Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Historic Public Elementary School For Blacks In Atlanta Remains Vacant

AJC: Boarded-up Whittaker for sale in Atlanta's Westside (link)

Atlanta Journal Constitution:
The decline of Atlanta’s Whittaker School started before it even opened, a campus built in 1959 for a historically black neighborhood already doomed to obsolescence.

Yet the school survives, however tattered, boarded-up and graffiti-laden off Huff Road in the city’s now fashionable Westside, Atlanta’s original industrial corridor. It is for sale for the second time in three years, a victim of circumstance now much as it was back then.

“The market’s terrible,” said Tim Holdroyd, a longtime Midtown real estate broker whose firm, City Realty Advisors, is handling the sale. “But it’s a great location.”

The school’s 1.62 acres are just blocks from Bacchanalia restaurant, fabric marts and new condominiums, as well as a stone’s throw from the Atlanta Water Works at Howell Mill Road. Of course, none of that existed in the early 1890s, when businesses and houses began to cluster around several rail spurs built off Seaboard Railroad’s main line.

Blandtown, as the neighborhood was called, got its name from Felix Bland. A former slave, Bland after the Civil War took ownership of the land willed to him by his former owner, according to the memoir, “My 80 Years in Atlanta,” by Sarah Huff, who was 8 years old when Sherman shelled the city in 1864 and whose family gave Huff Road its name.

Bland quickly lost the land for not paying taxes. A developer took title and began carving out a residential area. Then came the rail spurs, around which a mill, a fertilizer factory and a stockyard opened, according to a book by Georgia Tech professor Larry Keating called “Race, Class and the Atlanta Housing Market.”

With those businesses came jobs. And with jobs came a close-knit, predominantly black community that supported four churches, a public health clinic and more. Blandtown thrived until the early 1950s, Keating writes.

The fast-growing city of Atlanta annexed Blandtown in 1952 and in 1956 rezoned it from residential to heavy industrial. Georgia’s highway department soon classified Blandtown’s main streets as truck routes, sealing its fate, according to Keating. It would be a neighborhood no more.

Railroads moved swiftly to expand in the area. Two of today’s biggest freight carriers, Norfolk Southern and CSX, opened yards there in 1957. That same year, the city school system began a $17.2 million bond program to build 22 new buildings. One of them was Whittaker, which opened as an elementary school two years later. According to school board minutes from Aug. 11, 1958, the “Blantown” community requested that it be named for John P. Whittaker, an educator and longtime registrar of Atlanta University.

The Whittaker School campus boasts a surprisingly modern architectural style, with hexagonal classroom “pods” built of concrete with a red-brick exterior. Records from the school system’s archives do not name the architect. According to Holdroyd, there are no load-bearing walls in the entire building.

“It’s fascinating,” said Marifred Cilella, head of school for the private Howard School, which in January 2007 moved to a new campus next door to Whittaker. “Obviously, it’s a product of its time, [built] to support pedagogy by designing the classrooms a certain way.”

But Blandtown was already lost, dwindling from more than 300 households to about 50 within two decades. Whittaker closed in the early 1960s, “a victim of a population shift when business moved in and residents began moving out,” according to The Atlanta Constitution in 1969.

By then, the city had made the school home to a program for children with learning disabilities. But that, too, didn’t last long. The campus closed again in 1974. Four years later, the system began leasing the building to an outside education agency, although the building has been abandoned now for more than a decade.

A developer, Robert L. Silverman, bought the school in 2006. At the time, it seemed a good omen: Silverman, who has a passion for historical buildings, had redeveloped the old Bass High School in Little Five Points. He paid $3.18 million, according to Fulton County property records, and “was planning to use it as his own offices,” Holdroyd said. Then the economy soured. Those plans fell through.

Now back on the market, Whittaker’s selling price has fallen from $2.8 million to $1.5 million. Holdroyd said at least 25 groups have looked at it over the past two years, including the Howard School, which was in talks to buy but backed out because of a “business decision,” the school’s Cilella said.

The building needs a complete gutting, which Holdroyd estimates could cost as much as $700,000; one construction quote in 2007 pegged it at $1.2 million. The area around it is redeveloping, but Whittaker still waits.

“It’s a matter of the times and a matter of the cost,” Holdroyd said. “It is unique and, as such, limits the scope of buyers.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Jerry Springer" Meets American History: "Thomas Jefferson Didn't Impregnate Sally Hemmings"

I am watching C-SPAN BookTV with author William Hyland Jr.
Mr Hyland penned the book "In Defense Of Thomas Jefferson".

He makes the case that "Thomas Jefferson is not the 'baby daddy' of Sally Hemmings children".

He says that while it is true that the DNA from the Hemmings' dependants shows that a "Jefferson male" indeed impregnated Hemmings.  The author says that it was Randall Jefferson that is the father, not Thomas.

He then goes on to list other books that defend his point:

In my view this is but a defense of ONE MAN.  Thus it misses the point. 

The indictment for the impregnation of Sally Hemmings is upon the entire system of the United States which forced her into the situation that she was in via duress.

Sally Hemmings had NO CHOICE in deciding the question of which man would sire her children.  Like an arranged marriage in its most brutal form - she was viewed under the law as "property". Her refusal to engage in such a relationship that was imposed upon her meant physical assault, selling of a beloved family member and/or her own death.

In my view it is totally irrelevant which individual man from the Jefferson family of more than 200 years ago ultimately injected his sperm cells into Sally Hemmings' womb to impregnate her.  It is the system that Thomas Jefferson and other "founding father's" documented and the approval of such by all of the Jefferson boys and the majority of other Americans that I find most contemptuous.  This is the issue that should be placed on trial.

Had Ms Hemmings had her choice she likely would have built up a relationship with a man of her own choosing who addressed her specific needs in a partnership.  They would have had and raised a child TOGETHER.  Instead we are left to debate who's sperm is the culprit.  The children that Ms Hemmings had with one of the "Jefferson boys" was NOT claimed as their own in full public view.   Thus their lower humanity was enforced by the perverted society that existed back then which would dare to inferiorize equal human creations from God.

This is merely a colonial version of "Maury" or "Jerry Springer" absent DNA paternity tests at the time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas To All

I've done all that I can to insure that my family and total strangers who are in need can enjoy the spirit of the season.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Accountablity Enforced Upon The NYC EMTs In Their Failure To Render Service

EMTs Who Let Pregnant Woman Die May Face Jail Time

With all due respect and sympathies to the family of Eutisha Rennix, the woman who died after 2 off duty Emergency Medical Technicians refused to render assistance to her as she was having pregnancy related duress.  She and her unborn child died as a result.  This post is not centrally focused upon her and her child who were lost.

This post is focused upon the societal expectations that have been placed upon the two Emergency Medical Technicians per their training and the position they hold.  In choosing not to render service they violated their oath of office and thus will likely face criminal prosecution.

When this subject was brought up on the "Booker Rising" blog my first thoughts were the observation of the damning effect of the "violation of one's oath" in this case and its impact upon a fellow member of the society.  I could not help but note that there is a large number of members in this society who are UNBOUND by any particular oath or creed that they live by.  The results are clear.

Think about the construct of the heightened expectations upon these EMTs.
  • The citizens in the community recognized the need for a certain standard of living and thus paid taxes in exchange for certain government services.
  • The government agency that the EMTs work for saw the need for qualified emergency medical services professionals on hand and thus they created a position to render such services to the community
  • These two individuals sought after these positions, were offered employment and accepted.  Their previous experiences likely qualified them for these positions
  • They took medical training that prepared them on how to render assistance 
  • It is supposed that they either took an oath or had the understanding that they were "on the clock" at all times and thus had the civic duty to provide assistance
In summary:
  1. The People Saw A Need For Service That Correlated With Their Desired Standard of Living
  2. An Entity Was Empowered To Address This Need
  3. The Entity Employed and Trained Individuals To Execute Upon This Need
  4. The Individuals Were Bound To A Certain Obligation In Relation To The Society
In relation to the "unbound" people in our society - which of these elements can't be assigned to them under the aspices of community advancement?   Admittedly I would have a problem if the government was the agent enforcing some of these elements upon individual citizens.  It is in line for voluntary community groups to do all of the above in regard to do just this as it seeks to have as many adults as possible bound to a community standard that is actively enforced.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Broadway Play: The 27 Wives Of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti - Nigeria

Finding Depth in Fela’s Women

This is the short list of how the women of “Fela!,” the Broadway musical about the Nigerian Afrobeat musician and political agitator, do not see their characters: victims, go-go dancers, sex objects.

This is the short list of how the women of “Fela!,” the Broadway musical about the Nigerian Afrobeat musician and political agitator, do not see their characters: victims, go-go dancers, sex objects./blockquote>

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Precious Star Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe Likely To Trigger A Shake Up Of "Acceptable Black Images" In Hollywood

You probably do not have the Flash Player (Get Adobe Flash Player Here) installed for your browser or the video files are misplaced on your server!

I called this one out early. Actress Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe has carried herself with grace and dignity in all of the interviews that I have seen with her. She appears to be an honorable person with a good character.

There are some who believe that she is:
  • Too Black
  • Too Obese
  • Too Unattractive  
to be a featured actress in Hollywood.

Ironically after decades of attacks upon the lack of access of Black females in entertainment and, when some did break through the image of the "video Black girl".  She had long hair, light skin and keen features.  She often was seen as the "eye candy" next to the rapper who was peddling his car, his jewelry and his crib.

Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe threatens to up-end all of this.

What this threatens to expose among Black people are the people who have fought to get Black images access into the entertainment media - just not THIS TYPE OF Black woman.  All along we had assumed that they were driving diversity when in truth they merely were seeking to impose their own type of exclusionary preference.

I will be the first to tell you that the obesity of Sidibe and Monique is problematic.  I don't support the idea of seeking to glorify obesity by making people feel good about a condition that is unhealthy.  I think there is a greater need to focus upon the health risks and help others to downsize.

With all of that said I plan to defend Ms Sidibe against the attacks that will come IF she is so blessed to receive an Oscar award.

She was picked to play a specific part.  She did an excellent job at this.
We can't allow people to carry out their agenda at her expense.

"Human Resource Management" Toward "Directed Outcomes" In Anacostia-Washington DC


Credit to the conscious men and women who are running this center in the Anacostia section of Washington DC.

Substantive Rights

"Substantive rights," are basic human rights possessed by people in an ordered society and includes rights granted by natural law as well as the substantive law. Substantive rights involve a right to the substance of being human (life, liberty, happiness), rather than a right to a procedure to enforce that right, which is defined by procedural law.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snoop Dogg's Football League - Angle And Devil

Calif. school team's success linked to Snoop Dogg

LOS ANGELES — Football has long been the athletic stepchild at inner-city Crenshaw High School. Trophy cases are crammed with basketball awards. Gym walls are lined with hoops championship flags.

But the football team is undefeated this season and headed for the California state championship bowl game this weekend, and the coach attributes part of the successto an unlikely off-field source: rapper Snoop Dogg.

Nine of this year's Crenshaw High School Cougars went through the 5-year-old Snoop Youth Football League, representing the first crop of varsity players to cut their teeth in the program. The league has produced standouts at other schools, but none has more players or a better record than Crenshaw.

The league has made Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, a savior of sorts for football in an impoverished area of Los Angeles where gangs roam many of the streets.

"It is more of an advantage to have kids who played in the Snoop Dogg league," coach Robert Garrett said. "They also have the experience, the fundamentals and the attitude that guys who started from scratch don't have."

Broadus' reputation for raunchy lyrics and run-ins with the law brought some initial apprehension from the mostly single mothers who wanted to enroll their sons.

"It was kind of hard to separate Snoop Dogg the entertainer from Snoop Dogg the coach, the father," league Commissioner Haamid Wadood said.

But the league soon caught on, especially when fathers with criminal records learned they could coach, unlike most other youth sports. Broadus, himself a former gang member, has several convictions for drugs and weapons offenses, and if the league didn't allow ex-cons, there wouldn't be enough coaches.

"When you look at the demographics of the area, this is the reality of the situation," Wadood said. "We don't condone any of that, but we look at the nature of the offense, how recent it was."

Sex offenders and domestic violence convicts, for instance, are banned from the sidelines.

The coaching exception has also reconnected boys with their dads, or at least with positive male role models in neighborhoods where fathers are often behind bars or otherwise absent.

The dads, many of them members of the rival Bloods and Crips, must agree to leave their gang disputes away from the field.

"This is kind of like a peace treaty," Wadood said. "Everybody wants something better for their kids."

Broadus, 38, launched the league in 2005 with $1 million of his own money after noticing that much of urban Los Angeles had no football for boys ages 5 to 13. He's since invested about $300,000, Wadood said. The league now has 2,500 kids enrolled.

Broadus, who was promoting his new album "Malice in Wonderland" this week, would not comment.

The camaraderie that developed from playing together in the Snoop league has made the Crenshaw team a more cohesive, confident unit on and off the field. In a steamroller season, the Cougars have earned a 14-0 record, nabbing the Los Angeles city title.

"It's like a big family," said running back De'Anthony Thomas, a junior who sports a big gold and diamond cross pendant around his neck and who got his nickname "Black Mamba" in the Snoop league because of his speedy agility similar to the dangerous African snake.

It also helps team members fend off peer pressure to join gangs.

"It keeps me out of trouble, from hanging in places I shouldn't be," said wide receiver Geno Hall, a senior with diamond stud earrings. "It's helped me to grow mentally."

While Broadus' larger-than-life figure was not the motivation for the kids to play football, his personal involvement boosts the self-esteem of boys who often receive little attention at home. The rapper attends games and allows his bodyguards to let players approach him freely.

Those intangibles, said coach Garrett, are invaluable for inner-city youth. The burly coach sees his job as much about taking a troubled team member home for food or clothing as it is about football. He lectures about keeping up grades and has imposed a rule requiring neckties, dress shirts and trousers on Fridays during season to get players out of the "hood culture."

The success of Crenshaw and the Snoop league is capturing widespread attention. College recruiters have already approached players such as Thomas and Hall, and the league is fielding calls from cities such as Dallas and Pittsburgh that want to replicate the Snoop model.

In the short term, though, all eyes are on Saturday's championship game against Concord De La Salle, to be televised statewide from the 27,000-seat Home Depot Center in nearby Carson.

For Crenshaw, where almost 40 percent of students drop out and about 70 percent of students receive free or cheaper lunches, excitement is high.

Students have held fundraisers to buy tickets for families who cannot afford them and provide bus transportation to the game. News crews have trooped across campus to film the team, but players are working to stay focused.

"I just get down on the field and play football," Thomas said. "I'm blocking all that out."


Now I realize that I am expected to read this story about how Calvin Broadus is a more complex character than what his stage act leads one to believe he is. 

I should be encouraged that there is some good in all people and that if I praise him when he does good then he will choose these type of wholesome actions while retiring from his destructive actions and imagery.

Worst of all - it might be asked "So where is YOUR $300,000 that you have kicked up to help out poor Black children and give Black males who have criminal records something that they can be proud of and build from.

This is what I should be doing.


I am forced to argue that the millions of dollars made by Calvin Broadus and other "Voices of the Street Pirates" have done billions of dollars in material damage to the culture and consciousness of our community.  The sum of $300,000 is a pittance in regards to this aggregate damage.

There are some times in which the Black community should practice "shunning" and say "keep your dirty money - we are better off without it".  This is one of those times in my view.

Look at the attributes from the community that are mentioned in the article above:
  • Full Of Single Mothers
  • An Abundance Of Black Males Who Have Done Prison Time
  • Drug Abuse
  • Violence
It is clear that football, while being a good platform for community cohesiveness, it is not the ultimate fix.

What is missing in this community is a stronger framework by which these male/female relationships can be rebuilt.  Where the lawlessness and propensity to consume drugs as a mental escape are mitigated. 

In essence - all who live within need to be swept into a new consciousness about their purpose and function within their communities.  Within the context of their families.

Presently too many people are feeding on each other.

This community that is more soundly yolked would refuse to accept money from a character like Snoop Dogg.

Please understand the mechanics.  The acceptance of money would also stimulate the tendency to tacitly accept the product of Snoop Dogg's work.  "Its not that bad.  Its just entertainment."   "Look at the opportunities that he has opened up for these kids.".

To be sure - football season lasts about 6 months max.  There are another 6 months in the year.  There are more people who don't play football in that same community as do.   Needless to say this small token of assistance is not comprehensive enough to shift the balance in the community or to counter the stack of negative imagery related to the "Pimp Of The Decade".

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Movie Review: "Blind Side" vs "Precious"

My previous commentary that was associated with the movie "The Blind Side" was taken a bit out of context.  At that time I had not seen the movie and thus I was only responding to the article of a person who did see the movie.  He made the case that the movie was focused upon "White Paternalism".  Thus I showcased the real world example of "White Paternalism" in Memphis which seemed far more in line with this particular author's own ideological and political leanings.

Today I can speak more authoritatively about the movie "The Blind Side" because I have indeed watched the film.

There is no need for me to do a movie review about the film.  There are hundreds of them to choose from.

Instead there is more value in my choice to detail the commonality between both of these films.  In my view the two films have one thing in common:  "The failure of the adults who are the birth parents of the main character in the film to execute upon their obligations for the proper rearing and development of the child characters in question."

This analysis is borne out by the struggles of both Clareece "Precious" Jones and Michael Oher to overcome the difficulties of the roadblocks in the case of the former and the abandonment in the case of the latter of their interactions with their parental managers.

Thus far there has been differing reactions from these two films.  The "defenders of Blackness" have largely panned "Precious".  One film critic said that it was akin to "Birth Of A Nation".  Their argument is that it shows Black people at their worse - dependent, dysfunctional and largely responsible for their own downtrodden fate.  These critics miss the symbolic messages that are contained within the movie, some of which step on the toes of their ideological and policy preferences in the real world. 

"The Blind Spot" has enjoyed a more positive reception.  Instead of bathing in the dysfunction and narcissism of the parents as an oppressor it focused upon the opening of opportunity provided to the main character by the change in environment.  Such an emphasis about how the penned up resources readily available to White people being opened to Blacks is favorable to their cause in the same way that the claim that Mary Jones (the mother played by Mo'Nique) was the oppressor in "Precious". 


Another distinction in the two films was the benefactor that most helped the main character.  In "Precious" various government agencies served this role - "The social workers", "Alternative school" and its teachers.  In "The Blind Side" the key protagonist benefactor was Leigh Anne Tuohy (the character played by Sandra Bullock.  Instead of being driven per government agency - it was her Christian ethic of helping those who are without that drove Tuohy to reach out beyond her own circle of comfort to offer opportunity to Oher.  His football skills of which were of use to the Christian school that we went to didn't hurt either.

Both movies were powerful lessons of how the power of resolve can allow an individual to overcome life's obstacles . 

Friday, December 04, 2009

What Is Today's "Folk Music" In Black American Culture?

I don't need to understand a word that any of these artists shown in the videos are saying to realize that they are not talking about:

  • A positive face on drug dealing
  • Pimps and Hoes
  • Killing a Black man with their 9mm

My ultimate question is: "Who are the 'folk singers' in Black American culture today?

This guy is critical of his nation without saying "F The Police"

Why did this America rap artist who released his "conscious rap" in the video below able to get green lighted in Japan while many in America claim that it is impossible to do so here?