Henry Louis Gates, Jr. releases statement through Charles Ogletree

Here is a statement released by Charles Olgletree who has been retained by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. after he was arrested at his Cambridge Massachusettes home. This information was posted at theroot.com and distributed.

Statement on Behalf of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — by Charles Ogletree

This brief statement is being submitted on behalf of my client, friend, and colleague, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is a statement concerning the arrest of Professor Gates. On July 16th, 2009, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 58, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor of Harvard University, was headed from Logan airport to his home [in] Cambridge after spending a week in China, where he was filming his new PBS documentary entitled “Faces of America”.

Professor Gates was driven to his home by a driver for a local car company. Professor Gates attempted to enter his front door, but the door was damaged. Professor Gates then entered his rear door with his key, turned off his alarm, and again attempted to open the front door. With the help of his driver they were able to force the front door open, and then the driver carried Professor Gates’s luggage into his home.

Professor Gates immediately called the Harvard Real Estate office to report the damage to his door and requested that it be repaired immediately. As he was talking to the Harvard Real Estate office on his portable phone in his house, he observed a uniformed officer on his front porch. When Professor Gates opened the door, the officer immediately asked him to step outside. Professor Gates remained inside his home and asked the officer why he was there.

The officer indicated that he was responding to a 911 call about a breaking and entering in progress at this address. Professor Gates informed the officer that he lived there and was a faculty member at Harvard University. The officer then asked Professor Gates whether he could prove that he lived there and taught at Harvard.

Professor Gates said that he could, and turned to walk into his kitchen, where he had left his wallet. The officer followed him. Professor Gates handed both his Harvard University identification and his valid Massachusetts driver’s license to the officer. Both include Professor Gates’s photograph, and the license includes his address.

Professor Gates then asked the police officer if he would give him his name and his badge number. He made this request several times. The officer did not produce any identification nor did he respond to Professor Gates’s request for this information. After an additional request by Professor Gates for the officer’s name and badge number, the officer then turned and left the kitchen of Professor Gates’s home without ever acknowledging who he was or if there were charges against Professor Gates.

As Professor Gates followed the officer to his own front door, he was astonished to see several police officers gathered on his front porch. Professor Gates asked the officer’s colleagues for his name and badge number. As Professor Gates stepped onto his front porch, the officer who had been inside and who had examined his identification, said to him, “Thank you for accommodating my earlier request,” and then placed Professor Gates under arrest. He was handcuffed on his own front porch.

Professor Gates was taken to the Cambridge Police Station where he remained for approximately 4 hours before being released that evening. Professor Gates’s counsel has been cooperating with the Middlesex District Attorneys Office, and the City of Cambridge, and is hopeful that this matter will be resolved promptly. Professor Gates will not be making any other statements concerning this matter at this time.

Great Blogging While Brown Recap Video

Here’s a cool video which was recently posted on the Blogging While Brown website that recaps some of the presentations and panels that took place.  I’m not just promoting it because I have a cameo at the beginning, there’s some good info here.  Hopefully this will inspire some folks to attend next year who weren’t able to make it to Chicago.

Howard Witt leaves Chicago Tribune after quarter century of reporting

Award winning journalist Howard Witt announced that he has left the Chicago Tribune.  Witt came to national prominence for his reporting of race related stories in Paris, Texas and Jena, Louisiana in 2007.

The Pulitzer Prize nominated Witt says that he is moving in a new direction.  “After a quarter-century run at the Chicago Tribune as a reporter, correspondent and editor,” Witt says, “I recently left the paper to take up a new challenge as the Senior Managing Editor at Stars and Stripes, the editorially-independent newspaper serving America’s military men and women and their families overseas.”

I have developed a good working relationship with Mr. Witt over the years after he became one of the first newspaper reporters to bring national attention to African-American activism online.  My family and I even met Howard out for dinner last fall.  

His reporting of ShaQuanda Cotton and the Jena 6 made the entire media industry reevaluate the way they were covering people of color.  He maintained a relationship with the black blogosphere after those stories, a lesson that black media members and outlets could learn from.

I’m sure Howard will do well in his future endeavors.  I pray that all goes well for he and his family in this transition.

Video: Shawn P. and CNN Bloggers Bunch discuss passing of Michael Jackson

It was sad discussing the passing of Michael Jackson on CNNcom/Live today, but it was made easier by seeing two friendly faces on the screen with me.  Those were Carmen D. of All About Race, and Lola Adesioye from TheGriot.com.

Here’s the 15 or so minutes that we discussed our thoughts on the King of Pop, what his music meant to the world, and how the discussion has played out since his death.

Eddie Griffin’s thoughts on Shawn Williams’ thoughts on Juneteenth

BY EDDIE GRIFFIN of Eddie Griffin BASG Blog

Black Bourgeoisie?

I found it interesting that Shawn P. Williams writes in
“Why” Part Two: Why I celebrate Juneteenth:

In my adult years as I began to rub elbows with the black bourgeoisies, many of them scoffed at the June 19th holiday. “Why would you celebrate slaves in Texas spending an extra 2 ½ years in bondage?” they would ask. I have to admit, it’s a pretty good question… As we’ve gotten more and more educated, we get further and further away from the wisdom born out of the struggle of our people.

Eddie Griffin Commentary-

I don’t know what “black bourgeoisie” means anymore. Back in the day, it meant something negative like that of a black person whose thinking was whitewashed, or someone going through an identity crisis, or someone who thought themselves to be more educated and elite than the common everyday Negro. We used to think that they acted and thought themselves to be better than the rest of us… maybe so.

Ignoring the French historiography and Marxist class categorizations that give meaning to the name of this group of people, I want to go straight to the psycho-sociological aspect of the issue… that self-contradictory, mismatch phenomenon of being sociologically black and psychologically alienated from an appreciation of black heritage.
“Why would you celebrate slaves in Texas spending an extra 2 ½ years in bondage?” they asked blogger Shawn Williams. Notwithstanding the writer’s thoughts, note how the question was formulated in their minds. True to its characteristic, the so-called black bourgeoisie sees the cup half empty, instead of half full.

To them, Juneteenth is not a celebration of Freedom, but rather a “black thing” to be disdained, because the very thought of slavery turns them off. After all, there are many whites who would rather not think about it, along with the guilt and shame of it. And also, how many non-Jewish Germans memorialize the holocaust? The so-called black bourgeoisie are escapists who would rather inculcate more pleasant thoughts.

It may not have ever dawned on them that Juneteenth is a celebration of Freedom, like the Fourth of July. What say, in celebrating the Passover, are Jewish people celebrating 400 years of Egyptian bondage, or the blessing of Emancipation?
The so-called black bourgeoisie sees only what it wishes to see, thinks only what it wishes to think, and choses to see no more and know no more than they already see and know. Therefore, black is an inappropriate descriptive for this bourgeoisie- thinking people. Being bourgeois is what it is… a colorless attitude of people who thinks of themselves as more highly favored than their peers and contemporaries, and thereby different, even better than they, and a little more holier than thou.
Juneteenth, with them, will probably never find merit, because they will remember only what they have been taught about it in integrated schools by teachers who were uneducated and unappreciative of black history. Hence, they will never seek to know otherwise. They even avoid contact with any knowledge that would burst the bubble of their brainwashing.

They are alienated from their common identity and estranged from their heritage… like a cow with the head of a goat. (eddiegriffin)

“We, the colored soldiers, have fairly won our rights by loyalty and bravery — shall we obtain them? If we are refused now, we shall demand them.” Sgt. Maj. William McCeslin, 29th U.S.C.T. (Source: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park)

Maynard Institute/Richard Prince: Johnson Publishing Co. Called “Under Siege”

The news regarding Johnson Publishing gets worse everytime you see them mentioned. Hat Tip to Kevin Ross of Three Brothers and a Sister who passed along an article by Richard Prince of the Maynard Instituted titled Johnson Publishing Co. Called “Under Siege.” 3 Brothers and a Sister also reports Ebony Magazine has only 1 photographer and is considering going down to six issues.

It’s a sad state for one of the greatest African-American institutions left in this country. The fate of media in general is struggling, but black media is headed towards the abyss.

Prince’s Maynard article highlights the financial troubles faced by Johnson, including mortgaging their building and liens from contractors. He also talks references comments made by Eric Easter -head of Ebony/Jet Digital- made at the Blogging While Brown Conference. Here are some of the highlights from Prince:

Also see Eric Easter of Ebony/Jet’s panel as mentioned in Prince’s article

  • “Ebony owner Johnson Publishing Co. is under siege, battered by sharp drops in advertising and circulation amid the most severe downturn in its 67-year history. In the past three months, Johnson has been hit with contractors’ liens claiming the company failed to pay for work worth nearly $500,000,” Eddie Baeb and Ann Saphir wrote Monday in Crain’s Chicago Business.
  • “In May, Johnson mortgaged its South Michigan Avenue headquarters building and parking garage to its printer, R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. Loan documents say the deal secured previous debts to Donnelley totaling $12.7 million — another sign of financial distress for the nation’s largest black-owned publishing company.
  • “Johnson’s troubles, while not that different from other publishing companies’, fall on the shoulders of Chairman and CEO Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of founder John Johnson. Ms. Rice, 50, must remake her organization amid a downturn that is hitting African-American media especially hard. The slump compounds the challenge she faces in revitalizing magazines many still associate with the civil rights era.
  • At a panel at a “Blogging While Brown” conference in Chicago over the weekend, (Eric) Easter mentioned a deal that Johnson Publishing made last year with Google to transform the archives of Ebony, Jet, Black World and Ebony Jr. magazines into digital, searchable formats. He said that only magazines after 1960 were used, because transforming them requires a process that destroys the original copies.

2009 Blogging While Brown Recap by Dallas South

Everyone keeps asking me, “How was the Blogging While Brown Conference” and I either answer “great” or “excellent. I then think that this may sound vain in some way because I was responsible for helping to put the program together.

In actuality, I didn’t feel much different from last year when I enthusiastically sat on the front row of the inaugural conference (with Electronic Village, All About Race, and Pam’s House Blend). This year I set up shop at the very back of the room. The major difference was deciding to wear a jacket and slacks in Chicago rather than jeans and a T-Shirt in the ATL.

Shawn P. And Lola Adesioye of TheGrio.com

Even having spoken with all the presenters and panelists via email or on the phone, I wasn’t prepared for all of the wonderful information that was shared at this year’s conference. From Talkshoe to Justin.tv; MindMeister to Gravatars; Buddy Press to Outliers, there was just so much to learn.

John Davis and I interviewed by Carlos in D.C.

The presentation that gained the most attention (check Twitter #bwb) was Hajj Flemings’ session on Branding. Besides introducing up to the concept of Grustling (Grinding + Hustling = Grustling), he spit out a number of memorable one liners that have been making their way around the web today including:

“If you’re the smartest person in your group, then you’re in the wrong group.”

“Create quality content that is credible & creating quality contacts is paramount.”

“The best time to start something was a year ago. The next best time is right now.”

I appreciate the executive committee a.k.a. Gina McCauley for the small part that she allowed me to play, mostly trying to keep the schedule running on time. For some reason, I didn’t imagine myself saying much at the conference, but who wouldn’t want to have a few words in front of such a distinguished gruop. Other than that, I was able to kick back and allow these talented individuals to do their thing.

But I also want to thank Gina for her initiative. It’s easy to think that if Gina had not stepped up last year to create a blogging meet up for bloggers of color, then someone would have, but I don’t believe that’s the case. So many times in the African-American Community we can talk about a good idea or identify a need and then not act upon it.

Gina has created a venue that will always go on my calendar ahead of Netroots Nation, SXSW Interactive, NABJ, or an of the other wonderful conferences that are held each year. The benefits that I’ve gained in the last year from folks I met at the 2008 Conference are too many to count. I would expect to find the same thing to be true between now and next year.

I love this conference because it’s grassroots at it’s best, and we are trying to ensure that we are not left behind in the digital age. AT&T and other conference sponsors did their part towards that end, as AT&T sponsored scholarships paid the registration fee for a number of attendees.

And last but not least, next year my spades partner Deborah Smalls and I will be giving spades lessons since we won the first BWB Spades tournament hosted by the wonderful ladies of the 5 and a Possible blog. Picture us rollin’

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BWB 2009 Attendees

Blogging While Brown kicks off with Welcome Reception & 1st Session

Once again it’s on! Blogging While Brown got rolling last night with a welcome reception where AT&T gave away a new iPhone.

I had the opportunity to welcome our participants this morning and kick off the first session (5 minutes late, my bad) lead by Milt Hayes of Blacks Gone Geek. Milt is pictured with the image on this post.

You can follow us on twitter at #bwb. We’d like to thank our sponsors, AT&T, BlogHer, Next Gen Web, Daily Kos, FreePress.net, & BlackPR.com

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People I Follow on Twitter

Continuing my series about people I follow. This time on Twitter.  I limited my entries to 140 characters, the maximum length of a tweet.

waynesutton wayne is a social media guru, mastering every form. 25K followers but he’s following 26. Tweets social media tips and advice thru the day

necolebitchie “gossip blogger” who gets the scoop, but also transparent about her own life. her testimony is awesome. holding it down for the ATL

ATLien – speaking of ATL, another entertainment type that i met at BWB last year. got me moving on twittter as we tweeted thruout conference.

PiKaHsSo Formerly of PPT, currently of AwkQuarius, Pik is a creative brother 2 say the least. 2 c how his mind works, check whackpiktures on YouTube

baratunde can speak on any subject relating to current events and politics, and funny to boot (he’s a comedian). always puts n a good word for dsouth

darthvader of course im a huge star wars fan, but this dude takes it to new level. tweets 1st person as if dv was living now traveling the galaxy funny

pamperry PR Coach and internet marketer that’s always pointing out good articles on branding and promotion. Has a presence on Blog Talk Radio also.

Blogging While Brown Conference starts Friday in Chicago, attendees announced

The 2nd Blogging While Brown Conference gets underway on Friday at Chicago’s University Center with a Beginning Bloggers Boot Camp. Conference organizer Gina McCauley afforded me the opportunity to serve as programming chair for the conference, and I’m excited about the group of panelists and presenters that we were able to pull together. Here’ the schedule:

June 20, 2009 – Blogging While Brown Conference

8:00AM. – 8:30AM



Introductory remarks


Workshop: “The Competent Blogger”

This workshop will cover tapping into talent communities using web 2.0 tools and techniques to find lucrative and rewarding career opportunities. This is a must attend workshop for anyone interested in building an online presence or pursuing a long-term career in IT.

This presentation will address all aspects of careers In IT and the core competencies necessary to build and sustain a vibrant, fulfilling and prosperous career powered by the web 2.0 social networking phenomenon. The workshop includes , research results from the 2009 IT Job Outlook Readers Poll, skill sets that are hot in the current job market, and how to use social networking to “get discovered” for the hot job opportunities How to build a successful online business in the IT Industry

Presenter: Milt Hayes www.blacksgonegeek.org


Workshop: Mobility

Sponsored by AT&T

The Mobility Workshop is constructed to challenge third party groups to think about integrating wireless into their grassroots and advocacy activities as well as demonstrate AT&T’s leading positions in the areas of child safety (Smart Limits) and wireless technology (i.e. video share, 3G, etc.). The workshop includes an explanation of non-voice communications channels on wireless handsets, including SMS, WAP/Wireless Internet, Photo/Video Share, Video/3G, and Smart Limits and a hands-on demo of the service. Participants will walk through Web and SMS sign-up, SMS messaging and SMS mobilization. The training includes case studies from 08 election cycle.


Panel — Netroots in Action

Panelists will discuss how social media tools can be used to affect changes in policy, improve communities, and influence elections.

Moderator: Carmen Dixon Rosenzweig, www.allaboutrace.com

Panelists: Megan Tady, www.freepress.net

Pam Spaulding, www.pamshouseblend.com

Cheryl Contee, www.jackandjillpolitics.com



Brand Camp University:Building a Strong Personal Brand Online

The goal of this workshop is to teach attendees to develop a digitally relevant personal brand in a web 2.0 world using social media. Identify tools and strategies to create, define, and manage who you are distinctly to help you define your space. Build and manage the character of you online brand and community organically, authentically, and cost effectively with the top personal branding tips. Outline: Participants will learn: Basics of Personal Branding, Defining your Value Proposition, o Social Networking strategies for personal branding, Networking tips online and offline for career success, Organically building your community, Online reputation management, Create brand plan, Use Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter for business and career development.

Presenter: Hajj Flemmings, www.BrandCamp.us, www.hajjFlemings.com/blog


Panel: The State of the Information Monarchy- What’s Next for Traditional Media?

Panelists will discuss whether bloggers and citizen journalists can fill the void left by changes in traditional media.

Moderator: Monroe Anderson, www.monroeanderson.typepad.com

Panelists: Eric Easter, www.ebonyjet.com

Bruce Montgomery


Panel: Bloggerpreneurs

Panelists will discuss making a name for yourself in the world of social media and networking your way to better opportunities and personal success.

Moderator: Jonnice Slaughter, www.chatterboxpublicity.com

Panelists: Angel Laws, www.concreteloop.com

Fredric Mitchell www.brightplum.com


Closing Remarks

And here is a list of confirmed conference attendees:

* A Buzz in Your Ear
* Acts of Faith in Love and Life
* Afrobella
* All About Race
* Around Harlem
* Around NYC
* Awesomely Luvvie
* Beckie Has a Blog
* Beyond-isms
* Black Gyrl Cancer Slayer
* Black PR
* Blacks Gone Geek
* Blank Bare Clean
* Blog Not War
* blogHer
* Bronzeville Change
* Brother Bartell
* Brown and Bridal
* But You’re A Girl
* Carlos in DC
* Change You Can See
* Chartreuse
* Concrete Loop
* Consumer Blast
* Cyber PR Urban
* D Jones Productions
* Dallas South Blog
* Dante Lee
* Dragon Fly
* Ebony Jet
* Flack Me
* Fresh Manna of the Day
* Global Wire
* Global Wire
* Goddess Intellect
* Hajj Flemings
* Harmonic Leadership
* Haute Muslim
* Have a Wonderful
* I Hate My Developer
* IT Empowers U
* Jack and Jill Politics
* Jamal Street Journal
* Kiamsha.com:That Which Awakens Me
* Listen to Leon
* Live Life Posh
* Locs and Dreams
* Love a Black Woman
* Marty Blogs
* Megans Minute
* Miss Theda
* Mocha Mom 365
* Monroe Anderson
* Naomi Christine
* Pams House Blend
* Peruanista
* Philena
* Photo Solitude
* Pocket Book Protest
* Project New Era
* Queen Tahj
* Save the Internet
* See Your Worth
* Small World View
* Social Media Socialite
* South Shore Chamber
* The Joba Group
* The Smak
* The Super Spade
* Theo Talks
* Urban Beauty
* Urban Science
* We Are Black Women
* Woman Body and Soul
* YBP Guide