Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Celebrating the birthday of Octavius Catto, a Philadelphia civil rights hero

By Tamala Edwards, Tuesday, February 23, 2021 12:11AM

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- February 22 is the birthday of a Philadelphia civil rights hero, and it
 happens to fall during Black History Month.

Octavius Valentine Catto was born in 1839, and a statue of him is positioned prominently on the 
south side of City Hall.

Many who admire him and study his life believe he still remains a hero who is hidden in history.

Some do see the parallels between the lives of Martin Luther King Jr. and Catto.

"They were born to relative Black privilege and used that privilege, and used that access to 
different ideas and people, to lead and try to improve the lives of others around them," said 
Ivan Henderson, the programming Vice President of the African-American Museum in Philadelphia.

Henderson also points to a transportation boycott, not in Montgomery, Alabama... but right here in
 Philadelphia.

The streetcar boycott is reenacted in the documentary series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment.

Catto led an effort to desegregate streetcars. The documentary series also details how Catto fought 
for voting rights for African Americans.

He was killed on Election Day 1871 a few doors down from his South Street home, shot by a man 
who believed Blacks voting was a threat to the Irish-American community. Read more

Sunday, February 21, 2021

New evidence in Malcolm X assassination points to possible conspiracy


By Naveen Dhaliwal

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- Fifty-six years after the death of Malcolm X, lawyers revealed what they called new evidence of a conspiracy, perpetrated by the NYPD and the FBI to assassinate the Civil Rights activist in Harlem.

Ray Wood was an undercover police officer at the time - his family and their attorney now claim Wood wrote a letter on his deathbed confessing the NYPD and the FBI conspired to kill the Civil Rights activist.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

10 years ago this week: January 17, 2011 Martin Luther & Coretta S. King Memorial Unveiled in Allentown

January 17, 2011 
Richard Roberts, of Allentown (left rear) and Kevin Easterling, wave to the crowd, after unveiling the Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King statue at the triangle at Fourth and Union streets in Allentown on Monday. Easterling is director of the Martin Luther & Coretta S. King Memorial Project. Roberts is brother of Harry A. Roberts - who was on the forefront of the monument project, but unfortunately died in 2008 before seeing his dream come to fruition.
January 17, 2011
Harry Fisher / THE MORNING CALL
mc-allentown-mlk-statue

Easton leaders launch new African American Coalition to address racial inequality

By Hayden Mitman  January 11, 2021
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has been helping neighbors thanks to an emergency fund. After delivering more than $400,000 to support nonprofits throughout the community, organizers realized they might be missing something important. 

Using the pooled contributions from dozens of area organizations throughout the past year, the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has been able to help nonprofit groups feed those in need, support the homeless and help locals who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. But, Jill Periera, a vice president at the United Way says that, after seeing the impact that the murder of George Floyd had on society, the group realized they could be working in a more equitable way.

“We were taking a look at our own makeup of our strategic response team, and recognizing we were still pretty much a bunch of white folks that were making decisions, well-intended, on behalf of communities of color that were being disproportionately affected by covid,” Periera says.

So they reached out to Pastor Phillip Davis from Easton’s Greater Shiloh Church for help.

“As they did their own research, they realized they were doing things for the African American Community backwards,” Davis says

And he says the United Way realized that there was a problem if there weren’t any Black voices at the table.

“We felt it was supporting issues of white supremacy and they acknowledged that themselves,” he says.

The United Way took a step back and allocated about $90,000 to be shared among community leaders and groups in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.

“Our team identified who are leaders that we know that are not at the table in these three communities,” Periera says.

In Easton, the funding led to the creation of the African American Coalition of Easton. Davis and Judie Dickerson, director of Easton’s Cops ‘N’ Kids community program, are two founding members.

“I, along with several others, had been contacted to help advise how that money could be used to specifically address racial inequalities,” Dickerson says.

The group’s first move after receiving a $30,000 grant was to create the website BlackConnectionsOfEaston.com. Davis says the site’s intended as a way to connect the community and provide grants to be used towards initiatives aimed at addressing racial inequality.

“We discovered that when African Americans moved into our community, there’s no connectivity so there’s no central clearing house for, you know, where do you go to get your haircut, where’s the churches, where are the non-profit organizations for the African American community. And so, out of our meetings comes the African American Coalition of Easton,” Davis says.

The group’s first grant was delivered to the Boys and Girls Club of Easton where they regularly film videos of basketball instruction that they then share online.

Dean Young, CEO, says they used the, nearly $3,000 grant to provide gifts of hats, blankets and masks to a hundred kids.

“Due to COVID-19, our families have faced more hardships than ever before, so, we reached out to the coalition and, it was unanimous in their vote to bestow a grant on the Boys and Girls Club of Easton to be able to provide gifts to all of our young people,” Young says.

Grant applications are available on the African American Coalition of Easton’s website. The group is now working to secure non-profit status in order to help it grow. Read more here:

Sunday, January 17, 2021

KeVen Parker, soul food entrepreneur and owner of Ms. Tootsie’s, dies at 57

by Michael Klein, Posted: January 15, 2021





KeVen Parker, 57, of Philadelphia, an entrepreneur who carried on his mother’s mission of feeding people deliciously with restaurants on South Street and in Reading Terminal Market and a catering business, died Friday, Jan. 15.

Mr. Parker’s death from cancer took most people, including staff at his Ms. Tootsie’s restaurants, by surprise. Naturally cheery, he had kept private his health issues, including a long struggle with diabetes and its complications.

Mr. Parker moved easily in Philadelphia’s entertainment and lifestyle circles, and his restaurants hosted such people as Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Mo’Nique, and Patti LaBelle. It was talk-radio host Mary Mason who advised him to capitalize the “V” in his first name to help him stand out.

WDAS radio personality Patty Jackson, who’s known Mr. Parker since he started in catering 25 years ago, said people loved him and his food. “He wanted people to enjoy the whole experience,” she said. “He saw through his mother’s dream.”

His sister, Lynette Saunders, described Mr. Parker as the “most caring person in the world. There was never a time in my life when he was not there for me.”

“He was beautiful inside and out — just an amazing man,” said Oshunbumi Fernandez-West, a civic leader and longtime friend who considered him “a brother from another mother.”  Read the full article here:

Friday, January 15, 2021

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration 2021 @ the Allentown Art Museum January 16-22, 2021



31 North Fifth Street Allentown, PA 18101   610-432-4333      askus@allentownartmuseum.org


Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an annual event in which the museum celebrates the legacy of the iconic civil rights leader. This year, join us online for a virtual weeklong celebration!

Through engaging performances, thought provoking dialogues, and enriching arts activities we honor the life and vision of Dr. King. The goal of this program is to empower the local community, foster volunteerism, and encourage activism to unite the Lehigh Valley toward a better, more just, future.

Storyteller Pamela Tuck will lead a live online family-friendly Storytime for parents and children on MONDAY, JAN 18, starting 10a.m.- 10:45am.


University of Maryland professor Sharon Harley is one of the panelists discussing “Unsung Suffragists: Leaders of Color in the Fight for the Vote” in a live Zoom discussion on TUESDAY, JAN 19, starting at 6 p.m.











Artist and Lafayette College professor Karina Aguilera Skvirsky
will contribute to the conversation “Museums and Their Role in Fostering Equitable and Inclusive Communities” live on Zoom on THURSDAY, JAN 21, starting at 6 p.m.


Screening of King in the Wilderness Viewers are required to RSVP prior to the screening by contacting education@allentownartmuseum.org, where they will be given a password to access.

Complete schedule for the week of activities: 

NAACP Allentown Annual MLK Day Celebration: Monday January 18, 2021 11am-12:30pm


 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Our New Year’s Insurrection: From Sara Lomax-Reese: WRITTEN BY SARA LOMAX-REESE ON JANUARY 7, 2021

Our New Year’s Insurrection

    On Wednesday white supremacy was on parade in full view, in all its twisted manifestations. As I watched the Capitol being stormed, I was struck by the laissez faire attitude of the police, the entitlement of the mob and the incredulity of the media commentators. The refrain: "This is not who we are," rang hollow. In fact, this is exactly who America is and has been for centuries. 

But one of the things that disturbed me most was a headline from the blog Journal-isms. It read: "As Mob Takes Capitol, BET Shows Tyler Perry; TV One Gives Viewers ‘Family Matters.’ WHAT? This is what happens when the biggest, national media companies charged with serving the Black community are owned by huge white conglomerates. This is why iHeart Media buying up 30 AM radio stations around the country to launch the Black Information Network, roils my blood. This is why Black owned/controlled media matters.

As the President and CEO of one of the few remaining Black-owned talk radio stations in the nation -- the only one in Pennsylvania -- I have run out of patience. I don’t want to participate in another panel, diversity summit or conversation about the need for diversity. I’m just over all the performative, well-meaning, earnest efforts that are essentially meaningless words backed by nothing or at best not enough. Right now, we need action. It’s time to share money, resources and power. Anything short of that is a waste of time.  Read More Here

WURD Radio Live Stream - Charles Ellison- Impeachment Proceedings, PA State Capitol Drama, PA State Representative Donna Bullock 195th District, Chair of Legislative Black Caucus

WURD Radio Live Stream - Charles Ellison- Impeachment Proceedings, PA State Capitol Drama, Guest State Representative Donna Bullock 195th District, Chair of Legislative Black Caucus

Saturday, January 9, 2021

OPINION: In Pennsylvania state Senate fiasco, Republicans show how fast democracy can be eroded

Editorial: Posted: January 5, 2021 - 4:36 PM


The erosion of democracy can be a slow and insidious process — but on Tuesday, Pennsylvania state Senate Republicans demonstrated how fast it catches up on you.

In the first Senate meeting after the 2020 election, Republican Majority Leader Jake Corman refused to swear in Jim Brewster of Allegheny County. Brewster, who has served in the Senate for over a decade, defeated Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli by 69 votes. Ziccarelli disputes the results on technical issues and filed one suit, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected, and another in federal court, which is pending.


Despite the fact the election results in the 45th Senatorial District have been certified by the secretary of state, Senate Republicans took matters into their own hands, and citing a technical rule, they announced Monday that they wouldn’t seat Brewster.


When Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who presided over the session, wouldn’t entertain the motion to ignore the results from Brewster’s district, the Republican majority simply took the gavel from him in a motion to let Corman preside.

Eventually, all senators but Brewster were sworn in. The voters of the 45th District don’t have a state senator, despite a certified election winner. Continue Reading here

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Lehigh County may add Juneteenth to list of paid holidays

Jeff Ward  Nov 10, 2020 WFMZ

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -Lehigh County may add Juneteenth, the day marking the liberation of the last Black American slaves, as a paid holiday for its employees.

The county commissioners will consider adding the holiday, also known as Freedom Day and Emancipation Day, at their Nov. 24 meeting.

On June 19, 1865, Union forces arrived in Galveston, Texas, bringing word that President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, according to juneteenth.com. Lincoln's proclamation became law Jan. 1, 1863 but had little effect in rebel territories until after the Civil War ended in April 1865 and northern troops occupied the former Confederacy. The slaves in Texas were the last in the U.S. to learn they had been freed.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last year recognizing June 19 as "Juneteenth National Freedom Day." If approved by the commissioners, the new holiday would apply only to county employees.

Race also came up during the public comment portion of the Tuesday meeting.

After former commissioner Dean Browning discussed the filling of a vacancy on the board, a woman who identified herself as Jenna Teague from Fountain Hill said, "Dean Browning was caught impersonating a gay Black man on Twitter" and that any comments he made should be considered in light of that alleged deceit. Read more here