October 30 – November 12, 2014

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The House of Rubble

wayne young, tyrone colbert, ivy alstonDespite the beast’s demise, the memories of the ten years I spent inside its belly has not been easy to erase. This July, I watched its demise in awe as a demolition crew razed the beast - - the Maryland House of Correction - - with a two-ton wrecking ball and the iron jaws of a back hoe.  The notorious maximum security prison, infamous for hosting overwhelming violence and unabated corruption, now laid in a state of repose, a vast pile of twisted steel and crushed red brick - - rubble.

The beast, also known as The Cut, was built in 1879. In 2006, The Cut hosted the attack of five officers, countless assaults on my fellow inmates, and three inmate deaths. Governor Martin O’Malley ordered the beast closed in 2007 after a year of more violence and the death of a correctional officer, David McQuinn.

Before O’Malley’s order in 2007, the Maryland State police raided the prison amid allegations of prostitution, drug dealing, and pornography distribution - - all which later proved to be true. Police confiscated officer’s computers and led some out in handcuffs, which was an ironic sight for prisoners to witness.  Officials even sent some inmates deemed too violent and influential to other prisons - - out of state.

Previous actions to improve the beast proved too cosmetic.  While the New Millennium ushered in fears of Y2K, The Cut had two new policies that sent the institution into an old school uproar:  all tobacco products including cigarettes and street clothes that the institution had not issued were no longer allowed.

The inmates protested with a work stoppage.  Correction officers were forced to serve inmates their food in their cells, while inmates from boot camp were brought in to sweep and mop.

Five days into the protest, the administration served scrambled eggs with cheese, turkey bacon, and orange juice.  Then, they urged everyone to return to work.  The inmates complied.

With all of its earned demerits, the death of Officer McQuinn sealed The Cuts’ fate.  The infamous maximum security prison was stripped into a training center for correction officers, the backdrop of a Hollywood movie, and tours for the curious.

The Maryland House of Correction was, however, a dichotomy likened to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  On the other hand, the beast was also the home of numerous self-help programs.  One of my favorites was the Family Literacy program. In the program, men were afforded the opportunity to read to their children, nieces, and nephews.  With the children, we played educational games and munched on muffins and drank juice.

By far, the most popular event was Family Day, held twice a year.  Once during the summer and then during the Christmas season, we decorated the gym with colorful streamers, banners, and hundreds of balloons. It was the only time of the year that officials allowed inmates to spend four hours with their families - -which allowed us to temporarily forget our incarceration.

I formed a Christian drama group that performed skits at all the religious services.  I have fond memories of the many programs that attracted volunteers from a broad range of backgrounds, many with whom I had the chance to rub elbows.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Maryland state delegates, authors, poets, activist, and news personalities.

Despite the beast hosting some golden memories, The Maryland House of Correction’s time of reign came to a well-deserved end in 2014.  One can look back and call the The Cut by any name, but the demons it housed linger.  However, I am glad that we can now call the building The House of Rubble.

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Ebola and Pets | Video Update

 anthony fauci
“When it comes to Ebola and how this infectious disease interacts with our pets, there really isn’t a ton of information available,” said Dr. Jennifer Welser, chief medical officer of BluePearl Veterinary Partners. “However, we’ve done our best to put together a list of the important things we do currently know.”

  • Diseases that can pass between humans and animals are referred to as zoonotic diseases.

  • Ebola is zoonotic, but the extent to which it actually affects animals is not well known. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), scientists believe that the first patient became infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected persons. In the current West African epidemic, animals have not been found to be a factor in ongoing Ebola transmission.

  • As for dogs and cats becoming infected with Ebola, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola, even though they may develop antibodies from exposure to the disease.

  • According to the CDC, the risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore, the risk to pets is also very low. Even in areas in Africa where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.

Ebola Update in Less than 4 Minutes

Dr. Anthony Fauci (pictured above), infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sat down to share an update on Ebola. Speaking from his office at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, MD, Dr. Fauci explains how Ebola spreads and what the USA is doing to address it in the U.S. and in West Africa.

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Take four minutes to get the facts from Dr. Fauci, then pass this video on.

From our Archives: Ebola – More to Know

U.S. Election 2014

A Dilemma Few Politicians
Will Touch

election 2014The leading take-a-away I got from sacrificing my time to watch the DC Mayoral Debates Live from Historic Anacostia was that politicians know that pandering is a vital key to success and political power.

David Catania followed that pattern too, but came closest to wanting to have a serious discussion on the gulf between Ward 3 and Ward 8, as an example.  Generally, I think people know that investors invest where they think they will make the most money and those with the most money are those with the most education.

While Catania did at least start walking down that path, none of them were strong enough to simply mention that as investors continue to invest in the “Blacker’ and poorer parts of DC,  those with more money will find those areas more appealing and eventually price the current residents out of the area  - -  just as it has happened historically.

While Catania began to have that honest discussion on the correlation between education, income, power, quality of life, and opportunities, none dared to scrape that bone - - perhaps  just too painful .  And who would listen?

Dr. King on America’s
Chief Moral Dilemma

martin luther king, jrFor years, Port of Harlem has maintained the America’s Chief Moral Dilemma page, which centers around a quote of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  However, the page garners very few views, forwards, or LIKES.  Let’s just take that painful walk; please view the page and pass it along.

When you look at the chart, look at the relevant economic weakness of the Black community.  It reminds me of what former Gary, IN Mayor Richard Hatcher said in our 10th Anniversary issue, What Ever Happened to the Revolution?, about Gary and other cities becoming multiracial model cities as Whites then fled to the suburbs:

"There could be no political decisions made in the City of Gary unless there was a Black or Blacks in the room.”  The problem was that, “all the major economic decisions in the city were being made in rooms where there were no Blacks at all. In the end, the economic decisions were far more powerful than the political decisions."

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Recipe: Curry Dip

 pepper festival
The National Arboretum hosted an annual Pepper Festival where information, tastings, and recipes were center stage.  This is the first of three pepper and non-pepper recipes we will present, one in each upcoming Snippets.  For pictures of the festival, visit us on Facebook.

2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoon honey
1 red onion finely grated
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoon curry powder

Combine all the ingredients with a whisk.  Cover and refrigerate until ready.

New Search Engine on POH

search boxFinding something you saw in Port of Harlem has just gotten easier with our new search engine.   It’s located on the homepage, on the right.  From the homepage:

1. Enter what you are searching for in the space above "Google Search"

2. Do one of the following:

  • Click “Ask Port of Harlem,” when you think you saw the item in Port of Harlem

  • Click “Ask the Web,” when you want to widen your search  to include all web sites

    3. Click Google Search
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    Fetch Clay, Make Man Winners

     fetch clay, make man roundhouse theatre

    Congratulations to Lorraine Kelly and Senora Mitchell. They and their guests are going to see Fetch Clay, Make Man at the Round House Theater in Bethesda, Maryland.  The play is about the seemingly unlikely friendship between Muhammad Ali and Stepin Fetchit.

    Thanks to the many readers who entered the drawing for the two tickets to see Fetch Clay, Make Man. However, many of the entrants did not use their subscription email address to enter the drawing as stated in the rules. Due to this situation, we could not award the prizes to the initial entrants we randomly selected. Therefore, we selected two additional randomly selected participants whose email addresses did match the email addresses in our subscription database.

    For those who entered the drawing and were not in our subscription database, we have added your email address to the list. There will be more prizes to win and if you chose to enter the drawing and you win, your email address will already be in the database.

    Rousseff Wins in Brazil

     marina silva

    President Dilma Rousseff narrowly won re-election in the world’s fourth largest democracy and the nation with the second largest Black population. Rousseff edged opposition candidate Aecio Neves in Sunday's election runoff, helped by strong support from the poor, many of whom are of African descent.

    Rousseff wll govern a divided country.  She beat Neves by less than 3.3 percentage points.  In the 2010 election, she won with a 12 point margin of victory. Marina Silva (pictured above), who would have been the country’s first Black president supported Neves, after losing the first election round.  Reports also say that most Blacks did not support Silva.

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     ta-nehisi coates

    Ta-Nehisi Coates at American University

    Washington, DC
    Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley
    Film and Discussion
    Anacostia Museum
    1901 Fort Street, SE
    Sun, Nov 2, 2p-4p, free

    Ta-Nehisi Coates
    American University
    Katzen Performing Arts Center
    Abramson Family Recital Hall
    4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
    Wed, Nov 5, 7p, free
    Free parking after 5p at the Katzen Arts Center

    Children Africana Book Awards Festival
    Fundraising Dinner
    Busboys and Poets
    5th and K St, NW
    Thu, Nov 6, 6p-8p, $100

    National Museum of African Art
    950 Independence Ave, SW
    50th Anniversary Celebration
    Fri, Nov 7, 6:30p, $500-$250,000

    Children Africana Book Awards Festival
    National Museum of African Art
    950 Independence Ave, SW
    Sat, Nov 8, 11a-2p, free
    registration requested

    Herbs vs. Spices Talk and Lunch
    National Arboretum
    3501 New York Ave, NE
    Sat, Nov 8, 11a-1p, free

    Trash to Treasure: Green Craft Fair
    Watkins Nature Center
    301 Watkins Park Drive
    Upper Marlboro, MD
    Sat, Nov 8, 10a-4p, free

    New York
    New York (Small) Business Expo and Conference
    Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
    Thu, Oct 30, 9am-5p, free-$10

    The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
    Nov 4, 5, 6 Story/Time #35
    Nov 7, 8 Story/Time #36 Kathleen Chalfant - Amble or Career
    Nov 11, 12 Story/Time #37 Lois Welk - A History
    Nov 13, 14 Story/Time #38
    Nov 15 Story/Time #39 Theaster Gates - Workin' and Wailing
    New York Live Arts Theater
    219 W 19th Street
    All performances at 7:30p, $40 with select $15 seats

    Father Comes Home From The Wars
    Written by Suzan-Lori Parks
    2014 The Public Theater
    425 Lafayette Street
    Until Sun, Nov 16, $60-$70

    The Harlem Rens
    Thu, Oct 2-Sun Nov 16
    Thurs 8p, Sats 8p, and Suns 4p, $39.50-$99
    $30 POH Discount Tickets - Code: “HRSOC"

    The Most Popular Page and Searched Word
    on the Website for October, to Date 
    facebookThe Most Poplar Posting on our Facebook Page Since the Last Snippets
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    ayo handy and ms. thompson 

    Ayo Handy of the African American Holiday Expo with her 90-year-old mother Doris Thompson at Hillcrest Day.

    Port of Harlem use to vend at the Holiday Expo starting in around 1988. From that vendor operation sprang the magazine in 1995. 

    See more pictures from Hillcrest Day on Facebook.

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