Category: Anniversaries

President Barack Obama Remembers 9/11, Salutes Troops in Town Hall

President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama on 9/11/15. (Photo via abcnews.go.com)
President Barack Obama and First lady Michelle Obama on 9/11/15. (Photo via abcnews.go.com)

President Barack Obama told members of the military Friday that he calls them as he sees them when it comes to the big decisions his job requires.

“When I go to bed, I go to bed easy, because I know that I’ve made the best decisions I could make,” Obama said during a 9/11 military town hall at Fort Meade near Washington, D.C.

The commander in chief took questions from service members piped in from around the world during the event designed to mark the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“On 9/11, I thought it was particularly appropriate for me to be able to address you directly, and to say thank you on behalf of the American people,” Obama told the troops.

Whether in person, via phone, video conference, or the Internet, troops asked questions ranging from the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, to how the president and first lady Michelle Obama raise their daughters in the glare of the White House. (On that last query, the president said, “I just do what Michelle tells me to do and it seems to work out.”)

At one point, Obama says it appears to him that Syrian President Bashar Assad is inviting the Russian military into his country because he’s worried about holding onto power. The president said that the United States has warned Russia that beefing up its support for Assad is doomed to fail.

Obama also said that the United States needs to step up its responses to cyber attacks, and criticized China for some of its cyber practices.

The president chuckled when one of the troops asked him how he dealt with people “hating” and “talking smack” about him all the time.

“Not everyone is talking smack about me,” Obama said. “But there is a sizable percentage in Congress that talks smack about me, no doubt about it.”

Obama said he must own all decisions, whether it’s the operation that killed Osama bin Laden to the initial problems with the health care website, which he described as a “screw-up.”

Said Obama: “If it’s an easy question, it doesn’t get to my desk.”

In closing, the president again thanked the troops for their work in the years since 9/11.

“What you do is vital to our way of life,” Obama said. “America is strong, and it’s strong because of all of you.”

article by David Jackson via usatoday.com

New Orleans Celebrates its Recovery 10 years After Hurricane Katrina

People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it's 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People dance during a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of the Hurricane for it’s 10th anniversary. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — With prayers, church bells and brass bands, residents across Mississippi and Louisiana will pay homage Saturday to those who died in Hurricane Katrina, thank those who came to rebuild and celebrate how far the region has come from that devastating day.

Ten years ago — on Aug. 29, 2005 — Katrina made landfall in what turned into one of the deadliest storms in American history. The hurricane‘s force and flooding ultimately caused more than 1,800 deaths and roughly $151 billion in damages across the region.

In New Orleans, wide scale failures of the levee system protecting the city left 80 percent of New Orleans under water.

In Mississippi, churches will ring their bells to remember when the storm made landfall. In Biloxi, clergy and community leaders were to gather at MGM Park for a memorial to Katrina’s victims. In the evening, the park will host a concert celebrating the recovery.

Katrina’s force caused a massive storm surge that scoured the Mississippi coast, pushed boats far inland and wiped houses off the map, leaving only concrete front steps to nowhere.

The city has framed the 10th anniversary as a showcase to demonstrate to the world how far New Orleans has come back. In the last week, the city has held lectures, given tours of the levee improvements and released a resiliency plan.

People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The traditional ceremony was conducted at the historically African-American university, which was heavily damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina, as a symbolic burial of Hurricane Katrina. The 10th anniversary of the storm is August 29. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
People hug following a jazz funeral ceremony at Dillard University on August 28, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Many parts of this iconic city have rebounded phenomenally but many residents — particularly in the city’s black community — still struggle. Glitzy casinos and condominium towers have been rebuilt, but overgrown lots and empty slabs speak to the slow recovery in some areas.

In New Orleans officials will lay wreaths at the hurricane memorial and at the levee that ruptured in the Lower 9th Ward.

The neighborhood was one of the bastions of black homeownership in America when water burst through floodwalls, pushing houses off foundations and trapping residents on rooftops. The neighborhood still has some of the lowest rates of people who’ve returned after the storm, but it will be having a daylong celebration to mark the progress made.

Former President Bill Clinton will headline a free concert-prayer service-celebration Saturday evening at the city’s Smoothie King Center.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Michael Brown Remembered With March, Moment of Silence on 1-Year Anniversary

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Michael Brown Sr. leads a march on August 8, 2015 in Ferguson, Mo. (SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES)

One year after unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, a white ex-officer in Ferguson, Mo., family and activists gathered Sunday to commemorate the shooting that touched off a movement against police violence.

Scores gathered Sunday to participate in 4.5 minutes of silence, and a silent march to Greater St. Mark’s church, according to The Associated Press. The march was scheduled to get just before noon at the site where Wilson gunned down Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. “A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November,” writes the news outlet.

The events are among several this weekend in Ferguson and nearby St. Louis.

The still grieving Michael Brown Sr., Brown’s father, led a march of about 100 people on Saturday. He called for a nonviolent weekend.  “I want to have a peaceful weekend,” said Brown, according to KSDK. “No drama, no stupidity.”

In a recent NPR interview at the White House, part of which aired Sunday, President Obama told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that had Ferguson flared up in his first term, he would have addressed it, brushing back criticism that he failed to address issues of race after entering office.

“That I don’t buy,” Obama told NPR.”I think it’s fair to say that if, in my first term, Ferguson had flared up, as president of the United States, I would have been commenting on what was happening in Ferguson.”

Read more at Yahoo NewsKSDK and NPR.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

President Obama Commemorates 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says all Americans owe a debt to the sharecroppers and maids and ordinary Americans who were brave enough to try time and again to register to vote in the face of violence and oppression.

He says without them, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 wouldn’t have been signed into law 50 years ago Thursday.

At a White House event marking the anniversary, Obama said those rights are being whittled away today by voter ID laws and other attempts to discourage voting. He called on Congress to update the law in response to court decisions.

Read President Obama’s full op-ed on the Voting Rights Act on Medium.com here 

But Obama says attacks on their voting rights aren’t the main reason Americans don’t vote — many just don’t bother.

He declared Sept. 22 National Voter Registration Day and urged everyone to get registered.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Farrakhan Announces Millions For Justice Rally in October for Million Man March 20th Anniversary

Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakan (photo via Associated Press)
Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakan (photo via Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Wednesday he plans to hold a Millions for Justice March in the nation’s capital this fall, 20 years after the Million Man March.

During a speech at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington, Farrakhan said he intends to hold the rally Oct. 10 on the National Mall, scene of the 1995 march.

“This is the time our people must see our unity,” Farrakhan said. “Let’s make 10/10/15 a meeting place for those who want justice, for those who know what justice is.”

Organizers said they aim to stage a more diverse and inclusive event than the one in 1995, which was billed as a men-only event.

Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis, who helped organize the original Million Man March, said he is optimistic that this year’s turnout will be “in excess of a million.” He said the event’s success would be measured more by the political and socioeconomical impact it has on communities.

“What ultimately will be a success is seeing improvements in the communities where these people are going to come from,” Chavis said. “We want to make sure our public policy demands are aligned with those challenges.”

Farrakhan said the rally is intended to galvanize a more strategic movement for equality as supporters unite under the social media hashtag #JusticeOrElse.

“Walk with the young people, the warriors of God, as we say to America, ‘You owe us,'” Farrakhan said.

The Million Man March was held in Washington on Oct. 16, 1995. Its goal, organizers said, was to encourage black men to make firmer commitments to family values and community uplift. It is among the largest political gatherings in American history, although there were disputes over the size of the heavily black and male crowd it drew. Crowd estimates ranged from 400,000 to nearly 1.1 million.

Farrakhan, 82, also used the march announcement to call for fair treatment and an end to injustice in the wake of the massacre of nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week.  “Yes, all lives matter, but the only reason you’re here is because black lives are being slaughtered,” Farrakhan said.

As for efforts to remove the Confederate flag in the wake of that tragedy, Farrakhan said the gesture does little to remove the stain of injustice.

“The media is (still) twisting the narrative of murderers,” Farrakhan added, referring to perceptions that the media tends to portray white perpetrators more humanely than those of other races or ethnicities.

article by Glynn A. Hill via bigstory.ap.org

Five Years Ago Today: Good Black News was Founded

copy-gbnthumbnail.jpegGOOD BLACK NEWS proudly celebrates its fifth anniversary today, with 8,941 Facebook followers, 5,073 Twitter followers, 3,938 Tumblr followers, 1,043 via Pinterest, and thousands more via InstagramGoogle+YouTubeWordPress, our RSS feed, and LinkedIn.  Although initially launched on March 18, 2010 as a Facebook page (read the detailed story behind GBN’s creation here), in September 2012, GBN created this dedicated website, goodblacknews.org, which has allowed us to expand our presence on the internet and provide archives and search functions to you, our loyal readers.

In the past year, we were greatly honored to be featured on NewsOne’s list of the 15 Most Share-Worthy Black Blogs and Sites of 2014. GBN also successfully managed our first-ever giveaway contest, and will most definitely offer more in the coming months. The outpour of appreciation you’ve shown us via likes, comments, shares, reblogs and e-mails means the world to us, and only inspires GBN to keep getting bigger and better and create more original content.

Good Black News remains a labor of love for our Founder/Editor-In-Chief (Lori Lakin Hutcherson) and Lifestyle/Fashion Editor (Lesa Lakin), and we must gratefully acknowledge this year’s contributors (Susan Cartsonis, Julie Bibb DavisAshanti Hutcherson, Warren HutchersonBrenda Lakin, John LevinsonJeff MeierMinsun Park, Gabriel RyderTerry Samwick, power stringer Becky Schonbrun, Teddy TenenbaumArro Verse, Joshua A.S. Young, and venture capitalist/business advisor Darryl Wash), who are all unpaid volunteers, and deeply, greatly appreciated.

We’d also like to shout out a few of our power users across the web:  Thank you to Ms. Charmian Neary (@CharmianNeary) for being our top Twitter follower and contributor, Heidi Durrow (@mixedremixed) for the most Twitter mentions of @goodblacknewsMr. Militant Negro at theobamacrat.com for being our number-one reblogger, and to Mrs. Shawna B. (MrsShawnaB) for being our most prolific repinner on Pinterest.  Your active interest and sharing mean everything!

Please continue to help us spread GBN by sharing, liking, re-tweeting and commenting, and consider joining our e-mail list via our “Contact Us” tab on goodblacknews.org.  We will only use this list to keep you updated on GBN and send you our upcoming e-newsletter — nothing else. And, of course, you may opt out at any time.

GBN believes in bringing you positive news, reviews and stories of interest about black people all over the world, and greatly value your participation in continuing to build our shared vision.

Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to providing you with more Good Black News in the coming year, and beyond!

Warmly,

The Good Black News Team

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder/Editor-In-Chief
Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder/Editor-In-Chief
by Lesa Lakin
Lesa Lakin, GBN Lifestyle/Fashion Editor

Duke University Debuts Website Documenting SNCC & the Voting Rights Struggle

Vq1ywrurDuke University in Durham, North Carolina, has just debuted a new website documenting the struggle of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to secure voting rights for African Americans. The site, entitled “One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of the SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights,” went live one week before the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights march in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.

Students and faculty at Duke University worked with veterans of SNCC and other civil rights leaders to develop the website. The site includes a timeline, profiles of the key figures in the struggle to secure voting rights, and stories relating to the struggle.

5193ppoofzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Wesley Hogan, the director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the author of Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America (University of North Carolina Press, 2007), stated that “this is an enormous achievement, to find ways to bring these experts who were so central to the voting rights struggle, into the formal historical record through their own words and on their own terms. The project comes at a moment when our nation is both commemorating key victories of the civil rights movement and seeing those victories challenged by new restrictive voting laws in many states.”

 

article via jbhe.com

Obama Heads To Selma For 50th Anniversary Of Voting Rights March on Saturday

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Fifty years ago, several hundred peaceful protesters marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery to underscore the need for Black voting rights.

Demonstrators were brutalized and beaten by White police officers in what has become known as “Bloody Sunday.” This weekend, scores of civil rights leaders, clergy, elected officials, and peaceful demonstrators will converge on Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the march that helped spark a movement.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) will be there just as he was on March 7, 1965, when he was hit on the head, left bloody and unconscious. He will be accompanied Saturday by President Barack Obama. A second march, organized by local leaders, is scheduled for Sunday.

The event comes at a time when voting rights are once again under attack in the U.S., especially after the Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013. It also comes at a time when protesters have launched an online petition to change the name of the historic bridge, which was named for Edmund Winston Pettus, a Confederate general and U.S. senator who lived in Selma after the Civil War.

“Fifty years ago this week, brave activists embarked upon the Selma to Montgomery March to bring attention to the fight for voting rights,” NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks said.

The Selma to Montgomery Jubilee is more than a commemorative occasion—ever present in our minds is that voting rights continue to be impinged,” Brooks continued. “And this new assault on voting rights is being ignored by the same lawmakers who are coming to Selma to celebrate the jubilee. Selma is now—and the NAACP will not rest until every American has unfettered access to the ballot box. I stand with NAACP state leadership in demanding that our most vulnerable voters be protected by the law—in every state.”

Lewis said in an interview last month with USA Today that he and U.S. Reps. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Martha Roby (R-Ala) have assembled what will be the largest congressional delegation participating in the pilgrimage to Selma in its 17-year history. The delegation will participate in a series of civil rights-related events in Birmingham on March 6, Selma and Marion on March 7, and Montgomery on March 8, the report says.

“When President (Bill) Clinton came (in 2000) we had more than 20,000 people,” Lewis said, according to USA Today. “With President Obama, it could be many more. It’s going to be wonderful.”

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

20 Years Ago Today: Bernard Harris Jr. Becomes 1st African American to Walk in Space

Bernard_Anthony_Harris_JrOn this day in 1995, Bernard Harris Jr. became the first African American to walk in space. After logging 198 hours and 29 minutes in space and completing 129 orbits, he traveled more than 4 million miles total throughout his career as an astronaut.

Harris was born in Temple, Texas, on June 26, 1956. He graduated from high school in San Antonio, and later went on to receive a Bachelor of Science from the University of Houston. He earned a doctorate in medicine at Texas Tech University in 1982. He also earned a master’s in biomedical science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1996. Harris has won numerous awards and honors including the 1996 Honorary Doctorate of Science, Outstanding Young Men of America in 1984, the University of Houston Achievement Award in 1978, the National Research Council Fellowship in 1986 and 1987, and many, many more.

Harris joined the NASA Johnson Space Center as a scientist and flight surgeon after completing his fellowship in 1987; he held the title of project manager. He was selected by NASA in January 1990 to become an astronaut, and he qualified for a space mission. During his time on flight STS-63 that departed Feb. 2, 1995, and returned Feb. 11, he made by becoming the first African American to touch down and walk in space. He left NASA the following April; he is currently chief scientist and vice president of Science and Health Services.

article by Cristie Leondis via blackenterprise.com

Obama To Visit Selma in March for 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Marches

President Barack Obama will visit Selma, Ala., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic marches led by civil activists fighting against segregation and seeking to secure African Americans’ right to vote, according to Reuters.

A White House official said Tuesday that the president will make the visit on March 7 as part of his administration’s efforts to highlight the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the report says. Also according to Reuters:

The law, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago this August, banned literacy tests and other tactics used in the U.S. South to block racial minorities from voting. The White House official said more details of Obama’s trip would be announced later.

The 1965 marches from Selma to Alabama’s capital of Montgomery were organized by civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. to draw national attention to the disenfranchisement of Black voters.

Alabama state troopers tried to stop the protests by attacking the marchers with tear gas and clubs. The violent media images from the marches shocked the nation and eventually spurred the Congress to pass the voting rights legislation.

The marches in 1965 are receiving renewed attention this year after the recent release of the movie, “Selma,” which highlights the campaign leading up to the historic march. On Friday, President Obama hosted a screening of the movie at the White House. Among others, Oprah Winfrey, who produced and had a role in the film, was invited.

article via newsone.com