Emmett Till: Burial Casket Donated to Smithsonian

Emmett Till's Casket will be housed at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. (Google Images)

Emmett Till’s Casket will be housed at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. (Google Images)

Writing for Smithsonian Magazine, Abby Callard is reporting that the family of murdered teen Emmett Till has donated the casket in which he was buried to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In 1955, Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American visiting Mississippi from Chicago, was murdered after allegedly whistling at a white woman. His mother, Mamie Till (later Mamie Till Mobley), insisted that her son be displayed in a glass-topped casket, so the world could see his beaten body. Till’s death went unpunished until 2005, literally after decades of fighting for justice, his body was exhumed by the State of Mississippi as evidence in Till’s murder and the casket was not allowed to be put back into the ground according to Mississippi law.
Juxtaposed images of murdered teen Emmett Till from when he was alive and his body after he was found dead. (Google Images)

Juxtaposed images of murdered teen Emmett Till from when he was alive and his body after he was found dead. (Google Images)

In an interview with Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright, 67, who was with Till the night he was kidnapped and murdered, he explains why the family decided to donate the casket to the Smithsonian. Wright stated:

 Donating it to the Smithsonian was beyond our wildest dreams. We had no idea that it would go that high. We wanted to preserve it, we wanted to donate it to a civil rights museum. Smithsonian, I mean that’s the top of the line. It didn’t even cross our mind that it would go there, but when they expressed an interested in it, we were overjoyed. I mean, people are going to come from all over the world. And they’re going to view this casket, and they’re going to ask questions. ‘What’s the purpose of it?’ And then their mothers or fathers or a curator, whoever is leading them through the museum, they’ll begin to explain to them the story, what happened to Emmett. What he did in Mississippi and how it cost him his life. And how a racist jury knew that these men were guilty, but then they go free. They’ll get a chance to hear the story, then they’ll be able to… perhaps, a lot of these young kids perhaps, they will dedicate their lives to law enforcement or something like that. They will go out and do their best to help the little guys that can’t help themselves. Because in Mississippi, in 1955, we had no one to help us, not even the law enforcement. No one to help us. I hope that this will inspire our younger generation to be helpers to one another.

Read more at Smithsonianmag.com.

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Ferguson: Read Grand Jury Testimony Here

Protesters holding up the universal sign for surrender, which is what witnesses said Brown did before being fatally wounded by Officer Darren Wilson. (Google Images)

Protesters holding up the universal sign for surrender, which is what witnesses said Brown did before being fatally wounded by Officer Darren Wilson. (Google Images)

The Wall Street Journal has pulled together the grand jury documents regarding Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 18. Click here to read the transcripts which are broken up into 24 volumes.

Photos taken of Officer Darren Wilson's "injuries." (Google Images)

Photos taken of Officer Darren Wilson’s “injuries.” (Google Images)

In the transcripts, Wilson, who is 6’4 and 210 pounds, used words and phrases like “crazy,” “mean,” “aggressive” and “physically uncontrollable” to describe Brown.  He testified, that “I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan,” adding, “That’s just how big he felt and how small I felt just from grasping his arm.”

Protesters gather in front of the White House to protest the Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown, 18.

Protesters gather in front of the White House to protest the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown, 18. (Google Images)

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Former DC Mayor Marion Barry Dies

Former D.C. mayor and current council member Marion Barry has died. (Google Images)

Former D.C. mayor and current council member Marion Barry has died. (Google Images)

Mike DeBonis and Martin Weil of The Washington Post are reporting that former Washington, DC Mayor and current D.C. Council member Marion Barry has died after a brief stay at Howard University Hospital.

His death was announced by his family in a statement released through a spokeswoman for Barry.  DeBonis and Weil report:

“According to the statement, he died at the United Medical Center in Southeast Washington, after having been released from Howard University Hospital Saturday. Natalie Williams, a United Medical Center spokeswoman, said Barry arrived at the hospital around 12:30 a.m. and died at 1:46 a.m.”


They added:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray said in a statement that he would work with Barry’s family and the D.C. Council to plan ceremonies worthy of a “true statesman of the District of Columbia.’

In pre-dawn statements, both Gray and mayor-elect Muriel Bowser expressed sadness at Barry’s passing. Bowser was at the hospital early Sunday and gave remarks at an impromptu news conference in the hospital auditorium where more than a dozen Barry aides and supporters gathered, some of them sobbing.

‘We are saddened and shocked and we will miss Mayor Marion Barry,’ she said. ‘He has been an inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people and a champion for the people of Ward 8. . . . He has left lessons about how to help people in the city that will live on for years and years to come.’”

In 2009, a documentary “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry” was released. The film chronicled the rise and fall and rise of Barry, whose political career was marked by triumph and tragedy of his making.  Ironically, an interview between Barry and Oprah Winfrey on a episode of “Where Are They Now?” is set to air tonight at 9 p.m.  The much beloved and controversial former mayor is survived by his wife Cora Masters Barry. He was 78.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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Miss Honduras María José Alvarado and Sister Found Dead

2014 Miss Honduras winner Maria Jose Alvarado was found dead along with her sister. (Google Images)

2014 Miss Honduras winner Maria Jose Alvarado was found dead along with her sister. (Google Images)

Freddy Cuevas and Alberto Arce of the Associated Press are reporting that Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado and her sister Sofía Trinidad Alvarado Muñoz have been found dead. The two bodies believed to belong to Miss Honduras 2014 and her sister were found buried near the spa where they disappeared six days ago, after being led to the bodies by  Muñoz’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz on Wednesday.

The reporters write:

“Authorities were awaiting confirmation from forensic officials that the bodies are Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister, Sofia, 23, said Gen. Ramon Sabillon.

Sabillon said Sofia’s boyfriend, Plutarco Ruiz, confessed and led authorities to the bodies buried in a river bank in a mountainous area of Santa Barbara, about 240 miles (400 kilometers) west of Tegucigalpa.

They were found near La Aguagua spa, where they had gone Thursday to celebrate Ruiz’s birthday.

Both women, who grew up in the area, were shot to death and appeared to have been killed the night they disappeared, Sabillon said.”

Alvarado had been crowned Miss Honduras in April 2014 and was scheduled fly to London to prepare for the 2014 Miss World competition being held in December.

Read more at Yahoo News.

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Modern Slavery: Almost 36 Million People’s Reality

Source: 2014 Global Slavery Index

Source: 2014 Global Slavery Index

BBC News is reporting that nearly 36 million people worldwide, or 0.5% of the world’s population, live as slaves, a survey by anti-slavery campaign group Walk Free says. The author writes:

“The group’s Global Slavery Index says India has the most slaves overall and Mauritania has the highest percentage. The total is 20% higher than for 2013 because of better methodology.

The report defines slaves as people subject to forced labor, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money and forced or servile marriage.

It uses slavery in a modern sense of the term, rather than as a reference to the broadly outlawed traditional practice where people were held in bondage and treated as another person’s property.

The Global Slavery Index’s estimate is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. In 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that almost 21 million people were victims of forced labor.”

Walk Free found modern day slavery in all of the 167 countries surveyed. The practice is most prevalent in Asia and Africa and least prevalent in Europe. In the Americas, 1.285 million people live in modern day slavery in the Americas.

Read more at BBC News. Please see the actual survey here.

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Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe: Funeral Will Be Held on Dec. 4

The children of Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe speak at the first church service since the death of their parents in a plane crash. (Google Images)

The children of Dr. Myles and Ruth Munroe speak at the first church service since the death of their parents in a plane crash. (Google Images)

Leonardo Blair of the Christian Post is reporting that Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth will be laid to rest on December 4 at the Bahamas Faith Ministries International Diplomat Center on Carmichael Road in Nassau, Bahamas. Prior to the funeral, a public memorial service will be held at the 5,000-seat Thomas Robinson Stadium on Wednesday, December 3.  The author reports that the first church service held at their center since the Munroes and seven others died in a plane crash last week was tear-filled. The author writes:

“The Munroes daughter, Charissa, and son, Myles Munroe Jr., couldn’t hold back their tears as they faced his former congregation for the first Sunday since his untimely death with their mother, Ruth, and seven others in a fiery jet crash two Sundays ago.

Kevin Harris, spokesperson for the Bahamas Faith Ministries, which the renowned evangelical pastor and motivational speaker led before his death, told The Christian Post in an interview Monday that attendance at the church exploded Sunday with supporters who had been rocked by the tragedy.

‘We had an overflow. We had to bring in [a] tremendous amount of seating. Thousands of people turned up,’ said Harris.”

Myles Munroe’s Family Issues Statement at Grand Bahama Press Conference from mackeymedia on Vimeo.

Myles Munroe offered words to the congregation for a brief moment before a pre-recorded message was played. He stated:

“‘I was gonna prepare a speech, but as I was getting ready this morning I just knew that I was coming to talk to family,’ Myles said, struggling with tears. ‘I figured I would just speak to family. It’s been the hardest week for my sister and I and my family, and everyone else that has been affected; and it’s because of family why we are able to stand here today,’ he continued.”

Read more at the Christian Post.

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Nigeria: Suicide Bomber Strikes Federal College of Education

Niger State

Sani Tukur of AllAfrica.com is reporting that a deadly explosion has occurred at the Federal College of Education, Kontagora, Niger State. Tukur writes:

“The Niger State police spokesperson, Ibrahim Gambari, said an unidentified female suicide bomber struck at the school on Wednesday, killing herself and injuring three others.

Police bomb units have deployed to the scene, he said. A witness said however that at least one person was killed. That could not be confirmed.

‘She detonated her bomb vest between the auditorium and the college library. She might have been on her way to the library,’ Aisha Kontagor‎a, who lives in Kontangora, told PREMIUM TIMES.”

Niger State lies next to Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

This story is developing.

Read more at AllAfrica.com.

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Michael Brown: Parents Appeal to U.N. Committee

The Parents of Mike Brown. Michael Brown Sr. & Lesley McSpadden.  (Photo Credit: go.com)

The Parents of Mike Brown.
Michael Brown Sr. & Lesley McSpadden.
(Photo Credit: go.com)

CNN is reporting that the parents of  Michael Brown, 18, a Missouri teen killed  by police officer Darren Wilson, 28, have gone to Geneva, Switzerland to testify in  front of a United Nations committee in hopes that it will bring awareness to the shooting of their son as well as other cases of police brutality.

Michael Brown  Sr. and Lesley McSpadden spoke to the U.N. committee against cruel or degrading treatment  used by government authorities. McSpadden told CNN in Geneva:

“We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice, we need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.

Due to differing accounts of events, there has been speculation around what truly occurred between Michael Brown and the white police officer that led to the teens shooting and death.

Though testimony given by Browns parents to the U.N. was done behind closed doors, it was stated that the couple would read from a statement that was submitted by the Brown family and an organization called HandsUpUnited. The author writes:

“The document says Brown’s killing and force used by police officers during protests that followed the killing ‘represent violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.’

It requests that the U.N. panel recommend the immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Brown, as well as an end to ‘racial profiling and racially-biased police harassment across the jurisdictions surrounding Ferguson.’

The statement also calls for recommendations that would apply to the entire United States, including that the Attorney General and Department of Justice ‘must conduct a nationwide investigation of systematic police brutality and harassment in black and brown communities, and youth in particular. Methodology and findings of this investigation must be made publicly available.'”

Read more at CNN.com.

This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire. He is a junior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.

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Why Are So Many Female Veterans Unemployed?

Unemployment leads to other issues like homelessness, where female veterans are the fastest growing population.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)

Female veterans face many barriers to employment.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

Kelly Wallace of CNN is reporting that the unemployment rate for female veterans who have been discharged since September 11, 2001, was 9.3% in 2013, versus about 8% for male vets, according to a report from the Disabled American Veterans. Wallace writes:

“The difference in unemployment between female and male veterans is even more dramatic when you consider veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: For women, the rate was 11.2% last month, 5 points higher than it was for men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

“Women veterans are still having a harder time finding jobs than their male counterparts,” first lady Michelle Obama said at a White House event Monday designed to put a spotlight on the issue.”

Some of the reasons for female veteran unemployment is because many women are married to spouses in the military meaning there is a lot of transience, making it difficult to find jobs, stay employed or build an employment history; many women don’t identify themselves as veterans; there are fewer health services in the Department of Veterans Affairs specifically designed for female veterans.

For example, a third of VA Centers do not have a gynecologist on staff, which is jarring since 1 in 5 female servicewomen say they experience some type of sexual trauma.

Currently, 14.5% of the 1.4 million active military members are women.

Read more at CNN.com.

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Sugar Hill Gang: Big Bank Hank Dead at 57

Founding member of the Sugar Hill Gang, Henry 'Big Bank Hank' Jackson (l) has passed away. (Also pictured: Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright (c) and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien (r).  Photo Credit: Google Images

Founding member of the Sugar Hill Gang, Henry ‘Big Bank Hank’ Jackson (l) has passed away. Also pictured: Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright (c) and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien (r).
Photo Credit: Google Images

Jessica Goodman of the Huffington Post is reporting that a member of the pioneering rap group the Sugarhill Gang has died. Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson passed away on Tuesday from complications due to cancer. The author writes:

“The news — first reported by TMZ — was confirmed to HuffPost Entertainment by David Mallie, business manager for Sugarhill Gang members Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien. Jackson was 57 years old.

In a statement to HuffPost Entertainment via Mallie, Wright and O’Brien expressed sorrow and condolences: “So sad to hear of our brother’s passing. The three of us created musical history together with the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house. Rest in peace Big Bank.”

The Sugarhill Gang was named after the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Harlem.  The group of which Jackson was a founder, made music history in 1979 when the single “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip hop track to be listed in the Top 40 charts in the United States.

Jackson was 57.

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