Saturday, April 30, 2011

Regal Black Women from Around the World

Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World



Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World


Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World


Click here to read about these women and others on Black Enterprise

HBCU Student Not Allowed to Graduate Because of Facebook Post

HBCU student sidelined from graduation for Facebook post

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action 

Roman Caple is a senior at St. Augustine’s College.  He was set to graduate this weekend until he was informed by the school that he wouldn’t be allowed to walk with his classmates.  Caple says that his punishment was due to a Facebook post that allegedly "jeopardized the integrity of the college."

Caple argues that the reaction of school administrators came as a result of his posts following a tornado that hit Raleigh, NC two weeks ago.  But he says that most of his comments were meant to be uplifting.  One of his posts said the following:

"We all need to set our differences aside and help one another. Falcons we will continue to fly high because that's what we do. Help your neighbor, if need be, Falcons are one."

What if Kate Middleton Were Black?


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action 

If there were a royal wedding being held in Africa, would CNN spend an entire week covering it?  If not, what does that say about race, if anything at all? 

I couldn’t help but feel entirely disconnected from the ceremony that was being shown all over our television sets at the same time hundreds of people were being killed in an Alabama tornado.  I kept wondering if the fantasy of the British fairytale had more relevance to news producers than the reality of death and devastation.

The Reality of Being a Football Star


Watch as YBW’s Eshe White interviews a former football star about the realities of playing in the NFL



Friday, April 29, 2011

Report Says that Obama’s Father Was Forced Out of Harvard University



BOSTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's father was forced to leave Harvard University before completing his Ph.D. in economics because the school was concerned about his personal life and finances, according to newly public immigration records.

Harvard had asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to delay a request by Barack Hussein Obama Sr. to extend his stay in the U.S., "until they decided what action they could take in order to get rid of him," immigration official M.F. McKeon wrote in a June 1964 memo.

Roland Martin Has a Back and Forth with Donald Trump on Twitter


Roland Martin has begun calling out Donald Trump on his Twitter page. This is what Martin had to say:


"Do not support Trump's #CelebrityApprentice. He's a travesty. I refuse to stay at Trump hotels; will NOT watch #CelebrityApprentice or buy products that continue to advertise on his show. He's pathetic."


Donald Trump Then Replied:



“I am the least racist person on the planet. I have a great record on that, especially in terms of my friendships. And I have never heard of Roland Martin.”


President Obama Meets with Participants in the 1968 Sanitation Strike


“The President invited the living participants in the Memphis Sanitation Strike to honor their courage, and their fight on behalf of all workers for safe conditions, respect in the workplace and a better life for themselves and their families. As workers across the country continue to face challenges to their rights, the issues for which these men fought continue to be relevant  and the President remains committed to the causes for which they marched.” – from the White House

Report: Newspapers and Websites Lack Diversity in Sports Reporting


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Some 320 websites and newspapers that belong to Associated Press Sports Editors slightly improved their racial hiring practices last year, according to a study released Wednesday, though they failed again to make any strides in gender hiring for key newsroom positions.

The report, released every two years by the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, gave those outlets a C plus, up from a C in 2008, for racial hires and an F for gender hires in jobs including sports editor, columnist, reporter and copy editor.

Dr. Boyce Watkins on the Huffington Post – 4/29/11


Rocky Clark Is Dying From a Lack of Health Insurance

Posted April 26, 2011 | 06:25 PM (EST)

I woke up thinking about a person I met just two weeks ago. I was thinking about this man because he is going to die unless we find a way to help him. He is paralyzed from the neck down, has one working lung and that lung has enough blood...

Read Post

Fighting the Arrest of Tanya McDowell: Educating Your Child Should Not Be a Crime

773 Comments | Posted April 24, 2011 | 10:28 PM (EST)

When I heard about the case of Tanya McDowell, the homeless mother sent to jail for sending her 5-year-old son to the "wrong" school district, I immediately thought back to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar not long ago. I wondered how the world has gone mad...

Read Post

Dr. Boyce: Why I don’t Care about the Royal Wedding


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action 

I had to keep myself from getting sick when I turned on the TV this morning to see some random people walking down the street wearing clothes too expensive for nearly all of my friends to afford.  I wondered why the world has become captivated and frozen over such a disgusting exercise of extravagance.  So, I thought I would list at least four of the reasons that I won’t be watching the royal wedding: 

1) Because I simply don’t care and neither do most of the people reading this article.  It’s one wedding, for one couple across the world.  I honestly just don’t get it.

click to read

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Malcolm X’s Interpretation of Fox News Racism


Watch the video below to understand the nature of Fox News Racism.  There’s a historical context to all of this, whether we’re talking about the Birther Movement, the Tea Party or any of the other activity coming from the Right Wing.  Check it out below or click here to watch.



Teen Mothers in Detroit Face Police brutality when Trying to save their School


From the Voice of Detroit

DETROIT – In an interview with VOD, Ashley Matthews, 17, described the heroic student-led occupation of her school, Catherine Ferguson Academy on April 15. She spoke of the wholehearted support the young mothers received from the community, as well as the vicious physical and verbal brutality police visited on them during their arrests.

She said two toddlers, there with their mothers, watched the events.

Dr. Boyce Thought of the Day: Cory Gunz, Busting Rhymes and Dribbling Basketballs

Boyce Watkins

I’m sitting here watching this MTV show "Son of a Gun," about a rapper, Cory Gunz, who is deciding which hip-hop label to join. I admittedly become annoyed with media feeding these bullsh*t dreams to black men, when 99.9% of them never end up making money as rappers or athletes. Brothers please understand this: Your best options for success are education and entrepreneurship - not busting rhymes and dribbling basketballs.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

President Obama, Appeasement, and The Birth of a Nation


by Frank IgweYour Black World 

"Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.” -Winston Churchill

As Hitler’s Third Reich expanded across Europe, and leader after leader sought to placate and temper his appetite for war by surrendering territory in the hope for peace, Winston Churchill took a stand, and stated: "Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat you last.”You see, Churchill understood a basic truth that has been around since the beginning of time: A bully will continue to be a bully, until you take a stand and fight. Hitler’s aggression was built on a platform of racial superiority, of dividing the world into “in-groups” and “out-groups”, the chosen and “the others”, slaves and slave masters. He may have succeeded in his quest for world domination, and global ethnic cleansing had it not been for one courageous leader who said, ENOUGH!

Whoopi Goldberg Calls Donald Trump Out for his Racism


Your Black World Reports

It appears that Whoopi Goldberg has had enough.  The host, who normally defends men accused of racism (i.e. Mel Gibson and Ted Danson), found herself highly offended by Donald Trump’s reference to President Obama playing basketball and then stating that Obama was not qualified to get into Harvard. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Father Michael Pfleger Gets Suspended from the Catholic Church

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

If there were ever a human being who best embodied the words “What would Jesus do?” it would be Father Michael Pfleger out of Chicago.  Father Pfleger has put it on the line for 30 years as the head of the St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church in the south side of Chicago.  The church is predominantly black, but Father Pfleger connects with his parishioners as if they were his family.

McJobs Are Not the Cure for An Ailing Economy

Job seekers wait in line at a one-day hiring event April 19 at a McDonald's in San Francisco. Hundreds showed up to apply.

Editor's note: Annette Bernhardt is policy co-director of the National Employment Law Project, a national advocacy group for the rights of lower-wage earners. She was lead researcher on NELP's recent report, "A Year of Unbalanced Growth: Industries, Wages, and the First 12 Months of Job Growth After the Great Recession."

(CNN) -- We are starved for signs that the economy is picking up. So when McDonald's threw its doors open to hire 50,000 workers nationwide, media networks scrambled to film applicants lining up across the country for that increasingly elusive piece of the American dream -- a job.

Lawmakers Start Asking Questions about the Tanya McDowell Case

HARTFORD -- State lawmakers are wondering why a homeless Bridgeport woman is being prosecuted on felony charges for enrolling her son in a Norwalk school.

Rep. Bruce V. Morris, D-Norwalk, said Wednesday that since Tanya McDowell's 5-year-old son A.J. was withdrawn from Brookside Elementary School in January she should be held accountable for no more than half the $15,000 she has been charged with stealing.

Tanya Pleads Not Guilty and We March Next Month

PHOTO: Tanya McDowell, a Connecticut mother, was arrested for allegedly lying about her home address to send her son to a better school.

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

Tanya McDowell, the mother in Connecticut who was charged with larceny for allegedly stealing an education for her son, has pleaded not guilty today in court. McDowell faces up to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for sending her child to a school outside his district. The problem is that no one seems to know where McDowell was living because she is homeless.

McDowell’s son, AJ Paches, was sent by his mother to Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, CT. As a kindergartner, Ms. McDowell wanted to ensure that her son had access to a high quality education. The problem is that when school officials found out that AJ didn’t belong, they put him out. The school system that he was sent to, in nearby Bridgeport, CT has significant problems, where many of the schools are in danger of being taken over by the state. Tanya McDowell Pleads Not –Guilty

NORWALK, Conn. -- A homeless single mother who lives in her van pleaded not guilty Wednesday to stealing nearly $16,000 worth of education for her son by enrolling the kindergartener in her baby sitter's school district.

Tanya McDowell, 33, was arraigned in Norwalk, where she was arrested April 14 on felony charges of committing and attempting to commit first-degree larceny.

Prosecutors say McDowell used her baby sitter's address to enroll her son in Norwalk schools in the fall but should have registered the boy in nearby Bridgeport, a significantly poorer urban district and the location of her last permanent address.

Students Fight to Save HBCU in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Eye-level watermarks, gutted buildings and rows of mobile classrooms linger as reminders of the flooding from Hurricane Katrina that nearly wiped out Southern University at New Orleans in 2005.

Now the predominantly African-American university faces what students and administrators view as a new threat: Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposal to consolidate the school with the nearby, mostly white University of New Orleans.

Things I Learned about Tyler Perry While Being Interviewed by Mo’Nique

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

I watched Tyler Perry last night on the Mo’Nique Show on BET.  It was an interesting interview, with Mo’Nique fawning over Tyler’s brilliance in the way you would expect an actress to kiss up to one of the most powerful filmmakers in the world.  I fully expect that Mo’Nique will get some coveted roles in future Tyler Perry films.

President Obama Picks a New Defense Secretary


Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will name CIA Director Leon Panetta as his nominee to succeed Robert Gates as defense secretary, a senior defense official and another U.S. official said Wednesday.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will be named to replace Panetta as CIA director, a senior defense official said.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rocky Clark is Dying: Unless We Find a Way to Help

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

To join our coalition for Rocky, please visit

I woke up thinking about a person I met just two weeks ago.    I was thinking about this man because he is going to die unless we find a way to help him.  He is paralyzed from the neck down, has one working lung and that lung has enough blood clots in it to kill him.

Meet Rasul “Rocky” Clark, a 27-year old man living in Illinois.  Rocky was once a promising young high school athlete at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Il.  His future came to a halt when he took a bad hit on the football field that left him with the inability to ever use his arms or legs again.  As you can probably imagine, the earth-shattering transition from being a healthy 16-year old boy to becoming a quadriplegic is beyond daunting, and many of us could never recover from this kind of devastation.

NBC: School Says They Weren’t Responsible for Charging Tonya McDowell

From NBC Connecticut

A homeless, unemployed mom from Bridgeport has gained a lot of attention after she was arrested for sending her 6-year-old son to school, and now the school is saying they did not go after her.

Tanya McDowell, 33, has been accused of stealing $15,686 worth of education for her son from Norwalk when they were staying in Bridgeport.

McDowell told police she was living in a van and occasionally sleeping at a Norwalk shelter or a friend's Bridgeport apartment when she enrolled her 6-year-old son at Norwalk's Brookside Elementary.

A Man Shares His Story About Being Investigated for Sending Child to "Wrong" School


Dr. Watkins,

What you see happening in Norwalk , CT is not an isolated incident in my state.

My name is Jim Zygmont, I was investigated, staked out, and brought before a judge by the Fairfield (CT) Board of Education because of my desire to have my brother receive a high school education at a considerably good school.

I was born and raised in the projects of Stamford (CT). My brother is White/African American and I am white. He looks more African American than he does white, if you know what I mean.

Long story short, my brother lived in a home that was broken, influenced by drugs, and supported by a single mother.. When my brother was in high school, my mother moved out of state. He became dangerously at risk of not finishing high school. That’s when my other brother and I took action.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Huffington Post: Women Should Not Be Arrested For Sending their Children to School


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Huffington PostYour Black World Coalition

When I heard about the case of Tonya McDowell, the homeless mother sent to jail for sending her 5-year-old son to the "wrong" school district, I immediately thought back to the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar not long ago. I wondered how the world has gone mad enough to somehow think that it should be against the law for mothers to find ways to get their children access to a high quality education.

As a result of this homeless single mother having the audacity to get her child into a good school, she is being charged with first-degree theft and also being asked to repay the $15,686 it allegedly cost to educate her child in the Norwalk, Conn. school district. No one cares that this family has no home. No one seems to care about what will happen if this child grows up without the only woman on earth wired to love him unconditionally. No one seems to care about the massive costs to the state of prosecuting this mother and eventually the child, as we deliberately trap them in an intergenerational cycle of poverty and criminal justice. All that seems to matter is that they keep this little boy out of their school.

Meet Rocky Clark: His Insurance Company Has Left Him to Die

Rocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

The story of Rasul "Rocky" Clark is a cautionary tale to all the mothers who send their sons to the football field on Saturday afternoon. Ten years ago, Clark was living the dream of many African American males: he was one of the stars of his high school football team, playing the game as running back.
Rocky's dream came to an end with one hit too many. The player was paralyzed from the neck down, rendering him unable to move, walk, stand up, or use his arms for the rest of his life. He will never run down the field, experience sex, wash himself or even breath properly again. He has one lung, and his life expectancy dropped dramatically on the day of his horrible injury. In fact, part of the reason his family is now broke is because medical experts and insurance companies didn't expect him to last for even a decade.
Rocky just found out that his $5 million dollar insurance policy has reached the lifetime maximum, meaning that his insurer is not going to pay anymore of his expenses.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Press Conference to be Held for Tonya McDowell Hosted by Gwen Samuel and the CT Parent’s Union

Press Conference: April 27, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. [For the
Educational Rights of Homeless and ALL Children, and Support for Homeless
Child & Mother Tanya McDowell] 
Norwalk Superior Court (Front)
17 Belven Avenue
Norwalk CT 06851
Hosted By: The CT's Parent Union,
Support By: Your Black World Coalition and the
Confirmed Guest: Ohio Mom - Kelley Williams - Bolar (arrested in Ohio for
sending her children out of district to a better school)
Invited Guest: Dr. Boyce Watkins - Syracuse University Professor
And other education advocates. Education Should Be A Right, Not a Crime

by Helena Andrews,

Start typing "mother arrested" into Google, and the Internet wastes no time filling in the rest: "for lying about her address." Not "for selling her daughters on Craigslist," "for feeding her sons drywall" or "for locking her kids in the basement like Boo Radley," but for trying to educate them beyond the borders of their block. In the United States of America, educating your children by any means necessary is a punishable offense.

25% of All Americans Don’t Believe President Obama was Born in the United States

Barack Obama 


A quarter of all Americans incorrectly think President Obama was not born in the United States, according to a new CBS News/ New York Times poll.

Among all Republicans, 45 percent believe he was born in another country, as do 45 percent of Tea Party supporters, the poll shows.

Since the start of Mr. Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, rumors have existed that he was born outside of the United States. The"birther" myth has steadily persisted through Mr. Obama's presidency, in spite of overwhelming evidence he was born in the United States -- including his 1961 birth announcement, printed in two Hawaii newspapers.

Businessman and television personality Donald Trump has pushed the issue into the spotlight in recent weeks, insisting that he is unconvinced of Mr. Obama's origins. While Trump has used the issue to bring more attention to his possible Republican presidential bid, other Republicans are trying to tamp down the "birther" talk.

House Tea Party Caucus Chairwoman Michele Bachmann said recently that it's time to "move on" from the issue. Additionally, Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer recently vetoed a bill, penned in response to questions about Mr. Obama's origins, that would have made Arizona the first state to require presidential candidates to provide proof of their birth before getting on the state ballot.

The myth seems fated to live on, however, as a new book will come out next month entitled,


Click to read

Visit Your Black World for more news. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Officials Try to Claim that Tonya McDowell Wasn’t Actually Homeless: As if it Actually Matters


From the Norwalk Patch

The arrest last week of a 33-year-old woman of "no fixed address" on charges that she illegally enrolled her five-year-old child in Brookside Elementary School has generated lots of comment outside Norwalk about whether or not the woman should have been charged.

Tanya McDowell was charged by Norwalk police with first-degree larceny, a felony, and appeared in state Superior Court in Norwalk on April 15. Police said McDowell committed first-degree larceny because enrolling her child cost the city the equivalent of about $15,686—the average annual cost per pupil of education in Norwalk Public Schools in 2010.

Black Family Wealth Has Virtually Disappeared

by Dr. Boyce Watkins – 

The first decade of the new millennium brought a lot of things that the world didn't expect: the ability to order a pizza on your home computer, cell phones that allow you to talk to your friends face-to-face, and our nation's first black president.

One other unexpected event of the last decade is the disappearance of a century's worth of progress in reducing the wealth gap between black and white Americans. AsRex Nutting at Market Watch so accurately notes, wealth levels of the black family in America have declined dramatically during the past decade, and they show no evidence of getting better any time soon.

According to Nutting, "In a country where access to capital is everything, most blacks have nothing."


First, Nutting mentions that African Americans have the highest unemployment rates in the country, which stand at an average of 16.5%, compared to 9% for whites. What is most daunting is that soaring black joblessness, combined with higher foreclosure rates, bankruptcies, and declining home values have seriously cut into the wealth of the black family in America. in other words, we are the first to lose our jobs, have the least wealth to protect our families when times are tough, and a greater reliance on declining home equity as a source of economic security. This economy has provided the perfect storm of black economic destruction.

According to Nutting, the median net worth for black households dropped from $9,300 in 2007 to $2,200 in 2009, much lower than the median wealth of $98,000 for white households. He also mentions that incomes dropped in black homes by 7.2% between 2007 and 2009, much greater than the 4.2% decline for white families.

Nutting's article reminds us that the United States has a long way to go when it comes to wealth distribution. Over 80% of the nation's wealth is controlled by just 20% of its citizens, and the richest 1% of Americans controls one-third of the nation's wealth. Roughly 40% of Americans have no wealth at all. African Americans are disproportionately represented in the group of Americans with zero or negative wealth, which is a problem that most of our elected officials are inclined to ignore, and something that our nation's citizens don't spend much time getting upset about.

Nutting is correct to mention that most Americans have their wealth tied up in their home values. So, when home prices dropped so dramatically during the economic downturn, this led to the wealth of many black families disappearing as quickly as it had arrived. Most of the economic disparities in the United States don't exist because whites are more responsible with their money or possess economic intelligence that black people don't have. The primary reason for the gap is that for hundreds of years, African Americans added to our nation's net worth, but were not being properly compensated for it (similar to how the NCAA operates). Being left out of the growth of America's economic engine has kept African Americans at the bottom of the ladder of institutional opportunity: Our school systems are not well-funded, we can't find jobs because we don't own the businesses that take applications, and we continue to be utilized as for-profit commodities by the prison industrial complex.

According to Nutting's research regarding the Survey of Consumer Finances, black families were three times wealthier (in real terms) in 1983 than they were in 2009. As white families saw their net worth grow from $124,000 in 2001 to $143,600 in 2007, blacks actually saw their net worth drop from $12,500 to $9,300. By 2009, white families saw their wealth levels drop to $94,600, but African Americans's levels dropped even more to $2,200. So, between 2001 and 2009, African American families went from having a disgraceful one-tenth of the wealth of white families to an even more horrific ratio of one-fiftieth.

I am not sure how to process the Obama Administration's blind, deaf and dumb response to the persistent wealth and opportunity gaps in America that pertain to race. While the president continues to be popular among African Americans, I would encourage members of his administration to remember that leading with courage is an important part of making African American history (not just holding a fancy title that adds almost nothing more than symbolic value for the black community at large). Courage means sometimes doing things that are not popular and working to make America better.
Given that I haven't heard the president or his team use the words "black man," "black woman," or "black families" in public over the last two years, I am concerned as to whether or not our first black president has been or is willing to do much to fight on issues that matter to black people who didn't go to Harvard University. For example, it's interesting that President Obama would speak up for Henry Louis Gates in a meaningless and ambiguous scuffle with a police officer, but wouldn't say a word about Kelley Williams-Bolar, a black woman who was sent to jail for trying to get her kids into a good school. The latter case was far more significant in the fight against inequality, but Kelley's housing projects were apparently not close enough to Harvard Yard.

There is the added complication that perhaps, because of being a black man, President Obama could "get in trouble" with white voters for advocating on issues that matter to African Americans. This argument has been used by supporters of Hillary Clinton, who might be far less sheepish or self-conscious about advocating for women and minorities. I'm not sure if the Clinton supporters are correct, but the last two years have made many African American families wonder if it even matters who sits in the White House.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Left Wing Hecklers Sing to President Obama

Your Black World Reports

During a campaign speech in San Francisco, a group of left-wing hecklers interrupted President Obama with a speech.  The group actually sang a song to the president in protest of the detainment of Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is being held because of his role in the Wikileaks scandal.  Here are the words to the song they sang to the president.

Malcolm’s Daughter Walks Off Interview When Asked About Her Father’s Sexuality

Your Black World reports

It appears that Malcolm X’s daughter did not take well to piercing questions from Michel Martin on a recent NPR segment.  Ilyasah Shabazz walked off the interview after being asked one too many questions related to the release of a new book about her father’s life.  The interview transcript is below:


You might have heard about a controversial new biography of Malcolm X, "Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" was written by prominent African-American scholar, Manning Marable, who died on April 1st just days before the book was released. The book has gotten a lot of attention, in part, because of that unfortunate circumstance. But also because the book makes some provocative assertions about the activist's life and death, including some assertions about his early years, speculations about his personal relationships and the circumstances of his murder.

Man Gets $85K for Being Falsely Accused of Rape



Eugene Robinson wants the world to know that he is not a rapist.

Ever since police mistook him for a wanted sex offender in 2008, he's told anyone who would listen that they have the wrong guy.

Now, after a three-year struggle to clear his name, Robinson, 60, can breathe easier, even chuckle at the horrific mix-up that landed him in jail for a year and prompted his fiancee to leave. Earlier this month, city lawyers admitted that police made a mistake and agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Robinson.

"I'm not an angel," Robinson said. "Don't claim to be an angel. I've done some things, but see, I would never violate a woman. Even in my worst days, I would never violate a woman."

Robinson's Kafkaesque nightmare began Aug. 4, 2008, when he opened up the Daily News and saw his mugshot under the headline "WEEK'S MOST WANTED."

Al Sharpton Says Black Intellectuals Don’t Respond Well To Him: Actually I do

In a recent interview with Newsone, Rev. Al Sharpton laid out some of his divides with black intellectuals. The Rev seems to feel that many in “blackademia” are not comfortable with his approach to politics, and that the divide is becoming more apparent as time goes on. During the conversation, Sharpton had this to say:

“A lot of Blacks in the intellectual circles have a problem with me because of class issues,” Sharptonsays in the interview. “I was a college dropout with a James Brown hairdo. ‘He cant talk for us!’ I mean all of the arrogance! They want to speak about the proletariat but don’t want a proletarian leader!”

I listened to the words with interest, primarily because I think I might have enough education to be considered to be a part of the “black intellectual” class to which Rev. Sharpton is making reference. I suspect that Rev. Sharpton’s remarks are driven by the heated debate between he and Cornel West on MSNBC last week. There have been other incidents in the past, but in the age of Obama, almost nothing matters before 2008.

Recy Taylor: Woman Gets Apology for unprosecuted Rape in 1944

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 


Recy Taylor, a 91-year old woman in Alabama, has received an official apology from the state of Alabama for a rape that occurred nearly 70 years ago.  Ms. Taylor was raped on her way home from church by seven white men.  The men were never prosecuted for their crime and allowed to live the rest of their lives without punishment.

Gov. Robert Bentley said that he plans to sign the resolution, which was passed by the state legislature.  Ms. Taylor was also grateful.

Prosecuted MomTonya McDowell Explains Why She Enrolled Her Son into School

Tanya McDowell says she enrolled her son at Brookside because she wants the best for him.

Photo credit: Moina Noor

Tonya McDowell thought by enrolling her son at a Norwalk elementary school, he would have a better life than she did. "The school was better than the one in Bridgeport," says McDowell. "I want the best for my child. There's nothing I wouldn't do for him. I think a lot of parents in my situation would have done the same."

McDowell, 33, is charged with first-degree larceny for allegedly stealing more than $15,000 — the average amount it takes to educate a child per year in Norwalk. McDowell allegedly used her babysitter's address at Roodner Court, a Norwalk Housing Authority complex, to enroll her son at Brookside Elementary School. McDowell, who is originally from Bridgeport but has no fixed residence, is an unemployed single mother. She currently stays with a friend in Bridgeport but has also stayed at the Open Door Shelter in South Norwalk.

When the Norwalk police arrested Tanya McDowell last Thursday, she had no idea why. "I kept asking, 'What did I do?' " she says in an interview outside the offices of Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, or NEON, overlooking the big chessboard in Ryan Park. It wasn't until she arrived at the police station that she learned of the charges. McDowell posted $25,000 bond with the help of her godfather and has her next court date April 27.

McDowell's 5-year-old son, Andrew Justin, or A.J., started kindergarten at Brookside in September and left in mid-January. "I received a call on my voicemail telling me that I had to remove A.J. from the school. No paperwork or anything, just a voicemail." McDowell says that she didn't contest the message and withdrew A.J. from Brookside. "He loved that school, his teacher and his friends," she says of A.J.'s four months at Brookside. "He never got into any trouble."

Click to read.

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Youth Offenders with Life IN Prison Asking for a Second Chance

From the NY Times

CHARLESTON, Mo. — More than a decade ago, a 14-year-old boy killed his stepbrother in a scuffle that escalated from goofing around with a blowgun to an angry threat with a bow and arrow to the fatal thrust of a hunting knife.

The boy, Quantel Lotts, had spent part of the morning playing with Pokémon cards. He was in seventh grade and not yet five feet tall.

Mr. Lotts is 25 now, and he is in the maximum-security prison here, serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for murder.

The victim’s mother, Tammy Lotts, said she lost two children on that November day in 1999. One was a son, Michael Barton, who was 17 when he died. The other was a stepson, Mr. Lotts.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Should Police Be Allowed to Download Your Cell Phone Information From a Distance?

Your Black World reports

The Michigan State Police are planning to use a gadget that works with a “Universal Forensic Extraction Device,” that can copy all of the contents off someone’s cell phone. This includes all texts, emails, phone calls, pictures and videos. The device works on 3,000 cell phone models. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is asking a lot of questions about the device.   They speculate that it can be abused to violate the civil rights of countless American citizens.

Police are arguing that the device can be used to keep important evidence before trial, but the ACLU wonders if the devices are being used to get private information from citizens who are not under suspicion. They also wonder if the information is being gathered without the consent of the motorist or a search warrant. Civil Rights advocates argue that the device violates the Fourth Amendment, which forbids illegal search and seizure. When the ACLU wrote a letter to the police department, the department asked for over $500,000 for the release of the information.


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dr. BoyceWatkins and Rev. Al Sharpton Discuss Malcolm X and the Obama Monkey Incident


Click here to listen to Dr. Boyce and Rev. Al Sharpton discuss the incident in which President Obama’s face was place on the body of a chimp in an email that was distributed by a Republican leader in California.  They also discuss the assassination of Malcolm X and the result of a YBW poll on the black perception of the Nation of Islam’s role in his death.  Many have speculated that


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Black Republican Armstrong Williams Debates with Dr. Boyce Watkins

Your Black World reports

In this audio clip, Dr. Boyce Watkins and conservative Amstrong Williams debate on “Open Line” on Kiss-FM in New York City.

Dr. Watkins and Mr. Williams stand on different sides of the ideological fence as it pertains to how to cut the national debt.  Williams argues that deep cuts in government spending are necessary, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  He says that the United States government is at risk of default within the next 10 years, which could send our country into an economic tailspin.


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Black Leadership Gathers to “Measure the Movement” – Watch the Video

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action

Earlier this month, I participated in “Measuring the Movement,” a forum that brought together 10 leaders from the black community to discuss the issues that are pertinent to all of us.  The forum was hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, and became a productive gathering that laid out a variety of visions for the African American community.

My goal in being part of this forum was to do what I could to best represent the 55,000 members of the Your Black World Coalition and to talk about what I consider to be the Holy Trinity of Black Oppression:  The economic system, the educational system and the criminal justice system.


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Paralyzed Athlete Rocky Clark: Insurance Runs Out on His Mother

vRocky Clark

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Note: To help Rocky Clark and his family, please visit

The story of Rasul "Rocky" Clark is a cautionary tale to all the mothers who send their sons to the football field on Saturday afternoon. Ten years ago, Clark was living the dream of many African American males: he was one of the stars of his high school football team, playing the game as running back.

Rocky's dream came to an end with one hit too many. The player was paralyzed from the neck down, rendering him unable to move, walk, stand up, or use his arms for the rest of his life. He will never run down the field, experience sex, wash himself or even breath properly again. He has one lung, and his life expectancy dropped dramatically on the day of his horrible injury. In fact, part of the reason his family is now broke is because medical experts and insurance companies didn't expect him to last for even a decade.
Rocky just found out that his $5 million dollar insurance policy has reached the lifetime maximum, meaning that his insurer is not going to pay anymore of his expenses.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jemele Hill at ESPN Says College Athletes Need to Have a Revolution


by Jemele Hill,

The problems in college athletics have been much in the news recently -- from pay-for-play to unethical conduct by coaches and administrators -- and it's become clear that only a drastic measure can address the hypocrisy, the rampant rule violations and the widespread deceit permeating our so-called amateur collegiate sports.

A revolution is needed at the college level. But the only way we'll see one is if college athletes do something so radical that it not only makes the powers-that-be take notice but jeopardizes their bottom line.

It's an action that would require commitment, planning, patience and sacrifice.

It would come with great risk. It would make college athletes vulnerable to ridicule and criticism, and it might even have a bearing on their professional aspirations.

But it's time. College athletes need to organize and stage a massive boycott, because unless their voice is heard this inequitable system will never change.


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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Scott Sisters Won’t Get Pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University – Scholarship in Action 

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has stated that he has no plans to pardon Jamie and Gladys Scott.  When he was asked if he planned to pardon the sisters after releasing them from prison, Barbour told the Associated Press, "Tell 'em don't save any space in the newspaper for that to be announced."

Jamie and Gladys Scott were recently released after being incarcerated for an armed robbery that netted just $11 back in 1994.  The sisters were released on the condition that Gladys donate her kidney to Jamie, who has been diagnosed with kidney failure.  Gov. Barbour likely chose to release the sisters to alleviate some of the pressure he’d received for sounding like the racially-divisive political figure that he actually is.  Many of his comments about President Obama and black people in general made him sound exactly like the kind of man who’d be elected governor of a state like Mississippi.

When I think about the Scott Sisters, a couple of things come to mind:  First, I am confused as to why the state won’t pay for the kidney transplant.  The horrible conditions of the prisons in Mississippi are part of the reason that Jamie was sick in the first place.  The state should be covering the cost of this operation.

My second question is why the world felt that freeing the Scott Sisters was more meaningful than it actually was.  First, there’s no evidence that they were actually innocent of the crime for which they were convicted.  I must confess that the $11 was less  of a concern for me than the fact that the crime was violent.  This is not, in any way, a defense of the Mississippi criminal justice system, which is barely a step away from slavery.  But it does make me wonder if the Scott Sisters case was a matter of the squeaky issue getting the Civil Rights oil.  I also doubt the nation would have felt such sympathy for the case if they were the “Scott brothers” instead.

A case that got my attention to a greater degree was that of Rodney K. Stanberry.  Rodney has been in prison for well over a decade for a murder that I am firmly convinced that he did not commit.  Not only is there an abundance of reasonable doubt in his case, but one could even go beyond the standard legal expectation and actually prove that he was innocent.  Personally, our energy would be just as well spent fighting for men like Stanberry as it is arguing that the Scott Sisters’ punishment was extraordinarily harsh.  I am in agreement with the decision to free the Scott Sisters, but this case is hardly the greatest Civil Rights violation occurring in the United States right now, and the benefits of their exoneration don’t go beyond the Scott family itself.

The final thought that goes through my head is that both the cases of the Scott Sisters and that of Rodney K. Stanberry are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems with our nation’s criminal justice system.  My email and mailbox are filled with cases in which people of color have been denied the basic necessities of equal justice because they couldn’t afford a good attorney or were victims of lazy police work.  Perhaps it’s time that we as a community start pushing our elected officials and civil rights leaders to make mass incarceration a top priority of the 21th century.   If we keep celebrating small victories and don’t start pushing for systemic change, there will be hundreds of thousands of Scott Sisters cases to occur in the future.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.