Tagged Conway Jones

Kamala Harris: “This is Our House”

By Conway Jones

From left to right: Belva Davis, newscaster emeritus; California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris and CEO and President of Delancey Street Foundation, Mimi Halper Silbert. Photos by Gene Hazzard, Carla Thomas and Conway Jones.

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris greeted several hundred supporters at the Town Hall, Delancey Street, for a special announcement Tuesday evening.
“This is our house,” said Harris, referring to Delancey Street and pointing to Dr. Mimi Silbert, co-founder of Delancey Street. She was also referring to the office of the Attorney General in California.
She made it very clear that she was taking office to give voice to people who had no voice. “You don’t have to run away from your values to run for office,” she said, “and my election proves that.”
She reflected pride when she reflected on her first job as assistant district attorney in Oakland. “Oakland is where I learned the power of the office,” she said.
Harris made it very clear that she understood the power of the attorney general’s office as well. She referred to former California Attorney General Earl Warren, and the fact that he filed the Brown vs. the Board of Education action. Read more

Tuskegee Airman, 87, Earns Pilot Wings

By Conway
Jones

Lt. Colonel James Warren, USAF (Retired)

Lt. Colonel James Warren, USAF (Retired), is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the Black aviators who were trained as flight officers in the Army Air Corps in World War II.
At age 87, he has just earned his private pilot’s certificate.
Colonel Warren has always been one of the firsts. He was awarded his navigator wings at Hondo Army Air Field, Texas in 1944. He was a part of the 162 Army Air Corp Negro officers who were arrested for demanding lawful entry into the white officer’s club at Freeman Field, Indiana.
He was also on the first C-141 sent to Gia Lam Viet Nam on Feb. 12, 1973, to bring home prisoners of war.  Colonel Warren escorted Colonel Fred Cheery, USAF, a Black fighter pilot who had been held prisoner in Viet Nam for 7 years, five months.
Warren is also the author of  “Tuskegee Airmen Mutiny at Freeman Field,” which details the battle to end segregation and discrimination in the 477th Bombardment Group at Freeman Field, Indiana. Nine years before Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks refused to obey the busing laws in Montgomery, Alabama, the 477th BG was the first group to challenge a major department of the U.S. government on civil rights. Read more

Kamala Harris: “This is Our House”

By Conway Jones

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris. Photos by Gene Hazzard and Carla Thomas.

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris greeted several hundred supporters at the Town Hall, Delancey Street, for a special announcement Tuesday evening.
“This is our house,” said Harris, referring to Delancey Street and pointing to Dr. Mimi Silbert, co-founder of Delancey Street. She was also referring to the office of the Attorney General in California.
She made it very clear that she was taking office to give voice to people who had no voice. “You don’t have to run away from your values to run for office,” she said, “and my election proves that.”
She reflected pride when she reflected on her first job as assistant district attorney in Oakland. “Oakland is where I learned the power of the office,” she said.
Harris made it very clear that she understood the power of the attorney general’s office as well. She referred to former California Attorney General Earl Warren, and the fact that he filed the Brown vs. the Board of Education action. 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

Ship Named After Black Naval Officer

By Conway Jones

The USS Gravely, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, will be commissioned Nov. 20 in Wilmington, NC, becoming first U.S. Navy ship to be named in honor of an African-American commissioned Naval officer.

Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely Jr.   was the first African-American to serve aboard a fighting ship as an officer, the first to command a U.S. Navy ship, the first to serve as a fleet commander and the first to become an admiral. 

Gravely was born in Richmond, VA, on June 4, 1922. He enlisted in the Naval Reserves in1942 and was recalled to active duty in 1949. He served his initial assignment in the Washington, DC area, recruiting African Americans into the Navy.

He went on to a have a successful career that lasted 38 years. His personal motto was: “Education, motivation and perseverance are a formula for success.” Read more

Carl Washington, 67

By Conway Jones

Carl Washington

Carl Douglas Washington died on Oct. 9 after a courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 67.
A distinguished pioneer and fearless leader, Washington was the first African American to work at Kellogg’s Cereal, serving as the company’s marketing representative. He later became a principal at Washington Brothers, the first African American wholesale beverage distributorship in Northern California, as well as working at Teleport Oil Company, an African American petroleum firm, and Oaktown Records.
Beyond the business world, he dedicated his life to the community.  He was founding President of the 100 Black Men, East Bay Chapter and a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Read more

Ruby Seeks Accountability on Spending of City Funds

By Conway Jones

Courtney Ruby

The Oakland Office of the City Auditor is the city’s watchdog, an agency whose job is to monitor and report on how the city is running and the quality of government’s performance and practices.
At the helm of the agency is City Auditor Courtney Ruby, who has responsibilities that are important to Oakland residents. She is the one who ensures that taxpayers’ dollars are spent appropriately.
“We bring transparency to the people – Oaklanders should know what’s going on,” said Ruby. “Our office disclosed the uses of the $20 million in Measure Y annual funding that the city was spending. We told the citizens what the Measure Y money was being spent on – no secrets,” she said. Read more

SmartMeters Are a Hit With Customers

By Conway Jones

Timothy Alan Simon

Pacific Gas & Electric is actively engaged in transitioning 10 million of its customers to the new SmartMeter devices, part of a statewide energy infrastructure upgrade that the company says is critical to California’s economic future.
To date, PG&E has installed 6.6 million of the new meters. The remainder will be installed by the end of 2012.
This automated metering technology is designed to help modernize the electric grid to make it stronger and more efficient. The SmartMeter will also empower customers to better understand and manage their energy use to reduce monthly costs.
At a PG&E press conference last week, the company discussed public concerns about the reliability, accuracy and safety of the new devices. According to a report submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission by the Structure Group of Houston, TX, “Evaluation provides the reasonable conclusion that PG&E’s SmartMeters are accurately recording electric usage within acceptable CPUC tolerances and are being accurately utilized in customer billing.” Read more

Holdsworth holds forth for Chevron on canvas

By Conway Jones

Anthony Holdsworth in the Montclair District, Oakland, creating an oil painting of the Chevron Station. Photo by Conway Jones.

Anthony Holdsworth is an artist whose subjects are the city streets. He sets up his easel, with his canvasses and oils and brushes, on street corners throughout the Greater Oakland Bay Area and around the world.
He captures the urban landscape, interprets and translates its form and meaning on to his canvasses.
Holdsworth’s art is distinctive, weaving qualities of light that compel attention and convey a mood. He captures textures of sidewalks and geometry of streets and building facades, softening them with his application of light and shadows. His art fills his canvass, placing the viewer in the middle of the scene. Read more

Ruth Jones Villa – 104

By Conway Jones

Ruth Jones Villa

Oakland Centurion Ruth Villa is celebrating her 104th birthday this month.
Even thought she never thought that she would live to see a Black family occupy the White House, she is now pleased that the Obama family is making America proud and is an inspiration to our youth, especially Blacks, to achieve spiritually and educationally. Read more

Joshua Key, Master of the Keys

Youth Use Computer Clubhouse  to Combat Gang Violence

By Conway Jones

13 year-old Joshua Key inputs his piano music composition into the computer at the Eastmont Technology Center (ETC) in East Oakland.

ETC is a program operated by OCCUR that provides free technology-based after-school program for youth ages 10 –18, free computer classes for adults and seniors in English and Spanish, and youth and adult business technology training.
Joshua and his twin sister, Jordan, have been selected to attend the 4-day Intel Computer Clubhouse Network’s 2010 Teen Summit in Boston, Massachusetts starting July 27th. Jordan and Joshua will join 300 Intel Computer Clubhouse youth leaders, ages 13 to 18, from 20 countries from around the world including Russia, Jordan, Israel, South Africa, Palestine, New Zealand, India, Brazil, and the United States.  The theme of the Summit is: Mobilize, Act, Inspire! The youth will share ideas, learn new skills, and work together on projects that address socially conscious challenges such as reducing urban violence and improving the environment. Read more