Sunday, November 10, 2013

Shall we Incarceration or Educate?

November 7, 2013   
BH 436

The Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club have formed an alliance to keep children in school and out of the criminal justice system with a new program recently implemented at their North St. Louis location.

Last February Mathews-Dickey President, CEO & Co-Founder Martin Luther Mathews launched the “It’s Better to Educate than to Incarcerate” campaign at the Club’s 53rd anniversary celebration.  Fifty-three legal representatives and 53 educators inked a pledge signed, sealed and delivered by Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley supporting the Club’s efforts to keep young people on the right side of the law and achieving success in the classroom.

Mathews-Dickey spokesperson Barbara Washington said the tactic is committed to dismantling the pipeline to prison through education and by expanding programs that work in the community.
The ACLU, The NAACP and the Children’s Defense Fund have initiatives challenging the "School to Prison Pipeline," or the “Cradle to Prison Pipeline”, but according to Martin Mathews, the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren into the juvenile justice system must end and he and his staff along with the area leaders and educators will provide positive influences to direct them to the correct path.

Mathews noted that America now has the unsavory distinction of leading the world in prison population and on any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, and it’s a drag on America’s economic competitiveness, and while boys are five times as likely to be incarcerated as girls, there also is a significant number of girls in the juvenile justice system. He argues this rate of incarceration is endangering children at younger and younger ages.

The pledge reads: “As government officials, members of the St. Louis area education and legal community, we pledge our support of the Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club’s important work to educate children on the front end to prevent them from falling victim on the back end to incarceration.

We pledge to instill within children the importance of giving respect to gain respect.  We will embrace the community’s children as if they are our own so we can provide positive influences to guide them onto the right path and encourage them to respect their parents and those in positions of authority within their communities.”

The oath also encourage youth to always use restraint regardless of the situation, and to teach youth the importance of being responsible to ensure peace and harmony, and to prevent violence in our society.

Cultural heritage is defined as traditions, beliefs, or a way of life practiced by a group of people, and passed on from generation to generation, so we must increase our  efforts to preserve resources of educational and historical heritage, such as The Mathews –Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ club.
 Mathews-Dickey offer hundreds of formal and informal learning opportunities for people of all ages and is more than merely a rite of passage. It is an exceptional place in the African American community.

It has been revealed that the club is currently facing a financial predicament that could cause some of the workers and staff to face layoffs, and the cancellation of several vital programs for the members. It would be a tragedy to lose such a needed and essential establishment. The Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club must remain as the important and essential enriching institution that it is. The community must act.

The best way to preserve our cultural heritage is to share it with others. Sharing your cultural legacy helps to enrich the lives of others through the gift of discovering diversity so we must support this vital community resource and we must not let the Mathews–Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club close. They need your help and support.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

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

Religious Entertainers!

September 26, 2013   
BH 434   

Has the African American Christian Church lost its influence? Has it become weaker? Do some pastors spend too much time hiding in their churches? These are questions many people are asking so it is time to examine and consider the power the Black church and the black preacher has had on our religious, urban, and social lives and history.

In this column I am writing about mostly African American Protestant denominations including the National Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Progressive National Convention, the African American Episcopal Church, the African American Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Church of God in Christ and the United Church of Christ.

Theologian James Cone writes “The black church is the single most important institution in the black community. Beginning in the late eighteenth century and continuing to the present, it has been the oldest and most independent African American organization.  Its importance is so great that some scholars say that the black church is the black community, with each having no identity apart from the other”. My question is are African American clerics doing enough?

There are some black preachers on the battlefield daily, fighting for justice and freedom, administering to the masses and overseeing medical aid, but the numbers are too few. We know the few that concern themselves with these topics but are the masses leaving the work to a dedicated few?  Is your minister or cleric involved? Is he or she marching for liberating causes? Are they urging you to register to vote? Do they have food pantries?

Nearly every black preacher in America had comments and opinions and even preached sermons regarding the death of Travon Martin, but are they addressing a culture of violence, the phenomenon of sagging pants and disrespect to our elders and women? Are they attending and asking their congregations to attend school board meetings and addressing issues concerning black student transfers?

Some time ago major media outlets focused on and identified the black church as monolithic, and told the world that the symbols of leadership of the black community were Sweet Daddy Grace, Rev. Ike, Prophet Jones, Father Divine and Mother Divine. 

Those media very seldom, if ever, mentioned the fact the role the black church played in nurturing and shaping African American leaders such as Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Joseph Lowery, Jeremiah Wright,  Adam Clayton Powell, Malcolm X, Ida B. Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson Sr. and others. That apparently would not be to their mission or to their advantage.

The late Rev. James Bevel, an adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who led the “children’s crusade” in Birmingham, Alabama, and one of the founding members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was once a frequent visitor to St. Louis and he referred to Sweet Daddy Grace, Rev. Ike, Prophet Jones, Father Divine and Mother Divine as ‘religious entertainers’.
He suggested also that black preachers of today who preach on Sunday and are invisible the rest of the week are also religious entertainers. They are seen and outspoken mainly at conventions, and at home, promote their anniversaries and gospel programs at their own houses of worship.

The African American church has always focused on the message of equality and hopes for a better future. Sermons and lectures by African American preachers have persistently inspired, educated, and excited their congregations through slavery, Jim Crow and the various transformations of racism and that must continue. Today’s ministers must be strong and continue to lead respectfully and provide the leadership that is essential for a community to survive and flourish. 

We know and understand that there is no single set of beliefs to which all African Americans vow, and African American women leaders are emerging more in some denominational churches than in others and we must all work together. The preachers from their pulpits must address AIDS/HIV, teenage pregnancy, sagging pants, murder, education and politics. These are the African roots and the principles of black preaching. Is your pastor ministering? Is he or she involved? Are YOU involved? We all know the clerics who are activists, and we know those who are invisible. It is time for action, not entertainment. 

My column in The American of April 28, 2005 was titled ‘The Mockery of the Black Church!’ I hope I do not have to write another. I scrutinized the African American Christian churches this time but I will also examine other faiths and religions in future columns. Are you offended?

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24, and follow me on Twitter: @berhay and view my Blog  @

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Mis-education of White America!

September 5, 2013   
BH 433

"The Mis-Education of the Negro," originally published 80 years ago by Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, taught us that African Americans of his time were being culturally programmed and brainwashed, rather than taught, in American schools. We believe that is also true today, and with the exodus of so many African American students transferring to predominantly white school districts, the indoctrination will continue.  

My focus this week is the mis-education of white people, especially their ignorance concerning African American and other people of color.

 Dr. Robin Di Angelo asks what it means to be white in a society that proclaims race meaningless yet is deeply divided by race. In the face of pervasive racial inequality and segregation, it is noted that most whites cannot answer that question.

In her book ‘What Does It Mean To Be White?’Dr. Di Angelo argues that a number of factors make this question difficult for whites; miseducation about what racism is. Many factors contribute to what she terms white racial illiteracy. She describes how race shapes the lives of white people, explains what makes racism so hard for whites to see, identifies common white racial patterns, and speaks back to popular white narratives that work to deny racism. I consider her book as important as Dr. Woodson’s book.

Many white people will not discuss the effects and implications of poverty on people of color, or examine causes, such as the lack of adequate schoolrooms and textbooks, and insufficient job opportunities.

It is usually a black or a brown face they attach to a demographic faction that lives below the radar of wealthy and middle-class Americans. They usually do not reflect on how income, family background, culture attitudes, aspirations and appearance make someone a member of a particular group.
Pat Buchanan said ‘though blacks are outnumbered 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.

If interracial crime is the ugliest manifestation of racism, what does this tell us about where racism really resides in America?’ These are the attitudes I am referring to.  People such as Pat Buchannan and other bigoted journalists launch this hatred and misinformation to keep us divided.

Nichole Jaworski of the CBS TV affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. suggest racism is an issue that continues to persist in our country because after centuries of slavery and oppression amongst the African-American population, it is deeply ingrained in American history. And while most of us are familiar with slavery and oppression in American history, according to a study conducted by Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Business School, some white Americans believe that they are the victims of reverse racism.

Aaron Taylor wrote in the Huffington Post ‘so to my fellow white adoptive parents with minority children, when the white establishment tries to deflect the subject away from civil rights for black men by talking about "black on black crime," we can't let the establishment get away with it. They can change the subject. We can't’.

Many of you recently celebrated the historic 1963 March on Washington, and listened to Dr. King’s speech that included:
‘Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.
Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God's children.

The mis-education of white America must be addressed before we will be a complete united nation. We must speak to a system divided by race and class, and usually class can be harder to spot than racial or ethnic differences, yet in many ways it’s the most important predictor of what kind of financial and educational opportunities someone will have in life.

So as we try to overcome the mis-education of the Negro, let’s also develop a method of correcting the mis-education of whites as well.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Be Ever Wonderful!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Mis-education of the Negro!

-->July 18, 2013        
BH 432

Many people are discussing and writing about the Trayvon Martin travesty and the acquittal of George Zimmerman but I want to discuss another issue. I want to focus on the Fourth of July holiday that we recently celebrated, and the continuing mis-education of a people.

Hundreds of thousands of persons of African ancestry had their picnics and the air was thick with the smell of charcoal, and BBQ, and the sounds of fireworks, and crowds fought for a good position to watch a parade. It’s a national holiday. Everyone should enjoy a holiday, and I am not suggesting that you should not find merriment and celebrate among family and friends.

Do you consider what Frederick Douglass asked regarding this holiday? He asked ‘What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.

To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.’

Something we should remember that 2013 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s book “The Mis-Education of the Negro”. It was first published in 1933 and what Dr. Woodson wrote 80 years ago is relevant to this day.

Amazon.Com. describing Dr. Woodson’s book says ‘The thesis of Dr. Woodson's book is that African-Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools. This conditioning, he claims, causes African-Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. He challenges his readers to "do for themselves", regardless of what they were taught: History shows that it does not matter who is in power... those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning’.

Dr. Woodson stated "when you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

Dr. Woodson also noted “Negroes have no control over their education and have little voice in their other affairs pertaining thereto. In a few cases Negroes have been chosen as members of public boards of education, and some have been appointed members of private boards, but these Negroes are always such a small minority that they do not figure in the final working out of the educational program.

The education of the Negroes, the most important thing in the uplifting of Negroes, is almost entirely in the hands of those who have enslaved them and now segregate them.” 

A Woodson quote that is often referred to says “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. As another has well said, 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”.

So, I hope that you enjoyed the 4th of July and had fun, but did remember the foundation of the holiday and remember the decades that have passed since Dr. Woodson told us that we must learn our own history, even if we have to educate ourselves at home?

We are not in control of our children’s education and therefore we are partly responsible for their lack of knowledge of their history. Our story is ignored and distorted while European history is glorified and overhauled. Also, flash back and review Frederick Douglass’ holiday speech. By the way, did you celebrate Juneteenth?

I hope you had a Happy 4th of July!

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Save Independent Music!

June 6, 2013     
BH 431

Over the years I have written columns, and discussed on my radio and television programs the struggle for equal opportunity, parity and recognition in the world of music and entertainment.
For many years independent record labels, producers, writers and artists have been the object of a type of unfairness and bias that is difficult to imagine by the general public. Local artists and companies in cities across the nation such as Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, Detroit, Houston, Cleveland, Dallas, Jackson, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Louisville and hundreds of others too numerous to name have been systematically excluded from this multi-billion dollar enterprise.

In a report April 28, 2007, RBG Scholaran published ‘Major Record Companies Manipulated Control of Black Music’. It revealed "the real goal was to put black record companies out of business and capture their market share."

Dr. Kwaku Person –Lynn in 2006 believed to understand how major corporate record entities manipulated control of black music, we have to understand this story begins in the 1980s with the sale of Motown Records, a once black-owned record company, to MCA Records and Boston Ventures Limited Partnership. The African American community felt a great loss of one of its cherished institutions.

Around that same period it seemed like war had been declared against the survival of black-owned record companies. Solar Records was involved in a suit, counter-suit with Warner Brothers Records for control of its assets. Sussex Records, a once fast growing black-owned record company, was forced to cease doing business for tax reasons. Philadelphia International Records, a quality black-owned record company, was under the distribution control, lifeline to its financial survival, of CBS Records (also known as Columbia Records).

These days, Jerry King of Jamestown Records based in Atlanta, has been working tenaciously to bring justice and change to the industry. He stress that in the black music market, the three remaining major labels are making the bulk of the profits from the sale of black music.  He said ‘there is also a systemic collusion between many radio stations which ensures that independent black music labels do not receive air time, therefore not being able to attain any progress for profit, jobs and diversity,  I want the American people to realize how our US potential is being withheld by a few’.

King remembers the drum in Africa represented the heartbeat and soul of Africa.  He wrote ‘it indicated communication, endangerment to the community, festivity and celebration and music.  It enriched the community. That same innate drumbeat prescribes that same enrichment in all areas revolved around black music.  In short, the business model of terrestrial radio in collusion with major record labels is to silence the beat of the independent drum’.

Personally it is mysterious to me how some record companies and black radio programmers and deejays can be such hypocrites regarding black artists. And they are especially prejudiced against singers and musicians recording ‘cover records’, meaning songs that have been previously recorded by other artists. They become very selective of artists they know as opposed to new artists who are ‘trying to make it’. They must realize that the definition of hypocrisy is deceit, dishonesty, deception and false professionalism.

When some artists record a CD and there are cover tunes they are usually overwhelmingly rejected, but now on the R&B Soul charts is Larimore’s “Hit the Road Jack”, a song that sold millions for Ray Charles. It is currently being heard on nearly every Southern Soul radio station in the nation and overseas. Another example is Alicia Keys “How Come You Don’t Call Me”, originally recorded by Prince; and Destiny’s Child’s “Emotion” by the Bee Gee’s. The list is endless.

The music industry, including some black radio and record company executives should be reminded of the reference by Frederick Douglas on hypocrisy. He said ‘for it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.’ This should apply to all record company executives and radio station programmers and star struck deejays.

If you want to help, reach me here at The American, or contact Jerry King in Atlanta.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sagging Pants!

May 2, 2013    
BH 430

Are sagging pants a new form of cultural identity for some young African American males? Are these young people so unreachable that they must drop their pants to attain a sense of belonging and become visible to their peers? Does it rally define the way and individual identifies or positions himself in a different cultural environment?

According to Judge Greg Mathis, sagging was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited. Belts are sometimes prohibited to keep prisoners from using them as weapons or in committing suicide by hanging themselves. The style was later popularized by hip hop artists in the 1990s. It has since become a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness among some youths or a symbol of their rejection of the values of mainstream society. Prior to the sagging pants, it was the shoestrings out of sneakers. All of this is born out of prison. He said ‘it’s all in the clothing’.

I believe young people have the ability to stop the sagging and create fashions that reflect their great culture and rich heritage. We have often been told that good leaders are made, not born and develop through a method of education, training, and understanding. And we must understand that different people require different styles of leadership.

In every edition of The American we see and hear of young African American achievers, both male and female. Also other publications and organizations focus on the many wonderful and progressive accomplishments and successes of young African Americans. I am not writing about them. I am confident that there are millions of young individuals doing far greater things for us as a people that we can imagine, but it’s the ones that are not that is the center of my attention. 

I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not putting down the phenomenon we call hip-hop, but a lot of the trends and styles for young adults stem from this way of life. I read that leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. What if some of the current grouping of rappers and popular singers would remember their roots, or were taught their history?

What if Snoop Dogg would begin writing about Marcus Garvey? What if Kanye West would teach about Malcolm X or Martin Delaney? Do you think Lil Wayne, Chris Brown or T.I. would sag if their lyrics were about Colin Powell, Thurgood Marshall or Jackie Robinson?
What if Bow Wow, 50 cent or Soulja Boy would dress in suits and in their performance would give a shout out to Dr. Martin Luther King, James Meredith, Medgar Evers, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale or President Barack Obama?

What is the role of parents? They are the first teachers. What are they wearing? A common aspect of fashion in African American culture involves the appropriate dress for worship in the Black church. It is expected in most churches that an individual should present their best appearance for worship. Now you see parents attending church wearing slacks and loose shirts.

Parents should be role models and provide and insist on a dress code for themselves and not allow their children who live at home to wear sagging, revealing, low-slung pants, I will deal with the young ladies in a future column.

John P. Kotter of The Harvard School of Business said: "one of the most common ways to overcome resistance to change is to educate people about it beforehand. Communication of ideas helps people see the need for and the logic of a change. The education process can involve one-on-one discussions, presentations to groups, or memos and reports.”

The Children will make the difference!

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Term Limits for Mayor!

April 4, 2013     
BH 429

In my column of December 6, 2012 when Lewis Reed, president of the city's Board of Aldermen announced his candidacy for St. Louis mayor, challenging incumbent Francis Slay who is seeking his fourth consecutive term in office, I asked ‘will the race be divisive and will the contest reflect the bitterness of some of the past struggles for control’? The answer is a resounding yes.

Another question was ‘will race and ethnicity be relevant to the determination of who will occupy room 200 in City Hall?’ Again, the answer is a reverberating yes.

I noted the role of ethnic identity and how it frames the formulation of policies related to education, employment, housing, and I emphasized that ethnicity should not play a part in the contest, but it unquestionably did. It seemed race was the predominant and most important concern.

My question now is should St. Louis mayors be limited to two consecutive terms in office? Before Slay, no St. Louis mayor has ever been elected to a fourth four-year term, and only one has tried. Slay becomes the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, surpassing Henry Kiel, who served from April 12, 1913 – April 21, 1925.

The Missouri General Assembly established term limits for their members: four consecutive two-year terms for House members totaling eight years, and two four-year consecutive terms for Senate members, also limiting them to eight years. Office holders may be elected again to the other house, but not serve more than 16 years. Should two consecutive terms be a standard for the City of St. Louis?

Here are some quotes from ‘’. When the website asked the question concerning politicians and term limits, here are a few of their quotes:
“I believe there should be a limit on the number of terms an individual can serve in any political office so that the government could consist of public servants rather than career politicians.

Our current system, which allows most political offices to be held for an unlimited number of terms provided the individual receives adequate votes, allows for career politicians whose only goal is to serve their own interests. If we placed a limit on terms, it would allow a proper rotation of citizens serving in office as true representatives of the people and reduce the ease of lobbyists to buy favors from politicians.”

Another said “I am for term limits on elected officials, because it is important for fresh faces to get a higher chance to take office. Most incumbents have a higher chance of winning an election, compared to newcomers.”

One person argued “yes, there should be limits on the number of terms elected officials may serve because we don't want or need career politicians who don't understand the problems facing real people. It would also help reduce the influence of special interest groups because fresh faces will not be as easy to convince to vote a certain way.”

Revered Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center has created a petition for persons to sign who want term limits for mayors and some other local officials. What about the County Supervisor’s office, or local municipalities? Should they face the same limitations as state elected officials? What about your local, county, state or government representatives?  Do you have an opinion?

Remember that elections are an opportunity for voters to distinguish between contenders and their vision for the office that they seek. These fundamental rights and these contests should transcend race, age, and gender, but unfortunately they do not in the City of St. Louis, and not always in St. Louis, Madison, St. Clair, St. Charles or Jefferson Counties. The Civil War continues.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

In 2016, Could it be Hillary or Michelle?

March 7, 2013 
BH 429
March is Women’s History Month, a time we pay tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to life and the world have proved invaluable to society. American women’s history has been full of pioneers who have made great development in fields like science, politics, sports, literature and the arts. As adventurers, educators, artists, and freedom fighters, women have played an essential role in the shaping of the United States for 400 years. March also marks 100 years since suffragists marched on Washington.
AOL and PBS collaborated recently to present a 3 hour documentary called:  “MAKERS: Women Who Make America”, characterizing forceful stories from women of today and tomorrow.

Much of the news media and political pundits lately have been focusing on former Secretary of State Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, asking will she run for the office of president in 2016.  In the 2008 presidential nomination race she won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history, but narrowly lost to then Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

A female president is not a new inspiration or novel idea. Shirley Chisholm became the first black congresswoman and for seven terms represented New York State in the House. She ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1972, and Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman vice-presidential candidate on a national party ticket.

It’s not uncommon for the press to focus on Mrs. Clinton because of her history and record of public service. Although no woman has been elected to the nation’s highest office, she was at one time the nation’s first lady. But I wonder if it is possible to consider our present first lady, Michelle Obama for the office? Although their childhood was very different, their qualifying credentials are incredibly similar. Let’s compare.
Mrs. Clinton was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 26, 1947 to Dorothy Rodham and the late Hugh Rodham. She attended local public schools before graduating from Wellesley College and Yale Law School, where she met Bill Clinton. In 1974, Secretary Clinton moved to Arkansas, a year later then married Bill Clinton and became a successful attorney while also raising their daughter, Chelsea. She was an assistant professor at the University Of Arkansas School Of Law.

During her 12 years as First Lady of the State of Arkansas, she was Chairwoman of the Arkansas Education Standards Committee, co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and served on the boards of the Arkansas Children's Hospital, and the Children's Defense Fund.

In 1992, Governor Clinton was elected President of the United States, and as First Lady, Hillary Clinton became an advocate of health care reform and worked on many issues relating to children and families. In 2000, Hillary Clinton made history as the first lady elected to the United States Senate, and the first woman elected statewide in New York. In 2006, Senator Clinton won reelection to the Senate, and in 2007 she began her historic campaign for President. In 2008, she campaigned for the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and in November, she was nominated by President-elect Obama to be Secretary of State.
Michelle Obama was born on January 17, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. But before she was a mother, or a wife, lawyer or public servant, she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter.

A product of Chicago public schools, Mrs. Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1988, she joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she later met the man who would become the love of her life.

After a few years, Mrs. Obama decided her true calling was working with people to serve their communities and their neighbors. She served as assistant commissioner of planning and development in Chicago's City Hall before becoming the founding executive director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service.

In 1996, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago with a vision of bringing campus and community together. As Associate Dean of Student Services, she developed the university's first community service program, and under her leadership as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center, volunteerism skyrocketed.

Promoting Service and working with young people has remained a staple of her career and her interest. Continuing this effort now as First Lady, Mrs. Obama in 2010 launched  ‘Let’s Move’ a campaign  to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, moms and dads in a nationwide effort to tackle the challenge of childhood obesity. ‘Let’s Move’ has an ambitious but important goal: to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation.

First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama have two daughters: Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11. Like their mother, the girls were born on the South Side of Chicago.

Many women have resumed or carried on their husband’s career. Mae Ella Nolan was the first woman elected to her husband's seat in Congress, and with the evolving role of women in politics, a number of women who first took office under widow's succession went on to build long and distinguished careers in their own right.

We must remember Jean Carnahan served in the United States Senate from 2001 to 2002 after she was appointed to fill the seat of her husband, Mel Carnahan who was posthumously elected to the seat in 2000. She became the first woman to represent Missouri in the Senate. Actually there is a long list of women who carried on their husbands or family member’s career. It’s not as unusual as some might assume.

So when you hear someone mentioning Hillary for president in 2016, perhaps you might mention Michelle as well. Why not Michelle? Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Be Ever Wonderful!


African American Heroines!

January 31, 2013   
BH 428

February is African American History Month, so let re-examine the reasons.

As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925.

The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration.

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

We hear about the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and others, but there are so many we never hear or read about. Last year’s national theme was "Black Women in American Culture and History", that  honored African American women and the roles they played in the shaping of our nation, but two were omitted.

One of them is Modjeska Monteith Simkins. Born in Columbia, South Carolina on December 5, 1899,and by the time she died in 1992, Simkins had achieved national recognition as a civil rights leader and political activist who stood up for what she believed and who did not hesitate to challenge the establishment.
In 1935, learning that the Works Progress Administration ( WPA) officials planned to offer blacks only low-skilled manual labor positions, Modjeska and Dr. Robert Mance, demanded better jobs for African-Americans. The result was that the WPA hired black teachers for the schools and black professionals for a state history project and an anti-tuberculosis project in Columbia. These reforms were unique.

Mrs. Simkins understood the importance of participating in the electoral process. She knew that it would take more than just registering and voting to bring about change. She was active in both the Republican and Democratic parties, but then became disillusioned about each. However, she never tied herself down to one party.

As a civil rights activist who grew up when there were few opportunities for African-Americans. In a 1986 interview, she commented: "Today you hear a lot about busing. Well, there never was a whimper when white children were being bused and black children were walking, but when they start busing black children, then comes this bellyaching about busing.

Although she spent her life fighting for civil rights for African-Americans, Modjeska Simkins' concerns and compassion extended to all of societies downtrodden. She should be remembered and honored.
Another is Ella Baker, who was born in 1903 in Norfolk, Virginia. She became involved in political activism in the 1930s. She organized the Young Negroes Cooperative League in New York City, and later became a national director for the NAACP.

Around 1940, Baker became a field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1946, Baker became the NAACP's national director of branches.

In 1957, Baker joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose first president was Martin Luther King, Jr. She also worked with Stokely Carmichael and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to support civil rights activism on college campuses.

While she left the SCLC in 1960, Baker remained active in the SNCC for many years. She helped Fannie Lou Hamer form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 as an alternative to the state's Democratic Party, which held segregationist views. The MFDP even tried to get their delegates to serve as replacements for the Mississippi delegates at the National Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey that same year. Baker died in New York City in 1986.

Nearly everyone agree that It takes more than the month of February to discuss or begin to present a true historical view of our people, the nation, and our cultural growth, from the beginning, through the Civil Rights movement, and to the present. 

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Be Ever Wonderful!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Many Challenges of Black Radio!

January 3, 2013  
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Recent changes at some local black oriented radio stations have listeners wondering how will their lives be affected and how much true and vital information will they receive?  The African American community is again at risk of being divided, marginalized and deceived by some Black talk show hosts and others who do not have the best interests of our community. Because a person is of African ancestry does not particularly suggest that they have the love or caring for their race.

Black radio has transcended many fazes. From the pioneering days of Jack L. Cooper, Al Benson, Wiley Price and Spider Burk to a serious, tangible medium, yet there are still many thought-provoking fundamental and critical problems to confront and overcome.

I have recently been participating on a series of conference calls with former national talk show host Bob Law, with such scholars as Sonja Sanchez, Maulana Karenga, Haki Madhubuti, Gary Byrd, Walter Beach, Walter Lomax, Leonard Dunston, Kenny Gamble, Sara Lomax-Reese and other programmers and announcers.

Everyone agreed that it is essential that we start talking about reclaiming Black economic and political power.

The participants came to a consensus that activist organizations in the network should present community forums on the importance of Black dollars, and the need to use our dollars to influence political and corporate policy. Also Dr. Karenga
made it clear that there are two levels of responsibility: corporate responsibility and community responsibility. He illustrated that too often Blacks are assigned responsibility while the oppressive system is not held accountable, and noted that three areas must frame our conversations:

Recognition: Recognize our value as a people, the value of our money, our votes and our contributions to the world as well as to America.

Respect: Blacks are due high regard and equal treatment. We must be respected.

Responsibility: The well being of our families and community is our responsibility, but often that includes holding others responsible for their actions and policies as well.  In February 2013, I would like to ask Black people to celebrate Black History month by making history, launching the campaign to redirect Black and corporate dollars back into the Black community, into Black owned media and into Black businesses.

We do not own many media outlets, but what we can be is more responsive. We must counter the ‘hate radio’ movement with programs that provide useful and helpful information to a people who are pleading for truth and knowledge.

We have announcers such as Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden and Ricky Smiley with programs that keep us entertained, and there is Bev Smith, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tavis Smiley, Joe Madison, Warren Ballentine and other men and women of African ancestry who understand the powerful role of urban radio.

They know conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Laura Ingraham, Herman Cain, Neal Boortz and Don Imus, all of whom are sometimes referred to as hate radio personalities, dominate America's talk radio with the backing of white conservative millionaires, but we must get our message to the people. It is up to us to educate and provide quality information to our listeners.

These conservative radio hosts discuss negative cultural attitudes and public policies that directly affect the lives of working class people, especially our readers and listeners, and it forces us to reconsider our perceptions of and attitudes towards the working class. It also shows us how class in the United States is complexly and inextricably bound to race, gender, and sexuality.

We should be motivated to promote self-esteem in the African American community through information and affirmations by persons we can trust, and who are not looking for self promotion, but who desire to better the community.

Black radio has its challenges and you must decide who our true leaders are and who the false prophets are. Through our radio programs we should develop positive alternatives for negative or violent behaviors, and it is imperative that we reveal true facts to an informed electorate. We must hold our air personalities accountable. We must demand true and factual information from people we trust.

Who will be our future communicators and what messages will they deliver? What will the new generation of Black announcers promote? What will the next creation be? It is all up to you. You have the power to select.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday Night at 10pm and Friday Morning at 9 am and Sunday Evenings at 5:30 pm on KNLC-TV Ch. 24.

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

Happy New Year!
Be Ever Wonderful!