A Chat with Mr. Muldrow: Black History and Black Advancement in Baltimore


A Chat with Mr. Muldrow: Black History and Black Advancement in Baltimore

— As Black History Month wraps up, we sat down for a chat with Baltimore’s own, Mr. Ackneil M. “Neil” Muldrow, II, to discuss black history, Baltimore’s history, and his own history. Mr. Muldrow is a retired business executive, community activist, and local historian.

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Susie’s Cause Health Festival at Mondawmin Mall: Saturday, March 10

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— March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and for the fifth year in a row, the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation (“Susie’s Cause”) and Bon Secours Baltimore Health System will mark the occasion with with a free outreach health festival on Saturday, March 10, from noon to 4 p.m., at Mondawmin Mall in Baltimore.

The festival, which hosted its largest-ever crowd of 2,027 people last year, provides the local community a free day of health education, with an emphasis on colorectal cancer screening and prevention. Recent data from the Maryland Department of Health indicates the need for these resources in Baltimore is still critical: while colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have continued to fall statewide in recent years, both rates remain significantly higher among the city’s African-American population.

Overall, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer that affects both men and women and the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

This year’s festival offerings will include colon cancer education and screening resources, healthy lifestyle exhibits, free health screenings, a health care professional on site to answer questions, fitness demonstrations, children’s activities and giveaways. Local entertainers and groups performing live at the festival will include Sankofa Dance Theater, Song Stylist Larzine and the Washington Unity Choral Union.

Established in 2005 and headquartered in Baltimore, Md., the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer Foundation Inc. (“Susie’s Cause”) is a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to colon cancer prevention, education and research funding. In 2016, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons gave Susie’s Cause founder David Rodman Cohan its David Jagelman Award for Advocacy in Colorectal Cancer. To learn more about Susie’s Cause, visit coloncancerfoundation.org, or call 667-206-2907.

MDDC: Record-Breaking Crowd Calls for Increase in Provider Rates/Direct Support Professional Wages

Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature 2018 was one for the record books with more than 800 advocates gathering in the state capital to learn about budget issues and priority legislation pertaining to education, ABLE accounts, and provider rates. The crowd brought signs and enthusiasm, sharing the messages, “Expectations Matter,” “Expect Ability,” “Actions Matter,” and “Keep the Promise 3.5%.”

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The Arc Central Chesapeake Region and The Arc of Prince George’s County share an important message: Expectations Matter. Expect Ability.

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Delegate Maggie McIntosh, Chair of the Appropriations Committee, speaks about the DDA’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget expansion and her commitment to addressing developmental disabilities budget priorities.

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Senator “Mac” Middleton told the crowd that rate increases for community service providers are a priority, and spoke about supporting families of people with developmental disabilities.

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Delegate Shelley Hettleman, spoke about the “Fight for 15” bill (HB664) she has sponsored which includes rate increases for providers as the minimum wage increases.

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Senator Craig Zucker, a champion for education and family issues, spoke about an ABLE program bill he is sponsoring (SB550) that will help more individuals and families save for disability related expenses.

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Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher talks about sponsorship of the ABLE bill in the House (HB782) and his support for the developmental disability community.

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Annual MammoJam Music Festival scheduled for Saturday, March 3rd

The 15th Annual MammoJam Music Festival will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. at Baltimore’s famed 8×10. Proceeds will support local breast cancer screening and treatment programs for low-income women.

This year’s festival will be a celebration of MammoJam’s 15-year legacy of supporting local breast cancer screening and treatment programs for low income and underinsured women.

The lineup includes four bands that have made significant contributions to MammoJam’s mission and the women they serve including Baltimore blues and funk sensation Ursula Ricks, South Baltimore’s Roses and Rust and the return of 33 West. Alexandria stalwarts, the Reserves return for their 6th MammoJam performance.

“MammoJam has celebrated the courage of breast cancer survivors and the compassion of their friends and family members who’ve all been personally touched by the disease,” festival founder, Bill Romani, said in a release. “We owe our success to the sustained commitment of the bands, our neighbors, and the local businesses who’ve supported us these last 15 years.”

MammoJam is an all-volunteer grassroots organization that has raised almost $200,000 since it was founded in 2004. All proceeds, support local organizations like the Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center and Healthcare for the Homeless to provide crucial breast cancer screening and treatment to underinsured women in Baltimore City.

MammoJam was created in October 2003 by two friends passionate about live music and had loved ones who survived breast cancer. The idea to combine the two was inspired during the Baltimore debut of the band Grilled Lincolns also touched by breast cancer and by the emotional support of their fans and family.

Since that early Grilled Lincolns show MammoJam has used live music performances to promote the importance of early breast cancer diagnosis and treatment and to insure access to these vital resources for the women who need them most.

For many, like Romani, MammoJam celebrates the “courage of breast cancer survivors like his mother and the compassion of friends and family members who are all personally touched by the impact that the disease has on their loved ones,” he said.

Advanced ticket and parking sales for the 15th Annual MammoJam Music Festival are available now until March 2 for $45 online and at the 8×10 box office.

Parking is available in the parking lot behind Shofer’s Furniture if purchased in advanced for $11.

For more information about MammoJam or to purchase tickets including the opportunity for complimentary admission for breast cancer survivors, visit www.mammojam.org.

The Black Press Remembers Lerone Bennett Jr.

Perhaps no other voice or pen, captured the real life of Africans and African Americans like Lerone Bennett Jr., the former editor of EBONY and Jet magazines who died on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at the age of 89.

Chicago Sun-Times reported that Bennett suffered from vascular dementia.

Among his many hard-hitting and compelling works was the exposé, “Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America,” in which Bennett traces black history from its origins in western Africa, through the transatlantic journey and slavery, the Reconstruction period, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights Movement.

The book was later re-issued five more times and ultimately included life in the 1990s.

Bennett would go on to pen at least 10 books, including the eye-opening, 2000 book titled “Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream,” which, for some, shattered centuries-old myths about America’s 16th president’s involvement in the freedom of slaves.

A description of the book on Amazon.com said: “Beginning with the argument that the Emancipation Proclamation did not actually free African American slaves, this dissenting view of Lincoln’s greatness surveys the president’s policies, speeches, and private utterances and concludes that he had little real interest in abolition.”

Pointing to Lincoln’s support for the fugitive slave laws, his friendship with slave-owning Senator Henry Clay, and conversations in which he entertained the idea of deporting slaves in order to create an all-white nation, the book, concludes that the president was a racist at heart—and that the tragedies of Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era were the legacy of his shallow moral vision.

“Smart man and great author. His book [about Lincoln] changed my life,” said comedian Sinbad. “Before the Mayflower’ educated me about the need to research our true history.”

Others too expressed their sadness and profound gratitude for Bennett.

“I am personally saddened by the death of Lerone Bennett Jr. We have lost another great journalist who will be sorely missed,” said Dorothy R. Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and editor and publisher of the Crusader newspapers in Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana. “We knew him as the conscience and voice of EBONY and Jet magazines and through the many books he published. The world is richer, because of his work here on earth and we are grateful for his many contributions.”

Bennett counted as an elegant scholar and freedom fighter who used the power of his pen to awaken millions of people to the true history of African people in America and throughout the world, said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

“Bennett’s journalistic genius will be missed, but his contributions to documenting the struggles and triumphs of Black men, women and children will continue to be cherished by generations far into the future,” Chavis said. “The NNPA salutes the living legacy of Lerone Bennett Jr. with a commitment to pick up his pen and put it into the hands of today’s freedom fighting publishers, editors and journalists.”

Bennett worked for EBONY for nearly 50 years, after starting at Jet in 1951 and then moving to the sister publication in 1953. By 1958, he was the executive editor.

“Lerone worked side by side with my father in establishing EBONY’s voice,” EBONY CEO Linda Johnson Rice told the Chicago Sun-Times. “He was the guiding light for the editorial vision of EBONY. Lerone was not just essential in the formation of EBONY’s historic trajectory, he was a pillar in the black community.”

The Griot reported: “In addition to being remembered as an editor for these two magazines, Bennett, a graduate of Morehouse College, is known for his books, many of which cover the Black experience in America and the civil rights movement.”

Bennett’s footprints are cemented at the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta and he once served on President Bill Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The veteran journalist and historian also served as an early adviser to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In a tweet, the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Jr., praised Bennett’s work.

“A classmate and biographer of Dr. King, during the turbulent 60’s, his was a pen that mattered. As historian, author of ‘Before the Mayflower,’ editor of Ebony magazine, the most read voice of the freedom struggle, his impact will long be felt and remembered,” Jackson tweeted.

From its official Twitter account, the NMAAHC tweeted, “it is with great sadness and profound sense of loss that we share the news of the death of Lerone Bennett Jr., a gifted historian and journalist.”

On Twitter, Bernice A. King called Bennett a beloved and brilliant man.

“If you haven’t read his books, I encourage you to. Even if you have, I encourage you to. Truly one of a kind historian & scholar,” King tweeted. “Grateful for what he’s meant to my family.”

Free Museum Tickets for Maryland Volunteers for Black History Month

— In celebration of Black History Month, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Director, Van Brooks, announced that free tickets are available to the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park; the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum; and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland volunteers.

The initiative was introduced to thank volunteers and encourage education on African American history in Maryland, and comes on the heels of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s issuance of a proclamation declaring 2018 as the “Year of Frederick Douglass” in honor of the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of the renowned abolitionist and Maryland native.

“During Black History Month and in this Year of Frederick Douglass, we are pleased to introduce this “Free Museum Tickets” initiative and encourage Maryland volunteers to gain inspiration and insight from the experiences of our nation’s great African Americans during their museum visits,” said Van Brooks, Director of the Governor’s Office for Service and Volunteerism. “Our office hopes to inspire this generation of service leaders to continue on the work of their predecessors and continue to make a difference in Maryland communities.”

Tickets are available at no cost to volunteers, and will be issued by the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism. Volunteers may request up to 10 tickets to visit one of the participating museums.

For more information, including how to request tickets, visit the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism’s website: gosv.maryland.gov/blackhistorymonth.

CCBC Partners with Baltimore County Public Schools to Host College Fair 2018

— Community College of Baltimore County in partnership with Baltimore County Public Schools is hosting College Fair 2018 at CCBC Catonsville and CCBC Essex during the month of March. Representatives from more than 100 universities, colleges, proprietary and military schools will be available to speak with students and parents.

Parking for this event is free. High school students and their parents are encouraged to attend. Times, locations and contact numbers are as follows:

CCBC Essex

Wellness and Athletics Center

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

CCBC Catonsville

Jack Manley Wellness &Athletics Center

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Back in the Day: Two Hall of Famers Recall Baltimore’s Boxing Legacy

Author Thomas Scharf’s compilation of more than 200 rarely, seen photographs that skillfully illustrate Baltimore’s heritage as an elite boxing town highlight the effect the city had on the sweet science.

Scharf, a boxing historian and member of the International Research Organization and elector to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, also touched on Joe Gans, a fighter dear to two of Baltimore’s old-time sluggers— Louis Butler and Marvin McDowell.

“The first African-American world boxing champion Joe Gans, he’s from Baltimore and he was one of the best lightweights to ever put the gloves on,” said McDowell, who runs the popular UMAR Boxing Gym at 1217 W. North Avenue.

“Gans was the first African-American world champion in any sport,” said Butler, who along with McDowell, are members of the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame.

Gans became the first Baltimore resident and the first African-American to win a championship in 1902. “He earned the nickname, ‘The Old Master,’ because his skills far preceded his age. It was like he’d been here before,” McDowell said.

Both Lewis and McDowell recalled the Baltimore boxing scene as being the gateway to champions and big name stars like Baltimore’s Dwight Braxton (who changed his name to Muhammad Qawi) and Palmer Park Maryland’s Sugar Ray Leonard.

They reminisced about tough fighters like Johnny Wilburn who boxed from 1975 to 1980, squaring off against the likes of future champions Michael Spinks and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad.

Venues like the Civic Center, Painters Mill and Fells Point hosted many fighters.

On February 5, 1977, the Baltimore Civic Center played host to Leonard’s professional debut where the eventual “Fighter of the Decade” defeated Luis Vega. Three months later, Leonard returned to the Civic Center and defeated Willie Rodriguez.

“For young and aspiring Baltimore fighters, there were plenty of heroes,” Butler said.

“Mine were anyone I had watched on the black and white television. Guys like Joe Lewis, Sonny Liston, Sugar Ray Robinson and Jack Johnson,” he said.

“One time someone told me I was like Jack Johnson and I was so happy,” said Butler, who helped to kick-start the career of another Baltimore legend, Hasim Rahman, who would go on to become a two-time world heavyweight champion.

McDowell noted that the man who inspired him was Roberto Duran, the former world champion from Panama known as the “Hands of Stone.”

“I was crazy about Duran and I was a great fan of Sugar Ray Robinson, who nobody compares to him,” said McDowell, who earned induction in the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996 after a career highlighted by victories at the 5th Regiment Armory in Baltimore over Darryl Cherry and at the Steelworkers Hall in Baltimore over Anthony Williams and Maurice Young.

Butler’s career, which led to a Hall of Fame induction in 2004, included wins at the Civic Center over Joe Sprowell and Eddie Smith. He twice battled Qawi, once at the Civic Center and at Steel Pier Arena in Atlantic City, N.J.

“Back in the day, we were at the top of the line. If a guy wasn’t in our weight class, we didn’t worry about him but if he was in our weight class, we wanted to know who he was so that we could take care of him,” McDowell said.

AMFM Announces Music Performance Scholarship

— Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians, Inc. (AMFM), a nonprofit organization that supports professional Annapolis musicians, is now broadening the Tim King Scholarship Fund program and accepting applications for its newly established Music Performance Scholarship.

This $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to a current high school senior who intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in either vocal or instrumental music performance. Candidates must meet the following basic criteria:

•Be a current high school student residing in Anne Arundel County, scheduled to graduate in May/June 2018

•Be a musician active in high school chorus, band, orchestra, jazz band, or other school-sponsored performance group

•Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0

•Intend to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music performance

Candidates will be evaluated using a points-based system that awards points for active membership in a school band, orchestra, choir, chorus or other school-sponsored musical performance group; volunteer music participation; participation in special school performances; selection to All County/All State/Regional performance groups; and participation in private music lessons. Candidates will also be required to submit a three-minute narrative video or a 500–750 word written essay to support their application. The narrative video or essay should address the question, “What role has music played in my life, and how will it shape and influence my future?” Candidates are encouraged to include one letter of recommendation from a music teacher, music coach, or music mentor. An optional performance video will also be accepted.

Scholarship applications will be accepted through April 15, 2018, and the scholarship recipient will be chosen on or about May 15, 2018.

To apply and for specific details about the rating system, go to https://www.am-fm.org/music-performance-scholarship/.