Tag: Pennsylvania

Activist and Police Shooting Survivor Leon Ford, 25, to Run for Pittsburgh City Council

Leon Ford speaks at Philander Smith College (Photo Credit: Instagram)

by Christina Santi via ebony.com

Activist Leon Ford, 25, who was shot and paralyzed by police in 2012, announced his bid for Pittsburgh City Council on Thursday, according to WTAE, Pittsburgh Action News 4.

“I have been speaking all over the country encouraging young people to not only vote, but to run for office,” Ford wrote in a statement. “I never considered running for office until I realized that I was one of the only voices bold enough to stand up for the people and speak truth to power.”

He will be running for a seat to represent District 9, which is now held by Rev. Ricky Burgess, who had held the position since 2007.

Ford was shot by detective David Derbish after a traffic stop. He later filed a civil rights lawsuit which was led to a $5.5 million settlement with the city. The council consented to the payout, but Rev. Burgess was absent for the vote.

The young activist went viral in 2017 after sharing a video of his son encouraging him to learn to walk again. The young boy can be heard saying, “Keep pushing. Don’t give up,” as he helps Ford with a walker.

Ford tweeted the sentimental moment, writing, “When you get shot by a police officer 5 times–and docs say that you will ever walk but your son says keep pushing.”

Ford said his campaign will focus on “restoring hope in our neighborhoods, creating new economic opportunities for our residents and healing one another to make all of our communities safe, vibrant, prosperous and livable for all.”

According to The Incline, Ford decided to embark on a political career after the fatal police shooting of Antwon Rose II, an unarmed 17-year-old, in East Pittsburgh in June.

“I’m a candidate now,” he told the publication. “I never considered running for public office. In fact, there was a time that I was against it, but now I’ve learned more about politics and policy and, it’s like, I’m tired of protesting and showing up at community meetings where the decisions are already made.”

Ford will host a campaign kickoff on Nov. 11, six years to the date of his shooting. Below is his TEDx Talk on”Turning Pain into Purpose”:

Source: https://www.ebony.com/news-views/police-shooting-survivor-running-pittsburgh-city-council

Last of Philadelphia’s Black-Owned Bookstores Work to Make a Comeback

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Yvonne Blake took over Hakim’s Bookstore from her father Dawud Hakim after he passed away. It is thought to be the oldest surviving black-owned bookstore in the country. (Photo credit: GENEVA HEFFERNAN via philly.com)

by Valerie Russ @ValerieRussDN via philly.com

At Hakim’s Bookstore in West Philadelphia, there are signs of life for what is believed to be the oldest black-owned bookstore in the country. Only a couple of years ago, the store was near death’s door. There is fresh, yellow paint on the walls, brand-new bookshelves, and a newly renovated office space at the back of the store. “I finally got a website about three months ago,” said Yvonne Blake, daughter of Dawud Hakim, who founded the store in 1959.

Two years ago, the landmark at 210 S. 52nd St. was in danger of closing: Competition from internet booksellers and its limited hours — a family member was ill — led many people to falsely believe that Hakim’s was no longer in business, Blake, 66, said. But after attention from a column by Inquirer and Daily News writer Helen Ubiñas, Blake said, “I had a lot of people offer to help.”

She had already launched a GoFundMe campaign (more than $1,140 has been raised), but hearing from people all over the country gave her even more hope — and help. Joel Wilson, the owner of a computer-consulting firm who went to elementary school with her daughter, created the new website and offered a reorganization plan. And Ron Green, founder of a clothing company featuring T-shirts and other apparel aimed at young black activists, paid her a visit.

“I had never heard of Hakim’s,” said Green, CEO of What’s Up African? “I told her, you don’t have social media. You’re not online. You have to go to festivals and events. You have to be visible.” And he advised her: “How can we expect the next generation of readers and leaders to access this store if they don’t know you exist?’

Now, some of Green’s T-shirts, items that appeal to a younger generation, are available at the bookstore.

Yvonne Blake holds a photo of her father, Dawud Hakim, in front of the store in the 1970s. (Photo credit:  GENEVA HEFFERNAN via philly.com)

Troy D. Johnson, president and founder of African American Literature Book Club, said only Marcus Books in Oakland, Calif., founded in 1960, has been around as long as Hakim’s.

Johnson also said he was pleased to learn that Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill just opened Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books at 5445 Germantown Ave in Philadelphia.

Hill’s store, “along with the opening of at least seven new black-owned independents this year, is a very positive sign,” Johnson wrote in an email. This is the first year his website added more bookstores than it flagged as having closed. “As Amazon becomes a near-monopoly for online book sales and eBooks, they are certainly having an adverse impact on not just black independents, but all booksellers online and brick-and-mortar,” Johnson wrote.

Joshua Clark Davis, a professor of history at the University of Baltimore who has studied black-owned bookstores in the country, said that the “rise and fall of black radical politics has always had an impact on the popularity of black bookstores.”

The first big boom was during the height of the Black Power movement, from the late 1960s until the mid-’70s.  “Then came a big decline, but another upswing in black bookstores was when Afrocentrism and Malcolm X and black nationalism boom again in the late 1980s and early ’90s,” Davis wrote in an email.
Continue reading “Last of Philadelphia’s Black-Owned Bookstores Work to Make a Comeback”

Philadelphia Resident Vashti Dubois Turns Home into Museum Dedicated to Black Women

Museum founder and proprietor Vashti Dubois (photo via metro.co.uk)

by Adam Smith via metro.co.uk

There is a museum like no other in Philadelphia. You would not have heard it, it is not listed anywhere and there are no signs from the motorway. Only the hand carved wooden sign in the garden hinted that the Victorian house was not like any other home in the world – and the woman who opened the door had the smile of someone who knew she was about to amaze you.

For years Vashti Dubois was sick of not seeing any images of black girls or women in museums and art galleries, so three years ago she decided to do something about it. The 56-year-old turned her house into The Colored Girls Museum, celebrating everything about black women and their place in the universe. Standing in the hallway, which screams with colour due to every inch being painted, she said: ‘If things ain’t right you got to make them right, and if you can change things, you gotta change them.’

After opening one room to the public, she decided to turn her bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen and her son’s bedroom into art galleries. Dubois said: ‘There are a lot of museums about a lot of different things, so we thought there should be one about the colored girl because there are no places that look at their experiences. We want to show who she is in her day-to-day life as a sister, a lover, a friend, an artist, a victim. We want to show that if there were no coloured girls, the system would collapse.’

As well as the museum’s collection of artefacts, paintings, dolls, textiles and sculptures, artists take over rooms and spaces for art installations. At first Dubois sought the help of artists she knew personally – but word soon spread, and soon she was being contacted by some of the world’s best upcoming artists.

To see related video, click herehttp://metro.co.uk/video/lack-female-images-exhibited-led-woman-create-gallery-1502225/?ito=vjs-link

And unlike most museums, this is personal. There are no walking tours headsets, no bored-looking security guards, and not a gift shop in sight.

So to enjoy culture for culture’s sake in Vashti’s home felt like an honor.

The Colored Girls Museum is a memoir museum, which honours the stories, experiences, and history of black girls. And it is Vashti’s story too.

She said: ‘Colored girls are an important part of the universe. You see us walking down the street. Everyday colored girls. You walk past us, but here we are in all of our extraordinary splendor doing the things that we do to make this world a great place to live.

‘We aren’t all Michelles (Obama) and Beyoncés. But look at how we are holding everything together for families across the world.’

The Birmingham Girls at The Colored Girls Museum. (Picture: TCGM)

When visitors arrive, Vashti explains to them that she started collecting paintings and sculptures three years ago after a personal tragedy. Then she takes them a tour of the house.

‘She distinguishes herself by exclusively collecting, preserving, honoring, and decoding artifacts pertaining to the experience and “her story” of colored girls,’ Vashti said.

Continue reading “Philadelphia Resident Vashti Dubois Turns Home into Museum Dedicated to Black Women”

Joel Fitzgerald, Forth Worth’s 1st Black Police Chief, Takes Charge

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Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald (CHRISTOPHER CONNELLY / KERA NEWS)

Fort Worth, Texas, swore in its first black police chief Tuesday at a ceremony packed with the city’s top leaders, WFAA reports.  Joel Fitzgerald takes over at a challenging time. He replaces Jeff Halstead, who retired in January amid federal discrimination lawsuits filed by several black police officers.

Black Lives Matter called for a rally in the city in August after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black college football player in Arlington, Texas. Weeks later, hundreds of mostly white people held a counter protest to support the police. Some held signs that read, “All Lives Matter.”

Many see Fitzgerald as the right person for the job. The new police chief is known for his ability to work well with the community, according to WFAA.

“The impetus is upon me to make sure that each and every person in this organization understands that when we speak of community, we’re part of the community,” he said at the ceremony. “The police department [is] an active member in the community and we’re to make sure that each contact that we have with each and every individual that we see is positive.”

With reference to Black Lives Matter, Fitzgerald told KERA News that he wants honest, “open discussions.”  “One of the things I said when I was first hired here is that I’m very inclusive, and I intend on listening to all stakeholders and making sure that they have a voice,” he added.

Fitzgerald underscored his track record of bringing together the police department and community. “I feel it won’t be any different in Fort Worth, the community has really opened their arms up and embraced me so far,” he stated.

Fort Worth’s new police chief, who holds degrees from Harvard and Northwestern, previously was the first black chief of police departments in Missouri City, Texas, and Allentown, Pa. Fitzgerald was a police officer in Philadelphia before climbing the ranks. He beat five other finalists to become Fort Worth’s police chief.

Read more at WFAA.com and KERA News.

article by Nigel Roberts via theroot.com

University of Pittsburgh Acquires Archives of Jazz Pianist Erroll Garner

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Jazz Legend Erroll Garner (photo via jbhe.com)

The University of Pittsburgh announced that it has acquired the professional archives of jazz pianist Erroll Garner.

Garner was born in Pittsburgh in 1921. He began playing piano at age 3 and by the age of seven was performing on the radio. In 1944, Garner moved to New York City where he became a leading performer and composer. He wrote the score for several films and Broadway plays. His ballad “Misty” became a major hit of Johnny Mathis was the featured in the 1971 Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me.

To see video of his signature song, click below:

 

The archives were assembled by Garner’s long-time agent and manager, the late Martha Glaser and were donated to the university by Glaser’s estate. Included in the collection are correspondence, performance and recording contracts, sheet music, awards, audio and video recordings, photographs, and memorabilia.

Erroll Garner died in 1977 at the age of 55.

original article via jbhe.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson 

The African American Museum In Philadelphia Presents Its Annual Kwanzaa Celebration, This Weekend, December 28-29

The African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates Kwanzaa with a full weekend of events, December 28-29. (Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia)

This Thursday, December 26 marked the first day of Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration of African culture and heritage, and The African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates with a full weekend of events on December 28 and 29.  Over the course of the weekend, look forward to an informative discussion about the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and the lighting of the museum’s Kwanzaa candles.  Celebrate the roots of the holiday with expressive dances, music and storytelling as well. All events are family-friendly and encourage a reconnection with African roots and the support of African American communities.

Kwanzaa Celebration activities are included in museum admission. Guests are encouraged to bring a canned food item for Philabundance.

Annual Kwanzaa Celebration at The African American Museum in Philadelphia
When: December 28-29
Where: African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street
Cost: Included in general admission
More info: www.aampmuseum.org

article via uwishunu.com

Motown Founder Berry Gordy Recipient of Marian Anderson Award

PHILAPELPHIA – A star-studded gala took place last night in Philadelphia to honor Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.  The legendary record producer and songwriter is recipient of the 2013 Marian Anderson Award, which pays homage to critically acclaimed artists who have made a significant impact.  Tuesday night’s gala dinner and award presentation at the Kimmel Center was hosted by comedian-actor Chris Tucker. It featured performances by Boyz II Men, Kool and the Gang as well as Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon, who stars as Gordy in “Motown The Musical.”

R&B icon Smokey Robinson presented a tribute, along with “Philly Sound” songwriting and producing pioneers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  Gordy, a high-school dropout who had a short professional boxing career, started Motown Records in Detroit in 1959. The record company is credited for opening doors for African-American performing artists, launching the careers of everyone from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder to Diana Ross & the Supremes.  “This year we will be honoring an individual who created a new genre of American music that is beloved around the world, by young and old, black and white,” said Award chair Pamela Browner White.

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Temar Boggs: Teen Boys Help Find Abducted Girl Jocelyn Rojas

LANCASTER, Pa. — Police in Pennsylvania say a 5-year-old girl was abducted while playing in her yard, but found safe two hours later after two boys spotted her in a car. Investigators are seeking the suspect, who drove off.  It happened around 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Lancaster Township just outside the city of Lancaster. Police say that’s when Jocelyn Rojas was reported missing.

Teen Hero Temar Boggs
Teen Hero Temar Boggs

Two hours later, as police and fire crews scoured the area, police in nearby Manheim Township say two teenage boys, Temar Boggs (pictured) and his friend, Chris, spotted a girl matching Rojas’ description inside a car. They began following the vehicle on their bicycles and police say the male driver eventually stopped and let the girl out before driving off.

“As soon as the guy realized we were chasing him, he stopped at the light and he let her out,” said Boggs. “And she ran to me and said she needed her mom.”  The girl’s mother told ABC affiliate WPVI-TV that she’s happy her daughter was found safe. “I’m definitely grateful God was watching over her and brought her home,” said Jaimee Smeal.

Police said an assault occurred while the girl was with her abductor, but would not release information on the type of assault. They also said the suspect did take the victim to get ice cream. It may take some time for the girl to help law enforcement officials figure out what happened during her two hours of abduction because of her age. She was briefly hospitalized after being rescued and is now home with her family.

The small community where the abduction took place is praising the boys’ bravery for tracking down the vehicle. “I believe it took courage for them to follow the car,” said Manheim-Lancaster Township Police Chief Neil Harkins, referring to the teenage boys. “The girl is here with us today.”  The cops are speaking to a person of interest in connection to the abduction, but have not named a suspect or filed any charges.

article via newsone.com

Hip-Hop Band The Roots Grow Large in New Philadelphia Mural

Workmen sweep in front of a new mural honoring The Roots, Friday, May 31, 2013, in Philadelphia. As a teen growing up in Philadelphia, Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter got busted for graffiti and was ordered by a judge to clean up such vandalism by painting murals. Now, Trotter and his Grammy-winning band The Roots are scheduled to attend Friday the unveiling of a city-sanctioned mural in their honor. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Workmen sweep in front of a new mural honoring The Roots in Philadelphia. As a teen growing up in Philadelphia, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter got busted for graffiti and was ordered by a judge to clean up such vandalism by painting murals. Now, Trotter and his Grammy-winning band The Roots are scheduled to attend Friday the unveiling of a city-sanctioned mural in their honor. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The house band for NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” is living large in its hometown of Philadelphia. Members of The Roots are now depicted on a multistory mural on the back wall of a school. The group attended a dedication of the project on Friday, May 31st.

The mural is called “Legendary.” It uses a colorful collage of images to trace the history of the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group. Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson says it’s difficult to believe how far the band has come since its founding in the city in 1992. The art project was created by the city’s Mural Arts Program. There are more than 3,600 murals in Philadelphia.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press via thegrio.com

Desmond Tutu Wins 2013 Templeton Prize With $1.7 Million Award

Desmond Tutu Templeton

Desmond Tutu was named this year’s winner of the 2013 Templeton Prize.

Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town who rose to international fame as he helped lead the fight against apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, was named the 2013 Templeton Prize winner Thursday.  The honor, which comes with a $1.7 million award, is given annually by the West Conshohocken, Penn.-based John Templeton Foundation. It has, in recent years, been awarded to academics who work at the nexus of religion and science.

Tutu is being awarded for his promotion of what the foundation calls “spiritual progress,” including love, forgiveness and human liberation, especially after the fall of apartheid when he chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The commission addressed tensions between perpetrators of the apartheid state and reformers, and granted amnesty on both sides to hundreds of requests out of thousands that were submitted. It is considered key to the nation’s democratic transition in the 1990s.

“When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd it’s usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others,” Tutu said in response to receiving the prize in a video on the Templeton website. “I want to acknowledge all the wonderful people who accepted me as their leader at home and so to accept this prize, as it were, in a representative capacity.”

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