A8 The Washington Afro-American, January 3, 2009 - January 9, 2009
It’s Time to Integrate the
One of the most curious applicable construction unions.
situations going on in the In essence, if a major project is going up in
political arena is the strong Chicago or Detroit, we must see what the standard
support construction unions is for Black employment (laborer, journeyman,
get from Black elected offi- foreman and management) in that market. If the
cials and traditional civil construction unions don’t have those numbers in
rights organizations. their ranks then we should file a complaint and stop
This blind and uncondi- the “set up” for discrimination. We have no other
tional love affair--even option.
though construction unions Let’s remember how Detroit had less than a 10
Harry C. Alford
are the most racist organiza- percent Black workforce on its new baseball and
tions in the nation--defies all football stadiums (the city is 83 percent Black)
common sense. It’s been more than 44 years since because of a stupid PLA.
the Civil Rights Act and the construction trades are Sooner or later the discriminating union halls
no better today than they were during the struggles are going to get the message and start recruiting
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blacks within the ranks once and for all.
Unions, generally, have been progressive but the When the Indiana Pacers needed their new sta-
construction trades have hid behind the “skirt” of dium built the construction unions demanded a
that legacy to prolong their exclusive and discrimi- PLA. The Indianapolis Republican Mayor Steve
natory ways. Goldsmith saw that he needed to do this to get
The same unions that put out a “contract” on the funding from the Democratically-controlled state
life of Arthur A. Fletcher as he sought to imple- legislature.
ment Executive Order 11246 and the Civil Rights Rep. William Crawford, Indiana state represen-
Act are still resisting diversity. tative and chair of the budget committee, showed
That made it easy for us to convince President the Wisdom of Solomon. Here was his deal: The
George W. Bush to prohibit Project Labor state would put up the money but there would be a
Agreements involving federal money. PLAs are PLA providing that the Department of Labor stan-
agreements that prohibit any business other than a dards are met.
union shop from working on a specific project. The unions got their way, the mayor got his
Show me a PLA and I will show you Jim Crow money and Black employment and contracting
employment plus a locking out of most Black- wouldn’t suffer. However, it was creative how the
owned firms that happen to be nonunion most of unions met those numbers. They didn’t have
the time. A Project Labor Agreement is a license to enough workers to make them so they recruited or
discriminate against Black workers. brought in workers from as far away as
We showed Bush that on the Wilson Bridge Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cincinnati to work on
Darkest Before Dawn
Project in the Washington, D.C., area if we were to the project.
have a Project Labor Agreement like Maryland, as That was the only way they could do it. Also,
opposed to Virginia, it would reduce Black labor there wasn’t a Black in town working anywhere
Gary L. Flowers
Soon, the Bush administration attacked the
sovereign nation of Iraq without provocation,
by 70 percent. When the president banned any else but on the stadium. It was quite an experience
My paternal grandfather, who stood tall in
occupied it and declared war without end —
PLA on the bridge, he actually said, “I want to sup- that I cannot forget.
height and wisdom, would often teach life les-
The War on Terrorism.
port small business and stop discrimination in the The pre-apprentice scams, the hush money to
sons from his observation that the darkest por-
As bombs lit the legendary land of Abraham,
work place.” civil rights groups and political contributions will
tion of the night sky is just before dawn.
innocent people, including children, died in the
That was a great moment for Black employ- no longer work for the construction unions.
Likewise, my maternal grandmother’s face
darkness of destruction and dispossession. None
ment and business development. They’ve got to integrate here and now. We are
seemed to metaphorically convey her belief that
other than a journalist known as the Prince of
With the new elections, the love affair between going to audit them and rank them market by mar-
we cannot see daylight until we make it through
Darkness met criticism of the war by an
unions and the Democratic Party is about to ket.
the night. How true today, as many celebrate a
American diplomat with the exposure of his
emerge again. That’s fine, except with the bigoted Anywhere a PLA pops up, the National Black
new year brimming with the pleasant possibili-
wife’s secret identity as a CIA agent.
construction unions. Instead of screaming and com- Chamber of Commerce will be there to scrutinize,
At home, bombs dropped on Iraq exploded in
plaining, perhaps this is a great time to make a long challenge and call out any discrimination.
As the sun sets on the Bush administration,
American cities with drastic reductions in
overdue change. Let’s make the construction Eventually, our leaders and the unions will realize
the past eight years may be recorded as the
domestic programs such as health benefits for
unions integrate. President-elect Obama has prom- that it’s 2009 and doing the right thing is the only
“unenlightened years” of American history.
veterans, the National Endowment of the Arts,
ised groups like the International Brotherhood of thing they can do.
After all, just before the elections of 2000, the
education, infrastructure construction projects,
Electrical Workers that he will end the ban on Never again will we close our eyes, turn our
national budget surplus was $230 million; the
and emergency responders. As global lights low-
PLAs. backs or simply ignore institutional racism. We will
nation was in peacetime; citizens enjoyed the
ered, so did the brilliance of the American presi-
As he makes good on this promise, we must be fight and kill it. Yes, we can!
privacy of home; personal income paid the bills
vigilant and qualify each and every PLA. We must
for most; American jobs were in America;
The White House pushed the passage of the
look at the demographic goals of each geographical Harry Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of
school children had classes such as art, band and
Patriot Act (1 and 2) by Congress, resulting in
area which are set by the U.S. Department of Labor the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Web
drama as educational options; and the world
the suspension of constitutional protections of
and match that with the current capacity of the site: www.nationalbcc.org
community actually liked the president of the
personal privacy. Federal surveillance of private
citizens was approved and purchased from
Eartha Kitt: Truth to Power
And then the lights went out.
American telecommunications companies. In
What a difference eight years makes. The
short, the decade of darkness was governed by a
2000 presidential elections were so illegitimate
dim-witted White House that subverted the
There must be some and questioned by first lady Bird Johnson about
that only one other time in American history had
intent of laws, while not enforcing laws as they
divine order to the fact that the Vietnam War, Kitt threw down and told the
the winner of the popular vote lost the election;
Eartha Kitt died on first lady, “You send the best of the country off
and the loser won (Hayes/Tilden Compromise,
And an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at an
Christmas Day, since many to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids
1877). The deal in the election of 1876 was that
American president for the orphans and widows
of us associate Christmas rebel and take pot.” According to some reports,
Rutherford B. Hayes would be declared the
of his war, to boot (pun intended).
both with the Christ child’s she made Mrs. Johnson cry (give me a break!)
president in consideration for the removal of
But joy comes in the morning.
birth and with those sultry And she had hell to pay for the next decade as
federal troops in the south that were dispatched,
Since the dawn of civilization on African
and materialistic “Santa she was investigated, marginalized professional-
in part, to protect newly freed African
horizons, the winter solstice – Dec. 21 - records
Baby” lyrics. ly, and she ended up performing mostly abroad.
Americans by the Reconstruction Congress, fol-
the yearly date when the sun is at its lowest
Though the “duplex and President Jimmy Carter invited Kitt back to the
lowing the American Civil War.
point in the southern sky and seems to remain
checks,” “yacht” and furs White House and the rest was history. We can
Like 1876, the 2000 elections would portend
still for three days. On the fourth day, Dec. 25,
that the songstress spoke of all learn, however, from this sister’s courage.
bad times. Within eight months of the Bush
the sun appears to rise in the sky until the vernal
are out of the reach of Where are the actors and entertainers who
administration (August, 2001), the national
equinox — March 21.
many African-American people, most of us live in the spirit of Eartha Kitt?
treasury had been drained to the extent that the
As we bury the Bush administration, a new
appreciated every little thing about Eartha Kitt. Who uses his or her celebrity to shine light
$230 million national surplus of a year before
day is dawning in America, with a new light for
And if most folk didn’t, I certainly did. I was on the ills that plague our nation? Where are the
had become a deficit.
the world provided by the enlightenment of a
an enthusiastic fan, almost groupie, who would voices for social and economic justice, for world
Half way around the world on Sept. 7, 2001,
new son — President Barack Hussein Obama.
savor seeing Kitt perform in person, and spend peace, for harmony? Who will raise her voice to
an international delegation met in Durbin, South
While it is true that the darkness yields to
more money than I should have attending her support the 300 Palestinians who have been
Africa, at the World Conference Against
light over time, and the sun takes many minutes
shows when I lived in New York in the late massacred during these holidays, or to decry the
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and
to rise, we must be patient and keep our heads
‘70s. hundreds of thousands of foreclosures that may
Related Intolerance. That delegation agreed to
to the heavens as the son rises.
The music was “all that,” but it wasn’t just take place in the next few months?
shed light on terrorism — wherever evidence
In the words of poet Maya Angelou, let the
the music that made me appreciate Eartha Kitt. Is there an Eartha Kitt in the house, someone
led— and address reparations for indigenous
“yet-to-be United States of America” be the
She was a woman who used her celebrity to with the political courage to stand up and let the
people oppressed and exploited by governments.
light of the world.
speak truth to power, who paid the price for it, chips fall where they may?
Four days later, the conference’s light was
and who kept on ticking despite the exile that
dimmed by the unbelievable events of Sept. 11,
Gary L. Flowers is executive director and
was imposed on her because she dared tell the Julianne Malveaux is president of Bennett
2001 in New York.
CEO of the Black Leadership Forum.
truth. Invited to the White House for a luncheon, College for Women.
Director of Advertising/Sponsorship Development & Sales
Susan Warshaw - 410-554-8289
Director, Benjamin M. Phillips IV - 410-554-8220
Washington Circulation/Distribution Manager
Robert Blount - 410-554-8246
Edgar Brookins - 202-332-0080, ext. 116
Senior Advertising Account Executive
Your History • Your Community • Your News
Baltimore Circulation/Distribution Manager
Annie Russ - 410-554-8235 Sammy Graham - 410-554-8266
Advertising Account Executives
The Afro-American Newspapers
Michaela Blanchard - 410-554-8223, Marquise Goodwin - 410-554-8274
Production Department - 410-554-8288
Jessie Murphy - 410-554-8273
Baltimore Office - Corporate Headquarters
2519 N. Charles Street
Director of Finance
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-4602
Jack Leister - 410-554-8242 410-554-8200
1917 Benning Road, N.E.,
Washington, D.C. 20002-4723
John Gartrell - 410-554-8265
Community & Public Relations Manager
Founded by John Henry Murphy Sr., August 13, 1892
Diane W. Hocker - 410-554-8243
Edgar Brookins - ext. 116
Office Administrator - Mia Hayes-Hawkins - ext.112
Washington Publisher Emerita
Executive Editor - Barbara Darko - 410-554-8251 Frances L. Murphy II
Customer Service, Home Delivery and Subscriptions: 410-554-8234
Chairman of the Board/Publisher
Acting Managing Editor - Tiffany Ginyard - 410-554-8269
News Editor - Kristin Gray - 410-554-8277
John J. Oliver, Jr.
Web Editor - Maura Sopher - 410-554-8230
Executive Assistant - Takiea Hinton - 410-554-8222
Washington Bureau Chief - Zenitha Prince - 202-332-0080, ext. 119
Nights and Weekends:
Wanda Pearson - 410-554-8200
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20