port of harlem magazine

January 8 - January 21, 2010

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World War II's First Black Hero Gets First-Class Salute

dori millerThe U.S. Postal Service will immortalize Dori Miller and three non-Black sailors who served during the 20th century when it issues the Distinguished Sailors stamps. In addition to Miller, others commemorated on the stamps include: William S. Sims, Arleigh A. Burke and John McCloy.

Miller was born into a family of sharecroppers and raised near Waco, TX. On September 16, 1939, at age 19, Miller enlisted in the Navy as a mess attendant, the only job rating open to Blacks at the time. While serving aboard the battleship West Virginia during the Japanese attack, Miller helped rescue scores of wounded or trapped shipmates and later helped move the ship’s mortally wounded captain to a more sheltered area.

Though never trained in its operation, he manned an unattended 50-caliber machine gun and fired on Japanese aircraft until ordered to abandon the bridge as fires raged out of control (Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr., portrayed Miller in the 2001 film "Pearl Harbor.")

He was killed on Nov. 24, 1943, with more than 600 shipmates when a Japanese submarine torpedoed and sank the escort aircraft carrier Liscome Bay during Operation Galvanic, the invasion of the Gilbert Islands. His body was lost at sea.

Miller received numerous posthumous honors. A destroyer escort, USS Miller (DE-1091), commissioned in 1973, was named for him. A number of elementary schools across the country have been named after Miller; in Waco, TX, a school, park, cemetery and YMCA branch bear his name. A housing project is named for him in Gary, IN.

Although he was only the first of a number of African Americans to be recognized for their heroism in World War II, Miller is singularly remembered for providing inspiration to a campaign for equal recognition and opportunity for Blacks in the military, a campaign that bore fruit in1948 when President Truman ordered, in the midst of controversy “that there shall be equality and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces.”

A View of São Paulo

Two Exposure group photographers who journeyed to São Paulo to witness the opening of the “I Have a Dream: From King to Obama” photo exhibit at the spectacular Museu Afro Brasil, offered two photographs that capture their feelings of Sãn Paulo (Saint Paul), the world’s third largest city.

rodney drummond

A local merchant braves the heat while advertising the featured crop of the day just outside the western entrance of Marcado Municipal (Central Market). It is the most unique place in the city of Sao Palo where it is possible to buy a variety of fruits and vegetables year round.

- Photo By Rodney Drummond

by michelle j chin

- Photo By Michelle J. Chin of MoYou Studios

For additional pictures visit the web page of the U.S. Consulate in São Paulo, which provided financial support for the exhibit. The late Donna Wells curated the exhibit with photographs taken by members of the Exposure Group including Port of Harlem’s Jason Miccolo Johnson.

Remembering James Forman October 4, 1928 - January 10, 2005

james formanJames Forman, who believed it was important to have an organization work full time on the problem of segregation and discrimination, moved south and joined the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1961.

He became the organization’s executive secretary where he helped unify the split between members who advocated direct action versus registering voters. In his leadership role, Forman organized transportation, housing, and food for organizers and helped them get out of jail. He also raised funds for SNCC’s direct action campaigns.

“If you move one step, I’m going to blow your Black brains back to Africa,” Forman recalled a triggerman commanding him as the barrel of the White man’s rifle stared dead in to Forman’s face. He recalled the incident in James Forman, the Revolutionary, in the 1997-1998 issue of Port of Harlem. (We were an annual publication).

Noting th contribution of the '60s revolutionaries, Forman observed during the exclusive interview, “We have helped open the doors for a lot of people. Some of whom are making a lot of money off their education and are using the money and their education to make even more money.”

See more on Forman including oral history videos from the National Visionary Leadership Project.

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How Do You Grade
President Obama?

surveySnippets introduces a new feature: Surveys of our readers on topics of the day. Results of the survey will appear in the following Snippets.


To suggest a question, send your question and possible responses to: Snippets@PortOfHarlem.Net

This week’s question is:

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. How do you grade his first year in office?

-To participate, you must be a

current Sniippets subscriber

New Print Biannual
Circulation Cycle

port of harlemThe November 2009 - April 2010 print issue is our first print issue in our returning biannual publication cycle. (We started as an annual publication almost 15 years ago, became a biannual, and then a quarterly.) Periodicals have been hit hard by the economy and changing technology that is fuelling the change in reading habits. We are meeting this challenge by changing our publication cycle and upgrading our web presence.

If you are a subscriber to the print issue, please note the letter in your package that stated that we will credit your account to fit your payment and our new schedule. For instance, if your purchased a two-year subscription (eight issues), you will still receive eight issues, but over a four-year period. Thanks for your continued support.

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In Red and Brown Water - Another Winner

red and brown waterDonald Burch joins Ann Morgan as a winner of two pairs of tickets to see In Red and Brown Water at Studio Theater, 1501 14th Street, NW, in Washington. The show runs through Sunday Feb 14. Tickets are $49-$63.



One of Port of Harlem’s “Praising the Past” contributors is holding free lectures that start at 7p at selected D.C. Public Library branches.

“Blueprint for Justice: The Global Impact of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Monday, January 11
Juanita Thornton/Shepherd Park Neighborhood Library
7420 Georgia Ave, NW
(202) 541-6100

Wednesday, January 13
Francis Gregory Neighborhood Library
3660 Alabama Ave., SE
(202) 645-4297

“Facing the Rising Sun: Dr. King and Africa
Tuesday, January 12

Lamond Riggs Neighborhood Library
5401 S. Dakota Ave., NE (at Kennedy St.)
(202) 541-6255

Thursday, January 14

Southeast Neighborhood Library
403 7th St., SE
(202) 698-3372 

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