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Across Black America Week of June 15, 2017



The World Champion Golden State Warriors have brought glory to the state while other major sports teams in the state are faltering and even moving away. But now there are rumors that Oakland will lose the champions to its sister city, San Francisco, and there are a lot of people unhappy about it. According to, San Franciscans overwhelming do not support the manner its own elected officials employed in facilitating the Warriors plans to move from the team’s 45 years in Oakland across the bay to the city. Good Neighbor Coalition members are embarrassed pointing out that San Francisco has a $14 billion annual tourism industry and Oakland has an $800 million annual tourism industry. So why would elected officials of San Francisco covet the Golden State Warriors, one of the jewels of Oakland? Allen Jones, initiatives proponent, says, “A world-class city helps its neighbors. It does not help itself to its neighbor’s jewels.” And the move will adversely affect the Black community in Oakland, say coalition leaders.


An African-American high school student was shocked when she saw a picture of herself under a noose shared among students in her chemistry class at a Southern California high school, reports the New York Daily News. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s me being lynched,’” 15-year-old Aina Adewunmi told the newspaper. A male classmate at Palisades Charter High School shared the disturbing image in a group chat that included friends – and Aina. Aina explained that she’d become friendly with a group of boys when she transferred to the school in January. But that friendship ended when the dynamic became racist. “They added me to their group chat and then started using the N-word,” Aina said. Aina told the group that was unacceptable to her, and that’s when the noose appeared. She reported what was going on and school administrators suspended the boys for the remainder of the term, but Aina and her mother think their punishment is far too light, and sends the wrong message to other students. “The kids at Pali need to know there zero tolerance for this. It shouldn’t even be a question whether they should be expelled,” Aina said. Aina said her request to not be in class with the boys again was at least granted.

Disturbing news from the San Jose Mercury News – three of four African-American boys in California classrooms failed to meet reading and writing standards on the most recent round of testing, according to data obtained from the state Department of Education and analyzed by CALmatters. More than half of Black boys scored in the lowest category on the English portion of the test, trailing their female counterparts. The disparity reflects a stubbornly persistent gender gap in reading and writing scores that stretches across ethnic groups. The data provide a unique glimpse of how gender interacts with race and class in mastery of basic reading, writing and listening skills tested on state exams. “I wouldn’t put this in the same category of severity or concern as other achievement gaps,” said Tom Loveless, an education researcher for the Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C. “But there needs to be greater awareness of this.” The gap spans all grade levels. Boys in high school score better than those in grade school, but girls outperform them by consistent margins at every age. And a higher family income does not appear to even things out. The phenomenon is nevertheless worrisome because it may compound other educational disparities California has attempted to close for decades, without success.

The Black Business Association (BBA), considered the oldest business organization in the state, will commemorate Black Music Month (June) by honoring two renowned Black entertainment executives: Clarence Avant and Lee Bailey during its awards dinner at the Millennium Biltmore June 20. More info on the event can be found at



South Florida rapper Kodak Black has acquired a midget football team called the Pompano Gators, which are part of the Florida Youth Football League, which is owned by fellow rapper Flo-Rida, reports USA Today. Kodak Black didn’t announce whether he would defray the cost of registration and uniforms for players who couldn’t afford them, or who he planned to have coach the team. All that is known at this point is that he owns it, and that the squad already has concept uniforms. The league’s Instagram account confirmed that Kodak Black had purchased the Gators two hours after his initial social media post.  The investment in youth sports is a significant turn of face for Kodak Black, who is currently serving a year on house arrest for violating a prior house arrest charge. He also is serving five years of house arrest, which will begin as soon as his year on house arrest concludes. He has claimed that his most recent stint in jail inspired him to look more critically at his own life and search for ways to give back. Apparently he decided that youth football was a good place to start.


Keshia Knight Pulliam attended the rape trial of Bill Cosby and it looks like it will be leading to her spending even more time in a courtroom, reports the Griot. Her estranged husband filed papers with the court accusing her of being in contempt of their custody arrangement earlier in the week. Ed Harwell filed his motion in the Fulton County Family Court and it aims to hold Pulliam in contempt for not allowing him to see their child on June 6 as their arrangement states. The former NFL-er stated that he was all set to visit his daughter for one of the two hours he is permitted to each week, but Pulliam and their daughter Ella Grace did not show up. This was apparently because she had left town in order to support Cosby at his rape trial. She didn’t just show up at the courthouse either, she walked Cosby into court and sang his praises to the press later on. Hartwell has asked the court to make Pulliam cover his legal costs related to the motion and that he be given a make up visit with their daughter. This all comes on the heels of Pulliam filing her own contempt claim in May. In that filing, she states she is owed back child support payments. They will appear in court next month over these hearings.



The City of Chicago dedicated a 10-story mural to late blues icon Muddy Waters June 8th as part of the Chicago Blues Festival, the AP reported. The mural is painted on the side of the building at 17 North State Street, at the corner of State and Washington Streets. The Muddy Waters Legacy band performed a free concert during the ceremony. The outfit features Waters’ former band member, Rick Kreher, and sons guitarist Big Bill Morganfield and singer Mud Morganfield. Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra designed the mural, which was painted last year as part of Columbia College and the Wabash Arts Corridor’s Bill Wall’s Project. Kobra is known for his massive and dazzling murals, including numerous musicians such as Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. in Miami. One of the owners of 17 North State Street, Anne Voshel, said the mural will stay up as “long as it looks good.”

June 8 was Capt. Louis Freeman Day in Chicago. Freeman learned that with the rest of us after disembarking from the 737 plane he had flown in to Midway Airport from Dallas at 3 p.m., to hordes awaiting the arrival of Flight 4122. That was this pioneering Black pilot’s very last flight, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The Chicago area man retired last week, leaving behind a legacy of firsts: first Black chief pilot to serve at any U.S. airline, first Black pilot at Southwest, his home of 36 years. Going back a bit further, he was the first Black ROTC cadet corps commander in high school. Freeman, now at the mandatory pilot retirement age of 65, was born in Austin, Texas, to middle-class parents. At age 10, his family moved to Dallas during the height of the civil rights movement. A year into high school, Dallas integrated its schools, and as a sophomore in 1967, he was sent to Woodrow Wilson High School, where he was one of only about a dozen black students out of 1900. But he excelled in band and in ROTC, so much so that his ROTC leader fought to make him commander, against overriding faculty sentiment that cadets wouldn’t follow a Black student. “Not only did they follow, our unit excelled,” Freeman recounts.



James Hardy III, a former wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, was found dead in an Indiana river at the age of 31, reports the Grio. His body was found in the Maumee River on June 7. It was found in a logjam after a water filtration plant employee saw him. According to TMZ, Hardy had been in the water for days. Hardy’s family had reported him missing on May 30, and authorities are still investigating his disappearance and death. Hardy had been committed to a mental institution after he was arrested in 2014 for attacking a police officer. Despite the fact that he struggled after his NFL career ended, his friends and family remember him as a kind, generous man. His ex-girlfriend, reality star Toya Wright, took to Instagram to express her condolences to his family and friends. “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Hardy family at this difficult time… may your heart and soul find peace and comfort,” she wrote.


An official in Flint, who was recorded using a racial slur and insulting residents of the city during a private conversation, resigned on June 5, reports the New York Times. Philip Stair, 63, was a sales manager at the Genesee County Land Bank, a government organization that develops abandoned properties in Flint, a majority-Black city that suffered through a contaminated water crisis beginning in 2014. In May, Stair, who is White, used a racial epithet to describe Black people who “don’t pay their bills,” as part of an attempt to explain what he thought led to the city’s water crisis. He was speaking to Chelsea Lyons, a journalist and activist who was secretly recording him. In audio clips first published on Sunday by the online media outlet Truth Against the Machine, Stair can be heard backtracking slightly, saying that he did not want to use the slur and had recently gone to the beach with a group of men who were not White. “I was the only white guy,” he said. “I got friends.” Elsewhere in the recording, Stair referred to some Flint residents as “derelict” and “deadbeats.”  His letter or resignation said: “I am deeply sorry for what I said and those I offended. I do not know how can face my friends and co-workers.”

Herb Boyd’s new book on the history of Back Detroit should be required reading, reports the Detroit Free Press. Boyd, the prolific and respected author of 23 books now offers America “Black Detroit: A People’s History of Self-Determination,” (Amistad), a thorough, chronological, stunningly detailed look at Detroit’s incarnation and development through the eyes of those ignored, marginalized or unheralded because of color. “It’s important at this time in the city’s history because Detroit has a reputation out there following the bankruptcy,” he said. “I was interviewed the other day, and the guy went straight to (former mayor) Kwame Kilpatrick. That’s what happens often in our culture. The negative stuff gains resonance and lasts a lot longer than the positive. Detroit is people, and people need to look at the people perspective. There’s a rich tradition and a rich history that a lot of people need to know that comes from self-determination. There was slavery right here in Detroit! People need to know that!” Boyd, who grew up in Detroit and now lives in Harlem, N.Y., recalls arriving as a 4-year-old, and the backbreaking work his mother did to take care of the family. His family still lives here.

His book is filled with memories from people who aren’t the usual suspects, but should be. From the introduction through the afterword, he gives us moments that make you gasp and facts that aren’t a part of the traditional narrative of one of America’s oldest cities. Boyd writes about those whose contributions “have had a global impact in industry, government, international diplomacy, education, entertainment, literary and performing arts and sports,” people whose names might have been household knowledge-worthy except for the color of their skin.



A 12-year-old girl in Georgetown (Texas) said her fellow classmates told her she looked like an ape, called her a slave and pretended to whip her, reports the Houston Chronicle. The girl is a student at Tippit Middle School in Georgetown ISD. According a report obtained by the Austin-American Statesman, in March a classmate followed a Black student around the school tennis court saying, “you’re my slave now.” The girl allegedly used a piece of trash and pretended it was a whip. She’s also accused of pointing at a picture of an ape on her phone and saying, “This is what you look like.” The victim also pointed out a boy who reportedly began a dispute in the cafeteria. When confronted he allegedly said, “You’re not really going to take the word of a BLACK person over the word of a WHITE person, are you?” In a separate incident in May, a boy reportedly moved from his classroom seat, away from the Black student, and said he didn’t “sit next to apes.” The same record of the incidents stated that the school “provided additional re-teaching to students who engaged in inappropriate behaviors. All substantiated misbehavior by the involved students was addressed and consequences were assessed in accordance with our Georgetown I.S.D. Student Code of Conduct and with our campus restorative justice approach to discipline management.” It did not specify how the students were disciplined.