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Across Black America for May 23, 2013


Here’s a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.

San Diego college students and volunteers will carry out their sixth home restoration project on Wednesday, July 10 through Sunday, July 14. as part of the “Healing our Heroes’ Homes” (H3) program created by the nonprofit Embrace. The five-day effort will take place at the home of medically retired Marine Corps Capt. Sarah Bettencourt. Bettencourt served with many different units across the country during the Global War on Terrorism and developed a rare neurological disorder in 2008. With a focus to restore the homes of disabled veteran homeowners, H3 falls in line with Embrace’s mission to mobilize college-student volunteers and community members to serve less fortunate members of civilian and veteran communities. The project for the Bettencourts’ home includes kitchen and bathroom remodeling, building ADA-compliant disability ramps, widening their driveway to ADA standards, widening doorways and landscaping.

District of Columbia
The 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival will showcase its five-year community research project on African American identity with the program “The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity.” This multicity collaboration examines the history and culture of the aesthetics of African Americans. The festival will be held June 26-30 and July 3-7, outdoors on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. “Whether we realize it or not, we are all dress artists. The way we compose our look is a creative expression of our ideas about who we are and who we aspire to be,” said Diana N’Diaye, program curator. “This program explores the diversity of African American traditions of style, but also teaches young people the importance of documenting their own culture and saving that information for themselves and future generations.”
Former treasurer of the District of Columbia, Lasana K. Mack, announced the launch of a new enterprise dedicated to facilitating financial and economic empowerment for people of African descent through educational programs and development of a full-service financial institution. The new enterprise–named APPEAL Inc.–is a nonprofit association dedicated to sponsoring financial literacy programs and other educational programs addressing historical, cultural and socioeconomic issues, and working to develop a full-service credit union for the benefit of its members. APPEAL is an acronym for Association of People for Pan-Africanist Economic Advancement thru Leverage, and part of its mission is to facilitate advancement of the concept of “Economic Pan-Africanism,” which essentially means that African/Black people and communities would benefit from effective efforts to invest and leverage financial and other resources toward the goals of increased financial and economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and prosperity.

Orrin C. Hudson, founder of the Be Someone foundation in Atlanta, announced the 2013 Community Charity Chess Challenge event designed to encourage community leaders to reach out and inspire inner-city kids. The free event will feature local community leaders (including national recording artist Arthur Reed, guest speakers Chula Flemmings, Patricia Hill, and Darius Harpp aka DJ D) who will challenge Hudson in a game of chess to raise funds in support of his foundation. Attendees, youth and adults, are encouraged to learn to play chess and incorporate Hudson’s Life Mastery Skills into everyday problem-solving and crime prevention. The Be Someone foundation uses the game of chess to teach inner-city kids how to “make the right moves” in life. The organization helps all youth, but mostly focuses on disadvantaged and at-risk inner-city young people.

The Bethune-DuBois Institute (BDI), an education-focused and solutions-oriented organization founded by the late Dr. C. DeLores Tucker in 1984, held a Legacy Tribute to her recently in Silver Springs. Honorees at the tribute included Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Michelle Milliard, executive director of the Walmart Foundation. Tucker’s numerous accomplishments include being the first African American woman appointed as Secretary of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and leading a determined campaign against gangsta rap, the psychological toxin delivered to young people by what she called “the unholy alliance of gangstas in the suites and gangstas in the streets.”

Sinbad has declared bankruptcy with more than $10 million in debts, according to a new report. The comedian, whose real name is David Adkins, filed for bankruptcy last month, claiming he has just $131,000 in assets but owes $10.9 million to firms including American Express and Bank of America. According to legal documents, obtained by TMZ, Sinbad also has unpaid state and federal taxes stemming from 2009 to 2012. Sinbad argues he can no longer afford to pay off his bills, despite earning $16,000 a month. It is the second time Sinbad has filed for bankruptcy. He failed to file the correct paperwork in 2009, but his case was dismissed.

All eight of Mississippi’s public universities will use the website as part of the new Minority Economic Opportunity Initiative launched by Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). State IHL Board of Trustees President Bob Owens and Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds announced the historic partnership during a news conference at a vendor fair held on the campus of Jackson State University.’s mission is to help grow Black enterprises by connecting them to both local and national buyers. Owens and Bounds unveiled the Minority Economic Opportunity (MEO) Initiative, which is designed to help Mississippi public universities increase the participation of minority-owned businesses in competing for contracts for the provision of goods and/or services.

Frances Henderson, a female professor at Maryville College, has become the first African American woman to receive tenure at the college. When Henderson was hired in the political science department at Maryville College six years ago, she found out quickly she was the only African American female on the tenure track at the school. “I think nationwide within academia, there is something to be said about the systematic absence, I think, of faculty of color,” said Henderson. “I think it speaks volumes to the work that we still have to do.”

The American Heart Association and Macy’s have awarded 16 scholarships of $2,500 each to increase culturally sensitive, patient-centered care. The Go Red Multicultural Scholarship, which is in its second year, champions greater inclusion of multicultural women in medical, nursing and allied health studies to meet the need that racial minorities have of healthcare providers who understand important aspects of various cultures. The scholarship fund is part of Macy’s Multicultural Fund, which was created in 2009 to focus on increasing diversity in the medical field.

The Ossie Davis Endowment Scholarship program was established to honor the legacy of the renowned actor, writer, activist, director, and producer. The scholarship program is designed to provide scholarships to African American incoming freshmen attending a four-year Historically Black College or University, commencing fall 2013. Applicants must demonstrate the ability and desire to use artistic activism to proactively address the concerns of humanity. For consideration, applicants must upload an essay and letters of recommendation to the online application. Finalists will receive up to a $6,800 need-based scholarship award. The scholarship is renewable for up to four years, provided that students continue to meet the scholarship criteria. For more details and/or to apply, visit:

Compiled By Juliana Norwood