Estate of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Sues MS TV News Anchor Howard Ballou to Get Documents

The estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sued Howard Nelson Ballou, a television news anchor in Mississippi, claiming he has documents taken from the civil rights leader by a former employee, who happens to be his mother, Maude Ballou.

The lawsuit, which seeks possession of the papers, was filed Wednesday against Howard Nelson Ballou in U.S. District Court in Jackson. It says Ballou’s mother worked for King as a secretary from 1955 to 1960 and kept documents during the time King led the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Attorneys for the estate say in court papers that the letters, photographs and other items are worth more than $75,000, though the exact value is not clear. The documents described in court records include a sermon; a statement King made the day after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on segregation; and a handwritten letter to Ballou’s mother, Maude Ballou, from civil rights icon Rosa Parks. The material also is thought to contain photographs. “These documents and items are not only rare and irreplaceable, but of great value and historical importance as well,” the lawsuit says. Source

I don’t what the deal is but it seems that Dexter King, Rev. Bernice King and Martin Luther King III are a litigious bunch who are only after money and still more money. I lost all respect for them when they allowed the King Center in downtown Atlanta to fall into such disrepair that the city forced them to do repairs after citing the facility with multiple violations.

Comedian & Gay Rights Activist Wanda Sykes Has Double Mastectomy After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

SHOCK: Comedian Wanda Sykes went to the doctor for a breast reduction and discovered she had breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy in August. We hope she will recover and beat the cancer.

Comedienne Wanda Sykes made a very serious revelation during an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In the appearance, which is set to air Monday, Sykes admits that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and decided to have a double mastectomy.

“I had breast cancer,” Sykes, 47, said, according to reports. “Yeah, I know it’s scary.” The cancer was found after Sykes had a breast reduction in February. “I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat – Oh Lord,” she explained. “I’d carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction.”

Sykes continued, “It wasn’t until after the reduction that in the lab work, the pathology, that they found that I had DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] in my left breast. I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky.” Source: ABC News

Report: Singer Vesta Williams, Known for Classic Song "Congratulations," Found Dead in CA Hotel Room

Reports: R&B singer, Vesta Williams, best known for her hit “Congratulations,” was reportedly found dead in a hotel room in El Segundo, Calif., prescription bottles found…

From TMZ:

Multiple bottles of prescription pills were found in the El Segundo, CA hotel room where R&B singer Vesta Williams died … law enforcement sources tell TMZ. We’re told “several bottles” were discovered — some empty. Law enforcement sources tell us officials first received a call related to Vesta’s death around 6PM Thursday night. Sources tell us the death is being treated as either an accident or suicide, but not a homicide. The coroner won’t know if drugs played a part in her death until the toxicology reports are in — and that could take 6 weeks.

Vesta, born Mary Vesta Williams, was a damn good singer and it is a real shame that she never reached the top of the charts. I recall seeing her at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens back in 1989 or 1990. I was impressed because the woman could sing live and she blew away the crowds. She never quite made it on to the charts after her classic song, “Congratulations.” She also had classic songs like “Sweet, Sweet Love” and “For U.” RIP Vesta and I hope we can get to the bottom of what led to your untimely death. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, including her daughter. This has to be hard on the family. Wow, this is a throwback to Phyllis Hyman.

UPDATE#1:  I called the Los Angeles Coroner’s office and I spoke with someone who couldn’t confirm if she had died. We will continue to monitor this story. It seems strange that they wouldn’t release that information unless she checked into the hotel under a different name.

UPDATE#2: A source is telling us that Vesta Williams owned a home in Los Angeles, so it’s a little fishy as to why she was in an area hotel. As her website says, “we don’t know how, we don’t know why….”

UPDATE#3: TMZ is reporting prescription bottles found in Vesta Williams’ hotel room. Investigators rule out homicide, says suicide or accidental death.

UPDATE#4: John Kades of LA coroner’s office said Vesta Williams’ death “could be a drug overdose.” Autopsy to be conducted, no foul play suspected. 

Was Anglican Minister Carole Nixon Fired as Director of Black Heritage Organization Because She’s White?

REVERSE RACISM? Carole Nixon, an Anglican minister in Halifax, who was hired as the executive director of a black heritage organization, despite being white, was unceremoniously dumped without being given an explanation. According to the Daily Mail, Nixon was hired to redress the destruction of the Halifax black community in the 1960s but her appointment was met with accusations of insensitivity.

The Africville trust said in a statement that Ms Nixon was the best person for the job when she was hired ‘but that is no longer the case’. Daurene Lewis claimed that race was not an issue in the decision to terminate the executive director, who has a university certificate in black history and was hired to oversee the group’s fundraising, according to the Canadian Press.

Ms Lewis said: ‘There were a number of things taken into consideration but to get into specifics would violate confidentiality.’ Soon after she was hired, the trust began looking into allegations of misdeeds in Ms Nixon’s work history as the head of various non-profit agencies dating back more than two decades.

It was alleged that she mismanaged the organizations she was running, lied about her employment records and misused the funds raised for the non-profit groups. Ms Lewis told the Chronicle Herald she received a packet of information over the weekend detailing allegations against Ms Nixon.

But Ms Nixon claims that all allegations against her are unfounded, that she has never been questioned by police and is blaming a newspaper for writing a false report.Ms Nixon, who was only hired on July 1 said she is seeking legal advice over her termination as she believes she was fired because of her race and said she was ‘extremely hurt’ over the board’s about-face. Source

Hockey Fan Throws Banana at Black Philadelphia Flyers’ Player Wayne Simmonds in Racist Taunt

Hockey fan taunts black Philadelphia Flyers’ player Wayne Simmonds by throwing banana on the ice as he prepared for a shootout against Detroit Red Wings.

Wayne Simmonds

SHAMEFUL: A hockey fan threw a banana at Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds, who is black, in a racist taunt, as he prepared for a shootout Thursday night, the NBC Philadelphia reports.

Simmonds scored on the attempt, which came Thursday night in a pre-season game against the Detroit Red Wings before a neutral crowd in London, Ontario. After the game, Simmonds took the high road when asked about the disturbing incident.

“I don’t know if it was because I’m black or not,” said Simmonds, who is from Ontario. “Because if it was, that’s just somebody being ignorant. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.”

It may not have been the first time a fan tried to taunt Simmonds with a banana, according to NBC Sports. A source told the outlet that someone tried to hit Simmonds with one late in the third period when he scored a 3-3 goal to send the contest to overtime.

Simmonds said he was rattled by the fruit toss, but that he managed to keep his focus and score the Flyers’ only goal in the shootout. Source

This is the post-racial America the Republicans and their Tea Party alter-ego want you to believe we are living in. This is ridiculous, but as Simmonds said, this is nothing new. Shameful.

African American Middle Class Gains Evaporating in Metro Atlanta & Across U.S.

Bad news for blacks in Atlanta — the economic gains made by African Americans in metro Atlanta is slowly slipping away. According to the AJC, the jobless rate in metro Atlanta and the entire state is far worse for blacks, particularly the black middle class.

Unemployment among black teens aged 16-19 in metro Atlanta was a staggering 56 percent last year. For black men it was 20 percent. Those figures roughly doubled the rates for white youths and men.

Last month, the national unemployment rate for blacks was 16.7 percent. That compared to 8 percent for whites, 11.3 percent for Hispanics and Latinos and 7.1 percent for Asians.

Some observers say joblessness is hitting blacks and the black middle class hardest, at least in demographic terms. In addition to high unemployment, blacks as a group have suffered more from the decline in the nation’s housing market and in their overall wealth. Source: AJC

Let’s be realistic, if blacks could create the Black Wall Street in Oklahoma in the early 1900s, with virtually no technology at their fingertips, I know we can do that today by starting our own businesses, on a shoestring and gradually building it up over time. It means more retraining or even learning a new trade or skill. It can be done, but we must step up to the plate and do the dirty work to reach financial success. The government isn’t going to return what we have collectively lost as a community.

More black students need to be in STEM class (science, technology, engineering and math). You will always need workers in those areas. Technologically and scientifically speaking we are moving forward, making breakthroughs, why should black students be left out of this trend? That’s the message Jamal Simmons, former strategist to then-candidate Barack Obama, is stressing through his involvement with the Internet Innovation Alliance. Step outside your comfort zone and get a marketable skillset and fast There are jobs out there, but not enough qualified applicants.

Alabama Executes Derrick Mason, It’s 5th Fifth Inmate in 2011 as Gov. Robert J. Bentley Says He’d Rather Not Discuss Clemency Rejection Decision

We have had the third execution in one week, with the death by lethal injection of Derrick Mason at the Holman prison in Atmore, Ala., Thursday evening. He is the fifth inmate to be executed in the state of Alabama this year alone.

Derrick Mason has been executed by lethal injection for the 1994 robbery and murder of a Huntsville convenience store clerk. The execution took place at Holman prison in Atmore, he was pronounced dead at 6:49 p.m Thursday.

Several groups have sought clemency for Mason, including Judge Loyd Little, who sentenced Mason to death. All of these efforts were unsuccessful.

The victim’s family said they wanted to see justice served for their murdered daughter and sister. Mason was convicted of killing convenience store clerk Angie Cagle execution style in March of 1994. Mason has argued that his defense attorneys were ineffective…..

The governor rejected a formal request by the Judge Little to stop the execution. Bentley didn’t want to talk about that letter when the Raycom News Network caught up with him ahead of the execution, saying, “I’d just rather not talk about it.” Source

Right Wing Evangelical Linda Harvey Says Repeal of DADT "Unfair to Those Who Object & Those Trapped in This Sin"

Mission America’s Linda Harvey strikes again. This time she is lamenting the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying “it’s terribly unfair both to those who object and to those trapped in this sin.” Here’s an excerpt from Right Wing Watch:

The first news is the sad, heartbreaking transformation of our armed forces. This week, homosexuality in the military goes into full effect, permitting people to be openly homosexual or bisexual in the military has been painted in much of the media, it’s not an issue like race where people who are born this way are simply being who they are. No, since no one is born homosexual, it’s an issue of those who’ve chosen to embrace and identify with those feelings and practices, insisting that the over two century’s old military’s rejection of homosexual practice be overturned. And all military personnel are to like it or remain silent. New diversity training is taking place throughout the military to indoctrinate if possible the entire U.S. Armed Forces to say yes to deviance, it’s terribly unfair both to those who object and to those trapped in this sin. No one benefits, and the same-sex living and working environments in the military will be destabilized as a result. We can only hope and pray that under wiser leadership and a new administration the military will be allowed to rethink and overturn these harmful policies.

As long as you are fighting for your country and willing to die for what you believe, why should I give a heck about your sexual orientation?

"50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading"

I have been selected as a finalist for a competition in which 50 Great Writers for 2011 are selected. When I began writing some years ago, little did I know that this would be one of the hallmarks of the journey. In my life experiences, there have been many setbacks,it’s fair to say I have seen many ups and downs. As I look back over the series of events which precipitated this turning point in my life, I am sure of this one truth; You will never be happy unless you pursue your dream. I have learned it’s not about the destination. It’s the journey along the way that brings the greatest joy,the greatest achievement and the greatest victory. Harriet’s Blog: “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading”