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port of harlem magazine
October 29 – November 11, 2015
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On The Dock This Issue:
black seniors   Raising the Retirement Age Hurts Blacks
Blacks will have on average six years of retirement while Whites will get 10 years.
    Black History Honored on I-65
Birmingham, Alabama opened the Negro Southern League Museum.
    Diversity Reigns at Children’s Africana Book Awards
This year’s winner was "The Red Pencil," its author Andrea Pinkney and illustrator Shane Evans.
    Concrete Is Not Earth Friendly
The 20 billion tons of concrete produced around the world annually account for an estimated five to 10 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
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Raising the Retirement Age Hurts Blacks

black seniorsUnited States policymakers have proposed raising the Social Security retirement age to 69, which would disproportionately hurt African Americans says Global Policy Solutions (GPS). They claim that the change will equal to a 14 percent cut for African Americans.

GPS also notes that African Americans are expected live to be 75 years of age, compared to 79 years for Whites. With a retirement age of 69, Blacks will have on average six years of retirement while Whites will get 10 years of retirement, or four additional years to collect and spend retirement funds.

The current retirement age is 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio support raising the age. Democrats tend to oppose it. In response to Bush’s suggestion to raise the retirement age, Democrat Bernie Sanders said, "I have a hard time understanding what world Gov. Bush and his billionaire backers live in."

Additionally, Blacks are less likely to be in jobs that offer retirement plans compared to Whites (46% to 38%) and the average Black only has $20,000 for retirement, while a White has more than five times more in retirement savings or $112,000.

Untaxed intergenerational wealth transfer also benefits Whites. Currently, White children get about 10 times more wealth from their parents than Black children.

See more Facts in Graphics

From Our Archives:
Should You Take Social Security at 62?

Making Your Family Wealthier
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Black History Honored on I-65
redtail to "fly" in garyBirmingham, Alabama, near the southern end of Interstate 65, opened the Negro Southern League Museum last month. The museum is a tribute to the Birmingham Black Barons and other players in the league. Texas collector Layton Revel, founder of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research, houses his collection at the museum. Items in his collection date back the late 1890s including artifacts from the industrial teams of steel workers and miners in the Birmingham area.   

In Gary, Indiana, where I-65 begins, fundraising is ahead of schedule and organizers are planning to hoist a two-thirds replica of a P-51 Red Tail Mustang fighter plane made famous by the Tuskegee (Alabama) Airman at the Gary Aquatorium.  The Aquatorium is situated in the sand dunes along Lake Michigan and is already home to a replica of a hang glider that Octave Chanute flew over the sand dunes in 1896, years before Wilbur and Orville Wright sent the first plane aloft in North Carolina.

Photo: A duplicate of a Redtail that will "fly" over the Gary Aquatorium in the sand dunes along Lake Michigan.
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Diversity Reigns at Children’s Africana Book Awards
childrens africana book fair 2015“Welcome home,” was the greeting Johnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, gave to the those who filled the museum’s street level lobby for Africa Access’ annual Children’s Africana Book Awards. She reminded guest that Africa is humanity’s home. Each year Africa Access selects at least one book that the group has reviewed and deemed as being more accurate and more balanced in its depiction of mankind’s homeland.

This year’s winner was "The Red Pencil," its author Andrea Pinkney and illustrator Shane Evans. Pinkney read a harrowing tale from part of the book then urged listeners to “use the book to talk with children,” before reading a happier passage.  

Set in Sudan, the story is about twelve-year-old Amira, whose life is disrupted by rebels. After losing everything, she finds within herself the strength to walk to a refugee camp where a simple gift of a red pencil opens new possibilities.

Pinkney, the mother of two and wife of an illustrator, never visited Sudan. However, Sudanese native Dr. Ali Ali-Dinar, the University of Pennsylvania’s Associate Director of African Studies, praised the book as telling an accurate fictional story. At the ceremony, he introduced the Washington native, who now lives in New York, and said through the book she expressed “our commonality as human beings.”

Family activities followed the ceremony with book making with Karen Brown. She and the children created books with a right spine, since in Arabic people read from right to left. “We don’t use the word wrong. We use the word reverse,” to describe their reading habits, said the art teacher. Ahmed Aehrati provided demonstrations in Arabic calligraphy and Diane Macklin provided lively story telling.

Access Africa director Brenda Randolph also announced February 1 to February 7 is Read Africa Week “to kick off Black History Month by reading about Africa.” Randolph founded the organization in 1989 to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their children's collection on Africa. Last year, Africa Access also supported the African children’s book publishing business by spending $1,000 on books published in Africa.

In addition to the special activities, the museum’s intriguing exhibit, "The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists," was open for viewing. The exhibit is on three floors. It runs through November 1.

Photo: "The Red Pencil," author Andrea Pinkney and Sudanese native and the University of Pennsylvania’s Associate Director of African Studies Dr. Ali Ali-Dinar.
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Concrete Is Not Earth Friendly
The 20 billion tons of concrete produced around the world annually account for an estimated five to 10 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Concrete is one of the most widely used materials in the world, and the energy-intensive process to create it is the third largest source of planet warming CO2.  

While the concrete industry has actually reduced its carbon emissions by a third over the last few decades, it still has a long way to go before becoming part of the solution to our collective climate woes.

Another concern is that concrete absorbs much more heat than soil, so cities are often significantly warmer than rural areas, exacerbating the greenhouse effect. One solution to this so-called “urban heat island effect” may be lighter-colored concrete, which has been shown to reflect up to 50 percent more light than its more traditional darker counterparts.

While there is much innovation afoot within the concrete industry, the vast majority of concrete produced still isn’t particularly green. Until some of these forward-thinking techniques and technologies become more mainstream, the pavement beneath our feet will continue to be a thorn in the side of those working to fight climate change and clean up our environment.

Click Here for the Complete Article

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