Category Archives: African-Americans

The Obama’s Attend Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards Dinner

Posted by: Audiegrl

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at the annual Phoenix Awards Dinner sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation at the Washington Convention Center, on September 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)


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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks to Congressional Black Caucus About Let’s Move!

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Congressional Black Caucus was formed in 1969 when the 13 black members of the U.S. House of Representatives joined together to strengthen their efforts to address the legislative concerns of black and minority citizens. African-American representatives had increased in number from six in 1966 to nine, following the 1969 elections. Those members believed that a black caucus in Congress, speaking with a single voice, would provide political influence and visibility far beyond their numbers.

The Caucus received its first national recognition when its members met with former President Richard Nixon in March, 1971 and presented him a list of 60 recommendations for governmental action on domestic and foreign issues. The President’s response, considered inadequate by the Caucus, further strengthened their efforts to work together in Congress.

Today, there are 41 members of the Congressional Black Caucus representing many of the largest and most populated urban centers in the country, together with some of the most expansive and rural congressional districts in the nation. These members, now as in the past, have been called upon to work as advocates for America’s varied constituent interests–developing an ever-expanding CBC legislative agenda — as well as addressing the concerns of their own particular districts.

The visions and goals of the original 13 members, “to promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens,” have been reaffirmed through the legislative and political successes of the Caucus. The CBC has been involved in legislative initiatives ranging from full employment to welfare reform, South African apartheid and international human rights, from minority business development to expanded educational opportunities. Most noteworthy is the CBC alternative budget which the Caucus has produced continually for over 16 years. Historically, the CBC alternative budget policies depart significantly from administration budget recommendations as the Caucus seeks to preserve a national commitment to fair treatment for urban and rural America, the elderly, students, small businessmen and women, middle and low income wage earners, the economically disadvantaged and a new world order.

In the thirty-nine years since its founding, Caucus members have been successful in rising to strategic positions on House Committees to affect needed changes in federal policies. Senator Barack Obama marked the first member elected President of the United State. Never afraid to tackle the most serious social issues, CBC members are regularly referred to as the “conscience of Congress.”

Remarks by the First Lady at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Legislative Conference

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President Obama to Historically Black Colleges and Universities: “You’ve Got a Partner in Me

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Katelyn Sabochik

President Barack Obama is videoed by an attendee with an iPhone as he delivers remarks at the Historically Blacks Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) reception in the White House on September 13, 2010 in Washington, DC. In his remarks Obama promised to the presidents of HCBUs to improve graduation rates and prepare as many students as possible for the challenges of the 21st century workplace. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

This morning, President Obama hosted a reception for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) at the White House in honor of National HBCU Week. HBCU’s have played a crucial role in the American higher education system.  As President Obama said in his remarks, HBCU’s have “made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they’d have — a chance that nobody else would give them.”

In his remarks President Obama reflected on the history of HBCU’s as well as the critical role they will play in meeting his goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates by 2020:

We cannot reach that goal without HBCUs.  We can’t get there — (applause) — we can’t get there unless all of you are improving your graduation rates.  We can’t get there unless all of you are continuing to make the dream of a college education a reality for more students.  We want to help you do that in every way that we can.  Already, we’ve eliminated billions of dollars of unnecessary subsidies to banks and financial institutions so that that money could go directly to your students.  And that is incredibly important.  (Applause.)  And as a consequence of that, we’re making it possible for millions of more students to attend colleges and universities and community colleges all across the country.

The President also reiterated the Administration’s commitment to HBCU’s.  In February, the President re-established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

We also want to keep strengthening HBCUs, which is why we’re investing $850 million in these institutions over the next 10 years.  (Applause.)  And as I said in February, strengthening your institutions isn’t just a task for our advisory board or for the Department of Education; it’s a job for the entire federal government.  And I expect all agencies to support this mission.

Now, none of this is going to be easy.  I know — I’m sure you know that.  As leaders of these institutions, you are up against enormous challenges, especially during an economic crisis like the one that we are going through.  But we all have to try. We have to try.  We have to remain determined.  We have to persevere.

That’s what the first founders of HBCUs did.  They knew that even if they succeeded, that inequality would persist for a very, very long time.  They knew that the barriers in our laws, the barriers in our hearts would not vanish overnight.  But they also recognized a larger and distinctly American truth, and that is that the right education might one day allow us to overcome barriers, to let every child fulfill their God-given potential.  They recognized, as Frederick Douglass once put it, that education means emancipation.  And they recognized that education is how America and its people might fulfill our promise.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts Dance Workshop With Students At The White House

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Kori Schulman

First Lady Michelle Obama embraces Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Judith Jamison during the first White House Dance Series in the East Room of the White House September 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. The dance event was a tribute Jamison, a famous modern dancer, choreographer and muse to Alvin Ailey. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)


While the economy remains the President’s central focus, which he will discuss again tomorrow in Cleveland, the First Lady continues to celebrate America’s cultural heritage amongst her many other issues, from military families to tackling childhood obesity. First Lady Michelle Obama kicked off the White House Music Series more than a year ago with The Jazz Studio, describing it as an event that “exemplifies what I think the White House, the People’s House, should be about. This is a place to honor America’s past, celebrate its present and create its future. And that’s why all of you all are here today. It’s about you, the future.” Today, Mrs. Obama will welcome dance students and world-renowned dancers for the Administration’s first event celebrating dance. Featuring American dance from ballet to hip hop.

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The White House Dance Series: A Tribute to Judith Jamison honors Jamison for her outstanding career as an American dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for the past 20 years.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Calls On NAACP to Join Let’s Move!

Posted by: Audiegrl

Eddie Gehman/Obama Foodorama~After more than a year of unprecedented activity that has shifted the national conversation about food, First Lady Michelle Obama made even more history on Monday morning, when she spoke at the 101st NAACP National Convention.

More than 4,000 delegates and attendees listened as Mrs. Obama described childhood obesity as a racial issue that overwhelmingly effects African Americans, which requires the immediate attention of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. Changing the health status of children in the African American community is critical to continuing the work of the organization, Mrs. Obama said, as she called for a new version of the idea of food justice.

Mrs. Obama, clad in a polka dot dress and green kitten heels, received a huge ovation as she walked on to the dramatically lit and flag-loaded stage. The crowd rose to its feet, including some high profile attendees in the front row: Julian Bond, actors Blair Underwood, and Louis Gossett, Jr, local politicos and officials. NAACP president and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous watched Mrs. Obama with a sleeping child in his arms.

Much more @ Obama Foodorama

“It is my honor to welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to our annual convention to discuss her views on ways to tackle an epidemic that is plaguing our nation’s young people,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “She is a commanding figure who will ensure that this issue is at the forefront of our nation’s health agenda.”

“We are elated to have First Lady Michelle Obama joining us to celebrate our 101st year,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Providing affordable health care coverage and ensuring the well-being of all Americans is a priority for both the NAACP and the Obama Administration. Michelle Obama’s visionary leadership in confronting the problem of child hood obesity is to be applauded. At our convention, we will unveil health care and advocacy solutions to help solve the critical health problems that are plaguing our communities,” said Jealous. “The First Lady’s contributions to that important discussion will be invaluable in realizing our vision of an America that ensures that all people have the tools needed to live a healthy life.”

“We are absolutely thrilled to have the First Lady address our convention,” said NAACP Vice Chairman Leon W. Russell. “She was invited to discuss childhood obesity, an issue of importance to our members, and we are pleased she accepted our invitation.”

Widely labeled as a national epidemic, increasing childhood obesity rates have been a problem for decades but efforts to address the issue has been insufficient. In a commitment to tackle this issue, the President established a Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop an action plan to solve the problem of obesity among the nation’s children within a generation, and the Administration has undertaken a comprehensive campaign led by the First Lady.

Strategies resulting from the task force report include updating child nutrition policies by utilizing the best available scientific information, ensuring access to healthy, affordable food in schools and communities, increasing physical activity and empowering parents and caregivers with the information and tools they need to make good choices for themselves and their families.

The recently launched Let’s Move! campaign aims to bring together community leaders, teachers, doctors, nurses, and parents in a national effort to tackle childhood obesity. Let’s Move! will push for healthier food in schools, encourage children to be more physically active, and help make healthy, affordable food available in every part of the nation.

“As the host city for this year’s convention it is exciting to have the First Lady attend our annual convention,” said NAACP Kansas City Branch President Anita L. Russell. “The First Lady’s presence will benefit the convention as well as Kansas City as a whole.”

Remarks by the First Lady to the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri

*All photos courtesy of Obama Foodorama

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Legendary Singer and Activist Lena Horne Dies at 92

Posted by: TheLCster

AP~Lena Horne, the enchanting jazz singer and actress known for her plaintive, signature song “Stormy Weather” and for her triumph over the bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, has died. She was 92.

Horne died Sunday at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Gloria Chin, who would not release details.

“Her timeless legacy will forever be celebrated as part of the fabric of American popular music, and our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and fans worldwide as we all mourn the loss of one of music’s signature voices,” Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said Monday in a statement.

Horne, whose striking beauty often overshadowed her talent and artistry, was remarkably candid about the underlying reason for her success: “I was unique in that I was a kind of black that white people could accept,” she once said. “I was their daydream. I had the worst kind of acceptance because it was never for how great I was or what I contributed. It was because of the way I looked.”

“I knew her from the time I was born, and whenever I needed anything she was there. She was funny, sophisticated and truly one of a kind. We lost an original. Thank you Lena,” Liza Minnelli said Monday. Her father, director Vincente Minnelli, brought Horne to Hollywood to star in “Cabin in the Sky,” in 1943.

In the 1940s, Horne was one of the first black performers hired to sing with a major white band, to play the Copacabana nightclub in New York City and when she signed with MGM, she was among a handful of black actors to have a contract with a major Hollywood studio.

In 1943, MGM Studios loaned her to 20th Century-Fox to play the role of Selina Rogers in the all-black movie musical “Stormy Weather.” Her rendition of the title song became a major hit and her most famous tune.

Horne had an impressive musical range, from blues and jazz to the sophistication of Rodgers and Hart in such songs as “The Lady Is a Tramp” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” In 1942’s “Panama Hattie,” her first movie with MGM, she sang Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those Things,” winning critical acclaim.

In her first big Broadway success, as the star of “Jamaica” in 1957, reviewer Richard Watts Jr. called her “one of the incomparable performers of our time.” Songwriter Buddy de Sylva dubbed her “the best female singer of songs.”

“It’s just a great loss,” said Janet Jackson Monday. “She brought much joy into everyone’s lives – even the younger generations, younger than myself. She was such a great talent. She opened up such doors for artists like myself.”

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Statement by President Obama and First Lady Michelle on the Passing of Lena Horne

“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Lena Horne – one of our nation’s most cherished entertainers. Over the years, she warmed the hearts of countless Americans with her beautiful voice and dramatic performances on screen. From the time her grandmother signed her up for an NAACP membership as a child, she worked tirelessly to further the cause of justice and equality. In 1940, she became the first African American performer to tour with an all white band. And while entertaining soldiers during World War II, she refused to perform for segregated audiences – a principled struggle she continued well after the troops returned home. Michelle and I offer our condolences to all those who knew and loved Lena , and we join all Americans in appreciating the joy she brought to our lives and the progress she forged for our country.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 2010 Commencement

Posted by: Audiegrl

First Lady Michelle Obama will be the keynote speaker for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s (UAPB) 2010 Spring Commencement exercise on Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m. The university announced today that the event will be broadcast live on UAPB Channel 24 and streamed online via www.uapb.edu.

History of the University

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is a historically Black university located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Founded in 1873, it is the oldest HBCU and the second oldest public institution in the state in Arkansas (after the University of Arkansas).

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, was founded in 1873 as the Branch Normal College; it was nominally part of the “normal” (education) department of Arkansas Industrial University, later the University of Arkansas, but was operated separately due to segregation. It later became a land-grant college under the 1890 amendments to Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, which required states which did not open their land-grant university to all races to establish a separate land-grant university for each race. The school severed its ties with the University of Arkansas and became Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal (AM&N) College in 1927; it moved to its current campus location in 1929. The school re-joined what is now the University of Arkansas System in 1972, this time as a full-fledged campus, gaining its current name and university status in the process.

Since 1988, the university has gained recognition as a leading research institution in aquaculture studies, offering the state’s only comprehensive program in this field, and supporting a growing regional industry throughout the Mid-South (according to the school, aquaculture is a $167 million industry in Arkansas alone and approximately $1.2 billion in the Mississippi Delta region).

The Examiner notes that,  this month, President Obama, the First Lady, and officials from throughout the Administration will deliver commencement addresses to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.  In total, eleven HBCUs will receive commencement addresses from Obama Administration officials this year.

Other officials participating in graduation ceremonies include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense (Morehouse College)Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education (Xavier University), Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA (Huston-Tillotson University), Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Morgan State University)Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council (Virginia Union University), and Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations (Spellman College). In addition, John Wilson, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to speak to Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

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