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Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey – Week of August 20, 2012

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    Texas Ten Percent Admissions Plan “Model for Country”

    Texas provides a “model for the rest of the country” for boosting the numbers of Black and Latino students in state colleges, said Shanta Driver, of BAMN, By Any Means Necessary. BAMN filed a friend of the court brief supporting Texas’ policy allowing admission to state colleges of the top ten percent of each high school graduating class. “You don’t need an elaborate maze of criteria” to integrate higher education, said Driver. The ten percent plan works because it eliminates “all of the common variables that are used to make it much more difficult for Black and Latino and poor white students to gain admission into their state’s flagship universities.”

    Blow the Whistle” on Stop-and-Frisk

    On September 13, the Stop Stop-and-Frisk movement will blow the whistle on police abuse in New York City, “figuratively and literally,” said spokesman Carl Dix. “People will gather with their whistles and cameras and be on the lookout for cops violating someone’s rights, and when they see it, blow the whistle to draw a crowd,” said Dix. “We are no longer going to accept this kind of abuse in silence.”

    NAACP Called “Irrelevant”

    The national and state offices of the NAACP have “sold out” to the Whirlpool corporation’s attempts to turn mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, over to developers, said Rev. Edward Pinkney, the longtime president of the local NAACP. Pinkney publicly burned his NAACP membership card, on Sunday. “We have given them a free pass because of what they did 40 years ago,” said Pinkney, who claims more than 800 others joined him in burning their NAACP cards. “They’re just a shell of what they used to be.”

    The Myth of “Progressive” Media

    Since the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement issued its groundbreaking Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People, earlier this summer, it has met a wall of silence from media outlets and personalities that are generally considered “progressive,” said Rosa Clemente, co-author of the report. “Whether it is MSNBC or Michael Eric Dyson, Rev. Sharpton or Mellissa Harris-Perry…Democracy Now, The Nation, In These Times – they haven’t covered it either,” said Clemente. “They don’t want to deal with the issue of race and systemic violence. They don’t want President Obama or his Justice Department put on blast” in this election year.”

    Conference on Black-Led Development

    The Uhuru Movement holds a conference to “Empower African Communities Through African-Led Development,” in Washington, DC, on October 13 and 14. The conference aims to “expand our knowledge base and skills base to the Caribbean, Africa and South America – wherever African people are,” said Ayesha Fleary, of the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project. The project operates agriculture enterprises in Houston, Washington, and Oakland, California, and a nursing school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. “Whoever controls your food, controls your life,” said Fleary.


    Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Tuesday at 4:00pm ET on PRN. Length: One hour.

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    "Benton Harbor activist files suit against NAACP"

    April 9, 2012

    The Rev. Edward Pinkney seeks to stop a Saturday election at the NAACP's Benton Harbor chapter, which he helped found in 2009. He filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the group and will be in court Wednesday.

    By David Ashenfelter

    Detroit Free Press Staff Writer


    Marcus Robinson, a Benton Harbor community development booster whom Pinkney mentions in the suit, said Friday that there is a move afoot to elect more positive and effective leaders of the NAACP branch.

    "Mr. Pinkney has demonstrated very poor judgment in leading the Twin City chapter," Robinson said.

    He said Pinkney is negative, divisive and has repeatedly obstructed and made unfounded charges against Benton Harbor's civic and business leaders who are trying to revitalize one of Michigan's poorest cities.

    In 2004, he [Rev. Pinkney] protested Harbor Shores, a $500-million, 530-acre development funded in part by the Whirlpool Foundation.

    The Whirlpool Corp., which Pinkney has accused of trying to drive black people out of Benton Harbor, is headquartered there.

    Upset that city officials allowed developers to take a 22-acre lakefront park for the project, Pinkney led a successful recall effort against an influential city commissioner in 2005.

    Pinkney won the recall campaign, but was charged with paying soup kitchen patrons $5 to vote, which he denied.

    The first trial ended in a hung jury. An all-white jury convicted him at a second trial, and a judge sentenced him in 2007 to five years of probation.

    The next year, another judge sentenced him to three-10 years in prison for parole violation for writing a newspaper column that said God would punish the first judge with curses, fever and extreme burning unless he repented for his conduct.

    "To our knowledge, this case marks the first time in modern history that a preacher has been thrown in prison for predicting what God might do," said Michigan American Civil Liberties Union legal director Michael Steinberg, who helped get Pinkney freed on appeal bond.

    In 2009, a three-member Michigan Court of Appeals panel upheld Pinkney's conviction, but said the second judge had trampled on his free-speech rights.

    While in prison, Pinkney ran unsuccessfully as a Green Party candidate for Congress against incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a St. Joseph Republican, grandson of a Whirlpool founder.

    Detroit attorney Hugh (Buck) Davis, who helped represent Pinkney in the election fraud case, said it "was a total frame-up."

    Davis said Pinkney is "a very, very courageous guy. Not always realistic. But there isn't any question of where his head and heart are."

    Since his release, Pinkney has decried the state's 2011 appointment of an emergency manager to handle Benton Harbor's finances and protested against Whirlpool. The company would not comment.

    In 2009, Pinkney helped found Benton Harbor's NAACP chapter and was elected its president.

    Although the branch held new elections last summer, he said the state NAACP conspired with Robinson to hold a new election Saturday in violation of NAACP bylaws. Judge Sullivan will decide whether to halt the election.

    Pinkney's suit said Whirlpool circulated an e-mail as part of the campaign.

    Pinkney's lawyer, Elliott Hall of Detroit, said his client "wants to see the African-American population in Benton Harbor treated fairly. He and his wife have been dedicated servants over there."

    Contact David Ashenfelter: