BLACK HISTORY MONTH: A SALUTE TO JOHN LEWIS

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On February 21, 1940, two sharecroppers bore a son who they named John Lewis.  Lewis grew up to be a force to be reckoned with in so many important ways; especially for blacks in America.  Even as a young kid, he became moved by the involvement of activists regarding the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  He especially became enamored with the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  Lewis was so captivated that he became a part of the Civil Rights Movement.  He has since been on the forefront of the human rights struggle here in America.  In a large since, Lewis is owed much more credit than he gets.

I recently met John Lewis at a Home Depot in Atlanta.  He was there shopping with his son.  I was surprised at how small he was in stature.  I had pictured him to be a much larger man.  Honestly, he is much larger than can be imagined.  As a young man, Lewis became a nationally recognized leader.  He was labeled one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and he was a keynote speaker at the celebrated March on Washington.  He has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees from some of the most respected colleges and universities throughout the United States, including Princeton University, Duke University, Harvard University, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Fisk University.

Lewis recently sat down to be interviewed by the Associated Press and he spoke about the film “Selma”.

“It is very powerful.  It is very moving.  It is real.  It is so real.  It says something about the distance we’ve come in laying down the burden of race.”  Lewis also addressed that day “Bloody Sunday” as it is now called.

“We broke down those signs that said, ‘White Waiting’, ’Colored Waiting’, ’White Men’, ’Colored Men’, ’White Women’, ’Colored Women’.’ We got a Voting Rights Act passed 50 years ago, a Civil Rights Act passed.  But we still have a distance to go, Lewis said.

“In many communities today, the question of race is still very real.  You can feel it.  You can almost taste it.  But you cannot deny the fact that America is a different America.  Even in the heart of the Deep South, those signs are gone.  And they will not return.  People registered.  And they are voting.”

One can only imagine the mental and physical struggle that this 75 year old man has ended.  He was first elected to Congress in 1986.  He is now serving his 15th term.

President Barak Obama and Former President George W. Bush will join Lewis and a bipartisan congressional delegation for part of a 3 day civil rights journey to Alabama on March 7, 2015 for the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

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NC TEEN SUICIDE?… OR LYNCHING?


Check this story out. M. Hatten sent it to me and I’m not sure what to think. There are more questions than answers here. I guess that’s why the FBI has agreed to take a look at this case. I did wonder at first about what 17 year old leaves his house at 10:30 pm to gggo and exercise, but after listening to and reading the story, there are several possibilities. One is that he could have been also going to visit his 30+ year old white girlfriend. Why bring up the fact that she was white? That also could have factored in hi untimely death. Let me know what you think about this story. I have more questions than answers.

Bladenboro, North Carolina (CNN) — Claudia Lacy says she can accept anything: even that her youngest son committed suicide — if it’s proven and explained to her.

However, she says, local and state investigators have done neither to support their theory that Lennon Lacy hanged himself one summer night.

“That’s all I’ve ever asked for: what is due, owed rightfully to me and my family — justice. Prove to me what happened to my child,” Lacy says.

She says she’s long lost confidence in the Bladenboro Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Now, the FBI is looking into Lacy’s death and the local and state investigations that followed.

Without clear answers, the past few months without him have not been easy.

“I look for him and I don’t see him. I listen for him and I don’t hear him,” Lacy says.

The last time Lacy saw and heard her son was August 28. Lennon, 17, played the lineman position for the West Bladen High School Knights, and was focused on football.

His family says that night, he packed a gym bag, washed his ankle brace and hung it on the clothesline to dry before heading out for an evening walk.

The teen had asthma, his mother says, and a doctor had recommended he exercise outdoors at night when the temperature and humidity dropped. Around 10:30, Lennon left his family’s small apartment and headed down a dirt road.

His family never saw him alive again.

Just before 7:30 the next morning, he was found hanging from the frame of a swing set in the center of a mobile home community. According to medical documents, his body was covered in fire ants.

Lennon’s mother was called to the scene several hours later, after he’d been placed into a body bag.

“It was unreal. It was like a dream. It was like I was not seeing what I was seeing,” Lacy says.

Immediately, Lacy believed her son’s death was the result of some foul play.

“He didn’t do this to himself,” Lacy says.

She believes Lennon was lynched.

“He may have either been strangled somewhere else or been placed there or he was hung there while people were around watching him die,” Lennon’s older brother, Pierre Lacey says.

However, North Carolina’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch declared his death a suicide.

When a state investigator asked Lacy if her son had been depressed recently, she told them he had — because a relative had died recently. The state medical examiner cited that exchange in the autopsy report. Lacy says she did not mean that her son had been suffering from depression.

“When you just lose someone close to you, you’re going to be depressed, upset, in mourning,” Lacy says.

The family says Lennon had not changed his routine and was focused on college and football — and distracted by his girlfriend.

The teen had been dating a 31-year-old white neighbor. The age of consent in North Carolina is 16. Some people in their small, southern town did not like that the two were together. Lacy did not like their drastic age difference.

“I was shocked, disappointed. I also, initially told him how I felt – that I did not approve of it,” Lacy says.

In the wake of his death, some wondered whether Lennon had been killed because he was in an interracial relationship.

A week after Lennon was buried, a local teenager was arrested for defacing his grave.

“There are too many questions and it very well could be a lynching or a staged lynching. We don’t know — but what we do know is there has to be a serious and full investigation of these matters,” says Rev. William Barber, a national board member for the NAACP.

The NAACP hired Florida-based forensic pathologist Christena Roberts to analyze the case and Dr. Radisch’s autopsy, completed for the state.

Roberts’ first concern: basic physics. Lennon was 5-foot-9. The crossbar of the swing set frame he was found hanging from was 7-foot-6, according to the NAACP review. With no swings or anything at the scene on which he could have climbed, according to the review, it’s unclear how Lennon reached the top.

“His size, his stature does not add up to him being capable of constructing all of this alone – in the dark,” Lennon’s brother says.

According to the 911 recording and the initial police report, a 52-year-old woman got the 207-pound teen down, while she was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.

“Dr. Radisch also noted that she was not provided with photographs or dimensions of the swing set. Without this information, she would be unable to evaluate the ability to create this scenario,” according to the NAACP review.

Lacy says she told investigators that the belts used to fashion the noose did not belong to Lennon.

“I know every piece and every stitch of clothes this child has — I buy them, I know. Those were not his belts,” Lacy says.

The Bladen County Coroner and Medical Examiner Hubert Kinlaw believed the belts might have been dog leashes.

Radisch thought that “some portion must be missing because there was no secondary cut in either belt. The cut would have been necessary to bring down Lennon’s body,” according to the review.

Also, the shoes Lennon was wearing when his body was found were not his, according to his family.

Lennon’s brother says he left home that night wearing size 12 Air Jordan’s. However, he was found wearing size 10.5 Nike Air Force shoes. Those shoes were not with Lennon’s body when he arrived at the state medical examiner’s office, according to the NAACP review.

“He’s going to walk a quarter mile from his house in a pair of shoes that’s two sizes too small after he takes off his new pair of shoes – and this is a 17-year-old black kid with a brand new pair of Jordan’s on. He’s going to take those Jordan’s off and just get rid of them and put on some shoes that’s not his — we don’t know where he got them from, no laces in them — and continue to walk down this dirt road late at night to a swing set in the middle of the trailer park and hang himself,” Lacey says.

“How can I believe that?” Lacey added.

There are also questions about who first declared Lennon’s death a suicide.

“Dr. Radisch noted that her determination of (manner of death) in this case as suicide was based on the information she was provided by law enforcement and the local medical examiner. She would have likely called the (manner of death) ‘pending’ while awaiting toxicology and investigation but the (local medical examiner) had already signed the (manner of death) as suicide,” according to the NAACP review.

However, in the summary of the case, written the day Lennon was found, the local medical examiner asked “did he hang self? Will autopsy tell us?” Kinlaw also left the conclusion on the manner of death “pending.”

Local police and state investigators declined to speak with CNN. CNN asked to interview Radisch about the statements attributed to her in the NAACP review. Instead, a department spokesperson confirmed the exchanges through a written statement:

“The comments that were released by the NAACP were a synopsis of a professional exchange between the NAACP’s independently-retained forensic pathologist and Dr. Radisch,” according to a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Lennon’s family believes there was a rush to judgment. And until someone clearly explains and proves how her son died, Lacy says she’ll keep fighting until she gets answers.

“I take it one day at a time. That’s all I can say,” Lacy says.

SEEING IS BELIEVING…

This is one of those scenes that if you told some people about, they probably would not believe you. Perhaps they have their blinders on as to what really still goes on in this country. In this social experiment, you get a view for yourself. Take a look and you be the judge:
A Black Man and White Man Break Into the Same Car, Guess Which One Cops Swarmed? (Watch) (warning: NSFW language)

CARS
*Jason Roberts, a host on the YouTube channel Simple Misfits, decided to replicate a situation he recently encountered when calling out AAA for help getting into his locked car.
Roberts didn’t understand the looks he was getting from people questioning the motives of a mechanic who was only trying to help. Then it hit him — they were suspicious because, unlike him, the mechanic was black.
For his YouTube channel, he filmed a similar scenario so that everyone could witness the same unacceptable double standard that he had. He didn’t realize how intense the response would be.
PIGS
When Roberts attempted to break into his car, he set off the alarm again and again, but received only a few raised eyebrows. When actor Quentin Brunson took his turn, Los Angeles police were on the scene within two minutes, greeting him with profanity and a harsh attitude.
“Let me see your f**king hands,” ordered the first cop to arrive. “Get up against the wall.”
Roberts stepped in immediately, but heavy questioning followed. “One thing that he was telling me that was really surprising is that there was a female cop — I believe she was Caucasian — she came up to [Brunson] and she asked, ‘Oh, why are you so nervous? What’s wrong, why are you trembling?’” Roberts told The Huffington Post.
According to Roberts’ account, Brunson calmly explained to the cop that he’d never been arrested before. The police officer responded, “You’ve never been arrested before?”
BEFORE
Roberts’ goal for the experiment, he said, was to raise awareness. The video is spreading on the Web just days after Michael Dunn, a white man who fired on a group of black teenagers in Florida, killing one, was convicted on three attempted murder counts but escaped his most serious charge of first-degree murder. Dunn’s verdict has revived conversations about how white and black Americans face markedly different levels of suspicion and hostility in many situations.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY… ROSA PARKS

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On this day in history Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama.
On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery,
Ala., bus and was arrested. Her courageous stand against racial injustice inspired a
boycott of the Montgomery bus system that lasted one year, and would serve as the
catalyst for the civil rights movement. Parks, who died in Oct. 2005, dedicated her
life to activism and stood as a symbol of freedom for all. She was honored with some
43 honorary doctorates and many prestigious awards, including the Martin Luther King Jr.
Non-Violent Peace Prize. In 1996, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Presidential
Medal of Freedom award, the highest award given to an American civilian. Parks died
of natural causes at the age of 92 on October 24, 2005.

THE HAVE AND THE HAVE NOTS… RETURN

I just got this email from Tyler Perry and I wanted to share it with you. I am so looking forward to the 2nd season of The Haves And The Have Nots!!! I know so many people who are excited about this show. Hopefully you will tune in as well.

Hey TJ,

Well here we go!

First off, I want to say thank you to all of you who went to see A Madea Christmas. Thanks for taking that movie over $50 million. That old broad is still going, LOL. We so appreciate it here at TPS. Thanks.

And now, drum roll please!!!!! (make the sound in your head LOL). Tonight, yes, TONIGHT! The Haves And The Have Nots returns!!! Tonight at 9/8c, only on OWN. All of your questions about Benny, Wyatt, Jeffery, The Ice Queen Veronica, Jim and Candace will start to be answered. Don’t miss an episode. I’m telling you, if you liked the first 16, you are going to LOVE these next episodes.

And don’t forget tomorrow, Wednesday, Love Thy Neighbor returns. Get your drama on tonight and your funny on tomorrow night. I’ll see you in Twitter land tonight.

Get somebody else hooked on The Haves And The Have Nots. Watch tonight. ARE YOU READY?!

Tyler

OJ SEEKS CLEMENCY FROM PRESIDENT OBAMA… CITES BRAIN CANCER

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I don’t know what to say about this one. Okay, here goes…
There are reports online that OJ Simpson has brain cancer and he is asking President Obama for clemency. Simpson wants to be treated outside of prison and possibly die at home. I am a very compassionate person but… ok, I digress. First of all, I don’t think that OJ should be in prison except for his stupidity (and I don’t even like to go there). We all know that Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman on October 3, 1995. I think that a lot of people (yeah, you know………….) never forgave him for that and then Simpson was set up (for taking his own stuff) and is now in prison… for murdering his ex-wife and her friend. That’s the bottom line. Secondly, if I were the President, I would not touch this case with a ten-foot pole. As much as I feel sorry for OJ, most of this is self-inflicted because he did not know how to shut his mouth and leave well enough alone. I wish him the best.

SOMETIMES… TEACHERS NEED TO BE TAUGHT

This teacher had the nerve to tell a student who expressed a desire to one day become President that: “we don’t need another black president.” Okay, before I become insensitive, I’m just going to let you read the article for yourself.

the president

By Eric Robinette

Cox Media Group Ohio
FAIRFIELD, Ohio —
A teacher in Ohio was suspended without pay for allegedly making racially insensitive remarks.

The Fairfield City Schools Board of Education suspended Gil Voigt, who has been a teacher at Fairfield Freshman School for 13 years, said Board President Dan Murray. It is the first step in the process of terminating the teacher, he said.

Superintendent Paul Otten said the incident took place earlier this month when an African-American student expressed an ambition to be president. Voigt allegedly replied, “We don’t need another black president.”

“He was talking to some students and said some things that were racially insensitive. We take diversity in our school district very seriously with tolerance of people who are different. We just felt this teacher had crossed the line,” Murray said.

Otten said Voigt had been reprimanded for racially insensitive remarks in the past. A report prepared by Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin lists four instances of discipline: A verbal warning in April 2008 for an “inappropriate racial comment,” another in November 2008 for “improper use of school technology” and a third in December 2013 for “inappropriate comments to students.” He also received a written warning last month for “failure to use adopted curriculum.”

The report also notes “All evaluations have been satisfactory.”

“Obviously we’re very disheartened to have this situation with any of our staff members,” Otten said. “It’s not something we’re proud of, and it’s something we must not tolerate.”

Voigt taught seven years in North Carolina, two years in Florida and six years at Cincinnati public before joining Fairfield. He received a continuing contract in 2002, and his 2013-2014 contract stipulated a $73,566 salary. He could not be reached for comment.

Voigt has the right to appeal the decision before the school board within 10 days of notification, Otten said. Treasurer Nancy Lane and the district’s Law Director John Clemmons are drafting an official notification to the teacher.

DISPARITY IN SENTENCING

This is what ticks me off about our judicial system. Take a look at these two cases and you should be able to see exactly what I mean. In the first instance, a black female teacher is found guilty of having sex with a male student and sentenced to 38 years in prison. In the second case, a white male former band director, was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison for having sex with three female students. I don’t think it should matter whether these two individuals are from different states. This is absolutely asinine to me.
Don’t get me wrong, neither of these individuals should have ever touched those kids. I’m all for sentencing the both of them for ever taking the innocence of these children. But do it fairly.
In a Feb. 14, 2013 article written by Joe Palazzolo, it was noted that:
“Prison sentences of black men were nearly 20% longer than those of white men for similar crimes in recent years, an analysis by the U.S. Sentencing Commission found.
That racial gap has widened since the Supreme Court restored judicial discretion in sentencing in 2005, according to the Sentencing Commission’s findings, which were submitted to Congress last month and released publicly this week.”
Check out the stories below.

Disparity
By Breaking News Staff
CLARK COUNTY —
A former band director accused of sexually assaulting students on school property was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison.
John Timothy Shook was found guilty on a dozen counts last month, including six counts of sexual battery, five counts of gross sexual imposition and attempted sexual battery.
Five former students testified against him and said he had sexual relations with them.
Three were from Riverside High School, his most recent school, and two were his students eight years ago at Covington High School in Miami County. The current charges did not involve Covington.
Shook was also a teacher at Clark-Shawnee Local Schools beginning in 2007 until he was laid off in 2010, according to district records.
The allegations were brought to light after Riverside High School officials and the Logan County Sheriff’s Office began investigating an incident where Shook was accused of spanking one of the alleged victims in class as part of a birthday tradition.
The 16-year-old girl complained to her mother and later admitted she had sex with Shook multiple times, including in a janitor’s supply closet, weight room and teacher’s bathroom.
Two other female victims came forward claiming they were molested by Shook.
After Shook’s indictment and subsequent arrest were publicized in March, the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office received reports that Shook did similar things as a teacher in Covington.