Black Middle Class | Langston Hughes Play | Liberia Votes
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October 26 – November 8, 2017
On The Dock This Issue:
Liberia Votes November 7
The former international footballer George Weah and Liberia’s vice-president, Joseph Boakai, will face a runoff for the country’s presidency on November 7. In the USA, Virginia votes.
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The State of Housing in Black America: Own the House, Rent the Car
Wayne A. Young
As America comes closer to the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1968 Fair Housing Act
, 95 percent of African-American wealth (not income) is in home equities. One of the concerns of Mark Alston, Chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) Political Action Committee, is the inability of Black millennials to purchase a home because of their low credit ratings.
“They have lower credit scores, because they have higher student debt (and low assets),” explained Nikitra Bailey, Executive Vice President for the Center of Responsible Lending. (Blacks founded NAREB in 1947, when they were not allowed to join similar White associations.)
Alston and Bailey were part of a panel during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference that mulled over barriers to Black home ownership. Barriers, they say, that has resulted in the largest Black and White home ownership gap since World War II. The current Black homeownership rate is about 42 percent while the White home ownership rate is around 72 percent - - a 30 percent gap.
The gap is important to the well-being of Black America because home ownership remains the number one wealth driver in America. And, the most important message to share with Black Americans, especially millennials, remains the same agreed the panel: “own the house, rent the car.”
Roosevelt Institute fellow James H. Carr also warned about the number of Blacks still fleeing “from the city to the dying suburbs.” He presented several statistics showing the wealth creation struggles suburban Blacks face, including Blacks in the wealthiest majority Black county, Prince Georges in Maryland.
“If we are going to change this, we are going to have to do this intentionally,” says Maurice Jourdain-Earl, co-founder ComplianceTech, after the panel spelled out many wealth creation programs that the American government created that intentionally carved out Blacks.
During Jourdain-Earl’s presentation, he spelled out how even present day housing polices amount to affirmative action for Whites. The HARP program, for instance, is only for mortgages owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Both organizations only own conventional loans. Yet, only 3.5 of the conventional loans they own are held by Blacks compared to 80.5 percent of the non-conventional loans they own.
The Film and Discussion – ”Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class” will present many of these barriers. Port Of Harlem will present the event Saturday, November 4, 11a-1p, but tickets have been sold out for over a month. A waiting list exists.
During Jourdain-Earl’s presentation, he spelled out how even present day housing polices amount to affirmative action for Whites.
During the 60-minute film, former New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert connects the dots of American history to reveal how injustices from reduced educational opportunity and the inequitable application of the GI bill to housing segregation converged to systematically limit the ability of Blacks to ascent through the traditional route of home ownership and its effect on Black families from generation to generation.
Joining the discussion will be Ivan Brown, owner of Ivan Brown Realty and past president of the Washington, DC chapter of NAREB. Brown will add a realtor’s historical view on past laws and customs and today’s current struggle for housing. He will also provide suggestions on how to avoid such barriers.
The Alexandria Black History Museum hosts the free event at 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia, five blocks from the Braddock Road Metro Station on the Yellow and Blue Lines. The event is the last of three events as part of A Port Of Harlem Fall at the Alexandria Black History Museum.
See Also: There's a Massive Racial Gap in Student Loan Defaults, New Data Shows
And: Gentrification – Blacks Tricked?
California Poison Control Halloween Haunted House of Hazards
Adulterated candy isn’t the only hazard that kids face on Halloween, according to the California Poison Control System (CPCS). Keep them safe this Halloween with these 10 tips.
Glow-in-the-dark jewelry and glow sticks are used by parents to keep their children visible while trick-or-treating. Children may break open these glow sticks getting the liquid on their hands and in their mouths which can be mildly irritating to the skin or eyes but is not likely to cause harm if a small amount is ingested.
Children should not eat treats until they return home and all items have been inspected by an adult. Torn, loose, or punctured wrapping may be a sign of tampering which should be reported to the police.
Limit the amount of candy ingested at one time. Too much candy can cause stomach discomfort, and sugars and other sweeteners can act as laxatives when consumed in large amounts.
If a child brings home a brand of candy that is not familiar, throw it away. Some imported candies have high levels of lead that can be harmful.
Candy that is unwrapped should be discarded immediately.
6. Fruit treats should be washed and cut open before being eaten.
Homemade treats should be discarded unless the individuals who prepared them are well known and trusted.
Small pieces of candy are potential choking hazards for small children.
Fog making machines can use hazardous liquids. Dry ice should never be handled with bare hands, and the gas produced must be well ventilated.
Some Halloween makeup contains lead as do many regular cosmetics. Check www.safecosmetics.org
for safe makeup to use on children.
Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 (number is the same in all states)
for questions about Halloween or other poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses, and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available.
Liberia Votes November 7
The former international footballer George Weah and Liberia’s vice-president, Joseph Boakai, will face a runoff for the country’s presidency on 7 November, the electoral commission announced on Sunday.
With tallies in from 95.6% of the polling stations, Weah took 39% of the votes and Boakai 29.1%, both well short of the 50% barrier required to win outright from the first round of voting held.
Whoever wins the second round of voting will replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, who is stepping down as president after a maximum of two terms. (As reported by Port Of Harlem in 2005, Sirleaf defeated Weah for the top job
Jerome Korkoya, the chairman of the National Elections Commission, told journalists that 1,550,923 votes had been counted and turnout was at 74.52% across the small west African nation.
The handover would represent Liberia’s first peaceful transfer of power in more than seven decades.
You only have until Sunday, November 5 to see “Are You Now or Have You Ever Been” at MetroStage in Alexandria, VA. And, if you are curious or a fan of Langston Hughes or poetry this is a must see performance. The poetry, of course, is iconic. However, I am not sure if I was more intrigued by his poetry, his story, or the great performances.
Writer Carlyle Brown entertainingly weaved poems like ”Goodbye Christ
,” “Good Morning Revolution
,” and “Harlem Night Club
” with short tidbits about Hughes’ personal life and thoughts. The poems and stories revealed that Hughes laid foundations for movements to come. “When ’Harlem Night Club’ was published, I imagine that it set off interesting, if not heated discussions,” commented poet Sharaledon D. Brave, who organizes monthly poetry sessions at the Capitol Hill Starbucks in Washington (see Activities for more information about the poetry sessions).
Hughes (1902-1967) was born in Joplin, Missouri. He was an extensive traveler and once visited family members in Gary, Indiana says his distant cousin, Marjol Collet, who runs the Langston Hughes Family Museum
. He is often associated with the Harlem Renaissance and had his ashes interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem
Brown’s play centers around the poet’s appearance before the Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations on Un-American Activities led by Senator Joseph McCarthy in 1953. While the actors reveal his story, poems are on the backdrop, spoken by the actors or song by the actors accompanied with great original music by MetroStage’s William Knowles.
The entire cast was great including Marcus Naylor, who convincingly played Hughes, and Josh Thomas, as Hughes’ lawyer, who surprised the audience with an outstanding singing voice. However, Marni Penning gets a double-star for convincingly pulling off a Melissa McCarthy by first portraying a bosomy blond then Roy Cohn, the Subcommittee’s Chief Counsel.
As reflected by the power of Blacks at that time, only two Blacks were among the 395 witnesses to testify against themselves or others in 1953. Besides Hughes, political activist and wife of Paul Robeson, Eslanda Robeson, were forced to testify. Being an excellent wordsmith, Hughes opened his testimony with “I was born Negro.” The Subcommittee soon dismissed the case.
The play begged me to look further into Hughes’ life and affect, and I found he also affected the life of a then 22-year-old Congolese refugee living in Zimbabwe. “At 22,” said poet Fidel Nshombo, “I was a refugee in Zimbabwe and given a copy of "The Langston Hughes Reader" and it changed my life.
Truly, it made me believe that words are stronger than guns at a time when I was struggling with depression.” Nshombo is now living in Boise, Idaho.
Danny Queen, whose poetry has graced Port Of Harlem and is available at Brown’s Market in Silver Hill, MD told me, “The poetry of Hughes is the sound track to the soul of the Black experience and his poetic-vernacular was the polyrhythmic sound-wave of Black consciousness.”
During McCarthy's Red Scare, countless artists lost their jobs and free speech was smothered. MetroStage producer Carolyn Griffin wrote, “So enjoy the play and the original music supporting the poetry but also reflect on what we are witnessing as history continues to unfold before us.” Carolyn, I did.
5 Easy Ways to Make Any Marriage Better
There's no way around it: A happy relationship takes hard work. And in his new book “The All-or-Nothing Marriage,” psychologist Eli Finkel tells you what you can do to make yours flourish. But if you don't have the time (or energy) to do any heavy lifting right now, there are a few shortcuts that can help improve things instantly.
Finkel, who has studied thousands of couples, calls these quick fixes "lovehacks." They take little time and don't require any cooperation from your S.O., yet they can make a big difference. "Lovehacking involves a deliberate effort to see the beautiful underneath the anger and disappointment and boredom," Finkel writes in the book, "to look with (appreciative) new eyes."
Here are five of Finkel’s tips to try.
NAACP: New Leader, More Travel Advisories
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) elected a new leader, Derrick Johnson. The Detroit native is 49-years-old and served as interim president and CEO since July of this year. Johnson attended historically Black Tougaloo College of Mississippi, before earning his Juris Doctorate degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston.
Johnson, who lives in Jackson, Mississippi, formerly served as state president of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP, where he successfully spearheaded campaigns for voting rights, worker’s rights, and equitable education. He additionally is the founder and executive director of One Voice, Inc., a Jackson-based non-profit organization conceived in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to enhance the quality of life for African Americans through civic engagement training and initiatives.
In May of this year, the organization announced it was replacing Cornell William Brooks as president and planning a "transformational retooling." Like Williams, Johnson will have a three-year term.
Explaining the choice to replace Brooks, chairman Leon Russell and then vice chair Derrick Johnson told reporters on a conference call that Brooks had not done anything wrong or that the NAACP, as a whole, had not been doing anything wrong. Brooks told the New York Times he was "baffled" by the choice not to extend his contract.
In August, the NAACP issued its first ever travel advisory of its own, warning non-Whites that their civil rights could be violated in the state of Missouri. It warned minorities, women, and LGBTQ people to be mindful of recent “race-based incidents” when traveling to the state.
This week, they issued a warning for Black passengers to avoid American Airlines. In one cited incident, the NAACP says an African-American women was reassigned from first class to coach, even while her White companion kept his first class assignment.
“We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker.
Film and Discussion - Breathe in the Roots
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe Street
Thu, Oct 26, 7p-9p, $10
5th Sunday Poetry Collective
(Open to various expressions of art)
Starbucks Capitol Hill
237 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Sun, Oct 29, 5p-7p, free
Chocolate City - A History of Race and Democracy
in the Nation's Capital
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Thu, Nov 2, 10a-11:30a, free reservations
Grovin’ on the Pike
Caz Gardinar (Soulful rock and reggae)
Columbia Pike Library
816 S. Walter Reed Drive
Fri, Nov 3, 7p, free
Film and Discussion - Against All Odds: The Fight for a Black Middle Class
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe Street
Sat, Nov 4, 11a-1p, free
(at capacity, waiting list)
Denver Natural Haircare Expo
Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing
3401 Eudoria Street
Sun, Nov 5, 2p-7p, $10-$25
Black Art in America Fine Art Show Houston
Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
3816 Caroline St
Fri, Oct 27, 6p-Sun, Oct 29, 6p, free
New York Comedy Festival
Tue, Nov 7-Sun, Nov 12, $
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Open Season
Wed, Nov 1-Fri, Dec 15
Some States, have extended deadlines
Maryland Collects: Jacob Lawrence
The Reginald F. Lewis Museum
830 E Pratt St
Sep 9-Jan 9, $