Abolitionist and Activist Sojourner Truth Honored as “Tail Fin Hero” by Norwegian Air

(photo via Norwegian Air)

by Judy Rife via recordonline.com

Norwegian Air will honor Sojourner Truth, the abolitionist and activist who was born a slave in Ulster County, NY, as a “tail fin hero.” Truth’s likeness will appear on the fourth Boeing 737 MAX 8 that Norwegian will take delivery of this month.

The airline, which began flights between Stewart International Airport and Europe in June, regularly honors historical figures from the countries where it operates on the tail fins of its aircraft. Last month, it honored its first American, Benjamin Franklin, as well as Sir Freddie Laker from England and Tom Crean from Ireland on the first three of the six MAXs that it will receive from Boeing this year. The remaining two planes will also honor Americans.

The six planes will be used on Norwegian’s new routes between three East Coast airports and Europe, including Stewart Airport, T.F. Green in Providence, R.I., and Bradley International in Windsor Locks, Conn. In announcing the selection of Truth, Thomas Ramdahl, Norwegian Air’s chief commercial officer, called her “an inspiration and a pioneer” for people around the world.“She is someone who pushed boundaries and challenged the establishment in more ways than one,″ said Ramdahl in a statement.

Truth, among the Smithsonian’s “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time,” was born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree around the turn of the 18th century, escaped in 1826 and changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843. A gifted orator, Truth is best known for her dedication to the abolition of slavery and women’s rights, but she also was a proponent of prison reform, property rights and universal suffrage. She died in 1883.

Source: Norwegian Air pays tribute to abolitionist Sojourner Truth

In Wake of #Charlottesville, Several National Charities Cancel Fundraisers at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

byvia money.cnn.com

The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and Susan G. Komen Foundation all said Friday they’re canceling events at Trump’s Palm Beach property Mar-a-Lago. That comes after three organizations made similar announcements on Thursday.

The cancellations follow the spectacular implosion of Trump’s business councils this week over the president’s insistence that counter-protesters shared the blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The collapse of the councils was an extraordinary rebuke to a president who prides himself on being business-friendly. High-profile CEOs like JPMorgan Chase‘s Jamie Dimon have publicly slammed Trump’s reaction to Charlottesville. Now, Trump’s words appear to be hurting his own business. “The American Red Cross has decided we cannot host our annual fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago, as it has increasingly become a source of controversy and pain for many of our volunteers, employees and supporters,” the organization said in a statement.

The Red Cross said it “provides assistance without discrimination to all people in need, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, or political opinions, and we must be clear and unequivocal in our defense of that principle.” According to the Palm Beach Daily News social events calendar, The Red Cross was slated to host its International Red Cross Ball at the resort on Feb. 3, 2018 .The Salvation Army also pulled its Holiday Snow Ball off the venue’s events list.

“Because the conversation has shifted away from the purpose of this event, we will not host it at Mar-a-Lago,” spokesperson Kurt Watkins said. On Thursday, the Cleveland Clinic, the American Cancer Society and an organization that supports disaster relief said they were abandoning plans for fundraisers at the private club.

To read full article, go to: Now charities are dumping Trump, too – Aug. 18, 2017

13-Year-Old Kimora Hudson to be Youngest Freshman at University of West Georgia for Fall 2017

Kimora Hudson (photo via westga.edu)

by Jessica Murphy via westga.edu

Just like her friends, 13-year-old Kimora Hudson will be purchasing school supplies to prepare for the upcoming school year. However, it won’t be high school that she is looking forward to attending. Instead, Kimora will be the youngest student enrolled for the fall 2017 semester at the University of West Georgia.

At a young age, Kimora’s family knew how advanced she was going to be.“When she was a baby, this was always the vision,” Fawn Hudson, Kimora’s mother, explained. “Even when she was a few months old her doctor was saying she is a little advanced.”When Kimora was four, her mother began a mentor program based on human growth and development that encouraged her to think outside the box and beyond academics.

This program encourages young people to go out and follow their dreams and not wait. In 4th grade, Kimora became aware of students graduating from college before getting their high school diplomas, and she set a personal goal to become one of those people.“All throughout my life my mom was always making sure I was prepared for everything,” Kimora explained. “My parents know what I need, and they always strive for me to do my best.”

The UWG dual enrollment program is offered to 10th, 11th and 12th grade students who wish to take college level coursework for credit towards both high school and college graduation requirements. However, Kimora was lucky and was able to apply for the program whenever 9th grade students were being accepted. “It was ironic that the year she was going into 9th grade the laws changed to allow the advanced 9th graders a chance, so I said this is it,” Fawn explained. “As soon as she applied and got accepted they took away the 9th grade component. So when that happened, I knew this was meant to be.” Continue reading

Civil Rights and War Hero Octavius Catto to Become Philadelphia’s 1st African American Honored With a Public Statue

This model of the Octavius V. Catto Memorial shows the statue, pillars and ballot box elements that will make up the $1.75 million project. (photo via phillyvoice.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to blavity.comOctavius Valentine Catto will be honored with a statue outside of Philadelphia’s city hall this September. Catto’s statue will be the first monument built to honor an African American erected on public land in the City of Brotherly Love. Although Catto’s memorial has been in the works for years, in the wake of the push to take so many Confederate statues down across the nation, the timing for this statue’s unveiling could not be better.

In Charleston, South Carolina on February 22, 1839, Catto was born a free black man. Catto excelled at his studies, attending a school for black children in Philadelphia, the Institute for Colored Youth, an institution he later led.

According to phillyvoice.com, in his early 20s, Catto was already an active leader in the African American community. He was a member of the 4th Ward Black Political Club, the Union League Association, the Library Company and the Franklin Institute. He demanded that African Americans fight in the Civil War and helped get their regiments inducted into the war. In 1863, at the height of the Civil War, he joined the army and enlisted as a volunteer in defense of the state of Pennsylvania.

Octavius Catto (photo via phillyvoice.com)

Catto was also a major in the Pennsylvania National Guard and played baseball as captain and second baseman for the Pythians, an African American baseball team. He was inducted into the Negro League Baseball Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Beyond being an educator, ball player and a war hero, Philadelphia is celebrating Catto for his local civil rights activism, which went into full gear after he was kicked off of a segregated horse-drawn trolley. He staged a sit-in on the streetcars, refusing to move off of the car. The driver drove the car off of its track and unhitched its horses, unsure how else to get rid of Catto. Catto remained aboard; the other passengers and the driver left him there. Catto also defended several black women who were forcibly ejected from the city’s streetcars, and used a fine levied against his fiancée to drum up publicity for his cause. Finally, in 1867, due in large part to Catto’s pressure, the city desegregated its streetcars.

“In Philadelphia, at that time, you could be wearing a Civil War uniform and not have been able to get on that trolley car,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who has been hoping to bring a statue of Catto to the city since at least 2003, after he learned the story of Catto’s life. “[Knowing this] you realize, this struggle isn’t just a 1960s struggle. It’s a struggle from the beginning of the country.” Continue reading

Trump Administration, Facing Pressure, Agrees to Keep Making Crucial Affordable Care Act Payments

by David Lauter via latimes.com

The Trump administration, faced with increasing pressure from Republican members of Congress, agreed Wednesday to continue giving insurance companies payments that are widely viewed as critical to keeping markets stable under the Affordable Care Act.

Trump and his top aides have flirted for months with cutting off the money, known as cost-sharing reduction payments. Doing so would be one step toward causing the healthcare law to “implode” — as Trump has sometimes put it. Republican members of Congress, however, have worried that any move to cut off the payments would cause chaos in insurance markets. Trump has said voters would blame Democrats for any problems with the markets, but few Republican elected officials share that view.

The pressure to continue the payments increased Tuesday when the Congressional Budget Office reported that cutting off the payments would actually increase federal spending because ending them would cause insurance premiums to rise sharply, and thereby increase the cost of other government subsidies. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration had decided to make this month’s payment, which will total around $600 million. The question of whether to make future payments remains under review.

To read full article, go to: Trump administration agrees to continue healthcare subsidy for now – LA Times

City of Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation 

(Workers removed the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument in Baltimore. JERRY JACKSON / THE BALTIMORE SUN, VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)

by Russell Goldman via nytimes.com

Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter. “The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.

The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.

To see more and read full article, go to: Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation – NYTimes.com

Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on Limited TV Series About Madam CJ Walker

LeBron James / Octavia Spencer (photos via variety.com)

by Justin Kroll via variety.com

NBA superstar LeBron James is continuing to make moves off the court. James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is adding the first scripted drama to its growing slate. The project also boasts Oscar-winning talent: Octavia Spencer.

Spencer is attached to star in the limited series about entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker’s life, with James executive producing along with his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter. Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination. The steaming service had no comment on their involvement in the project.

Nicole Asher is on board to write and co-exec produce and “Black Nativity” helmer Kasi Lemmons will direct the pilot and also executive produce. The series is based on the book “On Her Own Ground” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, who will also serve as a consultant on the series.

Walker, the daughter of slaves, was orphaned at age seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. She spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. However, everything changed following Walker’s discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women. She counted W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington among her friends.

Zero Gravity Management’s Mark Holder and Christine Holder optioned the book from Bundles in early 2016. Spencer got wind of the project and aggressively pursued the part. Once word spread that Spencer was attached, WME, who reps both Spencer and James, pitched the series to James as his production company’s entryway into the prestige genre.

SpringHill president Jamal Henderson brought the project to Carter’s attention and the two moved quickly to land the property. With Nicole Asher set to write, Spencer starring, and James and Springhill on board as producers, the package was presented to potential buyers, with Netflix acting fast and the favorite to land the series. “I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”

To read full article, go to: Octavia Spencer, LeBron James Team on TV Series About Madam CJ Walker | Variety