The meaning of Ft. Sumter

On the 150th anniversary of the Confederate shelling of Ft. Sumter in Charleston, SC, which began the Civil War, African-Americans must join the dialogue about the meaning of America’s most bloody conflict. That dialogue must start in classrooms, where students have the opportunity to reimagine African-American history by learning of the active role that free […]

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Black parents are hopping mad

Although media attention has been focused on the budgetary challenges facing schools and the battle between conservative Republicans and unions, the real force that is going to shape the future of education in America is the discontent among African-American parents. The sudden resignation of New York Chancellor Cathie Black and the furor that led to […]

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A history too precious to ignore

One need only see how emotional people become when discussing history to understand its importance. I’m meeting with Rob Walker and Ocie Tinsley in Los Gatos Saturday to discuss their plans for the African-American Heritage House in San Jose. They’ve poured their heart and soul into creating a monument for African-American history in a place […]

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Supporting a $6.1 billion industry

As we approach the end of the first Black Restaurant Month in March at, we’d like to dispell the notion that this is just chicken change. According to the 2007 Census of Black-Owned Businesses, there are 37,732 African-American owned food services and drinking places with $6,135,366,000 ($6.1 billion) in annual receipts. The 7,167 establishments […]

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What’s in Peter Burnett’s name?

“So who is Peter Burnett anyway?” asked San Francisco school board commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer. I didn’t trust anyone else to answer, so I stood up in the audience before the staff could reply and made my way to the speaker’s podium. The setting was the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting of the board Monday […]

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Advertising’s blind spot

It has been 14 years since I pointed out in an Advertising Age article that only one percent of advertising was spent with black-owned media. And 13 years since my article in AdWeek’s Technology Marketing noted that computer manufacturers were completely ignoring black consumers with their marketing dollars. Although the African-American consumer market has doubled […]

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State of Black New Jersey

Trenton, NJ – Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on Saturday joined with other state and business leaders to recognize and celebrate the increased commercial success of African American businesses in New Jersey. Lt. Governor Guadagno was the keynote speaker at a town hall meeting at Rutgers University called “State of Black New Jersey, Improving Economic Development.” […]

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140 years of witness

It can be easy to be misunderstood when serving Jesus Christ. The first pastor of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in San Francisco found it necessary in 1870 to rebut accusations that the church at Bush and Mason Streets was for rich people only. In a San Francisco Record opinion article, it was noted that although […]

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The price of justice

Sam Craig lived the history I merely wrote about. As a former president of Officers for Justice, the retired police executive gave context to the 1979 consent decree which black officers achieved with the City and County of San Francisco. During the sixth session of Come to the Water: Teaching San Francisco Black History, we […]

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