From November 2010

Navy Destroyer Honors First African American Flag Officer

By Conway

Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr

The USS Gravely (DDG 107) was commissioned in Wilmington, NC, on Nov. 20, joining the fleet in a ceremony honoring the late Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr., the Navy’s first African American flag officer.
The new Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer commemorates the 38 years of military service of Vice Admiral Gravely, who achieved many “firsts” as an officer in the United States Navy.
He was the first African American to command a warship (USS Theodore E. Chandler); to command a warship in combat (USS Taussig); to command a major warship (USS Jouett); to attain flag rank; to become a vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet (3rd Fleet).
“This warship is now ready to serve our great nation and carry on the example of a great American, a great man, and a great naval officer, Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely,” said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead, the ceremony’s principal speaker.
Many of the 4,000 in attendance were family and friends of Admiral Gravely himself, including his widow, the ship’s sponsor, Alma B. Clark Gravely.
Mrs. Gravely let the crew know that she believed they were ready to represent the ideals commemorated by the ship’s name. “I have great confidence that you will keep a clean ship, have respect for each other and good morale at sea and on shore at all times,” she said.  “In keeping with these requests from me (and my husband), I know that you and our wonderful ship are ready today to go to sea.  And if in harm’s way will be ready to stay its course.”
The ceremony concluded when Mrs. Gravely ordered the crew, “Bring our ship to life!”  The Sailors manned the rails, bringing the Navy’s newest destroyer to life. Read more

Conference of National Black Churches

Representing 30,000,000 People and 50,000 congregations Combining to address issues and needs of Black members

Leaders of the nine largest historically Black denominations have announced the launch of The Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC).
The organization, representing a combined membership of more than 30 million people and 50,000 congregations throughout the U.S and the African Diaspora, is designed to fill the void for a unified voice of faith advocating on behalf of African Americans and other underserved populations on health, education, social justice and economic empowerment issues. Read more

Home Services Providers Must Re-enroll

California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Director John Wagner has reminded In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers to complete the new provider enrollment process before the end of the year or lose eligibility for the program.
“While we are pleased that most providers have already completed background check requirements, approximately 27,000 in-home supportive service workers need to take steps now to ensure they complete that process by the end of the year,” Wagner said.
More than 380,000 providers have completed state requirements enacted in 2009, which include fingerprinting, undergoing a criminal background check and taking part in a provider orientation. Approximately 27,000 existing providers have started the process but not yet completed it.

Tough loss for Kings, Hornets go 11-1

Sacramento, CA – Everyone is curious to know what’s the secret for a great start this season.  The New Orleans Hornets struggled pre-season losing up to seven games.  Yet, they managed to turn things around to have one of the best starts leading the western conference.

“Down the stretch we made a few adjustments but guys made plays,”  said coach Monty Williams.  “Our key every night is defense, we want to defend, rebound and run with a purpose.”  “That’s who we are every night!” Read more

Black Congressman Urges Vote on DREAM Act

Edolphus “Ed” Towns

U.S. Representative Edolphus “Ed” Towns from New York has taken steps to move comprehensive immigration reform forward by urging his colleagues to vote on the DREAM Act before adjournment of the 111th Congress. The DREAM Act will help improve access to education for immigrants and creates a pathway to legal status for young adults who attend college or serve in the military.
“Congress needs to act immediately on this bill that helps young immigrants realize their full potential and creates a legal pathway toward achieving the American dream,” said Rep. Towns.
Under the DREAM Act, young adult children who meet the following criteria: began living in the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday, lived continuously in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years prior to enactment of the legislation, and hold a high school or GED from a U.S. high school, would be provided a pathway to become U.S. citizens upon completion of two years of service in the military or higher education. Currently, an estimated 2.1 million individuals meet this criteria.
Rep. Towns is deeply committed to strengthening the nation through educational opportunities and immigration reform, according to the Congressman’s staff.  He firmly believes enactment of the DREAM Act is an important part of achieving this goal. Read more

Help Support Our Troops

The House of Steel (United States Marine Corps) is collecting items for American troops overseas – Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force servicemen. They need items such as beef jerky, granola bars, power bars, trail mix, snacks, instant soups, instant oatmeal, instant coffee (packets), tea bags, drink mixes, razors, eye drops, lip ointment, magazines, and crossword puzzles.

Please contact 1st Lt. Greg Allen or Janet Ashby, 33 Mary Street, San Rafael, at (415) 482-9120. Cash or checks will be accepted to help cover shipping costs.

Tuskegee Airmen Saluted at Marin City’s Veterans Day Celebration

Over 500 people attended the one-day celebration in Marin City to honor the Original Tuskegee Airmen of the Bay Area.  The event started with a parade, with several military flyovers- two F16’s provided by the Fresno National Air Force Base, the Historic DC3 Cargo Plane flown by local celebrity James Gabbert, and two PC51’s.  After the parade, attendees ate a soulfood lunch prepared by the Senior Sunshine Club.  The Performing Stars Drama Troupe performed a mini-play portraying the oral history of the Tuskegee Airmen, written by Lesley Currier, Marin Shakespeare Company and taught by Johanna Parker.  Afterwards, the public was able to meet the Original Tuskegee Airmen who provided many photo opportunities and autographs.  The honorees included 11 Tuskegee Airmen and eight widows who represented their deceased husbands. Other participants included Bob Butler, Reporter, KCBS Radio; William Stephens, Marin County Superior Court Judge (ret.); Senator Mark Leno (3rd District); and Supervisor Charles McGlashan, Marin County Board of Supervisors (3rd District).

“Over 40” Workers’ Career Expo in Oakland

Sponsored by the Oakland Private Industry Council, the “Over 40” Workers’ Career Expo will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alameda County Conference Center, 125 12th St., Suite 400 in Oakland. Registration begins at 8 a.m..

“Workers over the age of 40 certainly make  valuable contributions to an employer, based on their experience and skills. These are qualities that companies value and need in their workforce,” said Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of Oakland Private Industry Council Inc.

Co-sponsors include the Workforce Investment Board, City of Oakland, Employment Development Department (EDD) of the State of California, The English Center, Lao Family Community Development and The Unity Council.

The “Over 40” Workers’ Career Expo is one of a series of 32-targeted events coordinated by the One Stop Career Centers in Oakland during the upcoming eight months. Each career event is unique and has a different theme. Read more

Book Review Trailblazer, The U.S. Navy’s First Black Admiral, Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr.

By Conway

B. Jones, Jr.

“Trailblazer, The U.S. Navy’s First Black Admiral,” by Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr., USN with Paul Stillwell, and Afterword by Alma B. Gravely.

“Trailblazer, The U.S. Navy’s First Black Admiral”, is a tour de force first-person account of the life of Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. In his youth, he learned well the lessons of Jim Crow in his home-town of Richmond, Virginia. In spite of the various obstacles placed in his path by a narrow-minded society, he went on to become one of the first African Americans to be commissioned as an officer and, ultimately, as the very first African  American officer to attain flag rank in the U.S. Navy.

Admiral Gravely tells his story with the help of Paul Stillwell, who is a Navy veteran, editor and author of “The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers.” In the Trailblazer book, we see through Admiral Gravely’s eyes and in his voice how he climbed the ladder in the Navy to become the first African American to command a ship, the first to command a fleet, and the first to become an admiral in 1971. His ground-breaking achievements were a tribute to his deeply ingrained strength of character, fiercely dedicated temperament, and dogged perseverance.

Trailblazer also details the personal legacy of Admiral Gravely, the husband and family man, as seen through the eyes of his devoted and loving wife, Alma, including their whirlwind courtship, which lead to their marriage in 1946 – a rich and full union that lasted 58 years – to the death of their beloved older son Robbie in 1978, and finally to Alma’s making peace with the certainty of his impending death.

“Sammie,” as Alma affectionately referred to the Admiral, very wisely drew from a diverse pool of experiences, as well as from leadership examples provided by his fellow officers, in modeling his own command style during his impressive naval service career. He became THE role model to emulate and set a fine example for thousands of African American naval officers who came after him. Read more

Search Continues for Family of Black GI Killed in Vietnam

On the occasion of the newly established “Day of Reconciliation and Love” in Vietnam on Sept. 9, Nguyen Y Chi expressed his wish to return the two personal souvenirs, the folding knife and the Zodiac watch, to the family of the American pilot that he buried 44 years ago.

He was asking for help from VietnamNet to locate the family of this MIA pilot so that he could personally return these souvenirs to the soldier’s loved ones. He regrets that he did not ask the MIA team for the name and address of the deceased pilot, and now he does not know how to request the information.

After officially accepting the remains of the pilot, the leader of the MIA team asked Nguyen Y Chi whether he had any request. He simply replied that he had no request and only wished that these remains would be soon repatriated to the waiting loved ones. Read more

Lincoln Elementary School Wins 2010 National Blue Ribbon

John Melvin

Lincoln Elementary School, at 225 11th St. in Oakland, this week celebrated winning the 2010 National Blue Ribbon Award given by the United States Department of Education.

Lincoln Principal John Melvin and teacher Rosita Young traveled this across country as ambassadors of the school.  Education Secretary Arne Duncan presented Melvin and Young with the National Blue Ribbon Award Tuesday at a national ceremony in Washington D.C.

OUSD Superintendent Tony Smith and other local dignitaries visited the school Wednesday to offer their congratulations. Lincoln students were on hand to share their perspectives on what makes Lincoln an excellent school.

“This is a tremendous honor,” said Melvin. “Lincoln has a long history serving the immigrant population of the Oakland Chinatown community. This Blue Ribbon Award acknowledges academic success over time, and we are proud to have sustained excellence. This award is a testament to the hard work and efforts of our students, teachers, staff and families.”

The Blue Ribbon Schools Award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at exceptionally high levels or have made significant progress to help close gaps in achievement. The Award is part of a larger Department of Education program to identify and disseminate knowledge about best school leadership and teaching practices. Read more

Marin City Library Presents Holiday Storytelling Dec. 7

Storyteller Phil Sheridan

Friends of Marin City Library is hosting a holiday storyteller Phil Sheridan, who will present “A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” Tuesday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m., at the library, 164 Donahue St. in Marin City.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales,” by Dylan Thomas, is about the Christmases the poet enjoyed as a boy in his hometown of Swansea, Wales on the west coast of England. It is a joyful tale, and beautiful to hear when read aloud.

Sheridan has turned the poem into a play for 10 parts and invites adult members of the audience to join him in telling it aloud. He also invites volunteers to read with him one of Dylan Thomas’ most famous poems, “Fern Hill,” as well as an all-time holiday favorite, “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Sheridan is a professional actor and storyteller who tells stories in schools, libraries and at birthday parties.  His specializes in tales about courage, kindness, compassion and respect.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.  For information contact the Marin City Library at (415) 332-6157.

Deborah Perry, Cornerstone Church, Ministers in Ghana

Mother Mary McKelvy, Dr. Brenda Stratton and Camilla Cooke from Virginia and Deborah Perry.

Deborah Perry, a long time resident of Marin City and member of Cornerstone Community Church of God in Christ, embarked in September on a 16,000-mile roundtrip, 28-day journey to Africa that would forever change her life.

Feeling a very strong urge to minister beyond her immediate circle and sphere of influence, Perry traveled to beautiful Ghana, West Africa, to assist Mother Mary McKelvy on her annual trip to that nation.

Mother McKelvy, also a member of Cornerstone Community Church and founder of salvation Miracle Faith Ministry, has preached the gospel and ministered in Ghana for more than 16 years. She has also assisted pastors and churches in digging wells, building schools, churches, orphanages, supplying uniforms, clothing, and computers, and doing whatever was necessary to help improve the quality of life for the Ghanaian people.

The plan for the trip was to distribute medical supplies and clothing that had been collected from members of Cornerstone as well as others, to finish building a library and computer learning center and to strengthen the churches in the region. Read more

Malia Cohen Is New Supervisor in District 10

By Lee Hubbard

Malia Cohen

Malia Cohen will be the new Supervisor in District 10, replacing Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who is termed out.

As of press time Cohen had 52.60 percent of the vote compared to Tony Kelly’s 47.40 percent. Kelly conceded to Cohen Tuesday afternoon, although the race has not been officially called.

“I don’t think we have enough cards left to make any changes in the results at this time, but until (we) certify, I don’t call a race,” said John Artz, head of the San Francisco Department of Elections.

Cohen was able to pick up ground on Kelly in the ranked choice voting system after Lynnette Sweet dropped in ranking. After the first round, Sweet had the most first place votes, 2,072 or 12 percent, compared to Kelly who had 2,042 or 11.59 percent and Cohen, who had 2015 or 11.73 percent.

But both Cohen and Kelly had more second and third place votes, which allowed them to overtake Sweet’s original lead.  This caused some harsh feelings among some Blacks activists and Sweet, who felt that an underrepresented community would be without an African American supervisor. Read more

Rev. Henry Washington: “Unite the Moral Voice of Richmond”

By Tasion Kwamilele

Picture at left, from top to bottom: Otheree Christian, Eleanor Thompson, Rev. George Brown; Therence James and Elder Thomas Harris; Charlene Harris and Rochell Monk; Rev. James Harris and Linsy Mayo; Elder James Jones, Elder & Mrs. Larry Lowe and Elder Anthony Jones; Center row, top to bottom: Rev. Henry C. Washington, Excutive Director OR; Belinda Lewis Blevins and Tamika Key; Joe Fisher and Lloyd Madden; At right, top to bottom: Jackie Thompson; Bishop Andre Jackson and Sabrina Saunders; Sister Jones and Regina Wakefield.

Longtime Richmond residents can attest to the downward spiral their city has undergone in last 20 years. Earlier this year on Valentine’s Day, three young men stormed into the New Gethsemane Church and began shooting, wounding two teenagers.

It is clear that Richmond needs to undergo a serious change.

Rev. Henry Washington, who has lived in Richmond his entire life, has always been an advocate for positive change in the community. Now, as newly appointed director of Operation Richmond, he plans to see that power is brought back to the people as they work together to “unite the moral voice of Richmond.”

Operation Richmond is based on the idea that by establishing working capital, city government, the police department and other community-based organizations will make Richmond residents more self-sufficient.

“The main goal is to drop the homicide rate down to zero,” said Rev. Washington.

“I know people will say that is unrealistic, but since last year that has been a 60 percent drop in Richmond’s homicide rate,” he said.  “We – the community, the leaders, the officials – have been reactionary. We need to “pro-act,” so that we can really wrap our arms around the young men who are doing most of the violence.” Read more

Cuttin’ Up Hair Salon Serves Meals on Thanksgiving

By Tasion


For the past four years Cuttin’ Up Hair Salon, at 2540 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond, has provided warm smiles and hot meals on Thanksgiving to those who are less fortunate.

With holiday spirit and cheer, the salon’s staff and clients will once again provide free meals this year.

Owner of Cuttin’ Up Hair Salon Curley Wikkeling-Miller began the tradition in 2006 as a way to show appreciation to the community for supporting her business for the past 19 years.

Last year, the staff was able to serve over 200 meals.

Wikkeling-Miller can attest to needs of the community and has witnessed the growing numbers of needy each year.  Though she knows the problem is far greater than what they can handle, she and her staff do all that they can to show care and concern to the residents during the holiday season.

For more on Cuttin’ Up Hair Salon’s Thanksgiving Day feeding or to support the cause, call (510) 236-0126.

Mayor Celebrates with Family and Supporters

By Carla Thomas

From left to right: Jean Quan, daughter Lailan Huen and husband Dr Floyd Huen at Mayor Elect Quan’s banquet belebration at King of King Restaurant.

They vowed to take Oakland back block by block, and when the votes were tallied, Jean Quan’s campaign team had  succeeded.

The first Asian / Chinese American woman mayor-elect of Oakland was joined by her biggest fans, daughter Lailan Huen and husband Dr. Floyd Huen, along with hundreds of community leaders and supporters celebrating at Oakland’s King of King Restaurant, at 1139 East 12th St. in Oakland

“This is a celebration of all of you, and you are all leaders,” said Sue Piper, Quan’s spokesperson.

“I’m elated – I think that this city will now respond to Jean because she’s the perfect person for the perfect time,” said Arif Khatib of the Multi Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame .

“We did something very unusual, we’ve elected people with integrity, passion and love for our city,” said Rev. Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble of Imani Community Church, referring to Quan and Assemblyman Sandré Swanson. “We can trust these people to be accountable….without needing money under the table,” she said. Read more

Oakland Construction Firm Lands SF Airport Contract

By Conway Jones

Fred Jones

An Oakland-based, African American-owned company has won a contract to install tile in a restoration project at the San Francisco International Airport

Jones Tile & Marble, a state licensed company that specializes in the installation of tile and marble, is installing 30 new bathrooms as part of the restoration of Terminal 2 at the San Francisco International Airport.

This $1 million job is a subcontract with Turner Construction.

Fred Jones, the tile and marble company’s owner, is a Chicago native, who came to Oakland after a six-year stint in the U.S. Navy. He started his business in 2006, after working with Turner Construction Company.  He currently has 31 employees, including one of his sons.

He has also worked with Paul Chamber’s Construction on a tile installation Acts Full Gospel Church Souls Restaurant.  Chambers has assembled a team of contractors for this job that are all African American.

Jones has had a number of key installations in Oakland. His company renovated the bathrooms in the Fox Theater, restoring them to their original style as constructed in 1941.  In addition, he installed bathrooms in the theater’s basement, and did the tile work in the theater’s restaurant and bar, the Fox’s Den. He also did the tile at the Oakland Museum as a part of its recent renovation. Read more

Study: Jury Racial Disparities

Alameda Court House

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) has released a study showing that despite the racial and ethnic diversity of Alameda County, jurors are being selected from pools with insufficient representation from communities of color.

The disparities identified are striking: while African Americans represent approximately 18 percent of the eligible jury pool in the county, they comprised only 8 percent of the people who appeared for jury duty in 11 recent felony trials examined in the study.

“These disparities undermine the strength and the integrity of the entire justice system,” said ACLU-NC attorney and Racial Justice Policy Director Diana Tate Vermiere. “There is no satisfactory reason for not taking immediate action to correct this situation.”

Similarly, the study reports that Latinos represent approximately 12 percent of the eligible jury pool but comprised only 8 percent of the individuals appearing for jury service. This means that one-third of eligible Latino jurors are not appearing for service. Read more

Trial in Chauncey Bailey Murder Case Begins

By Thomas Peele

The Chauncey Bailey Project

More than three years after the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey, the trial of two men charged with his killing began — slowly — Monday in a courtroom just two blocks from where he fell in a hail of shotgun blasts.

Although jury selection isn’t expected until January, Judge Thomas M. Reardon is considering several motions that could shape the direction of the case.

Besides Bailey’s slaying, defendants Yusuf Bey IV and Antoine Mackey are each charged in two additional slayings — the July 2007 shootings of Odell Roberson and Michael Wills near Bey IV’s business and spiritual center, the now defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery. Read more

Sandre Swanson, Black Voters, Helped Quan

By Post Staff

Assemblymember Sandre Swanson lifts Mayor-Elect Jean Quan’s hand in victory.

Jean Quan’s victory in the mayor’s race against Don Perata may have surprised campaign analysts who expected that by traditional measures – money and big name support – the former powerful state senator would simply walk into the office.
But to observers closer to the ground, it was never a foregone conclusion that the election would go to Perata and his backers, who had a war chest of over $1 million and key endorsements by the S.F. Chronicle, Oakland police, prison guards, Jerry Brown and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Further, Perata had hired as his campaign manager and strategist Larry Tramutola, a high-priced consultant with a national reputation.
Among the many factors that contributed Quan’s victory, two should not be underestimated: the support of Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, who helped Quan’s campaign gain the backing of Black voters; and a website, Anybody But Don Perata for Mayor of Oakland, designed and executed by local journalist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor. Read more

Sandre Swanson, Black Voters, Helped Quan

By Post Staff

Assemblymember Sandre Swanson lifts Mayor-Elect Jean Quan’s hand in victory.

Jean Quan’s victory in the mayor’s race against Don Perata may have surprised campaign analysts who expected that by traditional measures – money and big name support – the former powerful state senator would simply walk into the office.
But to observers closer to the ground, it was never a foregone conclusion that the election would go to Perata and his backers, who had a war chest of over $1 million and key endorsements by the S.F. Chronicle, Oakland police, prison guards, Jerry Brown and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Further, Perata had hired as his campaign manager and strategist Larry Tramutola, a high-priced consultant with a national reputation.
Among the many factors that contributed Quan’s victory, two should not be underestimated: the support of Assemblyman Sandré Swanson, who helped Quan’s campaign gain the backing of Black voters; and a website, Anybody But Don Perata for Mayor of Oakland, designed and executed by local journalist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor. Read more

Johnnie Ann Lacy, 73, Ably Led the Disabled

By Paul Cobb

Part 1

Johnnie Ann Lacy is shown above top left in her capacity as the Executive Director for Center of Independent Living. She is also pictured above right as a nursing student in San Francisco before she contracted polio. The most recent photo is her with glasses in the middle.

Johnnie Ann Lacy rode into the sunset November 15 in Hayward.

She built bridges and onramps to the freedom of movement for the disabled.

To the disabled of the bay area she was a big wheel. To the powers that she confronted

As an activist and advocate, she was the wheel within the wheels that rolled up victory after victory for equal access to transportation, building entrances and dignified health care.

She was the little wheel that ran by the grace of god.

She had aspired to become a nurse but was struck down by Polio while serving as a student nurse on the polio ward at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco.

After standing tall against that dreaded disease she contracted polio and was confined to a wheelchair.

Johnnie Ann Lacy was born on January 26, 1937, in Huttig, Arkansas to Mr. Willie McHenry Lacy, Sr. and Mrs. Alice Lorraine Carrington Lacy. She died at the Parkview Skilled Nursing Home in Hayward.

Always a god-fearing woman, her religious training began at her great-grandmother’s knees. Read more


By Sandra Varner

“The Church Ladies” From left to right: Nesha Ward, Deaun Parker and Virlinda Stanton.

Broadway San Jose is presenting the South Bay debut of “The Color Purple,” a musical about love, at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd, San Jose, Nov. 23-28, for 8 performances only.

Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling (415) 792-4111 or visiting the website Readers  of the Post can take advantage of specially priced tickets and select seats during all performances.  When making ticket purchases use the promo code: JOYFUL.

“The Color Purple” is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg.

With a joyous, Grammy-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, the musical is about hope and the healing power of love. It dramatizes the story of Celie, a woman who triumphs over adversity and discover her unique voice in the world. Read more