Monday, December 21, 2009

St. Louis Black Radio Hall of Fame!

December 17, 2009

It is time for the history of the African American in St. Louis radio to truly come alive. It is important to learn about the past performance and highest achievement of St. Louis radio and the part African Americans played in building this industry. We have a very rich and dynamic past and it behooves everyone to understand what went before hip hop, old school and 'oldies but goodies.' Black radio was the strength of the modern civil rights era.

From the nineteen-forties until today, the personalities that developed, engineered and urbanized 'Soul Radio,' played a premiere and essential part in the shaping of the history of St. Louis radio. Although sometimes overlooked by national institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and other Federal Archives, St. Louis radio personalities gave a voice and identity to a people and a segment of the community that had been alienated and invisible. It survived Jim Crow, segregation and played a significant function during the civil rights era. It provided a forum for educators, politicians, entertainers and civil libertarians. It as and is a precious resource that must be remembered and maintained.

Local Black radio stations made the masses aware and supplied the moral fiber that granted the platform for Martin and Malcolm, Stokely, H. Rapp Brown, Rosa and Julian, as well as keeping the memory of Sojourner, Dubois, Carver and Booker T. Washington vibrant.

The major St. Louis stations that offered programs and personality shows aimed at the 'Negro Market' in the early days were KATZ-AM 1600, KXLW - AM 1390, KADI-FM, KWK-AM 1380. WTMV 1490 AM that later became WBBR, WAMV and at the present time is WESL –WFFX 1490.

Some of the radio personalities that will automatically be enshrined in the hall will include: Lou 'Fatha' Thimes, Douglas Eason, Gentleman 'Jim' Gates, Amos 'Panyo' Dotson, Gabriel, Edie 'Bee' Anderson. Michael Tyrone Key, Gene Norman, Hosea Gales, Merdean Fielding Gales, Ruby Somerville Dixon, Columbus Gregory, Bill 'Fox Chaser' Moore, Edward 'Buster' Jones, Anthony 'Tony' Stittum, Robin Boyce, Trish Gregory, Jimmy Bishop, Cheryl Winston, Deneen Busby, Alvin John Waples, Bill Bailey, Bobby Knight, Bill Wilkerson, Zella Jackson Price, Dorothy Shelly, Jeanie Trevor, Ron Nichols, Virginia White, Robert 'Scottie Lawrence' Salter, Steve Byrd, Sylvester 'The Cat' Caldwell, Denise Williams, Lou 'J.R.' Thimes Jr., Sharon McGhee, Bob Lawrence, Donn Johnson, Tom Joyner, 'Mel and Thel,' Randy O'Jay, Hank Thompson, Betty Thompson, Decatur Agnew, Keith Antoine Willis, Kevin 'Kevvy Kev' Pulley, Demetrius Johnson, 'Spider Man' Fuller, Richard 'Onion' Horton, Lizz Brown, Charlie Tuna, Corneal 'Tony' Washington, Deacon Ernest Greenlee, Steve Love, Carole Carper, Curtis 'Boogie Man' Brown, and many more local announcers and personalities that will be among the honorees.

There will be a special section for those who are no longer with us, including: Wiley Price, Jr., Dave Dixon, George 'The G' Logan, Jessie 'Spider' Burks, Al 'Scoop Sanders' Gay, E. Rodney Jones, Leo Cheers, Rod 'Jockenstein' King, Willa Mae 'Gracie' Lowery, Roscoe 'Little Ole Roscoe' McCrary, Donnie ‘Soul Finger' Brooks, Jerome Dixon, Hank Spann, Robert 'B.Q.' Burris, Gary 'Starr' Perks, Yvonne Daniels, German Massenberg. Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, Wynetta Lindsay, Leonard Morris, Rev. Cleophus Robinson, Devan Strong, The O'Neal Twins, Geneva Gentry, Leonard Morris and a host of others who have joined our ancestors.

Some other personalities of St. Louis Black radio that should and will be considered are: Jay Dubard, Mark Anthony, John Gardner, Jake Jordan, Sonny Joe White, Donn St. John, The 'Magnificent' Montague, Chuck Cunningham, Niecy Davis, Walt 'Baby' Love, Lee 'Baby' Michaels and Freeman Bosley, Jr.

There are so many more and I am positive that I have left too many off of each list, so I ask forgiveness and understanding, and I invite your comments, suggestions and nominees.
We are hoping to have the facility located in the African American History Wax Museum. No date has been set and the details have not yet been worked out but we are hopeful and prayerful.

Perhaps in the future we are able to expand to become the St.Louis Black Media Hall of Fame, to include television and other members of the media, including performing and visual arts, recording artists, writers, members of the creative media and public relations. Frank Absher created the model that is housed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and has offered his help and assistance with our mission.

Have a wonderful holiday season and keep Kwanzaa spiritual, and listen to my radio show on WGNU 920 AM, Monday through Friday at 7 am, and watch my television program on Ch. 24 every Saturday night at 10 pm and Friday mornings at 9 am.

I can be reached by e-mail at:


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The New Black Codes… the Codes of Silence!

October 15, 2009

It used to be rare to report a violent death involving a child or teenager, and it brought astonishment and outrage to the community. But today it is no longer shocking and actually routine in some areas. The waste of a young life and empathy for the families are now all too common. Nearly everyone is talking about the problems in our society with the violence amongst our children and teens. Often when law enforcement officials step up the management and control of the youth in certain neighborhood and districts some residents insist the department is enforcing "The Black Codes."

Although the Civil War had left the South in political and social turmoil, white Southerners were intent on controlling blacks. It was through the creation of the Black Codes that whites discovered they could control almost all aspects of life of Southern blacks.

Almost every aspect of life was regulated, including the freedom to roam. Many codes prohibited blacks from entering towns without permission. In Opelousas, Louisiana, blacks needed permission from their employer to enter the town; a note that stated the nature and length of the visit was required. Any black found without a note after ten o'clock at night was subject to imprisonment.

No community would allow this to happen again but babies killing babies call for desperate measures. Studies reveal that while African Americans comprise 13.5% of the U.S. Population, 43% of all murder victims are African American, most were killed by other African Americans, and many by children or young adult males. So what are law enforcement agencies to do? How are they going to solve the crimes and punish the guilty? How are they to stop the killing? How can they counter the codes of silence, and do away with this "no snitching" mentality? This code of silence and no snitching attitude is another form of self hatred. It is an extreme dislike of oneself.

The Community Policing Dispatch of July 2009 addressed the dilemma with the article "Combating the Stop Snitching Code of Silence."

"Communication between law enforcement and the communities they serve is essential to successful community policing. The willingness of community members to share vital information and participate in partnership-enhancing activities with their local law enforcement agencies has been a successful strategy for addressing and preventing crime.

"Unfortunately, intimidation and the fear of retaliation from individuals involved in illegal activities are straining the relationship between law enforcement and communities. Drug dealers, gang members, and other criminals are promoting a stop snitching culture that often threatens violence against people who provide information to, or cooperate in any way with, the police. The resulting unwillingness to work with local law enforcement is jeopardizing law enforcement initiatives throughout the country."

Dr. Carter G. Woodson noted "when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions." We must develop empowerment strategies. Far too often, the only guidance young Black males receive comes after they have committed an offense against society.

Dr. Woodson also wrote in his book "The Mis-education of the Negro," "to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching. He wrote 'the thought of' the inferiority of the Negro is drilled into him in almost every class he enters and in almost every book he studies." We understand Black male youths face formidable challenges to their educational development. Statistics on educational attainment would suggest that many Black youth are at-risk in the nation's schools.

The Black community must educate our youth and the community-at-large to save the children and tell them that when they report a crime, they are not "snitching," but only helping to keep themselves and their families safe. It is our duty to save them and us. When it comes right down to it, we get what we allow, but we don’t deserve what we are getting.


I can be reached by e-mail at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Right Wing Media: It is All About Race!

September 18, 2009

The lack of respect for president Obama is bigotry and intolerance in its purest form. The debates about healthcare and education are defining the role of the far right wing media in U.S. society.

How did Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and other so-called journalist and broadcasters in mainstream media get it so wrong? What the conservative media and many elected officials on the “right”are doing is easy to understand.

The right continues to disseminate their false arguments as facts over the airwaves. They, along with many conservative Republicans and some members of the Democratic Party are promoting the opposition to the president’s plan for health care reform and his blueprint for education through bigotry, plain and simple. Their agenda is to confuse the public and distort his message with propaganda.

S. C. Republican Rep. Joe Wilson, during the President’s joint message to Congress called Mr. Obama a liar, and Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck said he believes President Barack Obama is a racist.

Do Hannity and Wilson respect the president as the holder of the highest office in the land and the most powerful man in the world, or just a Black man whom they have no reason to respect?
Have they ever asked themselves what are the defining characteristics of being "white" or "black" in America today? Is it solely a matter of skin color? Probably in their eyes, Mr. Obama is linked to the only group to have involuntarily immigrated to the United States, and have been forcibly stripped of its culture, not realizing that African or black Americans has as a group yet to receive its fair share of the American dream. In my opinion, they have racially stereotyped the President of the United States.

Unfortunately racial stereotypes are still alive and well in this country despite progressive steps to eliminate it. But the media and many politicians as well, consistently use negative images to portray African-Americans. These stereo- types are not accurate and African-Americans are unfairly and unrealistically portrayed on television and other forms of media. Among the responsibilities of journalists and politicians is to meaningful link persons of African descent accurately to their ancestral past, but what have we seen during Mr. Obama’s short term in office? We have witnessed a conspiracy by members the media and many conservatives to disrupt town hall meetings, force media outlets to cover the Tea Parties, investigate President Obama’s birth certificate, and attack public officials and Obama supporters.

Mr. Obama’s Presidency is historical and it is a defining role in the growth of the country. It highlights one of the many contributions of Black Americans that have influenced our culture, enriched our society and is shaping the history of the United States. So how can the Right be so wrong?

I would like President Obama to remember a poem by Langston Hughes:

I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen when company comes,
But I laugh, and eat well, and grow strong.
Tomorrow, I'll be at the table when company comes.
Nobody'll dare say to me, "Eat in the kitchen,"
Then, besides, they'll see how beautiful I am, and be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

I can be reached by e-mail at:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Re-examining The Team Four Plan!

August 21, 2009

When you hear the word segregation many persons think of the South. It bring back memories of lunch counter sit-ins, the March to Montgomery, Selma and other civil rights battles of the 1960s, but a better example can be found right here in the Bi-State region, particularly in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Despite what the surveys disclose St. Louis is one of the 10 most-segregated metropolitan locales for blacks in the nation, and it will probably continue to be.

The issue of racial disparities in St. Louis and the Bi-State region is emerging as one of the most pressing social and economic concerns facing African Americans, because the nation’s inner cities are being gentrified at an alarming rate, displacing a large section of our population.

African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latinos, and members of other communities of color are not always included in Missouri and Illinois success stories.

Gentrification can only occur in neighborhoods where there is low ownership by those that live and do business in the neighborhood, and as we know, we do not own very much

The decline of our cities, the flight to the suburbs, private and charter schools, teacher shortages, and the outplacement of jobs to other countries, economic downturns and declining tax bases and many other factors have contributed to our current situation, but how and why did this happen?

Many blame it on what is commonly known as The Team Four Plan.

Team Four, Inc. was hired by the City’s Planning Commission in 1973 to prepare a city-wide comprehensive planning study, an update to the City’s 1947 Comprehensive Plan. This plan recommended “A New Concept for a New Town in the City."

This proposal included an Area of New Development: to the North, Delmar Boulevard, to the South, Lafayette and I-44, to the East, the North-South Distributor and to the West, Vandeventer and Thirty-ninth Street.

The concept of a New Town in the City was based primarily on the idea of creating a quality environment that incorporates the luxury of suburban living with the convenience and vitality of city living. The plan was backed by the Urban Growth and New Community Development Act of 1970, which supplements existing city, state and federal mechanisms to encourage major new private investments.

Public records illustrate the process of creating a new town in the City of St. Louis. The documents tell "It would be located in the midtown area just west of the Central Business District including Lafayette Square, Laclede Town and the proposed area of new development. The "New Town" would cover a total of 1250 acres; with units estimated at 18,500, this development would house 40,000 to 50,000 people of various socio-economic backgrounds." Do you recognize the results of this plan? Can you tell the plan was implemented?

Who was excluded? What neighborhoods and communities would NOT and did not benefit from these illustrious plans? What community was and will be underserved or have services depleted or curtailed? What hospitals and schools were targeted to close? Whose tax base was targeted for erosion? Where are the industrial parks being built? Who recommended the reduction of Aldermanic Wards in North St. Louis?

What we witnessed and are now experiencing is another form of gentrification and red-lining. Are you aware the FHA underwrote mortgages only in predominantly white neighborhoods, excluding blacks from the "largest wealth-building program" in the history of our country? Did you know the Federal Public Works Program divided thriving black and ethnic white neighborhoods?

North St. Louis was and is the victim of a U.S. Government conspiracy. In the area of unfair lending HUD took the leading role in the history of racial discrimination in mortgage lending.

Redlining is a reality in African American communities across the United States. It is a practice which discriminates against Blacks of all economic sectors when they apply for home and business loans and consumer credit. Blacks, more than any other racial or ethnic group receive less credit.

The federal and local Urban Renewal programs, that moved people from homes to public housing projects, was soon referred to as Negro Removal.

Following World War II, and continuing into the early 1970s, "urban renewal" referred primarily to public efforts to revitalize aging and decaying inner cities, although some suburban communities undertook such projects as well. Including massive demolition, slum clearance, and rehabilitation, urban renewal proceeded initially from local and state legislation.

Urban Renewal or Negro Removal also destroyed the Mill Creek Valley area.

According to city records, "in 1951, Missouri Governor Forrest Smith signed the Municipal Land Clearance for Redevelopment Law, which brought state aid to the urban renewal efforts of Missouri's cities." The law also created the St. Louis Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, whose job it was to oversee urban renewal in Saint Louis and manage its funding.

Under the 1954 Federal Housing Act - which provided federal aid for renewal projects - and the passage in 1955 of a $110 million bond issue, Mayor Tucker and the City of St. Louis began the clearance and demolition of slums in Mill Creek Valley.

The most of the bond revenue went towards construction of new expressways, some of which cut through parts of Mill Creek. Roughly $10 million was utilized for slum clearance. The clearance of the area would involve the relocation of many residents and businesses; most residents would never return and many businesses would cease operations.

Was this the model for Team Four? Do you recognize how the Federal Works Programs devastated the African American community? It divided the African American community and sapped the strength from the political voting base.

Did Highway 40 and Highway 70 make life better for you or just more convenient? This program polarized the city and created divisions we are yet trying to amend. The voting strength of the African American community was ruined.

This is all of public information. It is mostly hidden, but it is public.

Please listen to my radio talk show, along with my co-host State Representative Rev. James T. Morris where we will be discussing these and other issues that are important to you. We can be heard Monday through Friday from 7 am -8 am on WGNU-AM 920 AM, following The Doug Eason Show.

I can be reached by e-mail at:

Have a great day.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Disappearing Voices and Vanishing History!

July 13, 2009

It has been said that he who controls the past controls the future. Our view of history shapes the way we view the present, and therefore it dictates what answers we offer for existing problems.

Until very recently, our history has been almost completely lost due to a combination of fraud, omission, distortion, historical accident, mistaken assumptions, and misplaced historical documents. We must realize and understand that other cultures devote much time and effort to teaching their children family history.

We surely cannot forget the amount of media coverage that was devoted to the passing of Michael Jackson, but only just a few weeks ago we lost two of our most important scholars and teachers and except for the Black Press, hardly any coverage was dedicated to the passing of Dr. John Hope Franklin or Dr. Ivan Van Sertima.

I mention this matter because while Michael deserved all of the attention that he received, Franklin and Van Sertima were essential in making it possible for Michael to compete and achieve in this complex and somewhat racially polarized society.

Dr. John Hope Franklin passed on March 25, 2009. He was best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, and continually updated. More than three million copies have been sold. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

In the early 1950s, Franklin served on the NAACP Legal Defense Fund team led by Thurgood Marshall that helped develop the case for Brown V. Board of Education that led to the 1954 U. S. Supreme Court decision ending the legal segregation of black and white children in public schools.

Dr. Franklin’s works are so numerous that I would have to devote an entire column just to list a few his publications. He should have been remembered and recognized by more than a few seconds in a newscast.

Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and Dr. Franklin were heroes and highly influential individuals. Their approach to history was through pride and love for African Americans and all people.
Dr. Van Sertima came to the United States in 1970, where he completed his post graduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He began his teaching career as an instructor at Rutgers in 1972, and later became Professor of African studies in the Department of Africana Studies.

Van Sertima was a literary critic, a linguist, and an anthropologist, and made a name for him in all three fields. As a linguist, he was the compiler of the Swahili Dictionary of Legal Terms, based on his field word in Tanzania, East Africa in 1967. As a literary critic, he was the author of Caribbean Writers, a collection of critical essays on the Caribbean novel.

He was also the author of several major literary reviews published in Denmark, India, Britain, and the United States. He was recognized for his work in this field by being requested by the Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy to nominate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature from 1976 to 1980.

The cornerstone of Dr. Van Sertima's legacy will probably be his authorship of "They Came before Columbus: the African Presence in Ancient America."

In 1979 Dr. Van Sertima founded the Journal of African Civilizations which quickly gained a reputation for excellence and uniqueness among historical and anthropological journals. Van Sertima wrote: "The destruction of African high-cultures after the massive and continuous invasions of Europe left many Africans surviving on the periphery or outer ring of what constituted the best in African civilizations."

Our ancestors define who we are, and we must remember the teachings of Dr. John Henrik Clarke who reminded us that: "Africa and its people are the most written about and the least understood of all of the world's people. This condition started in the 15th and the 16th centuries with the beginning of the slave trade and the colonialism system. The Europeans not only colonialized most of the world, they began to colonialize information about the world and its people. In order to do this, they had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they had previously known about the Africans. They were not meeting them for the first time; there had been another meeting during Greek and Roman times. At that time they complemented each other."

We must not forget the lessons taught by Dr. Chancellor Williams, or Dr. Leonard Jeffries. We have to read, and encourage others to read.

Everyone should be interested in this crucial and ongoing debate. We should read A.J. Roger's “From Superman to Man," "100 Amazing Facts about the Negro," and "The World's Great Men of Color."

Goodbye Michael, John and Ivan.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3349 or by e-mail at:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Goodbye to Soul Music

June 18, 2009

Every February, we recognize and appreciate black history, but every day a part of our culture is steady slipping away and we appear to just let it happen. I am speaking of soul music. The tradition of soul or rhythm and blues music as we know it could die out completely on radio stations that employ programmers who do not know the importance of black music, or just don't care in this hip-hop oriented society.

While most radio stations directed to the African American market consider themselves servicing the best R&B and hip-hop, the artists reflects music directed to teens and young adults only. The top rated songs on the Billboard R&B/Soul and blues chart features Keri Hilson and Kanye West. They are certainly not what the average black music fan would consider R&B. Not even Shirley Brown with a hit on the southern blues charts made in it into the top 50 on Billboard while Jamie Foxx has three entries. How do the programmers now define R&B? Are Shirley Brown, Renee Smith, Barbara Carr, Otis Clay, Uvee Hayes, Willie Clayton and Latimore too black for black stations?

Soon, this music and these performers will be just a memory to the black community and become a stepchild of the genre such as the blues has become. You are witnessing the death of soul music. The recording industry is increasingly turning to young artists, ranging from Beyonce to Lil Kim to Jenifer Hudson and ignoring the true, dedicated soul artists that paved the way. Denise LaSalle, Lee Shot Williams, Mel Waiters, Marvin Sease and other soul artists must fight for the few spots offered by the southern blues and soul stations in small to medium markets to hope for any recognition, personal appearances or CD sales.

Some of our major urban cities including Atlanta, Memphis and Chicago are abandoning the artists that made their stations so powerful. St. Louis does not have a soul station after the format change at WESL. Except for KDHX you probably won’t be hearing much T. Bone Walker, Guitar Slim, Chuck Strong, Floyd Taylor, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James or Otis Spann.

From 1915 to 1929, great waves of blacks migrated from the south to the north. Memphis, St. Louis and Chicago greeted them with jobs in factories, stockyards and mailrooms and they depended on the black newspapers for information and the church or Juke joints for religious or social activities. In the '40s and '50s the personality black disc jockeys appeared and the focus of black life turned to the radio and black people were enlightened and entertained and informed by their social groups and equals.

The June 2000 edition of Ebony magazine stated 'for four centuries, from the arrival of the first Blacks in English America in 1619 to the hip-hops of the Millennium, African-Americans have dominated American music and dance. Black music, in fact, is America's only original music, and the Spirituals-Blues-Jazz-Gospel-Charleston-Twist-Hip Hop gift is the foundation not only of rhythm and blues but also of Broadway, the Grammys and Elvis et al.'

Now, we have virtually nothing, and that what we do have we don't own. There is no commitment and perhaps no future for the African American soul artist. Some believe that images and concepts portrayed in Hip Hop and Rap music are eroding values in the Black community. The music industry is dying because were are losing or abandoning the oral tradition of folk sermon, spirituals, blues, ballad, while succumbing to rap and hip hop. Johnnie Taylor, "Little" Johnnie Taylor, KoKo Taylor, Little Milton, Oliver Sain, Ike Turner, Minnie Ripperton, Tyrone Davis, Luther Ingram, Otis Reading, Rufus Thomas and others made these radio stations the powers they have become, and their place on American music must not be underestimated.

These African-American men and women dedicated their lives to making this art. We must at least attempt to keep the music alive.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 837-3369 or by e-mail at:


Thursday, May 14, 2009

44 Years – A Time to Reflect!

May 14, 2009

April 21st marked my 44th anniversary in the St. Louis area. It was a pretty uneventful occasion. Since then, many things have changed in our communities and societies. I was amazed at the stark contrast of the City of San Francisco, where I had recently departed and the urban environment of The Gateway City. I also noticed the dissimilarity of the City of Chicago, where I was raised.

The first difference that caught my attention was the crisis with the city public schools. In 1965 the board of education was promoting a bond issue asserting that if it did not pass, the city schools would have to close. I could not imagine a community that was in such distress that the public schools might close. Apparently I was wrong in 1965 and I am equally disturbed and surprised in 2009. The unprecedented and unthinkable of more than four decades is now a reality. How can this be?

I at once become aware of individuals who took a leadership role in helping to make this a great city as I melded into the customs and traditions of the community of which I soon learned to admire and respect. I met Norman Seay, Charles Coen, Diane White, James Buford, ACTION, the Black Liberators, Percy Green, members of the Black Press and the other organizers that had transformed the scenes and shaped the mind-set of the region, as well as the many politicians that contributed to the renaissance of the area.

As an announcer and disc jockey at KATZ, I was proud to be a member of a medium that provided information and entertainment to a city that was on the move. A modern city with hospitals to care for the regions health needs and services and neighborhoods opening to citizens that were once restricted. There was Homer G. Phillips Hospital that was built to serve the city's black population by black physicians who could not be employed elsewhere. There was DePaul Hospital and Faith Hospital, also located on the city’s North Side.

The city had Malcolm Bliss Mental Health Center, and Max Starkloff Hospital. The poor and indigent had St. Louis County Hospital providing health care for the region.
The black radio stations, KATZ, KWK and KXLW were playing the music of Motown, Stax, Atlantic and other labels that were popular with the masses. They competed against KXOK and WIL, not only for listeners, but also for advertising dollars.

We had the Black Circle and Soul Brotherhood television dance shows on channel 30, and the preachers would make sure the music we played did not offend our audience, especially women and children. At that time we welcomed the challenge of an open St. Louis and we interacted with art and culture.

Eventually the people elected an African American mayor, African American school superintendent, African American police chief and African American Fire Chief.

Then something happened. During this period, we were inundated with Superfly, The Mack, Dolemite and other Blaxplotation movies, and the music changed to a medium of promoting drugs, sex and misogyny. This was no accident. These changes were deliberate and well planned and we fell right into the well laid trap of the media magnates and their political allies. We were lulled to sleep.

The community landscape is very different now, which requires us to take a new dimension into account in our personal and private relations. It is worse in some areas than it was in 1965. We have lost most of what we had gained. Our children are becoming murderers and wannabe ‘gangsta’s.

Complacency is not acceptable. Imagine what the area would be like if we had continued with the development we were making in the 60’s and 70’s. This is why we today must take stock of the progress achieved and lost and agree on the future priorities for making our communities safer, taking into account the developments that are dividing our neighborhoods.

We must endure and develop by the talent and ability of our people. It is a matter of survival. We have now come full circle and it is now time to develop and walk a straight line.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 8373369 or by e-mail at:


A Community in Crisis!

April 16, 2009

Over the past few months a small band of hoodlums has terrorized our street and communities, committing murder and spreading violence. Most of the people murdered in the St. Louis metropolitan area each year are black, part of a persistent pattern in which African Americans are disproportionately victimized by violent crime, usually perpetrated by black on black, and are more likely to be confronted with firearms.

Blacks are also more likely than any other group to be victims of serious violent crime, which is defined as murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery or aggravated assault.

This is a crisis that is devastating black teens and adults across our nation and guns play the major role in black homicide victimization. This crisis must be addressed. We are about to become the bloodiest community in the history of this state and it appears to me to be the most pressing problem confronting the St. Louis region today and the black community in particular. The scope of the challenge is immense. Was Malcolm X right? Do some Black people hate themselves?

It had been noted that some Black students often choose not to participate in gifted programs, and this choice contributes to their under representation in gifted education. This choice to not participate in gifted programs is often based on social or external influences, particularly negative peer pressures, as well as internal or psychological issues, namely racial identity status. Some studies indicate that fear, self-hatred and loneliness are fuelled by our mind and cause most of our miseries. The same mind, when made aware, can cure all these troubles. Are Afro-centric studies the key to solving some of these challenges?

Malcolm X once said “In hating Africa and in hating the Africans, we ended up hating ourselves, without even realizing it, because you can't hate the roots of a tree, and not hate the tree. You can't hate your origin and not end up hating yourself. You can't hate Africa and not hate yourself”.

As indicated by to Dr Jawanja Kunjufu, A new book recently published by local author and educator Fundi Sanyika Anwisye of the Frederick Douglas Institute, may hold the key to solving some of our troubles. Kunjufu writes “The African Personality: Lubrication for Liberation” has provided us an excellent blueprint for resolving conflict from an Afro-centric perspective. He has challenged all of us to go beyond superficial understanding of Afrocentricity and the Nguzo Saba. I believe Anwisye’s analysis that one of our greatest problems is not the external enemy but the one within”.

There are many faces of fear but the most terrible is violence. Most adolescent African American males demonstrate mastery of their environment, and are successful, both academically and socially, and this book was conceived and written in association with people committed to strive individually and collectively for peace and conflict resolution.

Anyise’s book is endorsed by some America’s and Africa’s best known scholars, and philosophers. The author thanks “our ancestors whose lesson is that we must, and can get along better with each other in order to survive, thrive and make a full return to righteous living and sovereignty”.

We understand the need to prevent deadly conflict. It is urgent and all parties, clergy and laymen, should condemn violence and the provocation to violence. Dr. Martin Luther King once said “Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now.”

We all must inform on and condemn those who seek to provoke violence on our streets and in our homes, and in our neighbors homes and in our communities. Let the violence cease.

I can be reached by fax at (314) 87-3369 or by e-mail at:

Asnate Sana!