By Lesley R. Chinn
The Chicago Public Schools system is in the midst of shutting down several schools and so far students, parents, and teachers are awaiting the Board of Education’s decision on February 24 to see if they stay open or not.
Right now, five schools are on the list for a turnaround. The proposed turnaround schools are: Bradwell Elementary School, 7736 S. Burnham; Gillespie, 9301 S. State; Deneen, 7257 S. State; Wendell Phillips High School, 244 E. Pershing, and Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams. Under this proposed action, staff and faculty at these schools will be terminated while students remain. New faculty and staff will be brought in to implement new teaching strategies to improve academic achievement.
At Deneen, Joyce Fisher, principal, said the school, which has a population of more than 492 students, has made improvements in academics and attendance under her leadership for the past two years. “The staff has invested greatly in the students,” she said. “When the students come back to the school [in the fall], the only thing that will be familiar to them will be the building.”
Deneen teacher Odessa Jefferson who recently attended a PUSH rally to keep schools open, said she could retire but doesn’t want to. “The students have a special connection with me so why should I retire from a job that I already love,” she asked.
Four schools will be consolidated into other nearby schools due to low enrollment, low or under performance or poor facility conditions: McCorkle, Marconi, Mollison, and Paderewski Elementary Schools. McCorkle, 4421 S. State, will merge into Beethoven Elementary School, 25
W. 47th St. Students from Paderewski, 2221 S. Lawndale will transfer to Mason Elementary School, 4217 W. 18th St. Students from Marconi, 230 N. Kolmar will consolidate with Tilton School, 223 N. Keeler to form the Tilton-Marconi School. Mollison Elementary School, 4415 S. King Dr. will be consolidated with Ida B. Wells Prep Elementary School, 244 E. Pershing Rd. to form the Wells-Mollison School.
George Schneider Elementary School, 2957 N. Hoyne, is under the phase-out plan. When a school is phased out, existing students at the school will stay at the school, but there will not be any enrollment for new students.
Finally, four schools will simply be closed because of poor academic performance or low student enrollment. These schools include: Curtis Elementary School, 32
E. 115th St. The designated receiving schools for Curtis are Haley, 11411 S. Eggleston and Pullman Elementary Schools, 11311 S. Forrestville. Prescott Elementary School located on 1632 W. Wrightwood will be closed. Designated receiving schools are Agassiz, 2851 N. Seminary and Burley Elementary Schools, 1630 W. Barry.
Another school that will be closed is Guggenheim Elementary located at 7141 S. Morgan. The designated schools for Guggenheim students are Hinton, 644 W. 71st St. or Altgeld Elementary School, 1340 W. 71st St.
Guggenheim eighth grader Robert Campbell said he has two younger cousins that currently attend the school, but in the fall they will have to travel seven blocks to another location. “[Guggenheim] is right across the street from their home, but now they would have to cross dangerous paths just to get to school,” he said.
Guggenheim assistant principal Gervaise Clay said she would have to look for another job. “I haven’t started looking yet because I refuse to say our school is going to be closed and we’re going to fight until the very end.”
Students at Bartholome De Las Casas Occupational High School located at 8401 S. Saginaw will be closed because of facility-related reasons. Students from this special needs school will be either placed in private schools that can meet their needs or they will be transferred to Montefiore School, 1310 S. Ashland.
CPS officials have previously defended their decisions on school closings as part of their education reform efforts while touting the benefits of closing underutilized or underperforming facilities. “Our primary obligation is to assess the performance of schools and provide the best possible educational opportunity for students in every school,” said CPS chief Ron Huberman in a written statement. “This means taking a long hard look at every school…and making what can be difficult decisions on whether a school is properly serving its students.
For example, CPS pointed out on their website that when Sherman Elementary School, 1000 W. 52nd St., became a turnaround school in 2006, standardized test scores have increased in reading from 30 percent to 40.3 percent and in math, percentages rose from 26.3 percent to 46.4 percent.
However,a study released last October by the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago showed that eight in 10 CPS students displaced by school closings transferred from one low-performing school to another. After one year of school closings, displaced students fell behind a month-in-half in math and reading. This is in contrast to students who transferred to high-performance schools who excelled by nearly a month in the same subjects. The study also pointed out that students have traveled longer distances to get to school.
If a decision is made to close or consolidate a school, CPS officials plan to address public safety concerns of children transferring to another school. They will also work with receiving school principals to extend instruction time in designated receiving schools. These plans are part of provisions presented in the Bill of Rights Initiative presented last December before Board officials. The initiative’s aim is to encourage successful transfers for students impacted by a school closure or consolidation. The Board’s recommendations will not be effective until the school year of 2010-2011.
Previously, there were numerous public hearings at CPS headquarters downtown and community hearings concerning the impacted schools. Huberman said officials will evaluate testimony from previous public and community hearings before recommendations are presented to the Board. He pointed out that he removed six schools last year from proposed school actions list after assessing input from the hearings.
At a Sixth Ward meeting held last Thursday, CPS officials informed residents that they will recommend that Gillespie School be removed from a turnaround list.
CPS chief administrative officer Robert Runcie spoke very highly of Gillespie principal Dr. Michelle Willis, who has been at the school since 2007. Under Willis’ leadership, Gillespie has increased its test scores in 2007 and 2008; improved student attendance by 93 percent and staff attendance by 96 percent; obtained 200 new computers for the school and decreased student discipline problems that occurred in previous years.
“Gillespie is already turning around,” Runcie stated. “[Willis] is already one of the best principals in the academy. I truly believe that. This community is very fortunate to have an educational leader to make the kind of changes in the short period of time that she’s been at the school.”
When she heard the news that Gillespie was going to be a turnaround school, Willis said she was “shocked” because the school had been making improvements in the two years under her leadership despite having a slight decrease in test scores in 2009. “We invited the Board out to see the work that we’ve done and they did come.”
But now after hearing the announcement to recommend that Gillespie be removed from the turnaround list, Willis said that while it sounds like good news, she wants to “wait-and-see” what the Board’s final decision is going to be during a meeting on February 24 at its downtown headquarters. “I don’t know if it’s definite, but we’re trusting that [officials] will take [Runcie’s] advice.”
By Shanita Bigelow
Imagine an America, a world without potato chips or ironing boards, dust pans, refrigerators and automatic breaks. Imagine your life without a TV or radio, without your laptop or PC. The genius of black invention lies in innovation and perseverance, in searching for solutions to shared problems. But Black inventors represent more than patents and products. For more than 300 years, they have represented possibility. “…Even in a time when [blacks] were held back,” said Stacyann P. Russell, National Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers, “they were inventing things…necessary for our quality of life today,” she said.
Jan E. Matzeliger (1852-1889) was one of those inventors. He laid the foundation of the shoe industry in the United States and made Lynn, Massachusetts the shoe capital of the world.
When Matzeliger moved to Massachusetts in 1876, he spoke little English, had little money and didn’t know many people. “Before Matzeliger, hundreds of inventors and thousands of dollars had been spent in an effort to make a complete shoe by machinery,” according to Inventors.org.
Inventors before him developed crude shoe making machines but the final problem of shaping the upper leather over the “last” and attaching this leather to the bottom of the shoe had so-called “Hand-lasters,” perplexed. “Matzeliger heard of the problem… For ten years he worked, steadily and patiently, with no encouragement.” But finally, on March 20, 1883, he received a patent (no. 274,207) for his “Lasting Machine,” which revolutionized the capabilities of mass shoemaking.
Matzeliger’s machine could turn out from 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day versus an expert hand-laster’s fifty.
Russell, who works with the NSBE Juniors, which includes groups of students spanning grades three through twelve from low-income communities, is aware of the many challenges they face and hopes to show them that there are no limitations on what they can achieve. “When you see someone going through what you think is impossible…they prove it is possible,” she said.
Patricia Bath (b. 1942) of Harlem, N.Y, is another example of a person surpassing societal expectations and limitations. Bath came from humbled but inspired beginnings. Her parents encouraged her interest in the world and in science, and after only two and a half years in high school, she graduated. In 1959, during her short high school career, she was selected to participate in a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) where she worked on cancer research. She went on to Hunter College in New York and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. Later, she went on to Howard University’s medical school and graduated with honors. She is most known for her work in devising, “[a] safer, faster and…more accurate approach to cataracts surgery,” according to BlackInventor.com.
People like Matzeliger and Bath, like Otis Boykin(1920-1982) who’s interest in the burgeoning field of electronics led the way for the electrical resistors used in radios, computers, TV’s and most notably, pacemakers, are examples of what happens when individuals test the limits of what is believed possible.
Boykin was a graduate of Fisk University. After graduating he secured a job as a laboratory assistant in Chicago, testing automatic aircraft controls, according to Associated Content. He then worked as a research engineer at the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. Boykin chose to continue his studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology, but could not afford tuition after two years. Despite this setback, he continued to work on his inventions: 28 electronic devices, most importantly, the pacemaker.
Mark Dean (b. 1957), another pivotal engineer, is an IBM Fellow and Vice President of Technical Strategy & WW Operations for IBM Research. Today, he leads a life of learning. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, he began working as an engineer for IBM and continued his education while pursuing his career.
“In his capacity as an engineer for IBM, he didn’t take long to make a big impact, serving as the chief engineer for the team that developed the IBM PC/ AT, the original home/office computer,” according to BlackInventors.com. “Dean would own three of the original nine patents that all PCs are based upon.”
With over 29 years of experience at IBM, Dean is now responsible for the direction of IBM’s Research Strategy, which spans eight labs worldwide, according to IBM. He is leading IBM’s global operations and information systems teams and is proof that one’s work is never done, as the issues of today present new problems to be solved tomorrow.
For the many Black Americans that have shaped and continue to shape America, recognition is due. “When people don’t know…they tend to make things up,” Russell said. When this knowledge is attained, it allows for a “different perception of black people today,” and blacks’ perception of themselves, she continued.
More information on little known inventors like George Crum (potato chips), Sarah Boone (precursor to the ironing board), Thomas Elkins (refrigerated apparatus and chamber commode), Willis Johnson (egg-beater), Lloyd Ray (dustpan) and Richard Spikes (turning signals, automatic gear shift, etc.) can be found on BlackInventor.com.
BY: Leslie R Chinn
On Friday, February 19, prominent dignitaries and community leaders will convene at the Citizen Newspapers at a reception to officially unveil a street sign named in honor of Citizen Newspaper Group Inc. CEO William Garth Sr.
The street, “William Garth Sr. Avenue” was named in recognition of Garth’s many accomplishments including his work in the community and civic contributions. The sign is located between 77th and 78th Streets on Cottage Grove. It was previously approved by Chicago’s City Council last fall.
Garth, who is the only living Black publisher in Chicago who has had a street named after him, is also Chairman of the Quentis B. Garth Foundation.
Having started with the Citizen Newspaper in 1969 as an advertising sales representative under the leadership of former Congressman Gus Savage, he purchased the Chatham Citizen, Southend Citizen and Chicago Weekend in 1980. Garth later added the South Suburban and the Hyde Park editions, and founded Garthco Publications, which published PUSH Magazine, a bi-monthly national publication. With Chicago’s population being nearly 50% Black, the Citizen has effectively reached this market. Citizen Newspapers has a total circulation of 121,000 and a weekly readership of over 400,000. The circulation areas cover Chicago’s South and West sides as well as the South Suburbs.
As a tribute to his business acumen, Garth became the first Black person to be elected President of the Illinois Press Association (IPA). The IPA is the state’s largest newspaper association and the office trade organization for Illinois’ weekly and daily newspapers. Garth is the second Black person in the nation elected president of a statewide press association. He currently sits on the Board of Government Affairs Committee, of the Illinois Press Association and has served as a board member for more than 15 years. In addition, he was elected a stockholder in the Cook County South Suburban Publishers Association and in 2009, was elected to become Chairman of the Cook County Publishers Association for 2010. Although he resigned from the position, his business savvy and knowledge in the publishing industry allowed him to also serve as Chairman of the Midwest Black Publishers Association. In December 1998, Garth received the honor of being appointed to Governor-elect George Ryan’s Transition Team and was later appointed to the Board of Directors for the Illinois Inauguration 1998, Inc.
In 1995, Garth founded the Quentis Bernard Garth (Q.B.G.) Foundation in memory of his youngest son, Quentis B.
Garth, of which he is chairman. The Q.B.G. Foundation provides scholarships to the disenfranchised, inner city youths in the Chicagoland area. To date, the Foundation has helped over 49 students and has disbursed over $1million in scholarship awards. A dedicated activist and leader in the business community, Garth maintains memberships and positions with several business organizations. He is Chairman of the Chatham Business Association, former President of Midwest Region III of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), Region III Advertising Representative with the NNPA, Transition Team for IDOT -Dan Ryan Project, board member of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, a life-time member of the NAACP and a member of the Chatham Lions Club. Garth has been the recipient of numerous local and national awards and honors; one of such honor bestowed upon him was to carry the torch in Chicago during the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. These awards have become trademarks of his extraordinary character and commitment to the Black community.
By Eric Mayes
Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune
First lady Michelle Obama, crusading against childhood obesity and “food deserts,” singled out North Philadelphia as a shining example of how communities can come together to bring healthy foods to urban areas while creating jobs and revitalizing ailing neighborhoods. “You all should be very proud to be highlighted here today for the work that you’ve done. It’s really groundbreaking,” she told a crowd of hundreds gathered at Fairhill Elementary School on last Friday, where she appeared to promote a new healthy eating and fitness initiative called “Let’s Move” aimed to reduce childhood obesity.
“You decided first that no family in this city should be spending a fortune on high-priced, low-quality foods because they have no other options. You decided that no child should be consigned to a life of poor health because of what neighborhood his or her family lives in. And you decided that you weren’t going to just talk about the problem or wring your hands about the problems, but you were going to act.” Obama, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, made two stops: First at the new Fresh Grocer in Progress Plaza and then at the school. She was greeted like a superstar at both venues. Shoppers shouting “We love you” mobbed the grocery store, crowding impromptu barriers of pastries and other baked goods as Obama toured the store’s deli and produce section.
Their shouts drew the first lady away from the prepared tour as she took time out to shake hands, even reaching into the crowd to squeeze the hand of a little girl on her father’s shoulders. The crowd had been waiting inside the store for hours hoping to catch glimpse of Obama.
Storeowner Patrick Burns escorted Obama on the tour where she saw shelves filled with fresh fruit, vegetables and prepared food and even stopped to buy a strawberry-banana smoothie.
“I even have my own money,” she told the worker pulling out a $20 bill to pay for it and jokingly checking to make sure she got the correct change. The 46,000-square-foot Fresh Grocer located in one of the city’s poorer neighborhoods, where an estimated 25 percent of families live in poverty, is part of Progress Plaza, said to be the first African-American-owned shopping center in the United States, having been developed in 1968.
The $15 million store opened last December. It was developed by, among other entities, the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a public-private partnership created to increase the number of supermarkets in underserved communities across the state.
The initiative, in partnership with the state, the Reinvestment Fund and the Food Trust — both nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia — will spend $190 million to build 83 grocery stores in 34 counties and created 5,000 jobs statewide, she said. “If you can do it here, we can do it around the country,” Obama said. “Our goal is ambitious. It’s to eliminate food deserts in America completely in seven years.” President Obama has announced that he will spend $400 million from the 2011 federal budget for a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative based on the Philadelphia model.
At the second stop, Obama spoke to an auditorium filled with hundreds of people, a mix of adults and children, where she promoted her “Let’s Move” initiative. Obama noted that one in three children in the United States are overweight or obese and that more children are showing up in pediatricians’ offices with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.
“‘Let’s Move’ is a nationwide campaign to rally this country around one single but ambitious goal, and that is to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation so that the kids born today grow up with a healthy weight,” she said. The program combines four steps: food and menu labeling, more nutritious food in schools, promoting physical activity and providing access to healthy foods to everyone. “So let’s move,” she said. “That’s really the point. If we know it can be done, let’s move; let’s get it done. Let’s give our kids everything they need and everything they deserve to be the best that they can be.”
When you think of the Census, think about your slice of the American pie. If you do the math, it’s easy to see what an accurate count of residents can do for communities. Better infrastructure, more services and how more than $400 billion dollars of federal funding will be spent on things like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, bridges, tunnels and more. The shortest form in history, filling out the census form just makes good sense.
By Shanita Bigelow
Despite being one of the shortest forms in American history, comprised of 10 questions that only take about ten minutes to answer, completing the 2010 Census, particularly for underserved communities, could never be more important, especially during tough economic times, said Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League .
Not only will it help determine the distribution of more than $400 billion in funds to local, state and tribal governments but, “a complete and accurate census count will ensure that your state and community get their fair share of Congressional seats and community services,” said Morial, who views it as “an essential tool of economic and political empowerment.”
The form will be delivered to all U.S. households in less than a month and is supported by individuals determined to account for every resident of the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Through ad campaigns and community partnerships, the Census Bureau is trying to reach generally undercounted populations, largely Black and Hispanic.
Community partnerships like Complete Count Committees (CCC), local groups comprised of community leaders actively engaged in raising awareness, dispelling myths, and encouraging participation, are essential for a wider understanding of how census data are used.
The data collected gauge economic and societal growth and needs. A major factor in improving transportation; education; healthcare; housing and emergency services, the census, is also a tool for marketing,business expansion and job opportunities.
In the 2000 Census Illinois’ participation rate was 73 percent. In Cook County, the county with the largest population of African Americans (1.4 million) in the nation, as of July 2008, 70 percent of the residents were counted, according Census data. Chicago, on the other hand, had low participation, with only 58 percent of its residents completing the questionnaire.
“I understand that some people are skeptical…and have growing concerns about privacy, [b]ut I am making this appeal for full participation… because the stakes for our communities are so high,” Morial continued.
All collected information is confidential. “By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone, including the IRS, FBI, CIA or any other government agency,” according to the Census Bureau.
Census partners, aware of the challenges their communities face, work with community organizations (social service, religious, political and educational) to demonstrate the importance of a complete count because “being counted can mean dollars for the community,” dollars utilized by those organizations, according to the National Black Child Development Institute.
According to Illinois Issues, one report to Congress estimated that the biggest counties in the country would lose $3.6 billion in federal funds over a decade — or $2,913 for every missed person — because of under counts in the 2000 census. Cook County alone, according to the report, lost out on $193 million.
“In 2000, the Black population in the United States was estimated at 33.5 million and rose to 40.7 million by 2007, according to Census Bureau data. Census participation will give this growing and diverse Black population a voice and power to influence change in their communities,” Dr. Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau wrote in “Supporting the 2010 Census: Toolkit for Reaching the Black Community.”
Community partners have a unique and vital role in this year’s census. They have to reach everyone in their “growing and diverse”
communities, young and old. Whether through forums held at community churches, educational outreach at local schools and social service organizations, through Facebook or Twitter, these partners, who have been working for the past year to foster a deeper understanding of the census, are sowing a grassroots effort designed to mobilize their communities. For partners, determining what messages will have the most impact, is essential.
One example of such mobilization was an event held last week in the South Suburbs. “Just last week more than 20 different communities came together…at Lincoln Mall…for a four hour event,” said Muriel Jackson, media specialist for the Chicago Regional Census Center. In addition to viewing a “Portrait of America Road Tour” exhibit, participants also received written information, and had the opportunity to speak with local government officials about the ways in which census data directly affect their communities, she continued. “There are examples of that going on all over the Chicago area,” she said.
Census data are entrenched in everything from the distribution of funds to the implementation and evaluation of programs to laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act and Fair Housing Act while the data helps guide local planning decisions, including where to provide additional social services, establish child-care and senior centers, as well as where to build new roads, hospitals, and schools and job training centers.
“At the federal level…there are a minimum of 20 agencies that use census data” from the Departments of Education, Commerce and Justice to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), Jackson said. Census data are used for everything from “funding formulas” to monitoring laws, she continued.
By Lesley R. Chinn
Although a peaceful demonstration was called off last Wednesday at the Chicago First Temple United Building, 77 W. Washington, it didn’t stop parishioners from St. Mark United Methodist Church in Chatham from requesting that Bishop Hee-Soo Jung of the Northern Illinois Methodist Church reappoint Rev. Jon McCoy as senior pastor.
Currently, the question of McCoy’s reappointment remains in the air among St. Mark parishioners. Initially, members who were not pleased that Jung had not returned the church’s phone calls, letters, emails or visits regarding McCoy’s appointment, planned to host a peaceful demonstration outside the Temple for lack of a response from the Bishop. But after later learning that Jung had reached out to them, parishioners agreed to meet in the near future to discuss McCoy’s reappointment.
“We’re satisfied that [the Bishop] responded to us…We’re looking forward to a meeting in the near future,” said Rudy Smith, chairman of St. Mark’s Church Council.
Before becoming senior pastor about five years ago, McCoy began his tenure with St. Mark as an assistant pastor from 1997 to 2000. In the last five years under McCoy’s leadership, the church has grown tremendously with programs such as its martial arts program, soup kitchen, and young adults’ ministry. Based on these accomplishments alone, Smith, said removing McCoy would be “bad timing.”
But removing pastors, when members don’t agree or when it may not be in the best interest of the church, community and members, isn’t just an issue at St. Mark. The issue has occurred before in other churches among different denominations and can spell out controversy when it happens.
A similar scenario occurred when Father Michael Pfleger, who has served as Saint Sabina Church’s pastor since 1981 had his tenure threatened in 2001 when Cardinal St. Francis George had plans not to renew his third-six year term. The standard tenure for pastors in the archdiocese is two six year terms. Despite these efforts to oust him, Pfleger has remained at the predominately African-American church on the South side for 29 years where he has been applauded for doing great things both in the church and in the community.
“Any church or system where there is potential to remove a priest or pastor doesn’t make sense regardless of the racial dynamics especially if that person is still effective in the community,” Nyshana Sumner, chairman of St. Mark’s Staff Relations Committee maintains. She said she doesn’t know if the Conference knows what effect removing a pastor can have on the Black community.
Mark Kuzma, a spokesman for the Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church, said the organization is proud of St. Mark’s work in the community. “St. Mark UMC is a positive environment for children and youth, who desperately need safe places where they can be encouraged and molded to become the leaders of today and tomorrow…St. Mark has also been blessed for decades with many talented, dedicated clergy leaders – men and women, who have served faithfully and [who] have helped people from all walks of life experience the love of God in worship and in community,” he said.
“Bishop Jung has heard the concerns of the congregation of St. Mark United Methodist Church and is considering them as part of the process,” Kuzma added. “The Bishop is putting the appointment on hold pending further discussion and discernment…St. Mark UMC is a faithful and thriving congregation in Chatham that has been making disciples of Jesus Christ since the 1890s,” he said.
While the racial and ethnic makeup of the Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church is 85.88 percent White; 8.65 percent African- American; 3.58 percent Asian; 1.47 Hispanic; and less than 1 percent multi-racial, based on data provided by the conference, St. Mark United Methodist Church, has played an historic role in ending segregation of United Methodist Churches and has an estimated population of more than 2,000 members. It is one of the largest African-American churches in the Northern Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church.
Kuzma explained that clergy serve in an itinerant system and pastoral changes, “are never made lightly or frivolously.” According to him, clergy are appointed to a local church by the Bishop (every five years). New appointments are offered to clergy and they are given time “to pray and consider the new opportunity.” Last year, he said about 20 percent of the conferences clergy were appointed to new assignments.
But Sumner said the process for removing pastors needs to be reexamined and updated. “Parishioners need to be made aware and comfortable with the decisions so that no one is blind-sided,” she said. “We become a lot more attached to our pastors in regards to their involvement that’s larger than spirituality,” Sumner stated who added there have been pastors that have been at churches for 10 or 15 years. “[Before] decisions as it relates to churches in the Black community are made, [the Conference] needs to make sure that they are in touch with what goes in the African-American community,” she stated.
EUR -*Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Shane Mosley will step into the ring on May 1 after both fighters agreed to “Olympic-style” drug testing – an issue that scrapped Mayweather’s fight with Manny Pacquiao. “This one is definitely for the fans as I wasn’t going to waste anyone’s time with a meaningless tune-up bout and asked to fight Shane immediately,” the unbeaten Mayweather said, according to the Associated Press. “I have said ever since I came back to the sport that I only wanted to fight the best. I think Shane is one of the best, but come May 1, he still won’t be great enough to beat me.”
Mosley, meanwhile, he “will have no problem beating [Mayweather].”
But that bout fell through over disagreement on prefight blood testing procedures, with Pacquaio unwilling to agree to the random tests demanded by Mayweather. After weeks of wrangling and a failed attempt at mediation, the proposed Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, tentatively scheduled for March 13, was cancelled.
Pacquiao is now scheduled to face Ghana’s Joshua Clottey on March 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
By Lesley R. Chinn
As the world begins to focus its attention on the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next month, Chicago State University has added its own Olympic talent to its athletic department.
CSU recently recruited former Olympic long jump record holder Bob Beamon as as associate athletic director. His 1968 feat in the Summer Olympic Games in Mexico City stood as a world record for 23 years. The school’s new women’s track and field and cross-country coach is Diana Muhammad, South side native, who competed in the Olympics in 1980 and 1984. They both came on board at CSU this past fall.
CSU athletic director Sudie Davis envisions a new department with the addition of Muhammad and Beamon. He said hiring the two will help CSU add more weight to the athletics department program as it competes for “greater acheivement in the NCAA Division I and the Great West Conference” while promoting “outstanding academic success.”
Davis has known Beamon, who previously served as director of athletic development at Florida Atlantic University, for 30 years. they both worked together on the South Florida Inner-City Games, an event that also involved now California Gov. Arnold Scwarzenegger.
Davis said Beamon is a “good fit for the administration” because with his status he can help raise money for the school.
Giving back to the students is what Beamon said interests him the most. “We want them to have a good four years so they can be competitive in the world,” Beamon stated.
Davis once coached Muhammad, who competed in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as well as the 4-by-100 meter relay, during her days with the Chicago Zephyrs Club.
“To see her come back is phenomenal,” Davis stated. “I really like her demeanor and and how she deals with young people.”
Meeting an Olympian is something new for students, but Muhammad hopes to
draw from her experience as a world-class athlete to educate and inspire them. “I am encouraged to meet with the team because they are on top of their studies,” she stated. “Athletics is one thing and academics is another and if an athlete can’t compete, inspiring them to get a degree is more important [to me],” she stated.
Davis is excited that students will get a chance to interact with former Olympians who have moved on after their athletic careers. “People like Diana and Bob have that special touch because they’ve been there and the two will bring a breath of fresh air at CSU [as] we plan to take athletics and academics…to the next level,” he stated.
By Shanita Bigelow and Lisette Livingston
Black history is inextricably tied to world history. The first man was African and the first civilizations African, says Cheikh Anta Diop, historian, anthropologist, physicist and politician who studied the human race’s origins and pre-colonial African culture. The oldest hominid or human-like remains—among them a 6 million year-old skull—have been found in Kenya, Chad and Ethiopia.
When you think about Black History, you can’t ignore the Black origin of life and the legacies which started there, including the skeletal remains of “Lucy” dating back to 3.2 million years ago, discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.
Lucy’s discovery has been eclipsed by the discovery of Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus), the 4.4 million year-old remains, fully unearthed just this past year. These are pieces to the puzzle of Black existence, and clearly portray Africa as the birthplace of humanity.
“Classical African civilizations started in the Nile Valley well over 5,000 years ago,” said Prof. Josef Ben Levi, an expert on the history of classical African civilizations and philosophy. Levi is also an instructor at Northeastern Illinois University. These civilizations started in what is now called Sudan, an Arabic word meaning “Black,” he said. These civilizations moved north to what is now called Egypt. The word “Egypt” is Greek in origin. Yet early “Egyptians” would have called their home Kemet, which means “Black community or town,” Levi said.
But historians have often denied Egypt its African origins when in fact early civilizations like Nubia, a land of great natural wealth, of gold mines, ebony, ivory and incense were Black. Nubia, prized by her neighbors, has a history that can be traced from 5000 B.C. through Nubian monuments and artifacts as well as through written records from Egypt and from Rome. Ancient Egyptian portraits depict the Nubians as having very dark skin, and they were often shown with golden hooped earrings and with braided or extended hair. In antiquity, Nubia was first mentioned in Old Kingdom Egyptian accounts of trade missions.
And then there were the Black Pharaohs. National Geographic noted the wonders of these Black kings in a piece focusing on great Black rulers of yesteryear. “Scholars and historians have repeatedly failed to acknowledge the impact
made by the group of kings who traveled from deep in Africa and conquered Egypt in 728 B.C.,” the publication reported. The Nubians brought order and stability back to Egypt, torn apart by infighting. “Under Nubian rule, Egypt became Egypt again,” according to the publication.
Restoration required recreation and it was “in essence their renaissance,” Levi said. “The 25th dynasty…was a repetition of the birth.” The Black pharaohs of the 25th dynasty, Nubians, “… reunified a tattered Egypt and filled its landscape with glorious monuments, creating an empire that stretched from the southern border…all the way north to the Mediterranean Sea,” National Geographic reports.
Piye, was one of these kings and the first Nubian pharaoh who invaded Egypt in 730 B.C. and would have received the same accolades of any modern-day Black hero. Under the rule of Shabaka (Piye’s brother), the Nubians thwarted the encroaching Assyrians, “perhaps saving Jerusalem in the process,” National Geographic reports.
Like these great pharaohs who staved off attacks from their enemies, other Blacks in world history have crafted thought, crafted civilizations, built communities and were leaders in medicine, philosophy, religion, and education. Even when it came to social justice and equality, Blacks lead the way there too and as Levi put it, ancient Egypt was “the only nation in antiquity where women had complete and equal rights.”
Even those with a college education have benefited by principles of thought coming out of Egypt. In ancient Egypt education was paramount, Levi said. Egypt produced great minds like Imhotep, the father of medicine. The Egyptian educational system is the foundation of its Greek counterpart, he added. Pre -Socratic visitors like Thales acknowledged he went to Egypt to study geometry, Levi stated, before Pythagoras. The great Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato studied there, he contends. “Plato went to Egypt to study for 12 years,” and determined that was the type of education Greece needed—one based largely on the liberal arts.
The contemporary liberal arts comprise of studying literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. In classical antiquity, the liberal arts denoted the education proper to a free man unlike the education proper to a slave. This legacy, marked by the achievements of great Black civilizations like the Nubians, is one reason Black history can never begin with tales of slavery. “Slavery is only one factor in African history and it, too, is misunderstood,” wrote John Henrik Clarke in African People in World History.
“Fortunately history…leaves its mark on everything. If you do not find the books there are scripts… there are skeletons…sculptures… plants. There are many things that have left their mark and that is the reason why we reconstruct history by going…into all of those avenues…It is the only valid and genuine historical method to reconstruct the fragmented history of Africa and the Americas,” Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, an anthropologist and historian, said in 1986 at a lecture in London.