September 4 - September 17, 2014

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African Americans & WW 1

"The Colored historian, who records the history of the Colored soldier in this war, will need  no imaginative powers to tell of the service, the daring deeds of valor, and the incomparable fighting Colored men did over here in France."

     -- Ralph Tyler, the only officially accredited WW1 African American war correspondent.

african amerricans in World War 1When America entered the "Great War" in 1917, it was, for African Americans, against a back drop of almost unprecedented discrimination and violence. That year, 36 Black men and women were lynched in the United States.

Also in that year, there was a race riot in East St. Louis, IL and another in Houston, TX. When President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany in April 1917, there were 10,000 Black men already serving in the regular army - - primarily in the famed Buffalo Soldiers regiments - -  with roughly the same number in national guard units in D.C., Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Tennessee. Over half a million Black men registered for the draft and more Black men than Whites were called up for service in the armed forces by southern draft boards.

Booker T. Washington had assured the nation of African American loyalty as war ignited in Europe. His death in 1915 raised two of his top men to national prominence: Washington's former secretary Emmet J. Scott, at the nation's capital, and Dr. Robert Russa Moton, at Tuskegee Institute.

Scott later became a Special Assistant to Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the first appointment of its kind for an African American. Scott oversaw the recruitment, training, and morale of Black soldiers.

Important civil rights victories were achieved around this time. In 1915, grandfather clauses in two state constitutions preventing Blacks from voting were ruled unconstitutional. In 1916, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisville, KY city ordinance that required Blacks and Whites to live on separate blocks.

Over 350,000 African Americans served in segregated units in World War 1. Most were confined to the SOS, the Services of Supply, a support unit that provided labor battalions and service regiments. Black combat units were initially sent to fight alongside the French Army, where they wrote a new and inspiring chapter in American battlefield heroics.

The 369th Infantry Regiment, the "Harlem Hellfighters," were under continuous fire for a record-shattering 191 days. The regiment was also given the honor of leading the Allied armies to the Rhine River a week after the signing of the armistice ending the war.

Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts

The Black historian Rayford Logan, a veteran of the war, noted: "The 369th (Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment consisted of African-Americans and African Puerto Ricans) could boast two soldiers, Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts, who performed one of the most sensational exploits of the war. While on sentry duty at a small outpost on May 14, 1918, these two privates were attacked by a party of from twelve to twenty Germans. Fighting back, although badly wounded, Johnson and Needham routed their attackers. For this feat, the two Negroes were awarded the Croix de Guerre." This was France's highest military honor, the Cross of War.

There was a long struggle over officers' commissions for African Americans. Finally, one training camp was opened in Iowa (From Our Archives: See Largest Black-American War Memorial Opens in Des Moines This Summer). Several hundred Black officers graduated from it before the end of the war.

Black Women and the War

Mary Church Terrell, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and Eva D. Bowles, among others, helped mobilize Black women to support the war and give their time and dollars to fight for better conditions for their sons, husbands, and brothers serving stateside or overseas. The Phyllis Wheatley YWCA building in Washington, D.C. is a result of the war work of Black women.

Also, From Our Archives, See : Africa in WWI

Cash Buys Changes
Real-Estate Market

reone brown 

"A cash transaction can settle in 10-14 days,” says Reone Brown of Ivan Brown Realty.

In a normal housing market, “all-cash” sales are about 10% of total sales. However, in recent years all-cash sales have risen as high as 42% of all sales say the National Association of Realtors.   Such conditions provide first time homebuyers steep competition since many sellers prefer all-cash sales over those who finance (borrow money to pay for) their purchases.  “A financed transaction requires at least 30 days before a seller and buyer can close a deal; whereas, a cash transaction can settle in 10-14 days,” added Reone Brown of Ivan Brown Realty.

But there is hope for first-time home buyers.  According to MarketWatch, all-cash purchases of condos were 54 percent of all condo sales during the first four months of this year, but declined to 38% of home sales.  But Brown still offers buyers, especially buyers in need of financing, this advice:  “The first-time homebuyer should not try to 'low-ball' their offer to the seller, if the property is priced at market value in a competitive market and situation.”

U.S. Election 2014

He was once Florida's Republican governor, but Florida Democrats nominated Charlie Crist for governor last Tuesday.  Crist became an independent in 2010 and a Democrat in 2012 after losing to now Florida Senator Marco Rubio. says the governor’s race to watch is the one in Florida and Wisconsin where  the latest poll from Marquette University, shows Scott Walker (R) trailing Mary Burke (D), 49% to 47%. If Walker wins reelection and also survives a scandal, he may run for President in 2016. Also, other Republican governors are likely to imitate his aggressive anti-union tactics. On the other hand, if he loses, other governors are likely to see such tactics as dangerous and be more cautious in pushing controversial items.

obamaCynicism is fashionable these days, but cynicism didn’t put anybody on the moon. Cynicism never won a war, it never cured a disease, it never started a business, it never fed a young mind, it never built a road or a bridge.

Cynicism is a bad choice. Hope is the better choice. Hope is what gives us courage. Hope is what gave soldiers courage to storm a beach. Hope is what gives young people the strength to march for women’s rights, and worker’s rights, and civil rights, and voting rights, and gay rights, and immigration rights.

President Barack Obama
Milwaukee, WI
Labor Day 2014

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Reclaiming Our Communities

 Susan Mihalo

With a highway and high voltage power lines in the background, Susan Mihalo show what is being done to reclaim one of America's dirty waterways.

Mihalo, conservation coordinator with The Nature Conservancy, recently gave a tour along the Grand Calumet River to demonstrate how Americans are restoring the environment and reclaiming the surrounding communities. The restoration efforts include removing non-native plants from along its banks to dredging pollutants from the river’s bed.  Similar efforts are taking place around the country, partially through the implementation of the Clean Water Act that the U.S. Congress passed in 1972.

Mihalo says much of the Grand Calumet is polluted and that the river dumps about one billion gallons of water into Lake Michigan every day; therefore, affecting the water quality of Lake Michigan. The Lake is the source of water for millions of people including the First Family, when they are in their Hyde Park home in Chicago.

The 13-mile long river starts in a beautiful lagoon in Gary, Indiana, but flows through America’s industrial heartland. Ninety percent of the pollutants dumped in the river come from factories in Indiana and Illinois towns, including Gary, that hug its banks.

Publisher’s Note:  As Mihalo added, this is also a social justice issue since many of the communities along this and other polluted water ways are economically challenged and non-White. Living along these rivers obviously affect the communities’ well-being. However, during POH's recent engagements with some of the following advocacy groups, not many people of African descent took interest and participated in the events:

American Express Free
Business Programs

 american express smalll business open
LinkedIn is great for people to “see you in a professional context,” says Stacey Aronstein of LinkedIn.  In another workshop Carl Dickson, the owner of CapturePlanning.Com, advised,  “A great proposal is not about you,”  Both experts spoke at sessions sponsored by American Express OPEN at the JW Marriot in Washington. American Express Open holds the free sessions to help small businesses gain contracts from  the world’s largest procurer:  The U.S. federal government.

American Express‘ Randi Schochet says the federal government has set-aside $83 billion for purchases from small businesses this year.

Aronstein also offered several points on how to use LinkedIn effectively including having a professional headshot to add credibility and validity, a short biography written in first person (i.e., I  did versus Wayne did), and she shared a site that demonstrates how to set –up a company page.

Dickson also said that  a good proposal is about the customer. “A good proposal (resume) tells about you.  A great proposal will tell the customer what they will get,” he clarified. To tell the customer what they will get requires the writer to know the customer. “Having a (professional) relationship gives the advantage of knowing their need - - so you can say what they will get,” he continued.

Tonia McCord, says she came to participate in the conference after attending a similar conference in Florida.  “The conferences are beneficial” she says.  McCord, Vice President of RLDean and Associates, says she takes advantage of the networking and the learning opportunities.  While she says she could also make similar accomplishments on the internet, she added, “I like being able to connect with people, face to face.”

Learn More or Get on the American Express Open Mailing List

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Alexandria Opens New
Black Memorial

 freedom cemetary alexandria

The City of Alexandria, VA will officially dedicate the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 10a. (Contraband was a term commonly used in the United States military during the American Civil War to describe a new status for certain escaped slaves or those who affiliated with Union forces. )

The new memorial commemorates the 1,700 free African-American men, women, and children interred on its grounds after escaping bondage during the Civil War.  The memorial at 700 Church Street features a sculpture by artist Mario Chiodo and bas-relief by Joanna Blake.

The dedication ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will feature period music, local church choirs, ceremonial bell ringing, and a formal address. Several hundred descendants of those buried at the Cemetery have been located and many will be present for the dedication ceremony. The dedication caps three days of events featuring Alexandria’s Civil War and African-American history.

Contrabands and Freedmen Memorial Events

Anacostia Boutique Closes

anacostia boutique closes 
The Anacostia Boutique and Gallery, 2806 Bruce Place, SE in Washington, DC is closing its doors. After having a big sale last weekend, the sale continues this Thursday, September 4 to Sunday, September 7, 11a to 6p. Juanita Britton, owner of the boutique, announced its closing in an email sent last week.  She has started the store's ending on a high note, with a musical celebration with Ayana Gregory and Free.

To properly close the Ancestral Gardens, Britton will hold a drumming ceremony, Sunday, September 14 at 3p. The event is free. Rocketship Education Charter School will now run a school on the property after buying two portions of the property, then later purchasing the last portion at a time Britton was willing to sell, “it was a blessing,” she says. Rocketship is a charter school that has a history locating in communities where there is an achievement gap.

Britton, who also manages the annual BZB Gift Shop at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, says boutique’s closing does not affect the holiday sale event. “The give BZB Gift Show will go on, it will be the 24th annual!”
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Studio Theater
14 & P Sts, NW
Wed, Sep 3-Sun, Oct 12, $

Smart Design (tour): DC’s Dunbar High School
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Wed, Sep 10, 6p-7:30p, free

Anacostia Museum Community Festival
1901 Fort Pl, SE
Sat, Sep 13, noon-4p, free

Ancestral Gardens Closing
Drumming Ceremony
Anacostia Boutique and Gallery
2806 Bruce Place, SE
Sun, Sep 14, 3p, free

Still Searching – Photography Exhibit
Gallery 1301
1301 N Charles
Opening Reception Sat, Sep 13, 1p-7p, free
Fri, Sep 12-Sat, Oct 11
Open Fri and Sats, 11a-7p, free

Bishop Daniel Payne
Educator and Banneker Advocate
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum
300 Oella Avenue
Baltimore, MD
Wed, Sep 24, 6:30p-8p, free

New York
Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical
Theatre At St Clements
423 West 46th Street
Fri, Sep 5–Sun, Oct 5, $

Symposium on Gun Violence & Islamophobia
Presented By 9/11 Families For Peaceful Tomorrows
Melba's 125
163 W 125th St
State Office Building 3rd Floor
Sat, Sep 6, 11:30a-6:30p

Stephen Perloff’s "West Philly Days"
Photo exhibit
The Gold Standard Café
4800 Baltimore Avenue
Mon, Sep 8-Wed, Oct 29, M-F 7a-9p, Sa/Su 8a-9p

The Roosevelts:
An intimate History

Sun, Sep 14, 8p

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