Archives for : GOVERNMENT

Medgar Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963)

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In the early morning of June 12, 1963, just hours after President John F. Kennedy’s speech on national television in support of civil rights, Medgar Evers pulled into his driveway after returning from a meeting with NAACP lawyers. Emerging from his car and carrying NAACP T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go,” Evers was struck in the back with a bullet fired from an Enfield 1917 rifle; the bullet ripped through his heart. He staggered 9 meters (30 feet) before collapsing. He was taken to the local hospital in Jackson where he was initially refused entry because of his color, until it was explained who he was; he died in the hospital 50 minutes later.

On June 21, 1963, Byron De La Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and member of the White Citizens’ Council (and later of the Ku Klux Klan), was arrested for Evers’ murder.

District Attorney and future governor Bill Waller prosecuted De La Beckwith. Juries composed solely of white men twice that year deadlocked on De La Beckwith’s guilt.

In 1994, 30 years after the two previous trials had failed to reach a verdict, De La Beckwith was brought to trial based on new evidence. Bobby DeLaughter was the prosecutor. During the trial, the body of Evers was exhumed from his grave for an autopsy. De La Beckwith was convicted of murder on February 5, 1994, after having lived as a free man for much of the three decades following the killing (he was imprisoned from 1977 to 1980 for conspiring to murder A. I. Botnick). De La Beckwith appealed unsuccessfully, and died at age 80 in prison in January 2001.

 

The Move Organization: 29th Anniversary

 

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May 13th marks the 29th Anniversary of the MOVE bombing, in which Philadelphia police dropped an explosive from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed standoff.

The Move Organization is a Black Liberation group from Philadelphia started by John Africa in 1972. In 1985 the group made national news when police dropped a bomb on their house on 6221 Osage Avenue from a helicopter in an attempt to end an armed impasse. The explosion and ensuing fire killed 11 people, including five children and the group’s leader, John Africa. Only two occupants survived—Ramona Africa and Birdie, a child. 60 homes were destroyed as the entire block burned.

Mayor W. Wilson Goode appointed an investigative commission called the MOVE commission. It issued its report on March 6, 1986. The report denounced the actions of the city government, stating that “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable.” No one from the city government was charged criminally.

In a 1996 civil suit in US federal court, a jury ordered the City of Philadelphia to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives of two people killed in the bombing. The jury found that the city used excessive force and violated the members’ constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Philadelphia was given the sobriquet “The City that Bombed Itself.”

John Singleton: ALL EYEZ ON ME

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John Singleton signs on to direct the Tupac Shakur biopic

Michelle Obama:Bell Of The Ball!

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Our First Lady, Michelle Obama, wore a beautiful Carolina Herrera gown the White House State Dinner last night.

UCLA: Young, Gifted, & Black

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There are 1,100 students currently enrolled in UCLA’s School of Law. Only 33 of those students are black, representing a dismal 3 percent of the student body.

To express their feelings of isolation and the frustrations that come with the burden of “representing the race,” UCLA’s black law students created a video called “33,” Buzzfeed reports. The intent of the montage is to “raise awareness of the disturbing emotional toll placed upon students of color due to their alarmingly low representation within the student body.”

“I think the fact that I was a black woman really played a lot into why people stopped listening to me,” one student said. “No one can help me,” another student said, reflecting on her classroom experiences. “No one can jump in. No one can at least acknowledge that anything I’m saying has any truth.

Judge Mathis Project

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Set your DVR’s now! Don’t miss my new show ‘The Mathis Project’ on @bet tomorrow night at 10pm. Also, you can continue to see me everyday on the ‘Judge Mathis Show’.

Doris Payne:Professional Jewel Thief Part I

 

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How does a poor, single, African-American mother from segregated 1950s America wind up as one of the worlds most notorious jewel thieves? A glamorous 81-year-old, Doris Payne is as unapologetic today about the nearly $2 million in jewels she’s stolen over a 60-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat.

With Payne now on trial for the theft of a department store diamond ring, filmmakers Kirk Marcolina and Matthew Pond probe beneath her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. Stylish recreations, an extensive archive and candid interviews reveal how Payne managed to jet-set her way into any Cartier or Tiffany’s from Monte Carlo to Japan and walk out with small fortunes.

 

This sensational portrait exposes a rebel who defies society’s prejudices and pinches her own version of the American Dream while she steals your heart.

Doris Payne (born 1930 in Slab Fork, West Virginia) is one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves.

 

Her modus operandi was to enter jewelry stores posing as a well-to-do woman, typically looking for a diamond ring. Using her natural grace and charm, she would engage the clerk, asking to see an assortment of items. Eventually, she would “cause the clerk to forget” just how many items were outside the case, and at some point she would leave with one or two pieces.

Her career spanned five decades, states, and even countries. She was arrested many times, but was generally more successful than not.

A feature length motion picture is currently being planned about her life, starring Halle Berry as Payne. The motion picture to be written and produced by veteran TV writer, Eunetta T. Boone in association with Jason Felts (Virgin Produced/Relativity Media). A documentary about her life – The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne – is also being produced by Matthew Pond & Kirk Marcolina of Treehouse Moving Images LLC.

On Friday, January 22, 2010 Payne was arrested in Costa Mesa, California for removing the tags from a $1,300 Burberry trench coat from a Saks Fifth Avenue store and subsequently leaving the store with the coat. In January 2011, at the age of 80, Doris was sentenced in a San Diego court to five years for stealing a 1 carat diamond ring

 

Barney’s VS. The United State Civial Rights

1383523_225118457664491_854356955_nThe issue over whether high-end department stores in New York City have wrongly targeted black shoppers – including movie actor Rob Brown – as potential thieves is escalating.
A New York state senator on Monday called on the city’s Commiss…ion on Human Rights to investigate the allegations as a fourth black shopper stepped forward to claim he had been wrongly stopped by police after shopping.
Meantime, Mark Lee, CEO of Barneys New York, and senior executives from the pricey retailer are scheduled to meet Tuesday morning with Al Sharpton and Hazel Dukes, president of the New York chapter of the NAACP, at the Harlem
headquarters of Sharpton’s National Action Network, Sharpton’s office announced.
Four black shoppers in recent days stepped forward to allege racial profiling. Two of the cases involve Barneys New York and two involve the Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square.
Brooklyn resident Art Palmer told CBS that he was stopped by four undercover police officers outside Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square back in April after using two credit cards to buy several hundred dollars worth of shirts and ties.
“They ran up on me and pulled out their badge and demanded to see my merchandise,” CBS quoted Palmer as saying. “Went through everything, checking receipt against shirt, making sure it matched. I was humiliated.”
As Palmer made the allegations, state Sen. Eric Adams, a Democrat from Brooklyn, N.Y., called on the city’s Commission on Human Rights to investigate.
As a matter of procedure, parties that have filed lawsuits in cases cannot also ask the commission to investigate. The other three black shoppers who have stepped forward have filed lawsuits, including actor Rob Brown of Finding Forrester and of the HBO series Treme.
Others are welcome to file complaints with the commission by calling 212-306-7450 during normal business hours, said Betsy Herzog, the commission’s director of communications.
A representative in the Barneys New York press office did not respond to a telephone message left Monday night. Representatives for Macy’s did not respond to an e-mail message Monday night.
An expert who monitors such cases as a representative with the NAACP national office said what is happening in New York is that people are stepping forward more. Such cases take place on a regular basis, based on contact made with NAACP branches, said Niaz Kasravi, criminal justice director for the civil rights organization.
“The NAACP has always said racial profiling training and cultural competency training should be mandatory for not only law enforcement but other people who have the capacity to influence people, such as police officers, security officers or even clerks at stores,” Kasravi said.
In the Rob Brown case, in which the actor alleges in a lawsuit filed Friday with state Supreme Court in Manhattan, police allegedly accused the actor of making a “purchase from Macy’s with a fraudulent and or unauthorized debit/credit card,” the NY Daily News reported.
Brown told the news organization he was “paraded” through Macy’s back in June in handcuffs and detained for an hour in a store holding cell before being let go.
Macy’s released a statement on that development, saying it was investigating the claims. “We do not comment on matters in litigation,” the retailer said in a statement.
In related matters, 21-year-old nursing student Kayla Phillips alleged four plainclothes officers stopped her at a subway station after she purchased a bag from Barneys New York, the Daily News reported.
Trayon Christian, 19, filed a suit claiming police handcuffed him and took him to a precinct after her purchased a belt at Barneys New York.
Barneys has said it is seeking advice from a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.       –      Melanie Eversley, USA TODAYSee More

Barneys Vs. Black People

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Kayla Phillips has come forward to say she was discriminated against at Barneys, much like Trayon Christian.
Another young black Barneys customer came forward Wednesday to say she had been racially profiled by snooty store clerks after making a pricey purchase.
Brooklyn resident Kayla Phillips, 21, had a déjà vu moment when she saw news coverage of a black, 19-year-old Queens student who was cuffed by cops after buying a $350 designer belt at Barneys….
Phillips told The Post she had a chillingly similar encounter with police after leaving the Madison Avenue shopping mecca in February with a $2,500 Céline handbag she’d just splurged on.
“As I was walking into the train station, four undercover police officers attacked me,” Phillips said.
“They asked me why I used a debit card and why it didn’t have my name on it,” she said of her temporary Bank of America card.
A frightened Phillips called her mom, who told The Post cops had asked, “What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where’d you get the money to buy that expensive bag?”
Her mother, Wendy Straker, said the police were clearly on the phone with a Barneys rep who was feeding them information about her daughter’s transaction.
When she showed police her ID and her new debit card, which had arrived in the mail that morning, they let her go.
On Tuesday, black, 19-year-old Queens student Trayon Christian sued Barneys for allegedly calling the cops on him after he purchased a $350 designer belt in April.
The undercover detectives asked him, “how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt,” according to the suit.
“Jay Z is getting ready to do a campaign with Barneys, but they’re looking at these African-American kids like they’re thieves,” Straker said.
Phillips is suing the NYPD for $5million. A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department said she would review the claim.
A store spokeswoman said of the belt incident, “No employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.
By Kevin Fasick and Julia Marsh of The New York Post.

Eartha Kitt: Making A Entrance!

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Eartha Kitt, photographed by the legendary Charles “Teenie” Harris in May 1966, leaping though a poster to launch a Citizens Committee on Hill District Renewal program on Vine and Colwell Streets in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Harris (1908-1998) was a photographer who captured the full-spectrum of African American life for over forty years, primarily as one of the principal photographers for the Pittsburg…h Courier newspaper.
Few photographers anywhere captured us so well: from family life to beauty contests to sporting events, social life, civil rights demonstrations and visiting celebrities, Mr. Harris was there with the Speed Graphic camera that he would use well into the 1970s. Photo: Carnegie Museum of Art.

Eboni Boykins: Young, Gifted, And Black!

4fa43a09bf770_preview-620Eboni Boykin tells Melissa Harris-Perry her story of how she made her way from living in a homeless shelter to attending Columbia University.
Eboni is in the midst of her sophomore year at Columbia University in New York City. Her incredible story was featured last September on MSNBC, and host Melissa Harris-Perry followed up with her for an update.
“Literally, every day I ask myself, ‘What am I doing here?’” she told MSNBC in an interview prior to her appearance Sunday in the annual Education Nation Student Town Hall. “It never really ceases to amaze me, where I am — it never really sinks in.”…
Boykin spent her childhood in countless schools in Mississippi and Missouri as her single mother struggled to raise her and her younger siblings–often living in homeless shelters and at times, sleeping in cars. She later became the first of her family to graduate from high school, and earned acceptance to Columbia University.
Columbia has been a “stark change” for her, as she now isn’t worried about where her next meal is coming from.
“When I started here at Columbia, I didn’t feel prepared at all, at least by my high school,” Boykin said. “As time went on, I found friend groups, and activities to get into, and started to get the hang of my work. Now I’m in a more secure place.”
Boykin is also thankful to have her mother independent of the financial burden of college.
“I don’t have to bother my mom with my expenses,” said Boykin, who has a full scholarship. “I’m sort of in a place where I can take care of myself. I’m absolutely determined to finish what I’ve started by coming here. I’ve wanted this for such a long period of time that it wouldn’t make any sense not to finish.”

Benjamin Atkins: Woodward Ave. Killer

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Benjamin (Tony) Atkins (August 26, 1968 – September 17, 1997), also known as the Woodward Corridor Killer, was an American serial killer who killed 11 women in Detroit, Michigan during a period of nine months between December 1991 and August 1992.

 

Imagine a place where you can walk up to almost any woman, any stranger, you may see on the street or sneaking through some alley and ask them: “You wanna get high?” and they will say yes. Imagine then that scattered about all around you are the empty hulks of abandoned houses, apartment buildings, hotels and motels.

Next, imagine that you invite this strange woman who may have told you her name was Debbie or Peaches into one of these abandoned hulks, and she gladly complies (the Pavlovian tingling in her spirit for the crack smoke you have promised her lungs driving her forward).

Imagine now that the cocaine has been burned and melted into gaseous form and inhabits your brain and this woman (Debbie or Peaches or Karen or Sherry) stands in front of you and you see your mother in her, your whore of a mother that turned tricks in front of you when you were five and let men have their way with you when you were ten and you begin to choke her and you fuck her while you choke her as you can only become sexually aroused by a woman when you are in the act of killing her.

Imagine then that you wake her up when the choking has put her to sleep and she screams and you tell her “I’m gonna kill you, you hoe, you bitch.” and her screams echo in the empty streets and across the snowy ground and you are in the kind of place where screams are heard often and always ignored.

What you have imagined is no mere exercise criminal profiling. You have imagined that you are Benjamin “Tony” Atkins, the most prolific serial killer in United States history, and that you murdered eleven women just like this in nine months along Woodward avenue in Detroit and the sorry little city of Highland Park.

In the holiday season of 1991 Benjamin “Tony” Atkins, twenty-four years old and a self-described part time pizza cook and male prostitute, started killing women up and down Woodward avenue. His first attempt at murdering ended unsuccessfully: in December of 1991 he lured a prostitute into the vacant Howard Johnson’s restaurant on the corner of Woodward and Monterey in Highland Park, but when Atkins began to act strangely after their sexual transaction had been completed, the woman fled naked into the street and avoided becoming Tony Atkins’ first victim.

“I couldn’t figure out what else he was going to do but kill me, so I got away.” She was later quoted as saying by the Detroit Free Press.

In a normal corner of America, a naked woman running into traffic would have launched a serious investigation from law enforcement. But not in Highland Park circa 1991. Along Woodward avenue it was just another day on the job for whatever cop took the would-be victim’s report, and Benjamin Atkins continued his trek across the strange landscape of sagging storefronts, vacant fields, and cocaine spots. Soon he met another victim, one that he would be successful in killing.

“I saw an older lady, about 40. I was looking for a place to sleep. As I walked past this abandoned house, this woman walked up and asked me: ‘What’s up?’ I told her I was looking for someone. And she said, ‘You found me.’ ” When they finally caught him, Benjamin Atkins asked the police for cheeseburgers and told detectives about everything he had done.

Including the details of his first successful kill. Atkins took her inside the vacant house. He had some crack. He asked her if she wanted to smoke it with him before or after they had sex. She wanted to smoke it first. Then when Atkins wanted the sex she had promised in return, she demurred, saying: “I’m not a good bitch; I’m too old.”

Atkins told the interrogators how mad he got when the woman tried to walk out on him without giving him the sex he’d bought with the crack he’d given her. He told them how he cursed at her and grabbed her by the neck to choke her. When she finally passed out, he dragged her upstairs to a porch, undressed her, and raped her.

“I left her there, uncovered and everything . . . I was scared because I had never killed anyone before. True enough, I choked her, but I didn’t know she had died until she didn’t move.”

Her name was Patricia George and it took five months for her body to be found. On January 3, 1992 a bulldozer tearing down abandoned houses for the City found the corpse at 74 Kenilworth in Detroit, just a few hundred feet east of Woodward avenue. It took another four months for her body to be identified.

Once upon a time, the stretch of Woodward where Atkins operated had been at the center of the world economy, trucks carrying pieces of cars from plant to plant, and cars carrying people from downtown through the heart of Detroit and out to the northern suburbs of Ferndale, Royal Oak, and Birmingham. But by 1991, Woodward avenue from West Grand Boulevard near downtown all the way to 8 mile road, the city’s northern border, was a depressing ten or so miles of burned buildings, dirty storefronts, and people too poor to own cars huddled at decrepit bus stops.

In a city that perennially ranked at the “top” for homicide rates nationally, the neighborhood of Highland Park (really its own municipal entity) and the area just south, known as the “North End”, had a homicide rate that was often more than double the rest of the city. Illegal drugs were the linchpin of the economy, and much of the area functioned as an open air drug market. This is where Benjamin Atkins found the fertile soil of degradation and addiction needed to act out the revenge for his own tortured life.

Serial killers almost always prey upon the easy targets, the vulnerable. Derelicts, children, prostitutes, especially prostitutes; after all, it is the prostitute’s job, their obligation to get in the car with any passing stranger, and to enter secret and hidden places to perform their lewd tasks. Atkins murdered eleven women in just nine months, earning him the dubious distinction of being the most prolific serial killer ever identified in the United States, killing the most people in the shortest period of time.

We think of serial killers as being white men. The rootless drifter, or maybe the quiet nine-to-fiver who kills hookers on his way home from the office. This is what we see on television shows and in movies; and fiction, especially on television and the movie screen, is the way most Americans get their “information” . Victims are found, the local police detect a pattern to the killings, the FBI is called in. A war-room is set up and a joint task-force of federal, state, and local police pursue every lead to catch the murderer. Well, sometimes.

As it turns out, the amount of attention a murder receives, both from the police and the press, is a function of how valuable the victims are. White co-eds murdered in their dorm room? It only takes one or two of those to make national headlines. Crack prostitute strangled in a vacant building in some ghetto? Takes double digits to get anyone’s attention. And Benjamin Atkins, a sometime crack-prostitute himself, didn’t attract much attention from investigators at first, who still labored under the false assumption that serial killers aren’t black.

The story of Benjamin Atkins and his victims has a special resonance for me. I grew up along Woodward avenue, and during the time he was murdering women I was in the 11th grade. I lived on 2nd avenue, a few blocks west of Woodward up near six mile , and I frequently rode the Woodward bus back and forth downtown to my high school, Cass Tech.

So my daily route home often took me right through the heart of the North End and Highland Park, Atkins’ stomping grounds. Through the windows of that bus every day I could see the lost souls that lingered along Woodward and drifted on and off the bus, coming from nowhere and arriving at nothing. Even riding the bus up Woodward could be dangerous, and I remember timing my journeys home so that I wouldn’t be on the bus when the kids from Northern High school or Highland Park High school would get on.

Anyone riding the bus in that part of town likely had problems of their own and didn’t concern themselves with ruminations on their fellow travelers, but looking back I wonder now if I ever rode the bus with Benjamin Atkins or one of his victims. I do remember some guys I knew that lived around Pasadena and Woodward, just feet from one of the murder sites, telling me they used to sell him dope. I wonder if any of the women he killed were related to them. I wonder if they’re still alive.

But what made the Benjamin Atkins case so eerie to me, even when I was only sixteen and the news was just breaking about his deeds, is that I used to live with my mother right on Monterey and Woodward, a mere two blocks from Atkins’ favorite mausoleum, the Monterey Motel, where he stuffed the corpses of three different women:Juanita Hardy, 23 years old. Room 18  Valerie Chalk, 34 years old. Room 35  Unknown Female. Room 68

Attached to the Monterey Motel was a Howard Johnson’s restaurant, also abandoned. Both of those buildings have long been demolished. I can’t recall if the former site of those two places is now a vacant field or little strip mall of Chinese carryout and check cashing, but I do remember eating in the Howard Johnson’s when I was little.

I also remember (being told) of being sent to a daycare facility right across the street from the Monterey Motel when I was a baby and how I would not go to sleep unless the old janitor rocked me in his arms. And I remember Devil’s Night on Monterey, when smoke would fill the sky in every direction as the city set itself on fire for fun and profit. And of course, the murders, always murders around Monterey, long before and long after Benjamin Atkins; people I know who have lived on Monterey at any time in their lives still call it Murder-ray.

What to make of 11 dead bodies scattered along a mile and a half stretch of this forlorn area I have just described? Let us begin at the beginning, the beginning of Benjamin “Tony” Atkins’ own tortured life, a life that took his spirit to the place where he could confess to detectives about the human lives he’d snuffed out with his bare hands while eating cheeseburgers in the interrogation room at Detroit Police Headquarters.

Benjamin Atkins was born in 1968, the archetypal season of change in America. No mention is made of his knowing who his father was, but his mother was a prostitute in Detroit. Mother Atkins apparently fell victim to the heroin epidemic that swept Detroit in the late 1960’s and had little Benjamin and his brother seized by the state on multiple occasions, in part because she would sit the boys in the backseat of cars while she turned a trick in the front seat.

When Atkins was ten years old, the state placed him in the St. Francis Home for Boys at the corner of Linwood and Fenkell avenue on the near northwest side. A male caseworker of Atkins was later accused of molesting the boy; and though the outcome of that accusation has been lost to the passage of time, the St. Francis Home was shutdown in the mid 1990’s and I remember reading a newspaper article that quoted some Detroit vice cops talking about catching 12 and 13 year old boys from the Home turning tricks around the neighborhood.

Fast forward to 1991. Atkins, who told police he sometimes worked as a male prostitute, is drifting up and down Woodward. I assume he was spending some of his time at the corner of 6 mile and Woodward, where my father and I lived at the time. 6 mile and Woodward has been the gay and transvestite prostitution center for Detroit since the early 70’s at least, and the crack cocaine frenzy of the late 80’s had filled up the area with guys who would get into cars with whoever to make $5 dollars. Maybe working around 6 and Woodward to support his taste for crack is where Benjamin Atkins caught the HIV virus. Who knows? The court system was certainly much less interested in exploring his tribulations in this world than in the suffering he issued forth as his revenge.

By the summer of 1992, City, State, and Federal law enforcement realized they had a serial killer on their hands, but Atkins’ own worthlessness, his own nocturnal presence as one of the bodies for sale on Woodward Avenue made him ephemeral to investigators who merely chased empty leads and bad tips.

Ultimately, the investigation and capture of Benjamin Atkins was the result of the simplest kind of police work: State police detective Royce Alston was riding up and down Woodward avenue with “Donna” the woman who had survived Atkins’ original attack on August 11, 1992. Detective Alston thought that the modus operandi of “Donna’s” rapist and would be killer matched that of whoever was leaving dead women in abandoned buildings up and down Woodward, so he took her out riding. Then she saw him, the man she knew as “Tony”, the man who’d tried to kill her 9 months before. Atkins went into custody without incident.

At first, he denied the killings, telling police that he was homosexual and had no reason to be consorting with female prostitutes. Police described him at the time as well spoken and articulate.

Watching the interrogation from outside the one-way glass was Detroit homicide detective Sgt. Ronald Sanders. Sanders was set to leave for vacation when his shift ended in an hour, but he asked for a shot at Atkins.

“You never had a father,” Sanders said when he went in to Atkins. “I have a son exactly your age. You need to get this off your chest. Talk to me.”

Atkins asked for some food, and cheeseburgers were brought. Atkins ate five of them as he confessed to the murders one by one and in detail. His list included a victim no one even knew about yet, one that he had hidden in a secret basement beneath a vacant garage.       He told the police he did all those killings, took all those lives, because he hated prostitutes.     “Bitches and hoes is all they are…” He told them.

“Donna”, the woman he’d raped and tried to kill at the beginning of his rampage was the star, and only, witness (beside Atkins himself in the form of his lengthy confessions). But “Donna”, whose drug addiction proved stronger than her desire for revenge on the man who tried to kill her, proved a reluctant witness when the trial date actually approached, and a Wayne County judge signed an order to keep her in jail during the trial to ensure her cooperation.

Needless to say, she wasn’t happy.

“I wouldn’t have told if I thought I was going to be locked up,” she said. “It’s like I did a crime. I have no way to get out. . . . If I ever saw anything else happen, I wouldn’t tell.”

The one witness Edison called, Dr. Michael Abramsky, stopped short of declaring Atkins insane, saying the legal definition of sanity is extremely narrow. But he said Atkins “was not in complete control.”

“Why? Why did it all happen,” asked Dobson, who retired from the Highland Park police department as a lieutenant. “Who knows what happened in those lives that brought this to pass. And who knows what happened to him.”

Hollywood: Joins The March On Washington

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Sammy Davis Jr., waving to people as he walks past ushers at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, 1963. Paul Newman arrives at National Airport in Washington, D.C. to attend the March for Freedom and Jobs.

National Security Agency: Rule Braker

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CNN) — The National Security Agency broke privacy rules “thousands of times each year” since 2008, The Washington Post reported, citing an internal audit and other documents.NSA leaker Edward Snowden provided material to the newspaper this summer.

The May 2012 audit found 2,776 incidents of “unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications” in the preceding 12 months, the Post reported in its story Thursday.

“Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure,” the newspaper said. “The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.”


The paper said most incidents involved unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the country.
In one case, the NSA decided it didn’t need to report the unintended surveillance.

In 2008, a “large number” of calls placed from Washington were intercepted due to a programming error that confused the capitol’s 202 area code for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt. The information came from a “quality assurance” review that wasn’t distributed to the NSA overnight staff, according to the Post.

Separately, an NSA new collection method went undiscovered by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for months. The court, which has authority over some of the agency’s operations, ruled it unconstitutional.

The audit was dated May 2012 and looked at the previous 12 months r
esponding to the Post’s story, the NSA said, “A variety of factors can cause the numbers of incidents to trend up or down from one quarter to the next.”
Factors can include implementation of new procedures, technology or software changes and expanded access.

“The one constant across all of the quarters is a persistent, dedicated effort to identify incidents or risks of incidents at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible, and drive the numbers down,” the agency said.
The agency released a statement Thursday night defending its programs.

“NSA’s foreign intelligence collection activities are continually audited and overseen internally and externally,” it said. “When NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal overseers — and aggressively gets to the bottom of it.”Snowden stepped forward publicly in June to claim responsibility for leaking to the media that the NSA had secretly collected and stored millions of phone records from accounts in

the United States. The agency also collected information from U.S. companies on the Internet activity of overseas residents, he said.

He fled first to Hong Kong and then to Russia before Moscow granted him temporary asylum despite pressure from the Obama administration to return him to the United States to face charges.

He has been charged with three felony counts, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act, for the leaks.

Elvis Presley:January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977

elvis-presley1977, Elvis Presley was found dead lying on the floor in his bathroom by his girlfriend Ginger Alden, he had been seated on the toilet reading ‘The Scientific Search For Jesus’. He died of heart failure at the age of 42. His first record for RCA, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, was also his first US No.1. He starred in 31 films. Elvis holds the record for the most entries on the US Hot 100 chart with 154. Elvis became the first rock ‘n’ roll artist to be honoured by the US Postal Service with a stamp.

Lena Baker: The Real Story

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Lena Baker is the only woman to have been executed in the state of Georgia during the 20th Century. She was pardoned 60 years after her execution in 2005 by the state, who called the failure of the all white male jury to grant her clemency “a grievous error.” Baker was executed for shooting her employer in self-defense, who had evidently imprisoned her and was threatening her with death at the time of his killing. She shot him with the gun he had been attacking her with in a desperate act to save her life — hardly a murder.

N.W.A:Straight Outta Compton 25th Anniversary

imagesCAA69AW7Straight Outta Compton is the debut studio album by American hip hop group N.W.A, released August 8, 1988 on group member Eazy-E‘s record label Ruthless Records. Its title refers to the group’s native town, Compton, California. Production for the album was handled by Dr. Dre, with DJ Yella giving co-production. The album has been viewed as the pioneering record of gangsta rap; with its ever-present profanity and violent lyrics, it helped to give birth to this then-new sub-genre of hip hop. It has been considered groundbreaking by music writers and has had an enormous impact on the evolution of West Coast hip hop.

Straight Outta Compton redefined the direction of hip hop, which resulted in lyricism concerning the gangster lifestyle becoming the driving force in sales figures. It was later re-released on September 24, 2002, remastered and containing four bonus tracks. An extended version of the album was released on December 4, 2007, the 20th anniversary of the original album.

album reached double platinum sales status, becoming the first album to reach platinum status with no airplay support and without any major tours.

As the hip hop community worldwide received the album with a high note, the members of N.W.A became the top stars for the emerging new era of gangsta rap while popularizing the lyrics of Ice Cube. The album also helped to spawn many young MCs and gangsta hip hop groups from areas such as Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles, as many thought they had the same story to tell and the ability to pursue the career track that N.W.A had taken,hence groups such as Compton’s Most Wanted coming into being.

Because of the recurring violent and sexual lyrics and profanity, often specifically directed at governmental organizations such as the LAPD, N.W.A always enjoyed a particular reputation with U.S. Senators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This situation persisted over the years with the group’s visible head, Eazy-E. One of the reasons for this was “Fuck tha Police“, the highly controversial track from the album that resulted in the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service sending a letter to Ruthless Records informing the label of their displeasure with the song’s message, and N.W.A was banned from performing at several venues.

The FBI letter only helped further popularize the album and N.W.A  and in the group’s 1990 song “100 Miles and Runnin’, the follow-up to Straight Outta Compton, while the music video shows the crew running from the police, Dr. Dre raps “and now the FBI is all over my dick!” as a response to the FBI’s warnings. Also, in his 1990 song “Amerikkka’s Most Wanted”, Ice Cube mocks the FBI with the line “With a pay-off, cop gotta lay off, FBI on my dick, stay off.

The lyrics on the album were mainly written by Ice Cube and MC Ren. Some critics of the album expressed their view that the record glamorized Black-on-Black crime,[which?] but others stated that the group was simply showing the reality of living in the areas of Compton, California, and South Central Los Angeles. Steve Huey in a retrospective review for Allmusic feels that the lyrics are more about “raising hell” than social criticism, but also feels the album is “refreshingly uncalculated” due to its humor; something he feels is rare in hardcore rap.

Many critics feel that the albums’ lyrics glamorize gang violence. The Washington Post writer David Mills wrote: “The hard-core street rappers defend their violent lyrics as a reflection of ‘reality.’ But for all the gunshots they mix into their music, rappers rarely try to dramatize that reality — a young man flat on the ground, a knot of lead in his chest, pleading as death slowly takes him in. It’s easier for them to imagine themselves pulling the trigger”.[citation needed] However, Wichita Eagle-Beacon editor Bud Norman noted that “They [N.W.A] don’t make it sound like much fun… They describe it with the same nonjudgmental resignation that a Kansan might use about a tornado.”[7]

Production

The production on the album was generally seen as top-quality for the time, with Dr. Dre‘s production performing well with his instrumentals and drum machine beats, and DJ Yella‘s turntable scratches and overall co-production seen as proficient by hip hop critics. Some critics find it somewhat sparse and low-budget given the significance of the album and compared with other producers of the time such as Marley Marl.[1]

Content

The album’s most controversial track, “Fuck tha Police“, was partly responsible for the fame of N.W.A as the “World’s Most Dangerous Group”and it did not appear on the censored version of the album. The song “Gangsta Gangsta” talks about the danger and violence in South Central and Compton. “Express Yourself” speaks of the ideas of free expression and the constraints placed on performers by radio censorship.

Every N.W.A member except DJ Yella recorded a solo song. Dr. Dre, who mostly produced rather than performed, did a solo effort in the single “Express Yourself.” Ice Cube performed on “I Ain’t tha 1” and “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”. MC Ren made his solo performance in the songs “If It Ain’t Ruff” and “Quiet on tha Set”. Eazy-E‘s only solo recording was a remix of the song “8 Ball,” which appeared on N.W.A’s previous album N.W.A and the Posse. The only guests on the album were Ruthless Records ghostwriter the D.O.C., who appeared on “Parental Discretion Iz Advised,” rhyming the intro, and founding N.W.A member Arabian Prince, who contributed minor vocals on “Something 2 Dance 2.”

Seven tracks from the album were released on N.W.A’s Greatest Hits: “Gangsta Gangsta“, “Fuck tha Police“, “Straight Outta Compton (extended mix),” “If It Ain’t Ruff,” “I Ain’t tha 1,” “Express Yourself,” and a bonus track from the remastered version, “A Bitch Iz a Bitch”.

Commercial performance

The album first appeared on music charts in 1989, peaking on the US Billboard Top LPs chart at number 37, and peaking on Billboard‘s Top Soul LPs at number nine.[17] It re-entered the charts in 2003, peaking on the UK Albums Top 75 at number thirty-five, and on the Ireland Albums Top 75 at number twenty.[18]

The album has sold over three million copies[and was certified double Platinum on March 27, 1992. It was N.W.A‘s best selling album, as their debut, N.W.A and the Posse, was certified Gold. Their final album, Niggaz4Life, was certified platinum.[ According to Priority Records‘ calculations, 80% of sales were in the suburbs, beyond the boundaries of black neighborhoods.

Critical response

Upon its release, the album was generally well received by most music critics. Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune gave Straight Outta Compton three and a half out of four stars and praised its production. The Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s Mark Holmberg described the album as “a preacher-provoking, mother-maddening, reality-stinks diatribe that wallows in gangs, doping, drive-by shootings, brutal sexism, cop slamming and racism”.

Newsweek noted that Straight Outta Compton “introduced some of the most grotesquely exciting music ever made”, and added that “Hinting at gang roots, and selling themselves on those hints, they project a gangster mystique that pays no attention where criminality begins and marketing lets off”.Following its 2002 re-release, Jon Caramanica of Rolling Stone magazine cited Straight Outta Compton as one of hip-hop’s most crucial albums, calling it a “bombastic, cacophonous car ride through Los Angeles’ burnt-out and ignored hoods.“cal response

“The lyrics on this record are unrelenting in their unpleasantness,” complained Peter Clarke in Hi-Fi News & Record Review, awarding the album a rock-bottom “D:4” rating. “The cumulative effect is like listening to an endless fight next door. The music on this record is without a hint of dynamics or melody.”[25]

Accolades

“It’s definitely the best rap record I’ve ever heard,” remarked Sinéad O’Connor. “Of course, I can see why people might be offended by the lyrics. But as a human being and not as a public figure, I’m not offended at all. I realise from reading interviews with people like Ice Cube, when they explain that they’re not talking about women in general but about particular women they know, it makes a lot of sense. I think the sound of the record is brilliant. I really like hardcore hip-hop and reggae stuff, so it’s right up my flight of stairs.”

“Rappers haven’t always referred to themselves as ‘niggers’ on record,” remarked Hip Hop Connection, placing it at No.3 on their countdown of rap’s best albums. “It came as something of a shock then that here were five politically astute black men calling themselves niggers and their women bitches at a time when Afrocentric rap was the current vogue… Straight Outta Compton sounded so exciting, insignificant details such as realism and integrity could be overlooked.”[27]

In 2003, the TV network VH1, named Straight Outta Compton the 62nd greatest album of all time.

It was ranked ten in Spin magazine’s “100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005”.

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums.

It is the group’s only album on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (ranked #144), and the first hip-hop album ever to get a 5-star rating from them in their initial review, and when comedian Chris Rock wrote an article for the magazine about the 25 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of all time in 2005, Straight Outta Compton was number one on his list.[28]

The album is ranked the 109th best of all time by Acclaimedmusic.net.[29]

In 2006, the album was listed in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. The same year, Time magazine ranked it as one of the 100 greatest albums of all time.

Q magazine voted it one of the ‘Top 50 Titles Of 1989. Alternative Press (7/95, p. 88) ranked it #45 in AP’s list of the ‘Top 99 Of ’85–’95’. Vibe (12/99, p. 164) included it in Vibe’s 100 Essential Albums of the 20th century. In 2004, DigitaArts included the album’s cover in its list of the 25 Best Albums Covers.[32] In 2012, Slant listed the album at #18 on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s” saying “The juxtaposition of midtempo, Cali-languid grooves and violent wordplay positioned Straight Outta Compton as the sound of the West Coast firing on New York’s Fort Sumpter in what would become ’90s culture’s biggest Uncivil War.”

New Yorks Finest

644270_195006134009057_441999036_nIn Municipal Court: Cab Calloway, Felix H. Payne Jr. (in uniform), attorneys John G. Killiger and Maurice J. O’Sullivan, Kanss City police officer William E. Todd and Lucille Bluford, who covered the hearing for The Kansas City Call.
“Come… on out tonight,” Hampton told Cab Calloway. “We’re really got the place jumpin’ . . . I’ll make arrangements with the management.”
Lionel Hampton was invoking the power of celebrity. There were few exceptions to the normally inflexible rules of racial separation, but this was one. The rules said blacks couldn’t just walk in and claim a table at the Pla-Mor. But it was OK for one world-famous black entertainer to visit another. So neither Hampton nor Calloway had any reason to expect trouble.
Calloway bought two tickets for $1.50 each at the box-office and he and Felix Payne entered the lobby. As they started up the carpeted stairs to the ballroom, Will H. Wittig, the ballroom manager, stopped them. Now, Wittig was as familiar with the privileges of celebrity as anyone, and Hampton had already told him that Calloway and Payne were expected. But at that moment, Wittig wasn’t thinking about celebrities. He saw only nameless black men making a beeline for the ballroom.
For even though Calloway had played for thousands at Municipal Auditorium a week earlier and had been in movies and cartoons and had his face plastered on record jackets for 14 years, Wittig didn’t recognize him.
He took the tickets from Calloway and refunded the $3. The men would have to leave, he told them. The show was for whites only.
That’s when a suit full of bad attitude named William E. Todd walked out of the coat-check room and saw Wittig arguing with two black men. Todd was a husky little guy with heavy eyelids who moonlighted at the Pla-Mor as a security guard to supplement the $165 a month he made as a Kansas City police officer. His understanding of his responsibilities was uncomplicated: Protect the Pla-Mor’s property.
“Why, I was invited,” Calloway told Wittig. “I’m Cab Calloway. I came to see Lionel Hampton.” Payne and Calloway, two sober and respectful citizens who had spent the day Christmas shopping and visiting with old friends, had bought the tickets as a professional courtesy to Hampton and expected to be treated as honored guests. The last thing Calloway anticipated was an excitable cop playing a drum solo on his head.
Calloway reached for his wallet to show his identification, but before he and Payne could explain who they were, Todd took charge. He grabbed their arms and shoved them toward the door.  “You heard what the man said,” Todd said. “Get the hell out of here.”  Payne resisted and then two men grabbed him and locked their arms around his head so he couldn’t see what was happening.
Todd shoved Calloway off the steps to the floor. As Calloway tried to get up, Todd hit him with his fist. When Calloway got up again, Todd pulled a .45 semi-automatic and beat him on the head with the gun butt.  Calloway went down, blood streaming from his split scalp. The little finger on his left hand was broken, smashed by the gun as he tried to protect his head soon on-duty patrol officers arrived and took Payne and Calloway into custody.
They drove Calloway to General Hospital No. 2 — the one for blacks — and a doctor put eight stitches in his scalp and wrapped a white bandage around his head. Then he and Payne were booked for public intoxication and resisting arrest.
Back at the ballroom, Wittig was faced with a crowd of angry people.
Hampton had refused to play a second set.  “The place was jam-packed and all at once someone came in and said they beat up Cab Calloway at the front door,” Hampton recalled. “So I went out front and got into an argument with the doorman. So I told the band, ‘That’s all, man. Let’s go.’”  The musicians packed up and left and the Pla-Mor paid out $2,000 in refunds. Hampton never played there again.See More

Falysha Pierra Lys:Retail Therapy

A credit card theft ring was taken down. The suspected thieves from New York were living the high life until they decided to pull their shenanigans in Hawaii.

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They spent five days in the islands racking up $179,000 in credit card bills before flying back to New York.

Their haul? Luxury items like purses and watches from high-end retail stores.

Authorities say all of the items were purchased with stolen credit card numbers.

“Thinking they can get away with the crime because it’s so far from their home base of operations,” said Timothy Hollern, U.S. Secret Service.

U.S. Marshals arrested Sean Khani and Tamel Vaughn in New York Friday morning. The rest of the roundup happened in December, catching Isatta Bassie and Shawnese in Aruba. Falysha Pierre-Lys was extradited and is now in custody in Honolulu.

Evidence gathered from the suspects’ email and Twitter accounts proved crucial to cracking the case.

Last year, the state legislature passed a bill allowing local law enforcers to issue search warrants outside of Hawaii.

“We’re able to obtain pictures of at least one of the defendants standing on the balcony of the Trump Hotel in Waikiki wearing some of the clothes, a purse, and shoes that had been fraudulently obtained from one of the local Chanel stores,” Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter said.

Prosecutors says all five suspects will be brought to Hawaii. Combined with the efforts of Honolulu Police, the Secret Service, and U.S. Marshals, they say credit card thieves in Hawaii will be caught.

“We will track them down, we will do the investigation. We will get the records, we will get evidence, regardless of whether it’s here or out of state to prosecute,” Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said.

Willie Reed:The Witness

 

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Willie Reed did not know Emmett Till, whose murder in the Mississippi became one of the most infamous lynchings in the history of the Jim Crow South. Mr. Reed saw him only once — on Aug. 28, 1955, during the last hours of Till’s life — in the back of a green and white Chevrolet pickup truck.

Mr. Reed, a sharecropper, risked his life at 18 to appear as a surprise witness in the prosecution of the white men accused of the crime. He became the momentary hero of the Till trial, an event that helped spur the civil rights movement but left a moral stain on the American legal system.

Mr. Reed knew speaking out against the defendants in the case would make him, too, a target for lynching. But he “couldn’t have walked away,” he said years later. “Emmett was 14,” Mr. Reed told the CBS News show “60 Minutes,” “and they killed him. I mean, that’s not right. … I knew that I couldn’t say no.”  By the time the trial opened in September 1955, images of Till’s disfigured corpse had circulated throughout the nation, horrifying Americans of all races and helping to galvanize the building movement for civil rights. Tens of thousands of mourners paid their respects at his open coffin in Chicago.

The prosecutor told the jury, “Willie Reed has more nerve than I have.” Civil rights activists arranged for Mr. Reed to be spirited out of town and taken by train to the Chicago to better secure his safety. He remained under police protection for several months and was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Mr. Reed changed his name to Willie Louis and worked as a surgical orderly in Chicago area hospitals until 2006.

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