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Distinguished Scholar, Author, Dr. VP Franklin Speaks at High School

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By Natasha Ferguson –

In commemoration of the NAACP’s 100 year anniversary, and in recognition of a decade of the Census, the NAACP Riverside Branch recently hosted a 2010 Census Dinner at John W. North High School. The guest speaker was Professor of History and Education at UCR, Dr. V.P. Franklin. Co-sponsoring organizations included the U.S. Census; the John North Black Student Union and Multi- Cultural Club; and NAACP San Bernardino Branch. These along with a multi-ethnic audience of students, friends, NAACP members, educators and area leaders filled the campus lecture hall.

Special guests included President of Moreno Valley School Board; representatives from Riverside Unified School District; and Margaret Fortune, Trustee for the California State University Board and former Senior Advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who is currently head of Fortune Schools and developing the Hardy Brown College Prep Charter School in San Bernardino.

The program opened with a welcome from NAACP Riverside President Woodie Rucker-Hughes followed by invocation by Minister Stancil Turner. The master of ceremonies was NAACP Riverside VP, Mannesseh Nweigwe Jr. A representative from the Census Bureau spoke on the importance of the Census; and NAACP San Bernardino President Cheryl Brown introduced her special guest Ms. Fortune and briefly detailed the new Hardy Brown College Prep Charter School.

Professor Franklin has published over 50 scholarly articles on African American history and education, is editor of the Journal of African American History and has also authored many books.

He is currently working on a study of transnational educational programs from the United States to Africa in the twentieth century.

Keynote speaker Dr. Franklin’s topic was, ‘Documenting the NAACP’S First Century: From Combating Racial Injustices to Challenging Racial Inequities.’

While much of the focus of attention was on what is popularly known as the “Civil Rights Revolution” in bringing about ‘change in America’ — ending segregation in America’s south — Dr. Franklin’s speech shed some light on the impact of the work by individuals, churches and communities in reducing segregation in America’s north.

Dr. Franklin described how Reverend Leon Sullivan, in the late 1950s and early 1960s working with other local ministers of Philadelphia’s Black churches organized an economic boycott which targeted the major area employer, who, like all major employers in Philadelphia and elsewhere across the north refused to hire Black workers.

Rev. Sullivan and protest leaders determined that their best strategy was for church members, their families and friends to stop spending their money on any product from or at a particular business until that business agreed to open employment to, and hire, Black workers.

When the boycott proved to be a success and employment barriers began to fall, Rev Sullivan’s Philadelphia plan developed a program for training Blacks and other discriminated-against workers for newly-available jobs and developing job opportunities (mid and late 1960s to late 1970s). This led to the launch of the Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) training programs, which spread out from Philadelphia to urban communities across America and attracted the attention of then President Lyndon Johnson, who supported the concept and model within Community Action Programs in the “War on Poverty”.

Dr. Franklin spoke of the extension of Rev. Sullivan’s Philadelphia Plan (economic boycott: ‘Don’t Buy Where You Can’t Work’; job development and training: OIC) across the U.S., into Europe and Africa, which contributed to the end of “Apartheid” in South Africa.

Elements of Rev. Sullivan’s Community action, employment and training, and economic justice concepts clearly are visible in plans and program proposals of the President Obama’s Administration.

Dr. Franklin’s discussion was very enlightening and both Brown and Rucker-Hughes expressed pleasure in the turnout and overall success of the program.

“Our event was an awesome experience to interact with a jewel of a scholar and teacher, Dr. VP Franklin,” said Rucker- Hughes. “I am certain that everyone who attended walked away much richer in knowledge and thought because of this experience. We will continue to provide opportunities such as this in the future.”

Attendees enjoyed a delicious soul food dinner catered by “Yo Momma Soul Food Catering.”

NAACP will be hosting its 60th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner on May 6th of this year and Dr. Franklin will be one of many special invited guests. For more information about the organization, news and upcoming events visit www.naacp-riverside.org.

Union Apprenticeship, Training Forum Accepting Registrations

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Students can discover about opportunities to earn money while they are still learning at the Union Apprenticeship and Training Forum on March 13 at the National Orange Show.

The free event, which is open to students, parents, counselors and teachers, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Damus Room at the National Orange Show, which is located at 689 S. E St. in San Bernardino. Participants should enter the fairgrounds at Gate 7 on Arrowhead Avenue.

Examples of some of the trades participating are electricians, operating engineers, plumbing, pipe-fitting, surveying and roofing. Students will have the opportunity to experience hands-on demonstrations, and apprenticeship coordinators will relate their trades to real world applications. San Bernardino County Superintendent Gary Thomas will welcome students to the event.

Even though the event is free, participants must register for the Apprenticeship Forum prior to March 10. To register online for the event, go to http://oms.sbcss.k12.ca.us.

This event is sponsored by the Central Labor Council AFL/CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside counties and the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools¹ Alliance for Education program.

Partners include Regional Occupational Programs, Plumbers/Pipefitters Apprenticeship, SC Surveyors Joint Apprenticeship, and the Joint Electrical Apprenticeship and Journey Training Program. For more information, contact Crystal Lopez at the County Schools office at (909) 386-2636.

More Community News

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Join Wilmer Amina Carter at kickoff fundraising breakfast

Join hundreds of supporters of Wilmer Amina Carter at a kickoff fundraising breakfast on March 13, 2010 in an effort to return her to the California Assembly as the representative of the 62nd District.

The 99 Men Plus Host Committee Breakfast Fundraiser will take place at El Rancho Verde Country Club, 355 E. Country Club Drive, Rialto, CA 92377. The ingathering begins at 9:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served at 10 a.m. RSVP by March 11. For more info and cost, call Ratibu Jacocks at (909) 820-4406.

Winter Evening in Downtown Riverside

Karen Wilson And Friends present Songs and Stories For a Winter Evening: A Kind of Cabaret.

The very talented Karen Wilson tells stories and sings songs @ Back to the Grind, 3575 University Ave., Riverside 92501. For more than 20 years, Wilson has performed in classrooms, clubs, auditoriums and at festivals. She has sung with folk icon Pete Seeger and read poetry on the PBS series, "Favorite Poem Project." She has told tales and enchanted crowds at such diverse places as New York's Metropolitan Museum, Lincoln Center and the Central Park Zoo. Lovely snacks, desserts, and non-alcoholic beverages available. And jazz, jazz, jazz! Come and enjoy!

Riverside Seeks Community Input in Police Chief Search

The search for the City of Riverside’s next Police Chief is underway and City residents are being asked what they would like to see in Riverside’s next top cop.

To solicit this input, a series of three community meetings will be held to provide residents with a unique opportunity to share their thoughts directly with City officials.

Meetings will be held:

• Thursday, March 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at César Chávez Auditorium, 2060 University Avenue

• Wednesday, March 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Orange Terrace Community Center, 20010 Orange Terrace Parkway (ASL interpreter provided)

• Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. at the La Sierra Senior Center, 5215 La Sierra Avenue Participants will be asked to share their thoughts or ideas on this important topic. Topics of particular focus include:

1. What do residents see as the major public safety (law enforcement) issues facing our City?

2. What type of experience is important for the next Chief of Police?

3. What personal characteristics should the Chief possess?

4. How would Riverside residents like the Chief to be involved in our community? For more information on these meetings, contact City of Riverside Special Events at (951) 826-5586 or specialevents@riversideca.gov

Spain Trip Through S.B. Chamber

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The San Bernardino Area Chamber of Commerce will be holding an information meeting for a trip to Spain at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, 2010, at the Chamber office, 546 W. 6th St., San Bernardino.

The trip is scheduled for November 7 - 16, 2010 and includes Roundtrip Airfare, 4-Star Hotel Accommodations, Tour Buses with Tour Guides and 14 Meals. Trip highlights include Madrid, Prado Museum, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Flamenco Show, Granada, Alhambra, Valencia and Barcelona.

Interested individuals should attend the meeting to find out all Spain Trip details. Information packets will be handed out the day of the meeting. To RSVP call Lupe at the Chamber at (909) 885-7515 or e-mail at sba.chamber@verizon.net.

African American Firsts in the Inland Empire

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With the rich history of the Inland Empire, many Blacks formerly enslaved or freed, migrated to the area of San Bernardino and Riverside County. The history of Blacks in the Inland Empire began when the Mormons arrived in San Bernardino circa 1851. But even today, there are still first being made between both counties, which The Black Voice News will highlight in this week’s edition.

Riverside County

First Non-Native Resident James Hamilton, born in 1822 was the first resident who wasn‘t a native Indian to live in the Anza area. The year he arrived was 1873 just twelve years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

According to the “San Jacintos” by John F.W. Robinson and Bruce Fisher, Hamilton was sometimes called “Uncle Jim” or “Nigger Jim” eve the downgrade rode to Anza was known as “Nigger Jim” Grade. After traveling west from Ohio with an 1847 Mormon wagon train, he lived with Sioux Indians and in the early 1850s he arrived in San Bernardino.

He tried to homestead a claim on Mexican land and because the claim was not valid, he moved on to Vail Lake, an area close to Temecula. There he and his children were again unsuccessful in staking a claim. His third try was a charm. He successfully obtained 160 areas located in the area of present day Anza. Hamilton and his sons, Joe, Henry and Frank suffered discrimination living in the area. In 1897, two years before his own death, his son Frank, who was a lawman, was murdered.

The family remained in the area on several sections of the land homesteaded by Hamilton. Today Hamilton’s presence is still felt by the naming of Hamilton Creek and Hamilton School.

Riverside County’s 1st Black Presiding Judge. The Riverside County Superior Court's judges selected Judge Richard T. Fields to serve as the presiding judge over the court system during the next two years.

Fields took the reins from former presiding judge, Sharon Waters and supervised the operations of all the courts divisions all across the county.

Through this process, Fields achieved another major milestone, becoming the first African-American judge ever to be selected as the presiding judge over Riverside County's 69 judges and commissioners. In 2000, Fields became the first African-American judge to serve in the county after he was appointed by then Governor Gray Davis. Before that, he had sat on the bench as a commissioner in the same county for nearly 10 years. Fields is a graduate of Western State University College of Law and had also worked as an attorney before becoming a commissioner.

Riverside County's 1st Black Chief Deputy. In 2009, Boris Robinson was promoted to Chief Deputy of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department making him the first African American to hold the position.

San Bernardino’s First Black Chief Deputy, Ron Cochran, captain of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Highland station, was promoted to deputy chief. Cochran is the first African-American to hold the rank in the department’s 156-year history. Cochran says a racial profiling incident 25 years ago led him to join the department in 1984. “I wanted to make a difference from the inside. I think we’ve made progress in that area but there are still gaps. I feel Sheriff Ron Hoops is committed to ensuring an equitable department from the inside out,” he said.

1st Black City Employee. Lucille Stratton Taylorwas hired by the City of Riverside in 1942 as a receptionist/bookkeeper in the Sanitation Department.

First Black cosmetology student at RCC. Willie Bartee studied cosmetology at RCC. In June 15, 1946 he received his California state cosmetology license.

First Go-Kart business in Riverside, Adams Motorsports Park began when the Adams family purchased 14 acres in the Riverside area later known as “Belltown,” and on Christmas of December 1959, the Adams brothers and sisters received their first go kart.

On January 28th, 50 years ago, the brothers and sisters of the Adams family began to lay the foundation for what would grow to become the main destination for fans of karting from all over the state. The Adams family would come together every Sunday to race each other, but it didn’t take long until they opened their playground to the public.

First Black College Graduate and teacher in a public school in Riverside. Alice Rowan Johnson, graduated from Los Angeles Normal College in 1888.

She became prominent and was a distinguished teacher. When she married Frank Johnson, on December 25, 1892, a blacksmith and carriage repairman, the wedding was carried in every newspaper in the area.

First Black to graduate from Riverside High School Winnie Davison.

First African American Museum in the city of Perris Dora Nelson African American Museum

First Black to graduate from 14th Street grade school Bert Williams

First Black Policeman in Riverside. Robert Stokes ran for Constable and lost badly with only one vote. In 1879 the Press Enterprise printed that he would win because he was a good man and said he would undoubtedly be elected.

First Black child to come to Riverside. In 1873 Nicey, age between 5 and 8 years old, who was brought by Mrs. Eliza Tibbetts, who introduced the navel orange to Riverside. It is surmised that Nicey was her grandchild, from a son who fought in the Civil War. No one ever knew and Nicey was not given a last name. No one ever knew what happened to her.

First Black Attorney Frank Johnson was the only in the area.

First street named for a Black in Riverside Langston Place, it runs between 12th and 14th Streets east of Victoria named for John Mercer Langston, the Dean of Howard University’s Law School. He and his wife Alice were large property owners in Riverside.

San Bernardino County

The names of first 26 Blacks to enter San Bernardino in 1850. They entered with Mormon slave masters.

The slaves that came into the area with the Mormons were not informed of their freedom and many times if they were they stayed on because it was a way of life. Biddy Mason was different she didn’t know she was free because California was a free state. She found out from Charles Rowan, a local successful barber, and they alerted the authorities. Rowan also ran for San Bernardino County Assessor and lost. The reason for so much information on her is because of the court battle that ensued. Biddy and Hanah were sisters and property of Robert (William) Smith. He hid out in the Santa Monica mountains to get them ready to go to Texas, a slave state. They were stopped and Biddy was jailed for protective custody:

1. Harriet
2. Hark Lay
3. Charly
4. Jane
5. Nelson
6. Lawrence Smith
7. Ann
8. Harriett
9. Anna
10. Ellen
11. Biddy
12. Hannah Smith
13. Tennessee
14. Fluleman
15. George
16. Nancy
17. Rose
18. Henderson
19. Mary
20. Nelson
21. Oscar Crosby
22. Grief Crosby
23. Toby Thomas
24. Vilote
25. Liz Flake Rowan
26. Green


First Black Church. The Black church was starting to develop in the area around the late 1800’s. In Redlands Second Baptist Church was first (1891). St. Paul AME in San Bernardino was founded in 1904 by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Inghram and 8 others, Riverside’s first Black church was Allen Chapel AME founded in the home of Mrs. Dobbs in 1892 (3). One source says it was founded in 1879 and that it was the first church (Black or White) in Riverside. Both are still active.

Before the Black church Blacks attended White churches in the area some were even involved in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

First Black Newspaper, (The Colored Citizen Newspaper) was the first to speak to the Negro population in Redlands, San Bernardino and Riverside. It was published in 1905 and 1906. The paper is a collection of local and national items of interest to help and inform the citizens. It was published for two years by R.H. Harbert in Redlands, CA and has a collection of who’s who and who even visited the area. For example, Mrs. Allensworth’s visit to the area was noted in the paper. Weddings, deaths, and marriages as well as events of the day were carried in the monthly paper. First Black to run for School Bo ard in Redlands , Isreal Beal. First Black doctor, Dr. Howard Inghram was the first Black doctor to practice medicine in the area. He taught himself Spanish so he could treat all members of the community.

First Superintendent of Schools, Dorothy Inghram who is now 104 years old was the State of California’s first Superintendent of Schools, in the Mill School District in San Bernardino.

San Bernardino’s First Black Security Guard Grief Embers.

(Also known as Grief Crosby). His last name was given to him by both of his slave owners. It is believed he was first owned by Embers and later owned by William Crosby, who brought him to San Bernardino. He was the sentry at the fort in the middle of San Bernardino and had a very long horn that warned people about impending danger as well as he blew it for celebrations. He was also the first Black property owner in San Bernardino. He owned 21 acres of land between G and F Streets near the Central City Mall in downtown San Bernardino. He also was the first Black to run for public office. He ran for the San Bernardino County Coroner he became in second in a field of three.

First Black Graduate of San Bernardino High School, Grace Harrison.

Partial list keep reading the pages of The Black Voice News for continued coverage on first.

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