DONATE TO DALLAS SOUTH CONVENTION COVERAGE TODAY!!!

I am almost halfway to my $1,500 goal in fundraising for the DNC Convention. As many of you know, Dallas South was selected by the Democratic National Committee as a credentialed blogger for the historic event in Denver this Summer. I am raising funds to help purchase equipment needed to cover the event as well as for travel expenses.

Please take a moment to click on the Chip In widget above and make a secure donation to this effort via Pay Pal. If for some reason you are unable to do so and would still like to contribute, send me an email to shawn@dallassouthblog.com.

God Bless!

Shawn

Soledad O’Brien speaks with Dallas South about upcoming CNN special on King Assassination

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Dallas South is excited to share with you an interview I conducted with CNN Anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien. We talked about tonight’s special airing at 8 p.m. Central on CNN titled The King Assassination:Witness to Murder.

You can click on the sound tab below to hear the entire 10 minute interview.


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I started the interview by asking how the CNN Special came about. Here’s her response:

The project really came about more than a year ago because of our bosses at CNN, who thought more than a year ago that it was time to (take) a look at the opportunities and obstacles that African-Americans have had in this country. And the timing would work out well if you looked down a year and you saw it was the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King. So it begs the question…what has happened since his assassination?

I then asked her if she saw any differences in the way the media covered African-Americans since the Jena 6 rally.

If there has been a change, i don’t think it’s bee a seismic change. I think what’s made a big change, actually, is the election. Because some of the issues that have come up in the election are issues that involve black and brown people. People are bringing more of those voices on T.V. where we really haven’t seen them.

Please take a few minutes to hear this awesome interview (and hear her thoughts on the role of black preachers and churches). If you like what you hear, leave a comment to let Soledad know who much we appreciate her and the work that she does. And give me a pass on the first 30 seconds of the interview…I was really nervous.

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Dallas Morning News – Shawn Williams:Black pastors speak truth to power

Here is the article I wrote that appears in Wednesday’s Dallas Morning News. Some of this is familiar from Part 1, but there is about 30-40% new material.

Sick. Disgusted. Appalled. Those were some of the feelings that washed over me as I have listened to the mainstream media launch what I believe was an unwarranted attack on Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr. in the past week or so. It should have been no surprise, but even my wary eyes were taken aback by the ferocity of the assault on his character and career.

I have had the pleasure to observe the gospel genius and hermeneutical excellence of Dr. Wright many times over the last 10 years since I joined Friendship-West Baptist Church here in Dallas. Dr. Wright has served as a mentor to my pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III, and visits our church once or twice each year.

What is most unfortunate about the episode with Dr. Wright and Barack Obama is that it shows how little America knows – and how much less it understands – about the black church. The concept of social activism in the African-American church is a novel concept to many observers who don’t know its history.

The same media structure that undermined Dr. Martin Luther King in the civil rights era now wants to prop him up as an example of “color-blind” preaching. The Dr. King who was considered too radical and color-concerned by his own contemporaries is now painted as a Kumbaya dreamer. A guy who would be cool to sit down with over a latte.

An oft-asked question the last few days has been, “What is the need for a black church in today’s society?” I would suggest that the answer lies in asking white Christians why they haven’t joined a predominantly black congregation.

That certainly would help to break down what some consider unnecessary barriers, wouldn’t it? But it’s asking a lot. And our society more often expects African-Americans to abandon their heritage and integrate/assimilate with our brethren and fellow believers in the name of progress. Well that street runs both ways.

It is virtually impossible to separate the African-American struggle for justice and the black church. Think Frederick Douglass, the great abolitionist who in 1839 was licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Think Denmark Vesey, a founder of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., who was executed for his part in organizing a slave uprising in that very city. Think Rev. Ralph Abernathy and the Montgomery Improvement Association.

Whether it was Jeremiah Wright in Chicago or the late Rev. A.M. Seamon in Paris, Texas, the black preacher has made it his business to stand up for those under his charge, knowing that no one else in America would do so.

Black pastors have always been labeled as radicals when speaking truth to power. In every era of American history their message has been repudiated, denounced and rejected.

Today I have the opportunity to attend a church that does not separate salvation from the social struggle. I can’t say that I agree with every word that comes out of my pastor’s mouth. But would that be possible for any parishioner at any church? What I do agree with is his willingness to speak out against issues like an unjust war. History recalls Dr. King taking the same unpopular stance against the Vietnam War years ago.

Dr. Wright, a man who retired just last month after a 36-year ministry, now watches as his legacy is distorted and dismantled, particularly by those who would do anything to see Mr. Obama fall short in his bid for the White House. Years of evangelism and outreach have been reduced to 30-second sound bites and clips on YouTube. Dr. Wright, even with his most difficult opinions, deserves much better than that.

I am the son of parents who were forced to sit in the balcony at the movies and who had to wait until all white patients had been seen before the doctor would visit them. The resentment that still lingers among those who lived through that era is not lost on me.

Unless America accepts the challenge levied yesterday by Barack Obama, the country will remain in a state that is neither red nor blue: The state of denial.

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The Media Lynching of Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Part 1 of 3): How a 36 year career of evangelism and activism is reduced to a 30 second sound bite

revwright.jpgSick…disgusted…appalled. Those were some of the feelings that washed over me as I listened to the mainstream media launch an all out assault on Dr. Jeremiah Wright Jr. It should have been no surprise, but even my wary eyes were taken aback by the ferocity of the attacks on Dr. Wright.

I have had the pleasure to observe the gospel genius and hermeneutical excellence of Dr. Wright for the last 10 years since joining Friendship-West Baptist Church. Dr. Wright serves as father in the ministry to my pastor, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III. My frustration with the media last week drove me to turn off my television and withdraw from all things politics like someone in alcoholism rehabilitation. It was a sermon today by Dr. Haynes that helped me gather my thoughts to the point where I can now express my feelings.

What is most shameful about this entire episode with Dr. Wright and Barack Obama is that it shows how little America knows about and how much less America cares about the black church. A black preacher uttering words from the pulpit regarding America’s racist past and present is neither novel or unique.

Now the same media structure that constantly undermined Dr. Martin Luther King, and the same government that tapped every phone that he used, wants to prop him up as an example of “color-blind” preaching. The Dr. King who in his day was considered too radical and color concerned by his own contemporaries is now painted as a kumbaya fella who white folks would like to sit down and have a latte with. Save it America.

I hear the question: What is the need for a black church in today’s society.? Is that a joke? I mean when someone fixes their mouth to ask an idiotic question like that, I’m left to wonder what planet -less known what country- that person is living on.

Ask the slave masters who did not invite their hired property to worship with them why there is a black church. Or ask the people who use the symbol of Christ’s suffering as an instrument of hate and fear.

Ask yourself, if you are a Christian, why you don’t make the first step and join a predominantly black congregation. Of course that makes no sense, right? It’s usually expected that African-Americans abandoned our heritage and integrate/assimilate with our white brethren in the name of progress. Well that street runs both ways.

allen.jpgAsk Richard Allen why there is a black church. Allen’s legacy is the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent black denomination. He believed it better for black parishioners to have their own places of worship rather than adhere to the dictates and demands of white church leaders who told black church goers when and where they could worship.

You cannot separate the African-American struggle for justice and the black church. Think Frederick Douglass, who in 1839 was licensed to preach in the AME Church. Think Denmark Vesey, a founder of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston who was executed for his part in organizing a slave uprising in that very city.

Whether its Jeremiah Wright in Chicago, Illinois or the late Rev. A.M. Seamon in Paris, Texas, the black preacher has made it his business to stand up for his people knowing no one else in America would do so. Black preachers have always been labeled as radicals when speaking truth to power. That remains unchanged to this day.

Dr. Wright, a man who retired just last month after a 36-year ministry, now watches as his legacy is distorted and dismantled by those who would do anything to see Barack Obama fall short in his bid for the White House. In the YouTube clip that I saw, Dr. Wright talked about an America where white men controlled the resources and controlled the access to wealth in this country. What’s so radical about that? If it’s a lie please tell me.

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Texas Democratic Election a Primary/Caucus Hybrid, requires an extra trip to the polls

democratslogo.pngI’d like to thank Bryan who attended an Obama meeting last night, and Rep. Eddie B. Johnson who sent an email, for providing me with some information that I did not know. I was planning to early vote for the Texas Primary, but it looks like in order for my vote to fully count, I’ll need to get back to the polls on election night.

Click here for Texas rules on Democratic delegates.

I’m not going to give the full rundown yet, but let me give you the cliff’s notes version as I understand them so far:

  • Texas has a two step process that is open to all registered voters.
  • When you cast your vote in the Texas primary, in essence it’s only 75% of a full vote.
  • 126 of Texas’ 168 votes will be allocated to candidates based on the ballots cast.
  • 15 minutes after the polls close (7:00 p.m.) those who voted must return to their precinct.
  • This “precinct convention” is how Texas will decide how to divide the remaining 42 delegates.
  • The rules were originally put in place to insure that the Democratic hierarchy would have more say.

That’s it in a nutshell. I had never heard of this before, but then again a Texas primary/caucus has never mattered since I’ve been voting. Thanks again to Bryan and Rep. Johnson.

NEW POST

View most new post on the Texas Democratic Precinct Convention titled 10 things you need to know about the Texas Democratic Primary and Precinct Conventions (caucus)

Dallas Convention Center Hotel should be built on building’s south side

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Plans for a Dallas Convention Center hotel are moving forward, and mayor Tom Leppert would like to see it built before the Super Bowl comes to town in 2011. While the city looks into financing the project, the discussion will soon move to where the hotel should be located.

For those who have dared to dream of a hotel constructed near the convention center, the vision usually includes a structure on the “front” or downtown side of the building. In my mind, I’ve always thought the same thing.

But over the weeks that have passed since I wrote a Dallas Morning News article on this subject, another potential site has emerged. Imagine if you will a hotel erected on the southern side of the convention center. For the sake of this post, use Eddie Deen’s Ranch as a reference point.

In the Viewpoints column that I wrote for The News, I made the following argument:

Convention visitors judge a host city by what goes on each day after the meetings are over. Where do we eat? Is there anywhere to shop? How long does it take to get to the hottest night spot?

consider (San Diego’s) Gaslamp Quarter, within walking distance of the convention center. There conventioneers find top-notch dining spots, shopping outlets, night clubs and live music spots. After a day full of workshops and meetings, the Gaslamp offers a great place to unwind.

A hotel built on the North side of the convention center would have to start from scratch to create a place for conventioneers to go after hours. Either that or find a way to connect with revitalization efforts on Main Street downtown.

Just south of the convention center an entertainment district already exists and the area continues to blossom. Anchored by the South Side on Lamar Lofts, Lamar Avenue offers plenty to do for visitors in search of post meeting fare.

Hotel occupants leaving a southern location would literally spill across I-30 into Gilley’s Dallas and The Palladium Ballroom. Brooklyn Jazz Cafe is about a quarter mile from this proposed site. There are a number of other destinations already in the area.

  • Studio Bar and Grill

Couple these businesses with the diverse residency of the South Side Lofts and The Beat Condos currently under construction, and you have the makings of a round the clock destination. There is plenty of space along Lamar to add to the mix of retail, residential, office, and entertainment that already exists.

A hotel located on the convention center’s south side would have easy access to I-30 and sit only yards away from the DART rail’s Convention Center Station. Another advantage of this sites is that it is near the middle of the DCC, so convention visitors would never have to trek the full length of the building to get to and from their rooms.

When developers in the area look at a map, they draw a line at I-30 and refuse to look at anything South of that point. Yet the progress on South Lamar shows that this does not have to be the case. I strongly support the Trinity Bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava, but a hotel located on the DCC’s south side would serve as a stronger financial link between downtown and Southern Dallas.

The taxpayer funded American Airlines Center has created a vibrant new entertainment district at Victory Park. Money that the city has invested in redeveloping the Mercantile Building will pay big dividends for Main Street and the Dallas’ downtown core. Now it’s time for South Lamar -with a little help from City Hall- to realize its full potential.

The convention center hotel should be built on the southern side of the Dallas Convention Center. For politicians who have pledged to support economic development in Southern Dallas this is a chance to prove their words are more than hollow, campaign season promises.

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