Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’ to be Staged at the Apollo Theater in April 2018

Ta-Nehisi Coates (photo via nytimes.com)

article by Andrew R. Chow via nytimes.com

“Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s award-winning book exploring racial injustice in America, will be brought to the Apollo stage next April.

Mr. Coates’s fiery work — which made him the National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist — will be adapted into a multimedia performance, with excerpted monologues, video projections, and a score by the jazz musician Jason Moran.

Portions of Mr. Coates’s letters to his son would be read aloud, while narratives of his experiences at Howard University and in New York City could be performed by actors. Kamilah Forbes, the Apollo’s executive producer, will direct the production.

The coming Apollo season will be Ms. Forbes’s first full season in the role; she previously was the associate director of “Raisin in the Sun” on Broadway.

To read more, go to: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s ‘Between the World and Me’ Is Coming to the Apollo – NYTimes.com

FEATURE: Rev. Nathaniel Dixon Preaches the Gospel, Jazz Riffs and All

article by Corey Kilgannon via nytimes.com

While a soulful organist welcomed church congregants last Sunday, the Rev. Nathaniel Dixon stood in his office in a natty pinstriped suit, looking more like a hip jazz musician about to hit the bandstand than a pastor preparing to take the pulpit.His office, in St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in the Marble Hill section of Manhattan, bore signs of both Jesus and jazz. Its walls had framed photographs of Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, and religious literature shared space with saxophones, keyboards and guitars.

After pulling on his white pastor’s robe, Mr. Dixon grabbed a box of saxophone reeds and his microphone.“ Edmar, let’s bring that tenor down, man,” he said to his assistant, Edmar Flores, who carried Mr. Dixon’s tenor saxophone to the sanctuary. As the service heated up, with his band backing him, Mr. Dixon picked up his horn and played from the pulpit.“My Lord, my God — you are my savior,” he sang, his voice swelling up to the church’s majestic rafters. Then he took up his saxophone.

The pastor’s playing style was spare and insistent, reminiscent of one of John Coltrane’s spiritual songs. “People who aren’t used to seeing a preacher playing the saxophone are surprised,” he said. “And when they see I can actually play, they’re more surprised.” As a young jazz musician, Mr. Dixon was seasoned in Harlem clubs, and played with the likes of the guitarist George Benson, the saxophonist Sam Rivers, the pianist Kenny Kirkland and the drummer Chico Hamilton.

Back then, he played bebop. Today, it is mostly GoJa, his name for a blend of gospel and jazz that swings with a spiritually uplifting message.Mr. Dixon said he tried to match one of his songs to his sermon every Sunday. Last Sunday, it was his composition “My Lord, My God,” a lyrical ode that recalls the spiritual style of the saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. The tune helped illustrate a point he was making about the Apostle Thomas’s reaction when called upon by Jesus.“I like Jesus because he calls you out,” Mr. Dixon said, before describing Thomas’s recognition of Jesus as his “eternal God.”“Somebody ought to clap right there,” he told the spare congregation, which included older women in ornate hats and ushers in white outfits.Applause went up and seemed to mingle with the morning sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows.

During the song, Mr. Dixon pointed to members of the band, directing each to perform a solo, then adding through the microphone, “Give the drummer some.”He told the congregation he wrote “My Lord, My God” while sitting in the church alone, “just me and the Lord.”“I like to doodle on the piano,” he said. “That’s where you get a chance to hear God speaking to you.”Mr. Dixon said he grew up in public housing in the Bronx and attended the High School of Music and Art in Manhattan. Struggling to land and keep gigs at jazz clubs in Harlem, like Smalls Paradise and Showman’s, taught him how to fend off other musicians looking to replace him.

“Just because Jesus said to turn the other cheek doesn’t mean you have to let people walk all over you,” he said.The saxophonist Stanley Turrentine taught him to play with no excuses, and the alto player Lou Donaldson helped him choose a better mouthpiece. Connecting with a jazz club audience helped prepare him to connect with a congregation, said Mr. Dixon, who worked nearly 30 years as a teacher and administrator in New York City public schools. At one middle school in the Bronx, he was allowed to keep a cot so he could head there after late-night gigs, he said.

Before retiring from teaching in 2005, he began studying for his ordination as a Methodist minister. He told the congregation on Sunday that he was “happy minding my own business, but God said, ‘I ain’t finished with you yet.’”His latest CD, “Made in New York City: Nat Dixon and Friends,” includes a version of “My Lord, My God,” with vocals by the Rev. Lori Hartman, daughter of the jazz singer Johnny Hartman and herself a pastor, at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Jamaica, Queens.

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/07/nyregion/preaching-the-gospel-jazz-riffs-and-all.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ur_20170409&nl=nytoday&nlid=58278902&ref=headline&_r=0

Judge Rules NYPD Must Disclose Surveillance of Black Lives Matter Protesters Under Freedom of Information Law

NYPD authorities “make blanket assertions and fail to particularize or distinguish their surveillance or undercover techniques and records,” Mendez wrote. (SAM COSTANZA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

article by Stephen Rex Brown via nydailynews.com

The New York Police Department must disclose documents and video revealing surveillance of Black Lives Matter protestors at Grand Central Terminal in 2014 and 2015, a judge has ruled. The case, brought by protester James Logue, challenged the NYPD’s denial of a Freedom of Information Law request for information on its monitoring of rallies following the police killings of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Logue decided to file the request after suspecting that police were “compiling dossiers” on individuals at the peaceful protest, his attorney David Thompson said. The NYPD had argued that revealing its tactics would interfere with law enforcement work. But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Manuel Mendez ruled the NYPD could not decline to comply with the law on such “overly broad” grounds.

NYPD authorities “make blanket assertions and fail to particularize or distinguish their surveillance or undercover techniques and records,” Mendez wrote, adding that the department had failed to show why the use of redactions could not protect ongoing investigative work.

The judge noted that the MTA and Metro-North, which also monitored the rallies, responded to Logue’s FOIL request with some paperwork. Mendez ordered the NYPD to comply with Logue’s request within 30 days. He signed the ruling last Monday, though it was made public Wednesday.

To read more, go to: NYPD must disclose surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters – NY Daily News

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Cornell University Makes 19th Century Black America Photo Archive Available to Public


article via theguardian.com

Cornell University in New York has made a priceless photographic archive available to the public.  It shows the lives of black Americans as they rose through society after the antebellum era. To see all photographs, go to: Loewentheil Collection of African American Photographs

To see original article, go to: A taste of freedom: black America in the 19th century – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Becomes Reality

This photo provided by the U.S. Department of Interior shows Harriet Tubman’s home, now officially recognized as a national park. U.S. Department of Interior (photo via nbcnews.com)

article by Associated Press via nbcnews.com

Federal parks officials have formally established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in upstate New York. Members of the state’s congressional delegation joined U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., for the official signing ceremony last month that makes the park part of the National Park Service system. It encompasses the site of Tubman’s old home on the outskirts of Auburn, about 25 miles west of Syracuse, and a nearby church where she worshipped.

The New York park will focus on Tubman’s work later on in her life when she was an active proponent of women’s suffrage and other causes. It will be a sister park to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland.

“These two parks preserve and showcase a more complete history of one of America’s pivotal humanitarians who, at great personal risk, did so much to secure the freedom of hundreds of formerly enslaved people,” Secretary Jewell said. “Her selfless commitment to a more perfect union is testament that one determined person, no matter her station in life or the odds against her, can make a tremendous difference.”

To read full article: Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Becomes Reality – NBC News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says New York Will Remain a ‘Refuge’ for Minorities, Immigrants

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Nov. 19, 2014. (Gary Wiepert/AP)

article by Kristine Guerra via washingtonpost.com

Amid reports of harassment and threats directed at minorities and immigrants in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a Facebook post on Saturday that his state is a refuge for those who feel they are under attack.

“Whether you are gay or straight, Muslim or Christian, rich or poor, black or white or brown, we respect all people in the state of New York,” Cuomo (D) wrote. “It’s the very core of what we believe and who we are . . . We don’t allow a federal government that attacks immigrants to do so in our state.”

To read more, go to: Gov. Andrew Cuomo: New York a ‘refuge’ for minorities, immigrants – The Washington Post

Derrick Deacon of Brooklyn, 58, Awarded $6 Million After Imprisoned 24 Years on Wrongful Murder Conviction

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Derrick Deacon, 58, hugs his attorney Rebecca Freedman, at State Supreme Court after being acquitted for the 1989 robbery and murder of a 16-year-old named Anthony Winn. (JESSE WARD/JESSE WARD FOR NEW YORK DAILY NE)

A Brooklyn man who spent more than 24 years in prison for a murder conviction that was later thrown out by an appeals court has accepted the city’s offer of $6 million to settle his federal lawsuit, the Daily News has learned.

Derrick Deacon was re-tried for the murder in 2013 by the office of then-Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, and the jury acquitted him after deliberating merely nine minutes.  “Based upon newly discovered evidence which implicated another man as the actual killer, the court vacated Mr. Deacon’s conviction and granted him a new trial,” Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city Law Department said in a statement.

“We have determined that a settlement of this civil suit is fair and in the best interests of the City.”  Deacon, 61, was convicted of robbing and killing Anthony Wynn in April 1989 inside an East Flatbush building. A key eyewitness who pocketed a $1,000 Crimestoppers reward from the NYPD fingered him as the murderer.

But the case began to unravel in 2001 when a federal informant who had been a member of a violent gang called the Patio Crew gave the feds the name of the real killer. The Appellate Division for the Second Department reversed Deacon’s conviction in 2013, but the D.A.’s office refused to drop the case against him.

“The case should have never been retried and the acquittal after nine minutes was a slap in the face of the D.A.’s office,” his lawyer Glenn Garber said Monday. “This settlement is some level of redemption and compensation for Derrick’s suffering.”

To read more, go to: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/brooklyn-man-6m-24-years-wrongfully-prison-article-1.2852913