy—same as Chris Rock and Katt Williams, recently tweeted on Twitter: “Me with my n**ga @Lenaham of @HBOGirls – I love this beyotch!!” (sic)

The Black community understandably so was outraged and all up in arms about Lisa’s blatant and contemptible act. But, in retrospect, Black America’s response is also hypocritical, profoundly irrational and infantile.  Black America’s actions, which shall be referred to as the Jackson Syndrome, on one hand unsoundly gives everyone in the universe a pass to use the n-word, but then when someone outside the Black community uses the word, African Americans have the audacity to become indignant. Truly, something unnatural and abnormal exists when it comes to this scenario; this line of thinking is tantamount to an individual throwing a rock through someone’s window, and then when someone throws a rock back into that individual’s window, they cannot understand how something of that sort could have come about.

The stage has been set for some time. Just dating back to as recently as Michael “Kramer” Richards and Don Imus, to currently, nothing has changed.  The alarm was sounded back then, but evidently Black America was not listening, failed to pay attention to the significance of these acts, or was simply indifferent to the matters. Black America must wake up and realize that even small pebbles—if thrown often enough, long enough, and with enough force—can have significant, irreversible effects. Situations that seem to be one-off’s and carry no impact at all will eventually be the exposed Achilles tendon that brings down the black community once and for all.

Black/African Americans continually refuse to hold one another accountable for their own actions—thinking nothing of always pulling a Jackson Syndrome, and continually come up with something asinine to support use of the n-word. They go so far as to say that it’s okay or acceptable for blacks to use the n-word, unacceptable for non-blacks to use it, but then all at the same time encourage others to use it ANYWAY through their own use of the term in daily interactions, music lyrics and other forms of entertainment.  If someone was to create a situation comedy based on the actions of Black America and its use of the n-word, it would make the all-time ding-a-ling list.

This is the 21st century but yet racism still exists, and it seems as though Black/African American proponents of the n-word insist on feeding the flames of racism by promoting, marketing and commercializing the term. Truth be told, their use of the n-word keeps the hate, inferior-superior mindset distinction, and inequality and racial disrespect at the forefront of everyone’s minds that the term long ago was created to represent. Recently, a white passenger on board a Delta Airline flight was annoyed by a crying black child sitting next to him on his mother’s lap. The irate passenger had the unmitigated gaul to reach over and slap the child in the face, calling the child a n**ger in the process.

Everything about the passenger’s actions was unacceptable, but he did it because he felt he had the right to do so. This proves the point that so long as the Black community continually disrespects itself, others will continue to view the collective black community as inferior and will handle the group of people as insignificant, non-humans they can treat any way they see fit at will…that idea of careless treatment sounds a lot like the real definition of a “n**ga”. The word n**ger/n**ga is linked to a racist past and that is NEVER going to change. To entertain the ridiculous idea that the context of this word can be changed—let alone the desire to want to even try—is ludicrous and asinine at its best. The context of its history is going to forever remain intact.

Nigger T-Shirt

Many twisted and irrational arguments have been advanced in a feeble attempt to justify use of the n-word.  One of which is that those who fight against its use live in the past and are unable to let go of it, while proponents of the term say they have freed themselves from the past and given the n-word a new meaning.  The truth of the matter is those proponents of the term will go to any length to cover up their act of ignorance for their use of the vile word. Their justifications for use of the term shows that they are in DENIAL about all that took place relative to the sinister baggage that comes along with this word.  If any argument can be made, it should be that proponents of the term are mentally incapacitated and too inertia to overcome their use of it.

Black America’s present day use of the n-word is symbolic of an 18th century slave mentality and has no place in this 21st century for liberated-minded people. Descendants of those victimized and dehumanized by this pejorative term who want to keep this word alive in this 21st century by embracing it are committing blasphemy to the sacred memories, struggles and sacrifices of their forefathers.

As a GROUP, the non-use of the n-word should be a no-brainer. Black/African Americans should ALL be on the same page about this because, collectively, whenever that word is openly used by any person of color, it serves as a reflection on the entire race of people. No matter whose mouth—black or non-black—the n-word idiom flows from, nothing cerebral, honorable, dignified, prideful or self-respectful exists from being submissive to and tolerant of its use.

While many in the Black community work to try to become a once-again united, self-respecting race of people with a positive perception and conviction of self within and without the community, others have sold out at the expense of the collective group. As this internal conflict wages within Black America, slick-teethed businessmen like Quentin Tarantino are laughing all the way to the bank with his highest grossed money-making movie ever. Offering a very veiled perception of slave life and a million and one more ways to allow the n-word term to roll off one’s lips, Black America was left with a feel good moment about a make believe Django’s prowess who rides off in the sunset with his woman after ethereally shooting up a bunch of white folks.  Where was the real homage paid to the Black/African American and his survival of a gargantuan struggle?

Flava Flav2

Taking its cue from the music industry’s global promotion, marketing and commercializing of the n-word, the door is now open for more such films to be made once again using Black America as sacrificial pawns and all with Black America’s approval.  Black/African American forefathers have to be rolling over in their graves with utter disgust at the behavior of their descendants.

H. Lewis Smith H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (,  and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow him on Twitter:

Breaking the Shackles: Committing to an Enduring Black Love

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on March 2, 2013 by Gary Johnson


By Scottie Lowe

There is a war going on.  A war is being waged between Black men and Black women.  Black women want to blame Black men for the demise of Black relationships and Black men want to blame Black women.  Over and over again, I hear Black people saying that they have given up on love when I’m not even sure we as Black people have a clear understanding of what love really is.  Sure, people can say that they still believe in love but if we don’t know what love really is believing in it is sort of a moot point.  Our models of “love” are based on an inherence of dysfunction passed down from slavery, oppression, racism, bigotry, and patriarchy.  Our models of “love” are based on repeating our parent’s dysfunction.  Our models of “love” are based on what Hollywood tells us is romantic.  I think the fact that we don’t know what love really is, that we can’t define it, that we don’t understand its parameters is what’s keeping us from it, not if we believe in it or not.

People are quick to say, “Slavery was in the past, what happened back then doesn’t have an effect today.”  Well, Black people have been raised, socialized, and programmed for generations to internalize every pain, heartache, and tragedy as if it is nothing more than just another drop in the bucket and it has tragic consequences on our relationships.  It’s Black people who suppress our emotions, who treat depression like it’s a normal way of life because we have been taught that to do anything less is paramount to a sin and a shame.  The messages that black people have passed on, that we wear as badges of honor, aren’t healthy.  In fact, they are the key factors to us having high blood pressure in outrageous numbers, of us dying from heart disease exponentially more than any other race, and that prevent us from forming healthy relationships.  It is our legacy from slavery.  Since Africans landed on these shores, we have been told to suffer in silence in order to make it to another day.  To feel pain is to be considered weak; it’s not even an option for many of us.  The toll of that belief system is feeling so angry inside, so disconnected, that we are afraid to open up, to reveal our true selves to our partners so we pretend to be something we aren’t and we suffer for it by never knowing true and abiding love.

Failure to process pain isn’t a good thing.  Constantly projecting an image of hardness isn’t a healthy thing either.  African Americans are so conditioned to be the emotionless and hard that we fail to realize that we are living in a constant state of depression that is killing us.  We can’t even grasp the concept that there is a better way to live, that we can live life more abundantly, joyfully, and peacefully if we embrace our vulnerability rather than just pushing down the pain until it eats us up.  We will forever be tied to slavery, and a slave mentality, as long as we as a people refuse to accept that our pain isn’t the foundation of our identity.  We have to start loving ourselves enough to admit that it’s okay to break down, to cry, and to admit when we are overwhelmed, process those feelings and then HEAL.  The objective is not to wallow in our despair but to acknowledge that we have been hurt, that we need nurturing and love and to find that source of love inside first and then to seek it out in potential partners who will help us move to a higher plane.

Black men don’t suffer with depression in the same ways as Black women.  Men are obviously affected in different ways because they seem to internalize and rationalize in different ways.  It’s more than apparent that black men don’t have the same ability or potential to be as introspective as women do so they appear to live rather contently with their refusal to look at their own lives.  They’ve mastered the art of displacing any sense of personal responsibility onto the backs of black women and seem pretty content with rationalizing how faultless they are in the process.  Black men are depressed, but they show it by numbing the pain with adrenaline, women, drugs, and denial.  Rather than facing responsibility, they run away from it.  Women are tied to our depression through our umbilical cords, through our wombs.  We can’t hide from the sexual abuse that has scarred us emotionally.  We can’t run away from the pain of rape and the abortions and the children that are our daily reminders of the accomplishments we didn’t achieve, our dreams deferred.

The vast majority of us don’t come from loving, two parent homes.  When we do come from two parent homes, in far too many instances, the relationships aren’t loving but full of fighting, resentment and anger.  We can’t build a healthy relationship if we don’t even know what one looks like up close and personal.  What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. It seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2013 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build stronger relationships.

Being loved means being supported and encouraged, being accepted, cherished and honored.  Being loved is a feeling so indescribable, so comforting, so encouraging and it’s based on someone else cherishing your feelings, caring about your entire being just for who you are.


Define love.

What does love look like to you?

What does love feel like?

What makes love last?

Describe what your perfect loving relationship would be like.

Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves as a community if we want to end the war and choose to open ourselves to an enduring love.

Scottie Lowe is the founder, CEO, and the creative driving force behind, THE most unique website dedicated to showing the true beauty of Black sexuality in all its many facets.  Tired of erotica that portrayed black women as man-stealing gold diggers and brainless nymphos, and black men as thugs, players, and emotionally immature dick-slingers, she decided it was time to write erotica that represented the complexity and full spectrum of African Americans.

Scottie Lowe (2) Scottie Lowe is the owner of, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.

Jackson, Kilpatrick and Nagin: A Bad Ending for Black History Month

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , , on March 2, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Black History Month

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In

March 1, 2013

Jackson, Kilpatrick and Nagin is not the name of a prestigious law firm.  Former Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kipatrick and former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin have publicly fallen from grace with more publicity about their transgressions during this year’s Black History Month.

Black History Month started in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week.  In 1976 it became Black History Month.  I doubt if Dr. Woodson could imagine that we would end Black History Month with three very public figures who had such a long and hard fall from grace.

These once prominent and rising political stars have crashed and burned as a result of making some woefully bad choices that all but ended their careers.  Fueled by some combination of sex, greed and money, these once powerful men have been reduced to pitiful and pathetic figures who after having gotten caught, decided to come clean and admit to making some mistakes.  They all claim to be sorry for violating the public’s trust.  Yawn!

One can assume that all three men at one time had good intentions and at times during their careers did some good deeds.


Let’s take a quick look at each man and their fall from grace.

Congressman Jackson Promotional Shots Updates

Jesse Jackson, Jr.:  As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended that Jesse Jackson, Jr., receive a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison. Jackson is scheduled for sentencing on June 28, 2013.  Court papers released by federal prosecutors on Wednesday provided new details about how Jackson and his wife used the $750,000 in campaign money to finance their lavish lifestyle.

From 2007 to 2011, Jackson bought $10,977.74 worth of televisions, DVD players and DVDs at Best Buy.  In 2008, Jackson used the money for things like a $466.30 dinner at CityZen in the Mandarin Oriental in Washington and a $5,587.75 vacation at the Martha’s Vineyard Holistic Retreat, the document said.

On at least two instances, Jackson and his wife used campaign money at Build-A-Bear Workshop, a store where patrons can create stuffed animals. From December 2007 through December 2008, the Jacksons spent $313.89 on “stuffed animals and accessories for stuffed animals” from Build-A-Bear, according to the documents.  Jackson also arranged in March 2011 to have $7,000 paid to the taxidermist, with much of the money coming from a campaign account, and it was shipped a month later to Jackson’s Congressional office.

Other documents released showed how Jackson used his campaign money to buy items like fur capes, celebrity memorabilia and expensive furniture.  Among those items were a $5,000 football signed by American presidents and two hats that once belonged to Michael Jackson, including a $4,600 fedora.


Kwame Kilpatrick:  Kwame Kilpatrick is facing 30 counts of illegal conduct.

  • One count of racketeering conspiracy, punishable by up to 20 years in prison
  • Eight counts of extortion, punishable by up to 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
  • Two counts of bribery, punishable by up to 10 years in prison; $250,000 fine
  • 13 counts of mail and wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
  • Five counts of filing false tax returns, punishable by up to three years in prison; $100,000 fine
  • One count of income tax evasion, punishable by up to five years in prison

In January 2008, The Detroit Free Press examined and revealed the existence of more than 14,000 text messages exchanged between former “Hip-Hop Mayor,” Kwame Kilpatrick and his then chief of staff Christine Beatty on their city owned pagers between September–October 2002 and April–May 2003.  The messages detailed a sexual relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty. The text messages also contradicted testimony that Kilpatrick and Beatty gave at a trial in 2007 in regard to whether they had an affair and had fired Detroit Police Chief Gary Brown for investigating the mayor’s behavior.  The text messages describe Kilpatrick and Beatty’s use of city funds to arrange romantic getaways, their fears of being caught by the mayor’s police protection unit, and evidence the pair conspired to fire Police Chief Brown.

Fast forward to 2013, Kilpatrick violated parole by failing to disclose cash gifts that could have been used toward the $854,063 restitution he owes the city from the text-message scandal.


Ray Nagin:  Former New Orleans mayor and the public face of the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has been indicted by a grand jury on 21 federal corruption charges.

The indictment alleges Nagin awarded lucrative city contracts to contractors in exchange for more than $200,000 in kickbacks and first-class trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and Las Vegas.

Nagin, 56, served two four-year terms as mayor, from 2002 to 2010, and currently lives in Frisco, Texas.  If convicted on all charges, he faces more than 15 years in prison.  Nagin becomes the first mayor in the city’s 295-year history to be indicted under federal corruption charges.

The indictment alleges that, between 2005 and 2008, Nagin:

  • Accepted more than $70,000 in bribes from a consultant who later won more than a dozen public works contracts with the city
  • Received paid lodging and vacation expenses for himself and his family in Hawaii and was flown first-class to Jamaica by a city contractor
  • Accepted a free private jet trip to Chicago and Las Vegas from another contractor
  • Enriched his New Orleans-based family granite supply company through dealings with the city

These three men appear to have fallen to greed, exercised terrible judgment and violated the public trust.  It also appears that they got “full of themselves” and strayed away from their moral values.  In each case there also appears to be a lack of accountability.

It was announced today that Jesse Jackson, Jr., is writing a book about his life in order to clarify his legacy.  His legacy?  What legacy?  Here’s an interesting fact.  In 1999, Jackson co-wrote a book with his father, Jesse Jackson, Sr.  The name of the book was “It’s About the Money: How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams.”

These men do not reflect our entire community.  They are guys who had promising careers and allegedly turned into “bad seeds.”  Black History Month is about the people who came before us and made positive contributions to this country.  People who should be remembered for what they did to change and advance America.  Jackson, Kilpatrick and Nagin will be mentioned on the other side of the ledger.  Though much has been said, their legacies are still being written.  I wonder what history will say about them when it’s all said and done.  Or will anyone really care?

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.”

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