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Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

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Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011
Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, February 19, 2011

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Published by: The AFRO-American Newspapers on Feb 17, 2011
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February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011, The Afro-American
By George Barnette
 AFRO Sta Writer 
Former Prince George’sCounty Executive JackJohnson was indicted onfederal bribery, extortionand witness and evidencetampering charges on Feb.14.According to theindictment, the 61-year-old Johnson is accusedof conspiring – withdevelopers, politicalcandidates, public ofcialsand Amrik Singh Melhi,owner of Tick Tock Liquorsin Hyattsville, as well asother liquor stores in theregion – to use his inuenceto produce favorableofcial actions for theaforementioned parties.“Pay-to-play governmentis not democraticgovernment,” said U.S.Attorney Rod J. Rosensteinin a statement. “Anyone whoseeks benets or approvalsfrom the government shouldbe evaluated on the merits,without being extorted forpayments or losing out tocompetitors who pay bribes.Government employeesagrantly abuse the publictrust when they take moneyin return for ofcial acts.”This week’s indictmentis the continuation of a sagathat began when Johnsonwas arrested with his wife onNov. 12 at their Mitchellvillehome. Three days later, nineother people were arrested inconnection with the Johnsonprobe including Melhi andthree Prince George’s policeofcers.The indictment saysthat Johnson along withthe head of the county’sDepartment of Housing andCommunity Development – called Public OfcialA – accepted money, trips,expenses, meals, drinks,hotel rooms, airline tickets,rounds of golf, employment,mortgage payments andcampaign contributionsfrom Melhi and two othermen (Developer A andDeveloper B). There issubstantial information in
By Zenitha Prince
Washington Bureau Chief 
President Barack Obama’s2012 budget, released onValentine’s Day, is gettinglittle love from either side of the ideological aisle.Republicans, who in a nodto their tea party supportershave proposed $61 billion inspending cuts for the currentscal year ending Sept. 30,said Obama’s $3.73 trillionproposal falls short of hispledge to scal discipline.“The President’s budgetreects a complete lack of seriousness about our presentscal crisis. If this is ourgeneration’s Sputnik moment,then the White House clearlyhasn’t gotten the message,”said Republican NationalCommittee Chairman ReincePriebus in a statement. “If we are serious about cuttingthe size of government andcreating jobs, it is going torequire real leadership fromthis White House.”The White House spendingplan promises to cut the decitby $1.1 trillion over 10 yearsbut will increase the decit by$1.65 trillion this year beforestarting to scale back.The plan reects fundingboosts in areas such asbiomedical research,broadband extension, high-speed rail, elementaryeducation and clean energy.“These investments are anessential part of the budget,”President Obama said atBaltimore’s Parkville MiddleSchool and Center forTechnology on Monday, “...because I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovateand out-educate, as well asout-hustle the rest of theworld, the jobs and industriesof our time will take root herein the United States. Ourpeople will prosper and ourcountry will succeed.”But such increases y inthe face of the president’spromise to address long-termdecit reduction, Capitol HillRepublicans said.
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Copyright © 2011 by the Afro-American Company
Character EducationSpecial Section Insert
Continued on A5
Mathis’ Mind: SaveEx-Inmate Programs
Continued on A4
• Character Education
Did Civil Rights-Era Comic Book Inspire Egyptian Protestors?
FEBRUARY 19, 2011 - FEBRUARY 25, 2011
Obama Budget Criticized
By George Barnette and Shernay Williams
 AFRO Sta Writers
Maryland’s Black population increasedslightly to 29.4 percent, while Blacksseemingly migrated to southern counties,according to new Census data released Feb. 9.Counties such as Anne Arundel, Howardand Charles – whose White population dippedfrom 67 to 48 percent over the last decade –experienced the largest growth spurts of Blackresidents.U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., saidareas such as Charles County, which was oncerural and undeveloped, are becoming moredeveloped as the result of urban sprawl fromthe Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.She says the new racial compositionmay benet minorities during legislativeredistricting. “[Minority growth] actually bodeswell depending on where these census blocksare in the population and where the populationis,” Edwards said. “We get to see what thismight mean, in terms of the prospects foradditional members of the state senate, whomight be African American and be competitivein some districts where there hasn’t beencompetition [from African Americans] before.”Baltimore City was the only jurisdiction inthe state to lose residents; in fact, as a whole,Maryland grew by 9 percent or 480,000residents.Over the last decade, Baltimore City’spopulation decreased by about 1 percent withabout roughly 30,000 fewer Black residentsliving in the area than Whites. The city nowhas 620,961 residents, a 4.6 percent loss and at
Continued on A5
Black Population Dwindlesin Baltimore
Map provided by the U.S. Census Bureau
 Jack Johnson Indicted
Photo by Rob Roberts
Former Prince George’sCounty Executive Jack  Johnson faces a possible115 years based on theindictment handed downon Feb. 14.By Shernay Williams
 AFRO Sta Writer 
At a media conference Feb. 14, cityleaders announced the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation will sponsor programs for teenage dropouts and ex-offenders seekingemployment, current high school studentsdesiring college preparatory training andschool-age children looking for an after school safe haven.Lauding the program as a “faith event,”U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said thefoundation’s tri-fold efforts will fortify youththrough holistic services.“We have to takethese programs and make them a model for thenation,” he told reporters at the media event.Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said theinitiatives will ensure “we have fewer peoplefalling through the cracks,” adding that the citymust do a better job to promote such forwardthinking programs throughout the city.The foundation’s Argus programencourages 20 young ex-offenders between theages of 14 and 18 to prepare for the GED anddevelop job training skills ve days a week atthe Druid Hill Community Development Corp.Some 30 students at Augusta FallsHigh School in West Baltimore will takeadvantage of the Quantam program, receivingopportunities – for individualized tutoring,
Photo by Webster Phillips
Members of the Argus Project stand with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., during aValentine’s Day press conference announcing funding for youth programs in BaltimoreCity.
Nonproft Announces Baltimore Youth Programs
“We have to take these programsand make them a model for thenation.” 
Continued on A5
PresidentObama’s 2012budget proposalis drawingcriticisms fromDemocrats andRepublicansalike.
 AFRO File Photo
The Afro-American, February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011
Did Forgotten Civil Rights-Era Comic Book InspireEgypt’s Protestors?
Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of social justice andnonviolent protest may have prompted thousands of Egyptianactivists to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D) told MSNBC a 50-year-old comicbook about the slain civil right’s leader and the Montgomery,Ala. bus boycott has gained notoriety in the Arab world.“Egypt is a reliable, dependable friend of the UnitedStates of America, but what we’re witnessing is a nonviolentrevolution occurring in Egypt and we must be on the rightside of history. ... I just heard a day or two ago that more than250,000 copies of 
 Montgomery Story
in comicbook form was distributedthroughout Egypt and itwas copied and translated. Ibelieve many of the peoplein the streets today havebeen deeply inspired by thecivil rights movement inAmerica and deeply inspiredby Martin Luther King ...”
The Montgomery Story
 was rst published in 1956and highlighted the busboycott that ended the city’ssegregated transportationpolicies. Although itgarnered little attentionstateside, Egyptian bloggerDalia Ziada translated the comic book into Farsi and Arabic in2008. According to her blog, the Arabic and Farsi translationsinspired Vietnamese activists and
 Montgomery Story
isnow being distributed throughout other Asian countries.“The main message I hope that Arabic readers will takefrom the MLK comic book is that: change is not impossible.It is time to stop using our muscles blindly,” said Ziada,director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) – an activistgroup created in response to the Sept. 11 attacks – accordingto TheGrio.com. “Let’s try using our intellect in innovative,creative ways to pressure decision makers and end dictatorship,tyranny and the suppression practiced against us.”
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Charters South AfricanChapter
The world’s oldest intercollegiate fraternity founded byAfrican-American men has established its rst chapter inSouth Africa. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, founded at CornellUniversity in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906, chartered Rho Phi LambdaChapter in Johannesburg on Feb. 3.The ceremony was held during the Kenneth HarlanSimmons Memorial Charity Dinner. Simmons, a successfulAfrican-American architect and professor, was a longtimemember of the fraternity known for his work on equal rights,urban planning and community development. He relocatedto South Africa in 1994 after retiring from the University of California-Berkeley.The event, which included an Alpha auction for education,was presided over by the fraternity’s world leader, GeneralPresident Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., and included members of the fraternity’s board of directors, dignitaries and more than200 others.The new Johannesburg chapter’s 13 charter membersrelocated from America to South Africa. However, thefraternity aims to expand by inviting native South Africans to join the fraternity through the Rho Phi Lambda chapter.“We are excited about establishing the rst chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha on the African continent in the 21st century,”said Michael Sudarkasa, chapter president and a HarvardUniversity-trained lawyer initiated at the University of Michigan. “We look forward to playing an integral part inhelping to expand the fraternity’s presence in Africa in thecoming years.”
Va.’s First Black Chief of Justice Dies at 55
Leroy Hassell Sr., Virginia’s rst Black chief justice, diedFeb. 9 at a Richmond hospital, the Supreme Court of Virginiaannounced in a press release. The cause of his death was notreleased.A native of Norfolk, Hassell was a graduate of theUniversity of Virginia and Harvard Law School. Before joiningthe Supreme Court at 34, he became partner at the nationallyrecognized McGuire Woods law rm.Hassell was a member of the court since 1989 and served aschief justice from February 2003 until his death. His successor,Chief Justice Kinser, praised Hassell’s intellect and “passion forthe law” in a statement.“The Supreme Court of Virginia and the entire judiciaryin the Commonwealth are saddened by the death of JusticeHassell. He was devoted to the Court and worked tirelessly toimprove the administration of justice,” Kinser said.On Feb. 11, Hassell’s body lay in state in the state capitolrotunda, where relatives and friends paid their nal respects.His funeral took place Feb. 12 at an undisclosed church whereHassell and his family worshipped.
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 Johannesburg’s new Rho Phi Lambda Chapter
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February 19, 2011 - February 25, 2011, The Afro-American
By Shernay Williams
 AFRO Staf Writer 
Louise Gee Murphy, aBaltimore City educator andformer state senator, died of natural causes the morning of Feb. 15, her daughter SharonDow conrmed with the
. She was 88.Murphy, a passionateadvocate for education, servednearly half a century as anelementary school teacher,principal, supervisor andspecialist for Baltimore CityPublic Schools. Later in life,she delved into politics.A powerhouse in herown right, heading variouscommittees including theMaryland State CentralCommittee and Morgan ParkCommunity Association, theoutspoken woman marriedinto the iconic Murphyfamily of the Afro-AmericanNewspapers in 1971.A product of city schools,Murphy attended what wasthen Coppin State TeachersCollege to have an impacton the school system. Shegraduated in 1944, duringthe heart of segregation, andtwo years later, she earned amaster’s in education fromNew York University onscholarship. “[At that time]the state preferred to payfor Blacks to go to graduateschool somewhere else besidesthe University of Marylandwith them,” Dow said.Murphy soon returnedto Baltimore and completedan advancedcerticatein educationfrom TheJohns HopkinsUniversity.She spent43 years swiftly moving upthe ranks of city schoolsuntil her retirement in1988. Between the years of 1982-83, she served in theMaryland General Assemblyas a democratic state senatorfor District 44, replacingincumbent John CarrollByrnes, according to theMaryland Society of SenatorsPast.“She [Louise Murphy]was a forceful, concerned,committed person, who had adeep sense of the value of thecommunity. She had a senseof the importance of politicalorganizing and she was axture in the Black society of West Baltimore for as long asI can remember,”
CEOand Publisher John Oliver Jr.said.Among her many honors,Murphy served as presidentof the Baltimore City RetiredTeachers Association, on theboards of directors for theMorgan Christian Center andArena Playhouse, and wasa 60-year active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.Dow said her motherloved to travel. She recalled atime in the 1960s when theytraveled cross-country by train.“But what was probably themost important to her waseducation,” Dow said. “Shermly believed that childrenhad to get a good foundation inthe elementary years.”Murphy is survived by onedaughter, two grandchildrenand one great grandchild.Funeral arrangementswere not nalized by
 deadline. Contact MarchFuneral Homes West fordetails at (410) 542-2400.
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
Special to the AFRO
Although President BarackObama signed a measure twomonths ago meant to fund thesettlement of a longstandingcase known as the Blackfarmers lawsuit, no payout isin sight despite scam artistswho suggest otherwise.That was the heart of themessage that National BlackFarmers Association presidentDr. John Boyd sought todeliver earlier this week at theNational Press Club. “We’vehad a very long struggle.We’re still struggling,”he said in reference to thelawsuit, which began in1997 and alleged the U.S.Department of Agriculturediscriminated against Blackfarmers on the basis of raceand failed to investigate orrespond to complaints from1983 to 1997.“We still don’t have themoney,” said in referenceto the second settlement of the case, meant in large partto give claimants who stillhadn’t had their cases heardunder the original case achance to do so. “Farmers stillhaven’t even begun to havetheir cases heard.”Dr. Boyd said he wantedto warn Black farmers thatthey do not have to pay anyapplication fees to get theircases heard, which he saidsome con artists in certainremote areas of the deepSouth have been getting ortrying to get Black farmersto do.“I’m here to put people onalert that they do not have topay a $1,000 fee,” Dr. Boydsaid, although his detailsabout the alleged scams werescarce.The conferencemomentarily grew heatedwhen a
 Hufngton Post 
 blogger critical of Boyd’sadvocacy suggested that mostof the individuals who hopeto cash in on the $1.15 billionsettlement are non-farmersseeking to defraud the federalgovernment, not actualfarmers.“Not one damn dime hasbeen paid out,” Boyd toldthe blogger, Lee Stranahan,in response. “And all of the sudden you’ve labeled80 percent of these peoplefraudulent? Let them gothrough process.”At one point during theQ&A, National Press Clubmember and event hostKarrye Braxton threatenedto call security on Stranahan – who carried a handheldcamera he aimed at Dr. Boyd – kept making statementsabout the case instead of asking Dr. Boyd an actualquestion.Despite Stranahan’squestions about non-farmersseeking to le claims, thesettlement, formally knownas
Pigford II 
, actually allowsnot only for claims to beled by Black farmers whofarmed and were denied loansthrough USDA agencies from1981 through 1996, but alsothose who attempted to farmand were denied loans duringthe same period.Congress enactedlegislation that led to
Pigford  II 
in 2008 due to concernsabout the large number of late-ling applicants who didnot obtain a determinationof the merits of their claimsunder the original
 settlement approved by afederal district court judgein 1999, according to
ThePigford Cases:
USDASettlement of DiscriminationSuits by Black Farmers
,a report prepared by thenon-partisan CongressionalResearch Service.The CRS report citesconcerns about “ineffectiveor defective” notice regardingthe case.Under the terms of the
Pigford II 
settlementagreement, claimants whosubmitted late-ling requestsunder the original
 case between Oct. 12, 1999,and June 19, 2008, but havenot had their case heard, canseek relief of up to $50,000plus debt relief, or choose thelonger process for damages of up to $250,000, according tothe CRS report.The actual number of eligible claimants – said tobe in the tens of thousands –remains to be seen, Dr. Boydsaid, adding that anti-fraudprovisions would serve toprevent non-eligible claimantsfrom ling claims. In order toreceive a settlement payment,for instance, claimants exposethemselves to perjury forling a bogus claim. “At theend of the day, those whoprevail will prevail,” Dr.Boyd said. “And those whoget denied will be denied.”Though funding for thesettlement has been signed byPresident Obama, the measuremust be approved by U.S.District Judge Paul Friedmanbefore it can become part of the settlement.“I’m hopeful that JudgeFriedman will make thatdecision soon,” Dr. Boyd said.
. . , . .
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 Baltimore Afro-American
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 Afro-American Newspapers
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Photo by Rob Roberts
Dr. John Boyd, shown inthis September 2010
fle photo, alerted Black armers to an allegedscam, asking them to payapplication ees. He saidthe armers did not have topay any money to apply orthe settlement.
Boyd Gives Update on Black Farmers Settlement
“She had a sense o the importance o political organizing and she was a fxture in the Black society o West Baltimore or as long as I can remember.” 
 Veteran City Educator, Former Sen. Louise G. Murphy Dies
 AFRO Archives Photo
Former Maryland state Sen. Louise Gee Murphy seen hereat her swearing in. Murphy died Feb. 15 at the age o 88.

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