Derrick Johnson - NAACP

Derrick Johnson

*WASHINGTON – The 2018-2019 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series, chaired by political strategist and author Donna Brazile, continues this week with its latest program: “Continuing Black History: Where Do We Go From Here?” The discussion features Derrick Johnson, president and chief executive of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

“Continuing Black History: Where Do We Go From Here?” takes place Thursday, February 7, on the first floor of the Interdisciplinary Research Building. The program begins at 5 p.m., with a reception immediately following. RSVP points available for attendees. All attendees must RSVP via email, to [email protected]

The executive committee of the NAACP National Board of Directors elected Johnson president and chief executive in 2017. Johnson formerly served as vice chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors as well as state president for the Mississippi State Conference NAACP.

A veteran activist, Jonshon dedicated his career to defending the rights and improving the lives of Mississippians. As State President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference, he led critical campaigns for voting rights and equitable education. As a regional organizer at the Jackson-based non-profit, Southern Echo, Inc., Mr. Johnson provided legal, technical, and training support for communities across the South.

Born in Detroit, Johnson attended Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. He continued to Houston where he earned a law degree from the South Texas College of Law. In later years, Johnson furthered his training through fellowships with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the George Washington University School of Political Management, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Johnson founded One Voice Inc. to improve the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives. One Voice has spawned an annual Black Leadership Summit and the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute, a nine-month training program for community leaders.

Media contact: [email protected]

About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, two Marshall Scholars, one Schwarzman Scholar, over 70 Fulbright Scholars and 22 Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University,visit www.howard.edu.

 

 

 

 

source:
Howard University
Office of University Communications

bernice king john lewis andrew young

*With Atlanta’s vaunted Civil Rights legacy on display … Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., along with Andrew Young and John Lewis, participated in the opening coin toss of Super Bowl LIII this past Sunday (02-03-19).

Reverend Bernice King had the honor of actually tossing the coin. The Patriots captain called heads. The coin came up tails. The Patriots elected to defer.  Additionally, moments prior to the coin toss, the NFL ran video across the Halo Board of Martin Luther King Jr., along with excepts from his speeches. The video was also included in the live CBS game broadcast, reports AJC.com.

Civil Rights history was there in the form of Representative John Lewis (D), who represents Atlanta in Congress. Lewis is known for his role in Civil Rights protests, including the Selma, Ala. voting rights marches. Andrew Young, who was an aide to Martin Luther King Jr. , later served as United Nations ambassador during the Jimmy Carter administration, as a member of Congress and as mayor of Atlanta. Bernice King is CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, which works to carry on the work of her father.

 

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*It’s been a little over a year since the boxing legend, all-time greatest Muhammad Ali departed from this world, leaving behind a legacy thousands of young athletes aspire to achieve today.

What made Muhammad Ali so influential in the history of sport wasn’t just his talent in boxing, he was a lot bigger than that.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with Ali and what makes him so great, here are some of the top timeless moments that gave us a glimpse of what he’s all about:

1. Unmatched speed
Muhammad Ali has been the quickest heavyweight boxer to ever step into the boxing ring. During the 60s, no one had ever seen heavyweights move with such agility and speed. Not only were his jabs lightening quick, but so were his reflexes, allowing him to be gracefully elusive against his opponents.

2. A never seen before return
It is next to impossible for elite level athletes to spring back into their sport after a long time of being out of the sport but Ali showed he wasn’t your usual athlete. No one would expect Tom Brady or Lebron James to be the best of the best once again after sitting out three and a half seasons. Ali however, returned to boxing after a lengthy lay off to face two of the top contenders at the time. He won against Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry. He also fought the champion at the time Joe Frazier and gave him one hell of a fight.

3. Ali shows his fierce side
One of Ali’s opponents, Patterson told sports centre that it was a disgrace for sport and the nation for a black Muslim to be the word heavyweight champion. Ali brushed off Patterson’s trash talk with some of his own until he tortured Patterson, making him pay for excruciating 12 rounds.

Another opponent, Ernie Terrell would refer to Ali in the press as his previous name Cassius Clay. Ali hit him on the way to a decision and demanded “What’s my name?” repeatedly. Ali was always known for intimidating his opponents by getting under their skin.

4. Man of his words
Unlike the contemporary trash talking regimen surrounding the sport of boxing, Ali actually lived up to his words. When facing Henry Cooper, Ali predicted that he will knock him down in the fifth round. In the fourth round, Ali was caught by a big left hook and he fell flushed on the floor. He got right back up as the bell was sounded but still disoriented. But as predicted, in the fifth round, Ali unleashed a powerful blitz onto Cooper’s face and the fight was stopped.

*BALTIMORE – The NAACP, the nation’s foremost advocacy and civil rights organization, issued the following statement today regarding the White House’s position on, and the growing, divisive sentiment toward some professional athletes exercising their right of free speech:

Despite the recent memo from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that player should stand for the Star-Spangled Banner, the NAACP stands in complete solidarity with professional athletes exercising their right to demonstrate in whatever unified, dignified manner they see fit before major sporting contests, most notably choosing to kneel during the ritual singing of the National Anthem before games begin. African American athletes—and all U.S. athletes—have the same inalienable rights that all American citizens enjoy—the rights that so many throughout our history have sacrificed for. Most basic among these is the right to free speech and peaceful expression.

“The very idea that Jerry Jones, a highly respected team owner in the National Football League, would publicly declare that players on his team, the Dallas Cowboys, who do not stand for the singing of the anthem would not be permitted to take the field completely negates the issue that these individuals are hoping to illuminate via their public platforms: Wholly disproportionate incidences of police brutality and racial injustice towards people of color,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP interim president and CEO. “Secondly, the fact that the White House has actually gotten behind Jones’ assertion, and has encouraged the League to enact a rule mandating symbolic allegiance is unconscionable and, basically, un-American. We’re calling upon players’ associations across America’s leagues and sports to stand in defiance of any such proposed rule change.”

“It’s a saddening sentiment,” said Tony Covington, former NFL player and senior director of Corporate Affairs with the NAACP “for the league to assume that player’s daily lives are not affected by incidents of injustice impacting the communities they come from.”

“Players can be powerful role models for positive social change if properly educated on issues of social justice. There are models of what’s possible, as both the NBA and WNBA both have come out in support of unified player demonstrations that respect their player’s voices, rights and beliefs,” Covington continued. “The NAACP is hopeful that we can ally ourselves with the NFL and its players to ensure that in ‘the land of the free, and the home of the brave,’ all individuals’ rights and freedoms continue to be safeguarded.”

ABOUT THE NAACP:
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACP.org.

*Suddenly, 44 years after his assassination, there’s a lot of interest in Martin Luther King Jr. by filmmakers.

At one point last year “Memphis” was one of 5 MLK productions in the pipeline … all at varying stages of development.

The bottom line is that only ONE of the five projects has the backing of the King estate. That would be the undertaking from the Oprah Winfrey/HBO/Steven Spielberg/DreamWorks coalition

Hold on. Not so fast. Now it appears that “Memphis” is back on track after being in limbo for the past year or so, according to Shadow and Act.

Last we wrote about the Paul Greengrass-directed MLK assassination pic, “Memphis,” which was once a sure-thing, the studio backing it, Universal Pictures, had backed out of financing and distributing the film.

Why? Word on the street was that there was pressure from the MLK estate (and Andrew Young’s objections) to call off the project, because they were unhappy with the script.

The film, which was supposed to focus on the events leading up to King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, while he was trying to organize the city’s sanitation workers in spring of 1968; but it would have also highlighted his infidelity, which there was strong opposition to. It will also focus on the manhunt for James Earl Ray.

Tonight, Deadline is reporting that the project looks to be alive again, with French distribution company Wild Bunch getting behind the project, and super producer Scott Rudin producing, after almost a year in hiatus, and it just might be up next for Greengrass.

Meanwhile, entertainment industry blog Deadline also says that they’ve read the script, and called “Oscar caliber stuff.”

*Changes are being made to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.

Soon, visitors will be able to get a closer look at the place where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in the spring of 1968.

The museum, which was the Loraine Hotel, opened to the public in 1991, is renovating and will soon be allowing access to the balcony where King was shot, according to the Associated Press.

Until recently, museum visitors could see the balcony — the museum is built around the two-story motel — but they couldn’t walk on it. When the new exhibit opens, visitors will be able to step onto the balcony, and there will also be a lift for disabled guests.

King stayed at the Lorraine Motel on several occasions. During his last visit there, he was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were on strike.

An exhibit displaying where King’s assassin, James Earl Ray, shot at the civil rights leader will be open during the renovation, which is now open as well. The balcony exhibit is planned to open on Nov. 19.

*In a recent article, Dr. Boyce Watkins posited that he sees history replaying itself. He sees Barack Obama as John F. Kennedy and Dr. Cornel West  (pictured) as Martin Luther King Jr.

RELATED: Smiley and West Turn Up Heat on Obama & Black Progressives on Poverty (Watch)

In other words, and this is deep, Cornel West is Martin Luther King, the preacher/scholar who is determined to die telling the truth, no matter what the consequence may be.

“It’s important to remember, he writes, “that it was possible to love both Kennedy and King,even as Dr. King refused to work for even the most benevolent politicians (as Rev. Al Sharpton has done with the Obama Administration). In the same vein, it is possible to love both Cornel West and Barack Obama, and I find myself in that category.”

Cornel West is, in my opinion, the most dangerous black man in America, and that’s why most self-serving, manipulative politicians hate him. There is nothing the establishment fears more than a highly-intelligent,conscientious, powerful, courageous and determined black man. Among all of the public figures I’ve had the chance to interact with, Cornel West has been the most impressive and the most persuasive: Even those who disagree with him respect him in the end, and his agenda is not tainted by a quest for money, fame or power. In my assessment, Dr. West is simply “burdened” with the intense desire to honor a higher power by relentlessly advocating for those who are less-fortunate, which can be a crime in a capitalist society.

 

In a recent interview,Tavis Smiley asked if President Obama is ever going to say the words “prison industrial complex” in public. Perhaps there are those who don’t care or think that these problems belong to other people. But I’ve seen families up close who’ve been devastated by this issue, and this is simply a fight I cannot ignore. Other matters, such as black unemployment,urban violence and unequal educational systems are not problems that we created ourselves, and similar to white Americans, we too have the right to demand that our tax dollars be used to help resolve these issues. Anyone who attacks a black person for speaking up for black people might need to check his psyche.

 

In the same interview as Smiley, Dr. West goes directly at those who should be his allies, Al Sharpton, Michael Eric Dyson, and Melissa Harris-Perry, using the term “up for sale” to describe their behavior over the last two years. I consider all of these people to be friends, but the lines in the sand have been drawn by dollar bills being supplied by MSNBC like machine guns being sold to African rebels so they can kill and contain their own people. There are ways that an outside power can use its ability to reward and punish to create factions where none previously existed, making it easier to take resources from the people without compensating them. In Africa, the resource being taken might be oil, and in black America, the resource is votes. Divided black leadership and the containment/control of Al Sharpton have made black people easier to conquer for the Democratic Party.

Read/learn more at Black Blue Dog.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” –Martin Luther King

Those were the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his famous April 4, 1967, Riverside Church speech, 43 years ago this Easter Sunday. The speech was titled “Beyond Viet Nam: A Time to Break Silence.” It was delivered exactly one year to the day of his1968 assassination in Memphis.

The people who heard that speech recognized it as one of the most powerful speeches ever given articulating the immorality of the Viet Nam War. Some also saw that King was signing his own death warrant by exposing so forcefully the war crimes that were being committed daily in what the courageous Jesuit prophet Daniel Berrigan, who personally witnessed what was going on in the killing fields of Viet Nam, described as “an overwhelming atrocity.”

King and Berrigan were speaking out from their deeply felt sense of moral outrage and anguish over the horrible suffering of the millions of innocent, unarmed Vietnamese civilians. They both knew that women and children were the main victims of modern warfare, especially wars that utilized so indiscriminately the massive arsenal of highly lethal weapons, including one of the US Air Force’s favorites, napalm, which burned the flesh off of whatever part of the body that the flaming, jellied gasoline splashed on. Berrigan often used the phrase “The Land of the Burning Children” when he wrote and spoke about what he had seen in Viet Nam.

Both of these courageous prophets knew about the atrocities that American soldiers and Marines were ordered to commit in the name of “anti-communism.” And King saw the connections between the killing of dispensable “gooks” and “slants” on the battlefields of Southeast Asia and the oppression, impoverishment, imprisoning and lynching of “dispensable blacks” in America. Racism was alive and well in the US military and it didn’t differentiate between foreign or domestic targets.

King was being faithful to the nonviolent teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by speaking out against injustice wherever he saw it. He knew that the willingness to use the violence of racism or the violence of orchestrated poverty or the violence of militarism had the same sources: fear of “the other” and the perceived need to defend, by the use of violence if necessary, one’s own wealth and privilege, no matter how unjustly they were acquired.

King knew that the opposition to his civil rights movement – and now his outspoken anti-Viet Nam War stance – was formidable: from indifferent or frightened bystanders everywhere (whose silence gave consent to the violence) to privileged white Christian churches in the south who wanted the movement to “go slow” to cruel racists, including the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Councils in the south to J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI in the north. Those groups were dangerous enough, but by speaking out he was opposing entrenched systems of racism, economic oppression and militarism, each of which had the power to unleash lethal violence against any and all perceived enemies, especially those of the powerless underclass.

Tremendous fortunes are made in every war, and the Viet Nam War was no exception. Weapons manufacturers thrived, becoming more deeply entrenched as each batch of industry lobbyists and their media propaganda became more and more successful. Hundreds of billions of dollars yearly, all tax-and-spend or tax-and-borrow expenditures, were spent for weapons research and development.

Large numbers of workers were hired to work in hundreds of huge weapons factories in every legislative district in the nation, and the economy boomed — but it boomed on tax money that then couldn’t be spent for other projects. And so the war-making and the wars were popular with the investor class, the power elite, the Pentagon, the CIA, most politicians, the defense industries and, of course, the people who needed the jobs.