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West Florissant, Mo. Explodes in Protest of Police Shooting, More Than 30 Arrests

West Florissant, Mo. Explodes in Protest of Police Shooting, More Than 30 Arrests

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

The Target parking lot of the Buzz Westfall Shopping Center was filled with dozens and dozens of police vehicles and the area of West Florissant from Jennings to Ferguson was blocked off. Helicopters and tanks –as well as vehicles from a host of area departments – descended on West Florissant as looting and vandalism…

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Suppress Voting, Impeach Obama and Close HBCUs

Suppress Voting, Impeach Obama and Close HBCUs

By Peter Grear

Our campaign has sought to educate our communities to the point that they would organize and mobilize for a massive voter turnout for the November General Election and beyond. 

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Risky Situations Increase Women’s Anxiety, Hurt Their Performance Compared to Men

Risky Situations Increase Women’s Anxiety, Hurt Their Performance Compared to Men

Study author Susan R. Fisk

“On the surface, risky situations may not appear to be particularly disadvantageous to women, but these findings suggest otherwise,” 

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Voter Suppression: An Existential Threat to Democracy

Voter Suppression: An Existential Threat to Democracy

By Peter Grear

To properly understand where we are today, we must look to history, to Black Slavery.  Slavery has existed since the time of ancient civilizations and in its inception was based upon conquerors enslaving the conquered without regards to race.  

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Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson Installed as International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated

Charlotte, NC (BlackPR.com)

Dorothy Buckhanan Wilson of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a business executive, was installed as the 2014-2018 International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA)

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Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

Nielsen Expands Communications Leadership Team with Key Media Relations Hire

New York (BlackPR.com)

New York (BlackPR.com) -- Nielsen today announced that Andrew McCaskill has joined Nielsen as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications. He will report to Chief Communications Officer Laura Nelson.

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Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Voter Suppression: It’s Mobilization Time

Written by Peter Grear

With this article we will start detailing the ingredients of a revisable action plan that needs comments and revisions as we move toward the Tuesday, November 4, 2014 General Election.  

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Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Voter Suppression: NC Black Republican Advisory Board

Written by Peter Grear

Educate, Organize and Mobilize: I confess that I’m amazed. The Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of North Carolina announced last week that they have launched theNorth Carolina Black Advisory Board (BRAB) 

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The Power and Force of Black Music Month

Written by By Nicole C. Lee on 11 June 2010.

Music has been an important piece of my life.  As a political activist I have used music to motivate myself and inspire others.  I have seen the power of the lyrics move people to great heights.  Melodies backed by instruments have been a source of continuous encouragement and a vehicle which crystallizes ideas. Apart from humming to myself to a favorite tune or tapping on desk to a wonderful melody, music has also given me food for thought.  This is why I join people all over the country in celebration of June as African American Music Appreciation Month a.k.a. Black Music Month.

Music has inspired African-Americans for centuries. From the daily drums on the African continent to James Brown shouting, "Say it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud." Over 30 years ago Stevie Wonder emphasized to us what was in our hearts that songs are "in the key of life."  His masterpiece album gave us a history lesson, inspired us to treat each other with love and challenged us to liberate our minds. 

Wonder commences his musical journey by stating that "Love's In Need of Love Today." Although this was in 1976 he could be talking about today as we deal various forms of intolerance: from racist immigration policies to worldwide policies that discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation.  The song "Black Man" is a history lesson of the contributions of various peoples that make up the United States.  Wonder recounts the contributions of people such as Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Banneker, Caesar Chavez and Thomas Edison.  Stevie Wonder challenges us as he says in "Pastime Paradise":

Let's start living our lives
Living for the future paradise
Praise to our lives
Living for the future paradise
Shame to anyone's lives
Living in a pastime paradise

African-American musicians have consistently used music to challenge us to confront the truth.  This was clearly evident in Billie Holiday's rendition of "Strange Fruit", with vivid lyrics and pain in her voice she laments the horrors of lynching without using the word but you knew all too well she means:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black body swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant South,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

 

The heritage of challenging the status quo is conveyed in Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."  At the height of the Vietnam War Gaye eloquently provides us a peace song as he says:

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying.
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today-ya
Father, father, father we don't to escalate
You see war is not the answer

Music played an important educational and mobilizing tool to support the liberation movement in South Africa.  During the movement against apartheid in his song "Johannesburg," Gil Scott-Heron asked us:

What's the word?
Tell me brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?
What's the word?
Sister/woman have you heard from Johannesburg?
They tell me that our brothers over there are defyin' the Man
We don't know for sure because the news we get is unreliable, man
Well I hate it when the blood starts flowin'
but I'm glad to see resistance growin'
Somebody tell me what's the word?
Tell me brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?

As we celebrate African American Music Month let's embrace the total power of this cultural instrument.  Through music we are taught history and challenged to make a better world.

Nicole C. Lee is president of TransAfrica Forum.

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