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  
BH 427

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!