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Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

1There have been so many horrors inflicted upon the least of thee, black people, at the behest of the US Government. One of the most atrocious atrocities was the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment. This was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis on rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. This evil plan hatched in Tuskegee was transplanted to Guatemala after the experiment was shut down in Tuskegee.

Investigators enrolled a total of 600 impoverished sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama from a pool of 399 of black men who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began. However, 201 did not have the disease. The men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance, for participating in the study. But they were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the subjects were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.

The study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards lasted for forty- years. The government personnel involved knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. The revelation of study failures by a whistleblower leaked led to major changes in U.S. law and regulation on the protection of participants in clinical studies.

The scientists also prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area. The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press eventually resulted in the program’s termination. The victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis.

Physicians in this time were fixated on African American sexuality, and the willingness of African Americans to have sexual relations with those who were infected led them to believe that the responsibility for the acquisition of the disease was solely upon the individual. This need to place blame blinded the physicians to find ways to help the innocent infants born with the disease through no fault of their own.

In 1974, Congress passed the national Research Act creating a commission to study and write regulations governing studies involving human participants. On May 16, 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized and held a ceremony for the Tuskegee study participants: “What was done cannot be undone. But we can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people, what the United States government did was shameful, and I am sorry … To our African American citizens, I am sorry that your federal government orchestrated a study so clearly racist.”

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study significantly damaged the trust of the black community toward public health efforts in the United States. The study may also have contributed to the reluctance of many poor black people to seek routine preventive care. Distrust of the government because of the study contributed to persistent rumors in the black community that the government was responsible for the HIV/AIDS crisis by introducing the virus to the black community.

An interview in February on ABC’s Prime Time Live between ABC’s Jay Schadler and Dr. Sidney Olansky, Public Health Services director of the study from 1950 to 1957, further showed why the Tuskegee study had damaged the trust between medical personnel and much of the African American community. When asked about the lies that were told to the study subjects, Olansky replied with “The fact that they were illiterate was helpful, too, because they couldn’t read the newspapers. If they were not, as things moved on they might have been reading newspapers and seen what was going on.”

John Heller, Director of the Public Health Service’s Division of Venereal Diseases, said, “For the most part, doctors and civil servants simply did their jobs. Some merely followed orders; others worked for the glory of science.” My question is how many of these so-called civil servants are just doing their jobs today. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The History Of Georgetown In Washington DC

e361da2724400e3a212a7f1a90b19fc9Let me take you on a journey exploring the rich history of Georgetown, once a black community that has become little more than a footnote in the annals of time with respect to its origin. Georgetown, just down the street from the White House, was part of the unholy system imposed upon people of color commonly referred to as “Jim Crow” and every city or town in America had such a place during segregation.

The entire world knows DC is the capital and symbol of the free world with its avenues of grand marble structures that are more or less a crystallization of magnificence for tourist to admire. These magnificent architectural marvels are symbols of the power associated with America’s wealth built on the backs of slaves. This area downtown is known as the Federal Triangle because it is an area established for federal government entities.

However, there is a hidden Washington that some call a tale of two cities. Just blocks for these symbols of opulence live the disenfranchised, downtrodden, and neighborhoods of the forgotten. Before 1967, the city was run by and under federal control, which is why it is called a District – i.e., the District of Columbia. It was President Johnson who appointed Walter Washington, an African American, as the city’s first-ever Mayor-Commissioner in an effort that came to be known as home rule.

The city has always been predominately African American with no real authority over its direction. The “District” as many locals call it was nothing more than a sleepy southern town not much different from any town in South Carolina or Mississippi as far as blacks were concerned. It was run by Dixiecrats to this point, and the Dixiecrats were worst than what we know today a Conservatives or Republicans. What you may not know, even today Washington has no voting representation in Congress making the capital of the free world basically a plantation.

Washington has many African American enclaves that have long storied histories, but did you know Georgetown, one of Washington’s most renowned upscale communities, was once one of them. It is probably best known today as the home of Georgetown University and its championship basketball teams; coached by the legendary John Thompson, and now by his son. There were many luminous NBA sports figures produced by the institution. You may also know Georgetown because of its world-renowned nightlife, shopping or maybe a place home to famous people. One of its most famous residents was a young John Kennedy and his new bride Jackie, who called Georgetown home before moving into the White House.

It is also worth mentioning that many notable African American figures resided in communities around town such as the great orator Frederick Douglass, who owned a home in Anacostia. Carter G. Woodson the creator of the concept “Black History Month” also owned a home in the city. These great men and many prominent African American politicians, artists, entrepreneurs, scholars, athletes and socialites were relegated to live in a town divided by the harsh separate but equal laws of the day.

Georgetown began as a Maryland tobacco port on the banks of the Potomac River in 1751. When Congress created the District of Columbia to be the nation’s capital in 1791, its 10-mile square boundaries were drawn to include this port town, as well as the very similar Virginia tobacco port of Alexandria just across the river. Alexandria was given back to Virginia in 1846, but Georgetown remains as one of Washington’s most lively urban neighborhoods.

Georgetown historically had a large African American population, including both slaves and free blacks. Slave labor was widely used in the construction of new buildings in Washington just as they were used to provide labor on tobacco plantations in Maryland and Virginia. Let me be very clear, slaves and their labor were the workforces that built the White House, Capital, and most of the grand marble structures of opulence.

Georgetown was also a major slave-trading depot that dates back as early as 1760. John Beattie established his business on O Street and conducted business at other locations called “pens” around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street with both locations being just a short distance from the White House. Slave trading continued until the mid-19th century, when it was ended on April 16, 1862. Many former slaves moved to Georgetown following their freedom establishing this thriving community.

When African Americans settled in Georgetown, the free men established the Mount Zion United Methodist Church that remains today, which is the oldest African American congregation in Washington. This feat due to their strong religious convictions was a testament to their fortitude after experiencing the horrors of slavery. Mount Zion also provided a cemetery for free burials to Washington’s earlier African American population. Before establishing the church, free blacks and slaves went to the Dumbarton Methodist Church where they were restricted to hot, overcrowded balcony.

I’m sure a sense of extreme prided was evident in Washington at the time because it became the home of Howard University. Although not in Georgetown, this preeminent university was established for Blacks in 1867 with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau. It was named for the commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, General Oliver Otis Howard. The Freedmen’s Bureau was intended to help solve everyday problems of the newly freed slaves, but its most widely recognized achievement was its accomplishments in the area of education. Before the Civil War, no southern state had a system of universal, state-supported public education for “Coloreds” but Washington now had an advanced school of learning.

In the early twentieth century, new construction of large apartment buildings began on the edge of Georgetown. The eyes of the elite became trained on the area. John Ihlder led efforts to take advantage of new zoning laws to get restrictions enacted on construction in Georgetown. However, legislators largely ignored concerns about the historic preservation of Georgetown until 1950, when Public Law 808 was passed establishing the historic district of “Old Georgetown.” The law required the United States Commission of Fine Arts to be consulted on any alteration, demolition, or building construction within the historic district. As you can imagine, this proper and official sounding solution was not designed to benefit the African American citizens living in Georgetown.

Georgetown began to emerge as a fashion and cultural center of the newly identified community. While many “old families” stayed in Georgetown, the neighborhood’s population became poorer and more racially diverse. Its demographics started to shift as a wave of new post-war residents arrived, many politically savvy, well-educated, and people from elite backgrounds took a keen interest in the neighborhood’s historic nature for their own benefit. It was during this time that the Citizens Association of Georgetown was formed. It is my understanding that the Old Georgetown Act was really a polite, or maybe not so polite, way of saying gentrification.

I am not implying nor suggesting that the Act was designed to remove African American’s and poor residences from the community (wink). But it did create an environment where people of low to moderate income could no longer afford to live there. High-end developments and gentrification have revitalized the formally African American neighborhood and what was viewed as a blighted industrial waterfront.

Some say, what happened in simple terms according to the thinking of the day; someone decided to trade a penny for a pound, and very effectively. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Media Kit 


Commentary: Republican Chaos “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”  

20150428_000908I know these crazies, Republicans, don’t believe in science, but I learned in elementary school that sharks eat their own. In the midst of the dysfunction in the Republican Party, this appears to be happening. The title might be over the top, but it’s more like business as usual for this bunch. I would suggest that this chaos would be entertaining if the consequences weren’t so serious.

This ilk fought President Obama his entire presidency opposing his every action with their racist mindset thinking he would improve the lives of black people. The Republicans and Tea Party, i.e., KKK, are known as the party of NO, for good reason; the do nothing Congress! Lincoln said before the Civil War that “a divided house cannot stand.” From what I see, they are fighting a Civil War between themselves!

The speaker of the House is second in line to the presidency, and since the founding of the Republic the position has been one of the most important in government, key to national security and domestic tranquility. The entire party seems to be at war with itself. Maybe the better word to use is a revolt. There is a band of about three dozen conservative hard-liners, exploiting the partisan divide, essentially hijacking the Congressional Chamber and the party. It appears their intent is to reduce the speaker’s role to that of a figurehead subservient to the demands of this group of secessionists. Some might call their actions as nothing more than a coup!

A week or so ago, the leader, John Boehner abruptly quit the job of House Speaker going out singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Duh. Next, within a week his number two, a guy named McCarthy, was swiftly deposed by a conservative rebellion before he even got to hold the speaker’s gavel by the Freedom Caucus and other conservative malcontents. Let’s go back a little bit; Boehner’s understudy, Eric Cantor, would have been the speaker, but his position in leadership made him a fat target for conservatives and voted out by his congressional district.

These folk said when they have the majority they would make the government work. Now, there is nobody who even wants the job. The next speaker, whoever that may be, will have to pick between two poisons: Defy the few dozen conservative zealots who hold the balance of power in the House and thereby lose the gavel, or surrender to the conservatives and take the Republican Party deeper into a quagmire of default and shutdown.

The real danger in American Republican politics these days is the in-house feud. The activists, claiming the mantle of principled conservatives, want Congress to become a stage for confrontation and displays of anger at the entire federal government and, most of all, at President Obama. Add to the mix the threat of the GOP’s right wing shutting down the government over federal funding of Planned Parenthood. It’s clear, we are witnessing a truly historic political moment, a party engaged in a full civil war with just a year to go before a presidential election.

Whether it’s their so-call savior Paul Ryan or another figure can temporarily unite the caucus, the conservatives’ demands will inevitably lead to more chaos. Frankly, all I see in anarchy, including unlimited freedom to amend legislation; a ban on legislation that doesn’t have the support of a majority of GOP members; and a refusal to take up compromise legislation worked out by the Senate.

These guys spend all the energy planning a shutdown, defunding Obamacare, and their favorite non-story Benghazi, which McCarthy, in an unwise moment of honesty this month, admitted was for the purpose of damaging Hillary Clinton politically. As bad as all of this is, I am not going to get into the presidential campaign; Lord knows that is a circus all unto itself.

Republican contenders for the party’s presidential nomination have noticed. An August Gallup poll of Republicans gave Boehner only a 37 percent approval rating while 42 percent rated him negatively. The same Gallup poll showed McConnell with a disapproval rating of 41 percent among independents and Boehner with a 57 percent disapproval rating among independents. McConnell had a 34 percent favorability rating among Republicans. The polls reflect hard-right criticism of the leaders for failing to use their majorities to halt Obama Care or same-sex marriage, and for failing to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Oh, can’t forget wanting to start another war somewhere!

Whether this is bad for the Republican Party isn’t my concern, but in the free advice department, I’d say being pushed into paralysis by a racist and sexist tiny but vocal minority isn’t doing the GOP brand any favors. More important, the dysfunction and extremism that increasingly define the House are bad for the country and the laughing stock around the world. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Must Hear Reality

Never before in the history of America has such vial despicable language been espoused against a sitting president. PLEASE LISTEN as the honorable Minister Farrakhan exposes the hate-filled rhetoric and writings of right-wing conservative elected officials and influential members of American society directed at President Barack Obama and his family.

Forget what you may perceive as the Ministers politics – this is the reality of truth.


The Right is Wrong

We all know the Right-wingers are engaged in an ideological battle with the intent to make the rich richer and marginalizing those who are not. This false narrative is being done by using the tried and true method of quoting the Constitution and those good Ol’ Boys, the so-called Founding Fathers, as a convenient way to get the American people or some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.

One of those candidates is Rep. Ron Paul who has lured a lot of these so called “Real American” into that camp by creating a false narrative about America’s Founding, claiming that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a weak central government and one that was equal for all people. But that’s not the real or accurate history.

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who has topped 20 percent in the first two Republican contests, is fond of claiming that the U.S. Constitution was written “to protect your liberty and to restrain the federal government,” thus making modern laws, from Social Security, to civil rights statutes, to health-care reform, unconstitutional. But that isn’t true either.

While the framers of the Constitution in 1787 undeniably cared about liberty, at least for white men, they were also practical individuals who wanted a vibrant central government that would enable the new nation to protect itself both militarily and economically, especially against European rivals.

The broad powers that the Constitution granted Congress were designed to let this central government address national problems that existed then as well as any that would arise in the future. For instance, the Constitution gave control over interstate commerce to Congress in order to counter economic advantages enjoyed by foreign competitors.

Far from Paul’s assertions that the Founders wanted a weak central government, the Founders, at least those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, understood that a great danger came from having a national authority that was too weak, what they had experienced under the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777 to 1787.

The Articles of Confederation embraced the concept of state “sovereignty” and called the United States not a government or even a nation, but “a firm league of friendship” among the states. In the Confederation’s Article II declared: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” And very few powers were delegated to the federal government.

So, in 1787, the framers of the Constitution led by Gen. George Washington, James Madison and others in the Virginia delegation scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

The Commerce Clause wasn’t some afterthought it was part of the original proposal outlined on the Constitutional Convention’s first day of substantive business on May 29, 1787. The Virginia delegation had one of its members, Edmund Randolph, include it in his opening presentation.

Virginia’s plan laid out the framework that would later become the U.S. Constitution, transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “we the people of the United States” as represented by a new national Republic.

Where Rep. Paul claims the Constitution was designed to let the American people do what they want using the word liberty as his reference point. This is just not true! Unless, of course, he is referring to the people that represent the privilege class of Americans, who happen to be wealthy and white. We needed a government that could co-ordinate commerce in order to compete effectively with other nations. So, from that first day of substantive debate at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that a legitimate role of Congress was to ensure that the nation could match up against other countries economically.

Many conservatives to include Ron Paul have worked hard in recent decades at constructing an alternative narrative. Claiming that the Founders envisioned a weak national government and were big supporters of states’ rights happen to be a storyline that is simply not supported by facts. Key framers of the Constitution even objected to adding a Bill of Rights to the original document, accepting the first 10 amendments only later as part of negotiations over ratification.

The other thing they cry about is Obamacare. This speaks to Congress’s power to address difficult national problems, like the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance but whose eventual use of medical services would inevitably shift billions of dollars in costs onto Americans who must pay higher insurance rates as a result, what courts have described as “substantial effects.”

Paul claims: It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family. They also pray for fewer regulations to the benefit of the rich.

There are some conservative legal scholars examining the Constitution and precedents who could not find a convincing argument to overturn “Obamacare” and that is because the Founders intentionally empowered Congress to address national economic problems. It was, as the Virginian delegation understood, one of the key reasons for the Constitutional Convention.

Now I say the larger goal of the right-wing is not to uphold the ideals of the Founders, who wanted a vibrant central government, but to reverse government policies dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan is to return the United States to a pre-Depression “gilded age” of a society divided into a few haves and many have-nots.

And that is my THOUGHT PRROVOKING PESPECTIVE!


The Deficit and What It Means to Black America

The Congressional Black Caucus has put out an e-alert message to help explain to African Americans what the deficit means to Black America. Read that message below:

As our leadership in Washington, DC seeks common ground over the nation’s debt limit, there are some real consequences at stake for the black community. The debate on Capitol Hill is no longer philosophical, it’s real and the impact on African-Americans and the poor could be devastating. With significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid being discussed, our nation’s social safety net is being shred and the quality of life for many of our friends, family and neighbors will be severely impacted.

Cuts to Social Security benefits will increase hardships on already stressed seniors, while $250 billion in proposed Medicare cuts will force retirees to make decisions about their health care that might affect their well-being. The poor, disabled and elderly, already the most vulnerable segment of our population, stand to be further disadvantaged if states are allowed to trim their Medicaid rolls through cutbacks to current levels of eligibility.

At $14 trillion, there is no denying the nation’s deficit must be addressed. However, it is unconscionable that the most disadvantaged Americans are being asked to shoulder the burden. Sadly though, we find ourselves in this predicament because too many of us ignore or dismiss important policy debates until it reaches a crisis state. Worse, somehow we have forgotten how we got in this mess and are on the verge of repeating the mistakes that put us in this predicament.

Increasing tax cuts and the extension of those cuts, combined with spending on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have bankrupted our nation. The bill has now come due and those who have been hurt the most are being made scapegoats. Beyond raising the federal debt limit, we must raise the nation’s moral consciousness and restore fairness and balance to federal policymaking.

The bottom line – if we are not engaged in this debate, the responsibility for the nation’s deficit will fall upon the most vulnerable Americans.

Through our economic development initiatives, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation continues to advocate for job creation, small business development, home ownership, personal financial management and wealth generation – the keys to restoring our economy and securing America’s future. What can you do? Get involved, share your thoughts with your member of Congress and the White House and voice your opinion. When citizens are informed, engaged and active participants in moving the country in the right direction, our nation is that much stronger.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the issues addressed in this correspondence, follow CBCF’s CPAR (Center for Policy Analysis and Research) at the 41st Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), September 21 – 24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. To lead, to serve, to listen to premier voices addressing critical issues facing African Americans, join us in Washington. To find out more and to register, visit us on line at http://www.ALC11.org or to find out more about CBCF, visit http://www.cbcfinc.org.

The E-Alert is a bi-weekly communiqué from the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to inform, educate and call to action people who support the mission and vision of the CBCF. The CBCF, established in 1976, is a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute created to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative and public policy arenas.

This message was published in support of the Congressional Black Caucus’s mission to empower the community.
Thank you


Queen of the Extreme


We are about to enter Black History Month that was a hard fought battle to speak truth to facts concerning the reality of American History and the important contributions African Americans made to it. I have written articles suggesting awareness concerning those who go to great lengths to charge or revise true history and its facts. These people who attempt to do this are, in my opinion, the real scourge upon the nation.

Until recently, I thought Caribou Barbie was the scariest person on this little rock called earth but just when I thought it couldn’t get any worst, here comes the latest possible contender for president from the far right. This would be the Minnesota Congresswoman and self proclaimed nemesis of our African American president. I should say, she is not new to the scene, just more brazen, maybe because she is sponsored by the Tea Baggers. She reminds me of “Glenda” from the Wizard of Oz in many ways and not just because her remarks defy words. Frankly, she make Caribou Barbie look like a genius and that’s saying a lot.

Not only did she promote herself by going rouge offering a response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address which was true to form – misleading and deceptive. Her misrepresentation of facts, with a straight face, is mindboggling. Where was she when the last guy and his administration created many of these problems? Not a word! As an American citizen I can appreciate the rights of expression but we must remember, and understand, that because someone says it, does not mean it’s true.

For example, she gave a speech last weekend that was very disturbing, particularly if she wants to be President of the United States, let alone that she is in congress charged with making policy that affect so many lives. In that speech, she claimed “the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” What!!! They all, or most, owned slaves and slavery was written as the “law of the land”. She went on to say, “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status. Once you got here, we were all the same.” Really!

She continued with her erroneous assertions by saying, “I think it is high time that we recognize the contribution of our forbearers who worked tirelessly — men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.” Wrong again. I think she was talking about his father although it’s true that Adams became a vocal opponent of slavery, especially during his time in the House of Representatives. But Adams was not one of the founders, nor did he live to see the Emancipation Proclamation signed in 1863 (he died in 1848).

What is problematic, particularly for someone on the national stage with an obvious desire to run for the highest office in the land would surely be detrimental to the poor and no question African Americans. The release of her own blueprint for massive federal budget cuts of 400 Billion dollars would be devastating to the social fabric of America. She suggests that she would eliminate farm subsidies and many other federal grants, dismantle the Department of Education, eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency and repeal the Democratic healthcare overhaul, the Democratic financial regulation law and a recently passed food safety bill.

These are just a few extreme examples from her long list of great hits. So I will only offer my Thought Provoking Perspective on this, the latest: since the fiction of the founders and actual history represents her deep held beliefs might cause her to send invitations to all African Americans asking us to return to “slavery” – because it was so wonderful. Or change the Constitution back to the original document where African Americans were considered three-fifths a person.

We should be afraid – VERY AFRAID!


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