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Across Black America for May 27, 2010


The Alabama Power Board of Directors recently elected John O. Hudson III as an officer and vice president with responsibility for public relations. Hudson will be responsible for overseeing external communication to Alabama Power’s 1.4 million customers as well as internal communication to the company’s 6,800 employees statewide.

The eighth Annual Arizona Black Film Showcase (AZBFS) was held at the Madcap Theater in Tempe recently. There were many workshops and networking opportunities provided by locals and celebrity guests of AZBFS. The event also gave special recognition to many of the talented students who participated in the screening of the 40 independent short films.

Eso Won Books, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, and the Leimert Park Village Business Improvement Association will host the fourth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair on June 26. The fair will highlight authors, poets and performers and will be held on the Vision Theatre back lot, located at 43rd Street and Degnan Blvd.

Norman Johnson has created a program to help remedy the life achievement gap that exists between African American males and the rest of society. The Helping Boys of Color Program tackles roles of status, respect, and social rejection in Black male development; the important roles of a boy’s family, community, and neighborhood; the critical function of education in a Black boy’s life; strategies that work to change our school systems so that they can better match teaching styles and curricula to the needs of boys of color.

District of Columbia
The Reading is Fundamental DC Initiative recently provided more than 15,000 free books to students at 47 public and charter schools in the District. And as part of that program, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School students got to enjoy a read-aloud of This Next New Year by Janet S. Wong and participated in a cultural exchange event via Skype with fifth-grade students at Tyson William Elementary School in Anchorage, Ala.

Fifty-four-year-old James Bain (center), who was wrongly sent to prison for 35 years for the kidnap and rape of a 9-year-old boy, has been released, and is now trying to re-accustom himself to life more than three decades later. He is learning to drive and how to use technology and has just recently been flown to Philadelphia to ring the Liberty Bell, and to Orlando to see the life-size replica of the Titanic after word got out that was his favorite movie.

Atlanta recently held the 15th Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference and Expo. It is a three-day business event tailored to both established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is the largest gathering of African American small business owners and executives in the country. The conference was hosted by United Healthcare of Georgia and Generations of Wellness.

Governor Linda Lingle signed a bill this week that allows government officials to deny repetitive birth certificate requests. The law is aimed at people who continue to request copies of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, because they do not believe he was actually born in Hawaii and therefore is not eligible to be President of the United States.

A new bill has passed after much controversy in Chicago over hair braiders not being required to go to cosmetology school and earn a license. Many braiders have received threats that their shops would be shut down if they didn’t acquire a license, which has caused many of them to go underground. The new bill allows braiders who can prove they have at least two years of experience to automatically get a cosmetology license, for a fee, and new braiders to receive a license after 300 hours of classes involving training and sanitation.

A new Indiana Department of Correction rule says extended family members and friends can visit only one inmate every six months. The purpose of the new rule is to reduce trafficking in contraband. The rule does not affect fathers, mothers, children, sisters, brothers or grandparents of inmates, but there is argument that it isn’t fair for other family members who may have had a part in raising the incarcerated person. It also affects family who may have more than one family member in prison.

Teresa Barfield, the founder of Barfield’s Boutique, which is a women’s fashion retailer in Wichita, has launched a new website, Barfield’s Boutique Online. The boutique was  franchised at the closing of last year and now Barfield’s is expanding by giving customers everywhere the opportunity to shop the boutique which caters to women of all sizes.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu recently hosted a community meeting focused on businesses and workers who were affected by the oil spill and gave them an opportunity to discuss their concerns and needs.

Maryland State Senator Catherine Pugh will soon head the country’s third largest assembly of African American lawmakers. She was recently elected the new chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (LBCM) and will take office on July 1.

The “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin, was recently presented with an honorary doctorate from Yale University during its commencement ceremony. The school dedicated a musical tribute to Franklin as she accepted the honorary doctor of music degree.

Members of the Detroit community, Detroit Public School District students and parents, and community activists marched to Governor Jennifer Granholm’s office to conduct a sit-in to express their anger towards the decisions of Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb. The staged the sit-in at Granholm’s office because they feel she is partially responsible for the chaos that has emerged since she appointed Bobb.

Award-winning African American broadcast journalist Ivan B. Phifer has partnered with McFarlane Media as a technology reporter supporting efforts to expand broadband usage in communities of color. Phifer’s work will appear in newspapers serving African and African American, Latino, Asian and Native American communities as part of the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach Engagement Center (UROC).

Autopsy results that were released recently have established that 20-year-old Bennie Abram died of a sickle cell crisis in the middle of his football practice at Ole Miss. “It has been shown that the sickle cell trait does increase the risk of sudden death events. We’re watching it closely, but it wouldn’t disqualify a player from participating,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dennis.

Dr. Henry Givens Jr., president of Harris-Stowe State University, has been chosen by the Obama administration to serve on the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ (HBCU) Capital Financing Advisory Board until 2013. During his tenure, he will be partially responsible for providing advice to the U.S. Secretary of Education regarding the most efficient means of construction of financing for HBCU campuses.

New York
ESSENCE, a magazine that has catered to African American women for the past 40 years, and has a distribution of more than 8 million readers, is continuing to accommodate African-American women and their need for hair care information with the launch of Hot Hair, which hits newsstands this October. The new ESSENCE addition will cover all of the beauty needs, questions, concerns, and triumphs of African American hair care and style.

North Carolina
McCreesh Place, which opened in Charlotte as a residence for 63 addicts/homeless men in 2003, now plans a $3.5 million expansion to accommodate 27 more men. Many protested originally, saying that the residence would bring down the property value of the neighborhood and increase the crime rate, but that hasn’t been evident, and now the members of the community welcome the expansion, which also has a bingo hall.

A new study by the Pediatric Academic Society determined that emergency department physicians are more likely to document sexual histories of Black adolescent girls with symptoms potentially related to sexually transmitted infections (STI) than White teen girls with the same symptoms. The study’s lead author Carolyn Holland, a doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, says the result is that emergency physicians may be providing less comprehensive services for White teen girls than Black ones.

Rhode Island
Central Falls High School is scheduled to rehire its 87 employees, including teachers, counselors, librarians and others, that were slated to be fired at the end of the school year, because of budgeting woes. President Barack Obama has pledged to support the school in the rehiring of all of the lost employees.

South Carolina
Members of the Hiram E. Mann Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen are scheduled to serve as grand marshal of Beaufort Memorial Day Parade in honor of those buried at the National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina. The organization was also honored to be the grand marshal for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade in Charleston, South Carolina and then the 2010 Rice Festival Parade in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Author Sir. Churchill Williams’ first non-fiction novel, “Inside the Business of Choices U Make,” is a book on the importance of sexual responsibility and the consequences of irresponsibility, especially in cases of unplanned pregnancy. The book discusses how to prevent those situations and, in many cases, how to handle them, when the problem is past the prevention stage.

The fourth annual Virginia Black Expo will highlight new technology, film, and music as the focus of the event. The event is sponsored by McCants Communications Group, Inc., Black Pages USA, and The Port of Virginia, and actors Nia Long and Lamman Rucker will host. Attendees can also expect musical performances by Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers; a book signing by best-selling author Omar Tyree; and collaborative activities with the Mid Atlantic Black Film Festival.