Posts Tagged ‘Jackson Free Press’

Happy Father’s Day

In The Black Man on June 19, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Take time and enjoy the following from a college friend on this Father’s Day weekend.

“Whenever I’ve had something I needed to say to my brother but couldn’t verbalize, I wrote him a letter. There have been two letters, in particular, that have proven to be the most important.” Click here to continue reading Natalie Collier’s dedication to manhood.


Click It or Ticket and Something More

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

The season has begun, you know the one: Click It or Ticket! For Mississippi law enforcement agencies, the campaign looks to, according to its Facebook page, “stop the excuses and buckle up Peeps…it’s the law & it saves lives. Same goes for all the LEOs out there…State, city or county…write a ticket if u see someone not wearing their seatbelt, you never know when they may be in a crash and writing a ticket will remind them to always wear their seat belt!!” But the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is also embroiled in another campaign, a campaign to distance itself from an organization that practices discrimination.

According to Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, “it is obvious that there is a structural problem within the Department of Public Safety as it relates to African American state troopers.” DPS spokesperson Jon Kalahar stated that Commissioner Simpson “stands behind not only the Mississippi highway patrol…but the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board. They backed up the highway patrol’s ruling that he [McField] should be terminated and the commissioner stands with both rulings.” The Appeals Board “found four of five charges against McField justified, including two incidents of failure to respond to accidents…[and] he arrived on the scene late and allegedly was out of uniform, wearing tennis shoes, shorts and a jacket.”

Adam Lynch of the Jackson Free Press reported the “Mississippi NAACP is condemning Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson’s decision to ignore a May 11 finding by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the department fired Horn Lake trooper Michael McField for racially motivated reasons.” The NAACP filed a formal EEOC complaint against DPS alleging “discriminatory practices and racial slurs with the knowledge and approval of Assistant DPS Commissioner (and Highway Patrol Chief) Col. Michael Berthay, or in many instances, committed by him.”

The EEOC’s decision may be forwarded on to the US Department of Justice, to which a separate investigation could be initiated. See also the Clarion Ledger.

Looking for a New Start or a Conversion?

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2010 at 9:01 am

For Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson the Mississippi Senate Bill (SB 2293) or the New Start School Program and Conversion Charter School Act of 2010 is segregation by another name. In an interview with the Jackson Free Press’ Adam Lynch, Johnson said that “Charter schools undermine public education. Anytime you use public resources to provide a quality education for a limited number of children, and the rest of the children are left behind, you undermine public education. At most, under the charter school program, only about 20 to 25 percent of the children are served. What happens to the other 75 percent? We’ve got to get more burglar bars on our houses, and we got to get more burglar alarms on our cars to deal with them, and the kids end up rerouted to the prison system.”

On March 31 the House and Senate have reached agreement and adopted a conference report, to which Governor Barbour intends to sign into law. The Act would allow “a new process for transforming some failing schools into ‘New Start Schools and Conversion Charter Schools’ that use district funding.” Representative Cecil Brown of Jackson said that the charter schools or conversion schools will not compete with other school districts for funding. Brown said that “These schools are not competing for the same money. In fact, one of the reasons we passed the bill we did was because there wouldn’t be any additional money needed. I know Derrick and some of the people have legitimate concerns about this, but I think we’ve addressed most of these concerns.”

Click here to read the remainder of Adam Lynch’s article.

But, that Old Powerful But

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

Last week First Lady Michelle Obama came to Mississippi. Her visit to the Hospitality State garnered a lot of attention, both locally and nationally. While I wanted to be present for this historic visit, I was out of town. So I intently followed the events. Granted, I wished her visit would have been for more positive reasons–it turns out that for the past five years, Mississippi has been deemed the fattest state in the union. But…

The old powerful but–But, she did point to progress in creating a healthy Mississippi. She mentioned Starkville School District’s removal of deep fryers from the schools’ cafeterias. This is great. But, there’s that thing again, but, while surfing the newspapers last night, I came across a rather interesting sidenote to the Obama visit. Long time Clarion Ledger columnist Eric Stringfellow, well, his column for the paper has been axed. According to the Jackson Free Press, “Eric Stringfellow, who has worked with The Clarion-Ledger as a writer or editor since 1982, revealed today that the executive editor of the paper, Ronni Agnew, has dropped his column…Stringfellow accuses Agnew of dropping his column because he revealed that the paper had killed his column about first lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Jackson.”

What’s all this flap about? Hmmp. So I kept reading…In the axed column, Stringfellow writes “Barbour is carrying the flag in the GOP’s assault on the president’s agenda but still managed to do a day-long waltz with the First Lady as the local big shots in the president’s where pushed to the back. Barbour’s gifts, perhaps coupled with the White House’s political incompetence, made part of Obama’s show offensive.” For more on Eric Stringfellow and his dismissal from the paper, click here.

“If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you shouldn’t call it a chicken”

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2010 at 1:00 am

If it weren’t real life it would make for good public policy reading–Governor, in the face of declining revenues, makes significant budget cuts, then House comes back to reinstate most of the third round of cuts. Governor says that there will be no tax increases, while some in and around the legislature are calling for tax increases on those in the six figure range. As a means to save money, school districts could potentially be consolidated, and perhaps some universities as well. Ok, I love politics, and this is an interesting read for me. But wait, this is real–real Mississippi.

There are tough decisions to be made and one of those decisions, according to Jackson State University President Ronald Mason, Jr.’s proposal is to consolidate Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State with Jackson State to form Jacobs State University! The name is inspired by a former slave and founder of Jackson State, H.P. Jacobs. According to Adam Lynch of the Jackson Free Press, Senator Alice Harden of Jackson spoke with President Mason regarding this proposal “and I don’t support it. We need to do something, but this isn’t it. I can’t stand behind this.”

Representative John Hines and HBCU Alliance Chairman Othor Cain have organized a rally at the state capitol on Thursday, January 28, according to the Delta Democrat Times, to “show support for our historically black schools. If we don’t, then we have no one to blame but ourselves. We can’t sit back and not do anything to prevent this from happening.” Additionally, of President Mason’s proposed consolidation of the three universities, Cain remarked that “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you shouldn’t call it a chicken. The way this plan is set up, it seems to turn Alcorn University into a remedial college for teaching students who leave high school unprepared for college. That’s what community colleges are for.”

Click here to read Adam’s story and to view President Mason’s proposal.

The Jackson State University Tigers Delta Devils Braves

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

There have been many critics to Governor Barbour’s proposed plan to merge the state’s three historically black colleges (Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University). According to the plan, the state would save an estimated $35 million. For C. Leigh McInnis of the Jackson Free Press the Governor’s recommendation is not about the “current economic crisis.” McInnis believes this is about finally closing the state’s HBCUs. He continues “In 1970, the state’s first response to the Ayers Equalization of Funding complaint was to close Mississippi Valley State University, merge Alcorn with Mississippi State, and rename Jackson State University as the University of Mississippi at Jackson.”

In an interview with AOL Black Voices, Professor Marybeth Gasman believes the Governor’s plan is ill-conceived. “First, it is silly to merge three institutions just because they are historically black in nature. This assumes that they are all the same and that there is no diversity within the black college context. Jackson State is an urban institution, and Alcorn and Mississippi Valley are rural in nature — a merger would bring together institutions with very different student bodies and missions,” Additionally, Gasman believes “the governor’s recommendation does not honor the spirit of the Fordice settlement, which aimed to bolster HBCUs, not destroy them. Given the history of Mississippi and its extreme forms of racism and segregation, more — not less — should be done for the HBCUs in the state.”

Executive Director of President Obama’s HBCU Initiative John Wilson, Jr., who recently visited Jackson on a listening and learning tour of HBCUs, says that “I don’t have an instantly negative attitude toward mergers. But greatness has to be the result, and here it appears the motivation was financial.”

It is no secret that the Governor’s recommendation may not happen. But in looking behind the proposal, what keeps coming to the fore is the Ayers settlement. “The lawsuit alleged that the state of Mississippi, through its funding process, discriminated against Alcorn State, Jackson State and Valley State. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the state still had vestiges of segregation in its university system and sent the case to the lower courts to arrange a settlement. Under the deal, the Mississippi Legislature agreed to provide $503 million to the three colleges over 17 years.” (Click here to read article in its entirety from USA Today). There are many hurdles that must be addressed before a merger can happen—issues with race, intentions, and whether a merger is at all necessary must be addressed before Mississippi’s higher education system can stem the tide of the current fiscal crisis.