Tag: Charlotte

R.I.P. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 104, Army Captain, Minister and Trailblazing Civil Rights Lawyer

Dovey Johnson Roundtree outside the United States District Court in Washington, about 1985. “As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” the co-author of her memoir said. (Credit: via Dovey Johnson Roundtree)

by Margalit Fox via nytimes.com

The jurors were looking at her when they filed into court. That, Dovey Johnson Roundtree knew, could have immense significance for her client, a feebleminded day laborer accused of one of the most sensational murders of the mid-20th century.

Little had augured well for that client, Raymond Crump Jr., during his eight-day trial in United States District Court in Washington: Mr. Crump, who had been found near the crime scene, was black and poor. The victim was white, glamorous and supremely well connected. The country, in the summer of 1965, seethed with racial tension amid the surging civil rights movement.

Federal prosecutors had amassed a welter of circumstantial evidence — including 27 witnesses and more than 50 exhibits — to argue that on Oct. 12, 1964, Mr. Crump had carried out the execution-style shooting of Mary Pinchot Meyer, a Washington socialite said to have been a former lover of President John F. Kennedy.

By contrast, Ms. Roundtree, who died on Monday at 104, had chosen to present just three witnesses and a single exhibit to the jury, which comprised men and women, blacks and whites. Her closing argument was only 20 minutes long.

Now, on July 30, 1965, the jury, having deliberated, was back. The court clerk handed the verdict slip to the judge, Howard F. Corcoran. For most observers, inside the courtroom and out, conviction — and an accompanying death sentence — was a foregone conclusion.

“Members of the jury,” Judge Corcoran said. “We have your verdict, which states that you find the defendant, Ray Crump Jr., not guilty.”

Ms. Roundtree’s defense, which hinged partly on two forensic masterstrokes, made her reputation as a litigator of acuity, concision and steel who could win even the most hopeless trials. And this in a case for which she had received a fee of one dollar.

“As a woman, and as a woman of color in an age when black lawyers had to leave the courthouse to use the bathrooms, she dared to practice before the bar of justice and was unflinching,” Katie McCabe, the co-author of Ms. Roundtree’s memoir, “Justice Older Than the Law,” said in an interview for this obituary in 2016. “She was a one-woman Legal Aid Society before people used that term.”

Officer, Lawyer, Minister

Ms. Roundtree’s victory in the Crump case was not her first noteworthy accomplishment, and it was by no means her last. Born to a family of slender means in the Jim Crow South, Ms. Roundtree — or the Rev. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, as she was long formally known — was instrumental in winning a spate of advances for blacks and women in midcentury America, blazing trails in the military, the legal profession and the ministry.

As an inaugural member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (later the Women’s Army Corps), she became, in 1942, one of the first women of any race to be commissioned an Army officer. Attaining the rank of captain, she personally recruited scores of African-American women for wartime Army service.

Ms. Roundtree in Washington about 1963, not long before she took on the greatest criminal case of her career, the United States v. Raymond Crump Jr., in which she won acquittal for a black man accused of the murder of a white Washington socialite. (Credit: via Dovey Johnson Roundtree)

As a Washington lawyer, she helped secure a landmark ban on racial segregation in interstate bus travel in a case that originated in 1952 — three years before Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat in Montgomery, Ala.

As a cleric, Ms. Roundtree was one of the first women to be ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 2009, in a statement honoring the publication of “Justice Older Than the Law,” the first lady, Michelle Obama, said, “As an Army veteran, lawyer and minister, Ms. Roundtree set a new path for the many women who have followed her and proved once again that the vision and perseverance of a single individual can help to turn the tides of history.”

Yet for all her perseverance, and all her prowess, Ms. Roundtree remained, by temperament, choice and political circumstance, comparatively unknown.

“One has to start with the fact — and I think it’s an acknowledged fact — that the civil rights movement was notoriously sexist,” Ms. McCabe said in 2016. “There were many men who did not appreciate being ground up into hamburger meat by Dovey Roundtree. There are many, many white lawyers — male — in Washington who were humiliated by having been beaten by a black woman. And I think that played out in a number of ways. And one of those ways has been a diminution in the recognition that I think her accomplishments merit.”

Continue reading “R.I.P. Dovey Johnson Roundtree, 104, Army Captain, Minister and Trailblazing Civil Rights Lawyer”

NBA Legend Michael Jordan Donates $7 Million to Build Medical Clinics in Charlotte, NC

Michael Jordan (photo via huffpost.com)

by Taryn Finley via huffingtonpost.com

Michael Jordan is donating $7 million to build two medical facilities to serve at-risk and underserved communities in Charlotte. The Hornets owner’s donation will fund the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics, expected to open late 2020.

The facilities will provide affordable access to primary and preventive care ― including behavioral health, physical therapy, social work, oral health and family planning ― to those with little-to-no health care.  “Through my years of working with Novant Health, I have been impressed with their approach and their commitment to the community,” Jordan, who was raised in Wilmington and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, said in a press release. “It is my hope that these clinics will help provide a brighter and healthier future for the children and families they serve.”

Estee Portnoy, a spokeswoman for Jordan, told the Charlotte Observer that he was largely motivated to contribute after a 2014 study found that compared to other big cities in the country, Charlotte’s poor children have the worst chance of making it out of poverty. Over five years, the two clinics are projected to serve nearly 35,000 underserved children and adults, according to the press release.

“This gift will transform the lives of thousands of families and children living in poverty-stricken communities,” Carl Armato, president and CEO of Novant Health, told the Associated Press. “We are thankful to Michael for his generosity. The gift will remove barriers to high-quality health care in some of the most vulnerable communities.”

ESPN reports that this is the former NBA star’s largest philanthropic gift ever. In 2016, Jordan gave $5 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture; he also pledged $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Institute for Community-Police Relations to help “build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement.”

Source: Michael Jordan Donates $7 Million To Build Medical Clinics In Charlotte | HuffPost

N.B.A. to Move All-Star Game from North Carolina Over Discriminatory Bathroom Law

This year’s N.B.A. All-Star Game in Toronto. The league is set to announce a new site for next year’s game in the next few weeks. (Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

article by via nytimes.com

The National Basketball Association on Thursday dealt a blow to the economy and prestige of North Carolina by pulling next February’s All-Star Game from Charlotte to protest a state law that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The move was among the most prominent consequences since the law, which bars transgender people from using bathrooms in public buildings that do not correspond with their birth gender, was passed in March.

The league, which has become increasingly involved in social issues, said that both it and the Hornets, the N.B.A. team based in Charlotte, had been talking to state officials about changing the law but that time had run out because of the long lead time needed to stage the game. The N.B.A. said it hoped the game could be played in Charlotte in 2019, with the clear inference that the law would have to be changed before then.

“While we recognize that the N.B.A. cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by the current law,” a statement by the league said.

Gov. Pat McCrory of North Carolina issued a blistering statement soon after the announcement by the N.B.A., in which he said “the sports and entertainment elite,” among others, had “misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”

Mr. McCrory did not specifically refer to the N.B.A. in his statement, but he said that “American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

Others weighed in with support for the N.B.A.’s move, including two of its broadcast partners — Turner Sports and ESPN.

In taking the action it did, the N.B.A. is following the path already taken by others. A number of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman, canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law, and there have been calls for repeal of the legislation by a number of businesses, some of which have canceled plans to create new jobs in the state.

All-Star weekend is one of the most dazzling and lucrative events on the league’s annual schedule. In addition to the game, the league arranges three days full of activities for fans. There is a separate game for the league’s rising stars, a dunk contest and a 3-point contest.

Now all of that will be held elsewhere next February, with the N.B.A. to announce a new site for the game in the next few weeks.

To read full article, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/22/sports/basketball/nba-all-star-game-moves-charlotte-transgender-bathroom-law.html

Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In an effort to combat police brutality in the Black community, the National Bar Association (NBA) recently announced plans to file open records requests in 25 cities to study allegations of police misconduct.

BlackLawyerPamela
National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes

Pamela Meanes, president of the Black lawyers and judges group, said the NBA had already been making plans for a nationwide campaign to fight police brutality when Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a White police officer following a controversial midday confrontation in a Ferguson, Mo.

Meanes called police brutality the new civil rights issue of this era, an issue that disproportionately impacts the Black community.

“If we don’t see this issue and if we don’t at the National Bar Association do the legal things that are necessary to bring this issue to the forefront, then we are not carrying out our mission, which is to protect the civil and political entities of all,” said Meanes.

The NBA, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges,” selected the 25 cities based on their African-American populations and reported incidents of police brutality.

The lawyers group will file open records requests in Birmingham, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix; Los Angeles; San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Miami; Atlanta; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore, Md.; Detroit; Mich.; Kansas City, Mo.; St. Louis, Mo.; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas, Nev.; New York City; Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn., Philadelphia; Dallas; Houston; San Antonio, Texas, and Milwaukee, Wis.

In a press release about the open records requests, the group said it will not only seek information about “the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody, but also comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees,” as well as background information on officers involved in the incidents.

Not only will the NBA present their findings to the public, but the group also plans to compile its research and forward the data over to the attorney general’s office.

Meanes said the group’s ultimate goal is to have a conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder and to ask, and in some cases, demand he seize police departments or take over or run concurrent investigations.

Meanes said federal law prohibits the Justice Department from going into a police department unless a pattern or history of abuse has been identified.

“The problem is that the information needed for that action is not readily available in a comprehensive way on a consistent basis with the goal of eradicating that abuse,” said Meanes, adding that the open records request is the best way to get that information.

Meanes said that the NBA was concerned that the trust had already brrn broken between the police force and the residents of Ferguson and that the rebellion and the protests would continue.

“We don’t think St. Louis County should investigate this. We don’t think the prosecutor should investigate this. There should be an independent third-party investigating this and that is the federal government,” said Meanes.

Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, a civil rights group established by young people of color in the aftermath of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager in Sanford, Fla., said law enforcement officials taunted, antagonized and disrespected peaceful protesters who took to the streets of Ferguson and at times incited the violence they attempted to stamp out in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“An occupying force came into the community, they killed someone from the community, and instead of being transparent and doing everything they could do to make sure the community felt whole again, they brought in more police to suppress folks who were exercising their constitutional rights,” said Agnew.“If your protocol results in greater violence, greater anger, and greater disenchantment of the people, you have to chart a different course.”

On the heels of the NBA announcement, Attorney General Holder launched two initiatives designed to calm anxiety and frustration expressed by Ferguson’s Black residents towards the local police department over allegations of misconduct, harassment and discrimination.

The Justice Department also introduced a “Collaborative Reform Initiative” to tackle similar concerns with the St. Louis County Police Department and to improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.

Continue reading “Black Lawyers to Challenge Police Brutality in 25 Cities”

Debbie Allen Champions Arts Education for Youth, Kicks Off National Tour of “Brothers of the Knight”

DEBBIE_ALLEN_HEADSHOT_tOscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning choreographer and director Debbie Allen premiered her new theatrical production Brothers of the Knight at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills last night, kicking off a five-city summer tour.  Turning out to support Allen and her passion for training today’s youth in the arts were actors Jenifer Lewis, Clifton Powell, “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo, Darrin Hewitt Henson, New Kids on the Block singer Joey McIntyre and WNBA All-Star Lisa Leslie, among others. (Click here to see GBN’s Instagram photos from the event.)

Grammy-winning musician James Ingram wrote the music to this modern adaptation of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, where twelve brothers steal away to a magical ballroom and dance every night away unbeknownst to their strict preacher father.

Allen, who produced the show with husband and former NBA All-Star Norm Nixon, went on a five-city tour to find the best young talent possible, then trained and worked closely with them to bring the production to life.

“I opened this audition to kids who are not just in dance schools,” Allen said, but “to people who simply love to dance.”

1391112260644Allen is passionate about arts education for youth and mounts productions like this every year to shed light on its importance as more and more public schools drop arts, music and theatre programs.

“It’s a battle right now. Arts education is disappearing without a trace from the public schools. If you don’t have arts as part of the core of your curriculum, you are not going to be well educated,” Allen recently told WGBH in Boston.

Allen has been fighting to keep dance and the arts available for youth for quite some time.  In 2001, Allen opened the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA), a non-profit organization which offers classes in various dance disciplines for youth and teens.

Brothers of the Knight runs until June 22 in Los Angeles, then moves to Boston from June 27-29, Philadelphia July 3-6, Washington DC July 10-13 and Charlotte July 17-20.  To order tickets, go to brothersoftheknight.com.  To sponsor or donate to this show, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

University of North Carolina Study Shows Housing The Homeless Saves Lives – And is Actually Cheaper Than Doing Nothing

n-SKID-ROW-LOS-ANGELES-HOMELESS-large570It’s cheaper to give homeless men and women a permanent place to live than to leave them on the streets.

That’s according to a study of an apartment complex for formerly homeless people in Charlotte, N.C., that found drastic savings on health care costs and incarceration.

Moore Place houses 85 chronically homeless adults, and was the subject of a study by the University of North Carolina Charlotte released on Monday. The study found that, in its first year, Moore Place tenants saved $1.8 million in health care costs, with 447 fewer emergency room visits (a 78 percent reduction) and 372 fewer days in the hospital (a 79 percent reduction).

The tenants also spent 84 percent fewer days in jail, with a 78 percent drop in arrests. The reduction is largely due to a decrease in crimes related to homelessness, such as trespassing, loitering, public urination, begging and public consumption of alcohol, according to Caroline Chambre, director the Urban Ministry Center’s HousingWorks, the main force behind Moore Place.

One tenant, Carl Caldwell, 62, said he used to go to the emergency room five to seven times a week, late at night, so he could spend the night there. “You wouldn’t believe my hospital bills,” Caldwell, who hasn’t had health insurance for years, told The Huffington Post. Caldwell was a teacher for 30 years and became homeless five years ago, when he lost his job and his roommate moved out.

While living on the street, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The disease was particularly challenging for Caldwell, who said he spent his days “trying not to get robbed or killed” and trying to find bathrooms and shelter from freezing weather. Since he moved into Moore Place when it opened in March 2012, Caldwell has gained a regular doctor and has undergone radiation. Now his cancer is in remission. Without having to worry about where he will sleep, he can take his medicine regularly and keep it in his mini fridge.

“Moore Place saved my life,” Caldwell said. “When you’re homeless, you are dependent on everybody. Now I am independent and can give back.” Caldwell said he regularly helps feed homeless people now and has reconnected with family members he hadn’t spoken to in years.

Chambre said she expects Moore Place tenants’ mental and physical health to continue to improve with consistent access to health care. “The idea of having a primary care doctor was just a fantasy when they were living on the street,” said Chambre. “Now they all have a regular doctor.”

Continue reading “University of North Carolina Study Shows Housing The Homeless Saves Lives – And is Actually Cheaper Than Doing Nothing”

R.I.P. North Carolina Civil Rights Activist and Attorney Julius Chambers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Julius Chambers, a Charlotte attorney whose practice was in the forefront of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, has died, his law firm said Saturday. He was 76.

julius chambers dead
Julius Chambers attends NAACP Legal Defense Fundraiser on January 23, 1990 at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

A statement issued by his law firm, Ferguson Chambers & Sumter, said Chambers died Friday after months of declining health. A specific cause of death wasn’t given.

“Mr. Chambers was not the first lawyer of color to try to address the issues of equality,” firm partner Geraldine Sumter said Saturday. “He would tell you he had people like Buddy Malone of Durham that he looked to, the Kennedys out of Winston-Salem. The thing that Mr. Chambers brought to that struggle was a very focused, determined attitude that things were going to change.”

The N.C. chapter of the NAACP called Chambers “a man of tremendous courage.”

“His home and his car were firebombed on separate occasions in 1965, and his office was burned to the ground in 1971, during the height of some of his most contentious civil rights litigation in North Carolina,” the NAACP said in a statement. “When he spoke of these events, Mr. Chambers was typically matter-of-fact, insisting always that you ‘just keep fighting.'”

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper called Chambers “a friend who set a courageous example of doing what is right regardless of the cost.”  In 1964, Chambers opened a law practice that became the state’s first integrated law firm. He and his partners won cases that shaped civil rights law, including Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education regarding school busing.

Continue reading “R.I.P. North Carolina Civil Rights Activist and Attorney Julius Chambers”

45 Liberian Orphans Adopted By One North Carolina Community (VIDEO)

Ever wonder how a single act of kindness can prompt a domino effect of others? Meet Lysa Terkeurst, a mom of three girls, whose decision to adopt two members of a boys choir from war-torn Liberia has prompted several other families from her North Carolina community to do the same.

Liberian Orphans“These 12 beautiful boys from the other side of the world got up and started to sing from the depth of their soul, just the most beautiful music,” Terkeurst who lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, told TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager. “I was very challenged by the reality that these boys who had been singing and smiling and just had such joy in their life, that they had nothing.”

In the 10 years since Terkeurst’s decision to adopt two of the boys — Mark, who was 13 at the time and Jackson, who was 14 and had lived in an orphanage since the age of six after his parents were murdered — 45 other children have been adopted from the same orphanage, including fellow members of the boys choir that originally stole Terkeurst’s heart.  Watch video above for the rest of this heartwarming story.

article via huffingtonpost.com

 

Obama to Name Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation

5/7/12 – Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx greets President Barack Obama as he arrives at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. TODD SUMLIN
WASHINGTON President Barack Obama Monday will nominate mayor Anthony Foxx to be Secretary of Transportation, a White House official said Sunday on the condition of anonymity. The nomination of Foxx, who hosted last year’s Democratic National Convention, would make him the only African-American selected for a Cabinet opening in Obama’s second term.

As mayor of Charlotte, what it called one of America’s most vibrant cities, the White House said Foxx has the firsthand knowledge needed to create jobs and compete in a globe economy. The White House praised Foxx’s ability to integrate local, state and federal resources to meet transportation challenges.

Federal officials cited his work on the Charlotte streetcar project to bring a streetcar line through the center of the city, expanding Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and extending the city’s light rail system north to UNC Charlotte.

Some of Foxx’s accomplishments that the White House has praised have been questioned closer to home, however.

The mayor is fighting an effort to shift control of Charlotte-Douglas from the city to an independent authority – a move Foxx has been stridently against. Local business leaders and some legislators have said they are worried the city has been meddling in airport affairs, a charge Foxx has denied.

The streetcar project, which Foxx is launching with a $25 million federal grant, is in limbo. The mayor has been unable to convince City Council members to approve expanding the 1.5-mile line currently under construction, and the streetcar has been the cause of a nearly year-long impasse over the city passing a nearly $1 billion capital budget.

Foxx, who has called Obama a friend, was elected mayor in 2009. He was re-elected in November 2011 with nearly 70 percent of the vote. He also is a lawyer for Charlotte hybrid bus maker DesignLine.

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College Sophomore Honored for Her Work With Children Whose Parents Are in Prison

oliviastinson

Olivia Stinson, a sophomore at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina was recognized as a 2012 L’Oreal Paris International Woman of Worth. Stinson, a business administration major from Charlotte, was honored for creating the Peers Engaged and Networking (PEN) Pals Book Club for the children of incarcerated parents. At age 13, Stinson used a $500 grant to start the project for children aged 12 to 19. The PEN Pals Book Club has evolved into a full support group for the children of parents who are in prison. She has now added a Be a Reader (BEAR) Book club for children aged 2 to 11. The clubs now not only provide books and other school supplies, but also food and other support. Since the program was established, more than 4,000 children have received benefits from the program.

For winning the Woman of Worth distinction, Stinson’s book clubs will receive a $10,000 contribution from L’Oreal Paris.  To learn more, check out Stinson’s Huffington Post blog here.

article via jbhe.com