Since that first visit to the school in 2004, when I spent two days and nights on campus, had meals with the students, sat in on their classes, and toured the grounds, I have been advocating for Piney Woods. When former President, Dr. Charles Beady,
told me the story about a national fundraising effort in 1954, I decided to start another such fundraiser some fifty years later; our goal was to raise $1 million ($5.00 each from 200,000 donors) for Piney Woods via a group we established known as the Blackonomics Million Dollar Club (BMDC). We helped a lot but came nowhere close to our goal.
Back in 1954, Ralph Edwards, host of the television show, “This is Your Life,” featured Dr. Laurence Jones’ life. Edwards was so impressed with Jones and Piney Woods that he put out a call to his viewers to send in $1.00 each to the school in an effort to raise $1 million; according to Dr. Beady, Edwards’ campaign raised about three-quarters of a million. I figured if $750,000 could be raised in 1954 from an effort that went out over television, a medium only a few families were fortunate enough to have, surely we could eclipse that effort in 2004 with the Internet at our disposal. Optimist that I am, I am absolutely sure we can do that in 2016.
By way of example, Brother Umar Johnson has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for his proposed school. He has not yet determined where it will be located, but donors have responded with their dollars nonetheless. Piney Woods has been around for 106 years; it is viable, competitive, and dedicated to serving students and families, most of which are unable to pay the entire tuition necessary for room and board. Why wouldn’t we do the same—and more—for Piney Woods? Piney Woods President, Will Crossley says, “Our students – both male and female – hail from more than 24 states and foreign jurisdictions; from inner-city urban locations, as well as rural spaces; from points north, south, east, and west. As diverse as they are, our students share this status: they all receive scholarship support to help fund their education here. They also share an amazing result: admission to post-secondary educational institutions. I know these principles well and in a personal way. While I am the fifth president of this historic, 107-year-old institution, I am the first alumnus to head our school.”
The school’s national press release states, “Piney Woods creates a living and learning environment where students are expected to excel academically, and become civically engaged and socially responsible. Over 75% of the pupils hail from lower income areas where the failing public school systems and negative peer pressure often inhibit them from accomplishing their life goals. However, after undertaking Piney Woods Schools’ rigorous educational, spiritual and vocational curriculums 99% of the graduating seniors are admitted to colleges and universities.”
The “Give from the Heart National Challenge 2016” fundraiser campaign for Piney Woods began in February 2016. On Saturday, April 30, 2016, an all-star benefit concert will take place at the Word and Worship Church in Jackson, MS. Please plan to attend; but if you cannot, please send a donation to this deserving and worthwhile institution. This is an opportunity for everyone to help Piney Woods maintain the same high-quality education it has provided for years, an education that results in 95% of its graduates going on to college. I believe in the “little from a lot” way of getting things done. In this case once again, if 200,000 persons sent $20.00 every six months to Piney Woods, the school could be well on its way to building an endowment, continue to have the financial ability to give even more student scholarships, pay its teachers and administration attractive salaries, and maintain the school’s infrastructure. Who knows? Maybe your child or grandchild will have the privilege to attend Piney Woods one day.
Why not plan to visit the campus soon, and please send your tax-deductible donation to Piney Woods School, U.S. Highway 49 South, Piney Woods, Mississippi, 39148. For more information see www.pineywoods.com or call 601 845 2214.
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By Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
April 24, 2016 | Written by David Love
In this election season, as the age of Obama comes to end, Black America finds itself at a crossroads. And with the first Black president soon leaving office, the issue of a Black political agenda — or lack thereof — is placed in the spotlight. The questions that arise are whether the two-party system serves the African-American electorate, if Black voters are forced to select between the lesser of two evils, and whether a Black independent political party — or a coalition with other people of color and white progressives – is necessary as a counterweight to donkeys and elephants to ensure that their interests are protected.
At present, Black voters are presented with a Democratic Party that most African-Americans support — even amid decades-long charges that their vote has been taken for granted — and a Republican Party that has emerged as a focal point of white nationalism and is viewed as hostile to Black interests. Meanwhile, within the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders vie for the Black vote and support of the Black Lives Matter movement, with many Black pragmatists attracted to the former, and idealists attracted to the latter. But are African-American interests being served?
The notion of a Black party is by no means a new concept.
As noted by William A. Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, an independent Black political party was Malcolm X’s objective at the end of his life.
“I think this is the kind of work that we should have been engaged in a long time ago, well prior to Obama’s election as a Democratic Party candidate. We should not have had high expectations of what his candidacy would be because it was squarely within the two-party system,” Darity told Atlanta Black Star. We should have developed a party for a long time.”
Such efforts were attempted. For example, the preamble of the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary Declaration — an outgrowth of the National Black Political Convention of 1972 — states that “all truly black politics, must begin from this truth: The American system does not work for the masses of our people, and it cannot be made to work without radical fundamental change (indeed, this system does not really work in favor of the humanity of anyone in America).”
In 1980, Black nationalists convened to form the National Black Independent Political Party, out of frustration over the Democratic and Republican Parties.
“The National Black Independent Political Party aims to attain power to radically transform the present socio-economic order. That is, to achieve self-determination and social and political freedom for the masses of Black people. Therefore, our party will actively oppose racism, imperialism, sexual oppression, and capitalist exploitation,” its charter stated.
Darity notes that the successes of past third parties have been tied to the personalities of individual candidates such as Ross Perot or John Anderson.
“Their parties were so associated with them that there was no way to sustain them when their candidacy was done,” he said, adding that a viable third party needs its own base and cannot be dependent on an individual candidate. The professor, who focuses on inequality, believes a third party is necessary in addressing the problems faced by African-Americans. He finds the concept of a party focused on social inequality in America “an exciting prospect.”
“It is essential because the national imagination is deeply constrained by the two-party system. There is no effort to solve the degree of racial inequality, joblessness and poverty, and the existing two-party system will not dramatically change those positions,” Darity said.
“One of the obvious issues is, Blacks are an outvoted minority in this country, unlike South Africa, so there would have to be coalition politics. And those coalitions would have to be carefully crafted so they would be in line with our interests,” he noted.
Darity warned, however, that Black people must be careful about what their interests truly are.
“There is a slippery slope of Black people blaming Black people for our condition. It’s what I call the Bill Cosby point of view — the idea that our problems are a consequence of our actions…which is a complete misanalysis,” he argues. “It’s not sufficient that this is anchored around Black folk. The ideological component of that party is crucial also.”
To advance his argument, Darity pointed to his research on the causes of Black disparity, including the finding that Black people who have college degrees have two-thirds of the net worth of whites who never finished high school. Further, studies have shown that Blacks who have finished some college or have an associate’s degree have a higher unemployment rate than whites who dropped out of high school. These studies are a “powerful indicator” of the problems faced by African-Americans not of their making, Darity insists.
Dr. Randall Miller, a historian and professor at St. Joseph’s University, believes the idea of a Black political party — not necessarily an exclusive party but one that “would push the interests of Black people to the forefront, and would drive policy and practice” geared towards African-American concerns — is a good one.
“One could also make the case that in terms of effectiveness, and in terms of unity of interests coming from the Black community — Black Lives Matter a case in point — doing it within the present party structure, at least in the short run, might be the most effective,” Miller told Atlanta Black Star. “There’s a lot of urgency in these issues. What happens historically with third-parties is they are short-lived, and don’t succeed. If organized well enough, they drive certain issues that force people to address them,” he added. “The extent you can mobilize public interests and support could mean one of the two parties would have to take up the issues.”
To make his point, Miller noted how through external pressure from the Civil Rights Movement, and internal pressure from Fannie Lou Hamer and others, the Democratic Party adopted policies of concern to African-Americans.
“The danger in doing so is it co-opts it and mutes it,” Miller said of movements that align with a particular party. Ultimately, he believes that for third-party politics to succeed, a “radical transformation of white views is needed.”
He thinks, however, that there is also much potential for third-party successes on the local level.
According to Vincent Hutchings, Professor, Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan, the challenge for any third-party effort is that the laws as written by the two parties discourage a third party from emerging.
“Unlike other advanced democracies, the U.S. makes it difficult to form a third party,” Hutchings told Atlanta Black Star, noting the winner-take-all system in which a party wins with a majority of the votes and not a plurality.
“The people who are there want to keep it that way,” he said.
Ultimately, because the rules do not favor a third party, “the third party would ultimately have to replace one of the two parties in order for that to happen,” Hutchings added.
Although the prospects are difficult, however, he believes such efforts as a Black independent party should be encouraged.
“A case is to be made for a party outside the Democratic or Republican Party. Just as the system is rigged to prevent the rise of a third party, the system is set up as to not be responsive to the interests of African-Americans,” he noted. “It’s set up in part because of the nature of the electorate. Most of the voters are white, and given the peculiar history of this country, they are not inclined to embrace the sorts of policies that would be necessary to address longstanding racial inequities,” Hutchings said.
Given that the system will make no substantial efforts to address these intractable forms of inequality, Hutchings said, it makes perfect sense to consider political structures outside the traditional two-party system.
“The issues that African-Americans and others face in this country can be described succinctly: For multiple generations, the United States has afforded privileges to people classified as whites. We are not only living with the residue of that, but the process is going on in 2016. The issue is not one about Black disadvantage and inequality, but white advantage and inequality that is sanctioned by the state,” he noted, emphasizing the need to address white supremacy and the privileges afforded to white folks.
“That portion of the population, on balance, will be reluctant to give up that power as a rule. Whites are reluctant to recognize they possess disproportionate advantage and give up anything that would diminish that advantage, and that is whether whites belong to the Republican or Democratic parties,” Hutchings said.
Further, he believes that addressing the concerns of Black people “means taking something away from whites,” which none of the presidential candidates are inclined to do, because “it is not in their political fortunes to do so.”
In addition, the political science scholar views a Black coalition with other groups “as being desirable, though not realistic in the short term.” However, he also noted that “at one time it was unrealistic to consider abolishing slavery or giving women the right to vote. History is peppered with things that were once unrealistic.”
Moreover, there are inherent difficulties to establishing an independent Black party, which would require a great deal of grassroots organizing, funding and internal unity. As Frederick Douglass once said, “If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
For example, as Hurumia Ahati wrote in “An Independent Black Political Party: Posing an Alternative to Asses, Elephants and Rainbows” in the National Black Law Journal in 1988, the party may be labeled as separatist and not desirable for some Black people over being involved in a white-dominated power structure.
Hutchings anticipates some internal barriers to the success of such an organization. “
Other Black people will be resistant,” he contends. “Given the depressed disadvantage of many African-Americans, you understand why they cling their allegiance to the Democratic Party, because the other party wants to make things even worse. So a solution outside the two-party system has some risks. The risk is that the current allegiance to the current Democratic Party might facilitate the success of the Republican Party,” he noted.
“We also risk sticking to the current strategy. Things are bad, the Democrats are not going to make them better, and the Republicans will make them worse. So, pick your poison.”
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By Elliot Booker — 4 years ago
Whether written, broadcast, or spoken – the media is a powerful force that often shape the minds our society. It subconsciously impact the psychological development of black children, while influencing everyday decisions of black men & women.
Today, the black owned media space is almost nonexistent due to “corporate takeover” or partnership with mostly white owned companies. This adversely affects the perception of black people since often times we are misrepresented.
In the words of Dr. Boyce Watkins, “no matter how well-intended a partnership might be on the surface, the truth is that when the hard decisions are being made and that white editor comes into your office to tell you that your article is too radical, you have no choice but to stand down.”
If the decline of black owned media continues there’s no telling what the future may hold for the perception of African Americans. Check out this list of companies that are no longer or was never black owned but identifies with the black community.
#1. Essence Magazine
In 2013, Essence magazine editor Constance White was fired as corporate overseer. According to White, Essence was being pushed in a direction that she felt was designed to dumb down the black woman in America, focusing more on fashion and beauty tips than more serious issues of the day. It’s safe to say that Essence magazine now represents the black woman that white people would like for them to become.
#2. Ebony Magazine
In 2011, Ebony magazine was bought out by JP Morgan Chase. The announcement marked the end of a 69-year period in which the company was family-owned. Last year, Ebony received backlash for using a cracked photo of the Huxtables (a black family) in an effort to demean Bill Cosby over sexual assault allegations.
#3. XXL Magazine
XXL magazine, owned by Townsquare Media, is touted as the new voice of the hip-hop generation.
#4. Huff Post: Black Voices
Huff Post: Black Voices, originally known as Blackvoices.com, is owned by Arianna Huffington. This website has writers from different race addressing issues within the black community. Huffington, a pale skinned white woman, came under fire in 2012 when she said Michelle Obama wasn’t black enough.
TheRoot.com was sold to Univision in 2015. Univision prides itself in being an American media company serving Hispanic America.
#6. TV One
TV One is not 1980s BET in the making. This company is primarily a partnership between Radio One’s Cathy Hughes and cable company Comcast Corporation.
#7. VH1 Soul (BET Soul)
Vh1 Soul, now known as BET Soul, is owned by Viacom. VH1 repeatedly shows images of black men as thugs and black women as hoochies (Love & Hiphop, basketball wives etc).Post Views: 793
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
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It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832. This episode of REVIVE will be an open forum so all perspectives can be heard through great conversation.
This episode on REVIVE is entitled “MAN UP!” which will be a discussion focused on men’s health and overall wellness. Often times, men do not practice self care and it’s time for that to change! You don’t want to miss this episode!
Dr. Rob Robinson: Dr. Rob Robinson serves as regular health contributor to local and national talk shows, online and national publications such as Ebony and JET magazine, various blogs and news outlets. Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob also hosts and produces “The Urban Housecall Radio Show”, which is a weekly radio broadcast featuring information on the health issues most pressing in the urban community, celebrity interviews, and practical ways to make the best health and lifestyle choices. Dr. Rob is a long time health expert, with a wealth of experience in his career.
Dr. El Ha Gahn: El Ha Gahn is the Director of The Academy of the Cultural Arts & Life Sciences, a school that trains people in the art of natural living. He Is a graduate of The Gibran Institute. El Ha Gahn became interested in wellness techniques as a result of a strong desire to get rid of chronic ailments he had as a teenager. He has been involved in the essence healing arts for 34 years. This interest has taken him around the World on a journey of discovery about herbal systems, healing methods and wellness strategies.
Kevin S. McPherson: Kevin S. McPherson is a graduate of the institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, and is an American Association of Drugless Practitioners Certified Holistic Health Counselor. He is a Certified Natural Health Professional (“CNHP”). In addition to nutrition counseling, Kevin facilitates nutrition, life-style and wellness seminars and workshops in recovery houses via the behavioral health special initiatives programs ‘Core Services’ and does weekly seminars at the West Branch YMCA of Philadelphia.
This week on REVIVE
Today’s weekly thrill provides a platform for listeners/viewers to share and motivate the community in different ways such as using books, blogs, quotes, mentors, family, friends, articles and life experiences.
Shaquille Sunflower: Shaquille Sunflower is originally from Philadelphia but currently resides in Washington, DC. She is a traveler, writer, blogger and she is a lover of all things artsy.
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It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832 & follow on Twitter and Facebook @REVIVE_POC !
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