Death of Chadwick Boseman Puts Focus on Colon Cancer and African Americans

The death of actor Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer at age 43 has brought new attention on the disease and how it disproportionately impacts African Americans.

Boseman was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at 38. It later advanced to stage 4. Boseman was filming movies that included completing his own stunts while undergoing cancer treatment that included chemotherapy. The actor died on August 30. His death caught many who worked closely with him by surprise.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in America. It is the second most common cause of death related to the disease. African Americans are disproportionately impacted with a 20 percent greater rate than whites and an even greater degree of mortality.

Every year on average 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer with about 50,000 succumbing to the disease. For African Americans the death rates are higher. Diets high in animal fat and low in fiber are associated with the development of colon cancer. Cigarette smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and vitamins C and E deficiency are also contributing factors tied to colon cancer.

Dr. Wayne Frederick, who is the President of Howard University and a medical doctor, where Boseman graduated in 2000, commented on Boseman’s trip to Howard University’s commencement in 2018 as the featured graduation speaker. Frederick focused on the importance of knowing what one’s family history is and knowing what close relatives died of. He instructed that if you’re unclear how a close relative died you should investigate and find out.

“When I was in medical school, we got screening guidelines that it should start at 50. What we are seeing now is individuals getting colon cancer now is much younger. It is something for us to watch,” said Dr. Frederick on Roland Martin Unfiltered on August 31. Martin broadcast a two-hour tribute in honor of Boseman on his daily show.

“African Americans are much less likely to get the generic screening,” he added. Dr. Frederick also mentioned that popular historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi was diagnosed with colon cancer at 36.

In January 2018, Kendi learned he had colon cancer after a colonoscopy. Though the cancer spread to his liver, further tests revealed that Kendi was cancer free after six months of chemotherapy and surgery. In January 2019, Kendi wrote “What I Learned From Cancer,” in The Atlantic. Kendi was trying to complete another epic work “How to Be an Antiracist,” as he was being treated for colon cancer.

“In the hours of each day when I managed to submerge myself inside the writing zone, the metastatic cancer was an afterthought. The symptoms from the six months of chemotherapy, from January to June last year, were an afterthought: my marathons of tiredness, the bubbling nausea, my hands and feet tingling and darkening and drying and blistering, making them unusable at times,” Kendi wrote regarding this cancer battle.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

IN MEMORIAM: Little Richard, One of the Most Influential Founding Fathers of Rock n’ Roll, Dies at 87

Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, was one of the most influential singer songwriters in popular music. He was one of the founders of Rock n’ Roll in the 1950s and one of the most memorable performers in rock history. Little Richard was born in 1932 in Macon, Georgia.

“Tutti Frutti” (1955), one of Richard’s signature songs, became a hit reaching the No. 2 on the Billboard chart. Another hit, “Long Tall Sally” (1956), hit No. 1 on Billboard. “Tutti Frutti” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010 and cited for its “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”. Two of his songs,”Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” were listed on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Little Richard’s music was covered by several artists thereafter and his influence included The Beatles, who opened for Little Richard as he toured Europe in 1962. He also advised Paul McCartney on his distinctive vocalizations. Little Richard influenced Otis Redding, James Brown, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Lennon and Cliff Richard and those influences frequently showed up in their music.

Legend has it that James Brown came up with the Famous Flames debut hit, “Please, Please, Please”, after Richard had written the words down on a napkin. Redding started his professional career with Little Richard’s band, The Upsetters. Bob Dylan performed covers of Little Richard’s songs on piano during a high school talent show with his rock and roll group, the Golden Chords. In 1959, Dylan wrote in his yearbook under “Ambition”: “to join Little Richard.”

Many Rock critics noted the similarities between Prince’s androgynous look and vocal style to Little Richard.

In 1963, Richard agreed to assist a failing tour effort by The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and The Rolling Stones and was given his own TV special after the tour ended.

Little Richard received all the honors possible in music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of legendary inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Little Richard is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2015, Richard received a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for his key role in the formation of popular music genres and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the music charts and in concert in the mid-1950s changing American culture significantly.

At the suggestion of Lloyd Price, Little Richard sent a demo to Price’s label, Specialty Records, in 1955. Producer Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, who worked at Specialty Records, thought Little Richard was Specialty’s answer to Ray Charles, but was told by Little Richard he was a fan of the sound of Fats Domino. In 1955, he recorded “Tutti Frutti” in three takes and it was released as a single in November 1955.

Penniman’s performances, like most early rock and roll shows, resulted in integrated audience reaction during an era of strict segregation in the South. On tours that included groups of music stars, Little Richard and other artists such as Fats Domino and Chuck Berry would allow audiences Black and white to enter buildings via the same door but sit in separate places — but everyone would dance.

Vocal supremacist groups such as the North Alabama White Citizens Council warned that rock and roll “brings the races together.” The universal popularity of Little Richard killed the myth that black performers could not successfully perform at white-only venues.

Little Richard’s high-energy performances while playing the piano included dancing on top of the piano, running on and off the stage and throwing souvenirs to the audience. He also dressed flamboyantly onstage. Some of what is taken for granted now in popular music was invented by Little Richard.

Little Richard was ranked eighth on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and Rolling Stone listed three of Little Richard’s recordings, “The Girl Can’t Help It”, “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti Frutti”, on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Little Richard was the third of 12 children of Leva Mae and Charles Penniman. His father was a church deacon and his mother was a member of Macon’s New Hope Baptist Church.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

COVID-19: Black Churches Employ Innovation To Worship During A Pandemic

Black churches in America have faced the challenges of wars, arson and racism written into the law.

Following several slave revolts, including Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831, Virginia passed a law that required that a white person be present during service. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge for Black churches which, in part, is financial.

In the wake of a killer pandemic impacting all businesses and local travel, African American churches across the U.S. have been forced to be innovative and make quick adjustments to hold services.

Paul James, pastor of CareView Community Church in Lansdowne, Pa, told the media that, “counterintuitive to most churches, especially the Black church… where we’re just glad to get together because of how hard life has been historically for us here in America. Church has been a safe place for us. It’s been a safe harbor. Now here we are faced with the inability to come together.”

On the first Sunday of the COVID-19 crisis in America, March 15, many churches either held service or cancelled it, as the initial news of the seriousness of the pandemic was just becoming public. President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, just two days beforehand.

Now, weeks later, many Black churches are using conference calls, Facebook Live, Instagram, YouTube and other video conferencing technologies to hold services. A serious complicating factor for all churches is the inability to pass the collection plate. The revenue collected every Sunday pays salaries and the mortgage at many Black churches. Online fundraising has become an answer but for many churches, in-person cash donations are more effective.

The importance of faith and the church for African Americans in America is unquestioned. Church has not only been a place of worship but a refuge in times of trouble. It has been a meeting place away from white racism and oppression. Black church pastors provided almost all of the key players in the civil rights movement. The church was the headquarters and meeting place for planning and organizing in the African American struggle for freedom. In many Black communities the church is the rock and community cornerstone, particularly for seniors.

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together. Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Courtesy Photo

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together. Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr., who is the pastor of the New Beech Grove Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, found another way to bring his flock together, Maxwell held service standing at a podium in the parking lot outside of the church. He livestreamed the service live on Facebook. Many parishioners stood outside of their cars during service while others sat and listened.

Dr. Chris Carter had service in church observing the “six feet apart rule.” Members of the choir at his church, New Hope Baptist Church in Hampton, Va. sang six feet apart from each other and were shown on a Facebook livestream. Both churches already had livestreams every Sunday but now the technology is essential for service in a way it had not been in the past.

On Sunday, March 29, President Trump extended the period for federal guidelines to deal with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic to April 30, 2020 — which would be after Easter Sunday — arguably the biggest gathering of churchgoers of the year.

The numbers of COVID-19 deaths continue to rise. In New York City, officials are currently setting up a field hospital in Central Park. That unthinkable scene was matched by the city setting up a hospital inside the Jacob Javitz Center on the West Side of Manhattan.

At Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, a makeshift morgue was set up in a large trailer, after the hospital morgue, which typically can accommodate twenty bodies, quickly filled to capacity. Black churches and other institutions are now forced to plan for the unknown.

What history has taught us is that nothing has ever stopped the institution of the Black church. But COVID-19 is one of its most difficult challenges to date.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

IN MEMORIAM: Katherine Johnson, A Pioneering NASA Mathematician Featured In “Hidden Figures,” Dies At 101

Katherine Johnson, the legendary NASA physicist and mathematician whose work played a key role in the early successes of the U.S. space program, passed away at 101 years old on the morning of February 24 in Newport News, Va. Johnson played a pivotal role in helping the U.S. land men on the moon during the space race in the 1960s and was portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in the 2017 film “Hidden Figures.” The book based on the film by the same name was written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

With little more than a pencil and a slide rule Johnson calculated the exact trajectories for Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969. and, after Neil Johnson worked in a world where errors were fatal.

The lives of three brilliant African American women were featured in the book and subsequent film. They were Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, who passed in 2008, and Mary Jackson who passed in 2005. Vaughan and Jackson were from Hampton, Va. and Johnson was from West Virginia. Johnson graduated from West Virginia State University and West Virginia University.

Johnson was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on November 8, 2019, after House Science Committee Chairwoman Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson’s passed legislation to honor her.

“We’re saddened by the passing of celebrated #HiddenFigures mathematician Katherine Johnson. Today, we celebrate her 101 years of life and honor her legacy of excellence that broke down racial and social barriers,” tweeted NASA after news of Johnson’s passing.

In September 1960 mathematician Katherine Johnson published NASA’s first scientific paper to name a woman as author. Johnson’s trajectory calculations were vital to the US space missions.

“There were no textbooks, so we had to write them,” Johnson said.

“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the passing of Katherine Johnson, a truly brilliant mathematician and pioneer. She broke down barriers as one of the few African-American women mathematicians working at the Flight Dynamics and Control Division at NASA Langley,” wrote Congressman Bobby Scott who represents Newport News, Va.

“Her work helped put the first Americans in space and send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon, thereby helping the United States win the Space Race. While I knew Katherine Johnson and her family personally for many years, like so many Americans I never fully appreciated the work that she, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Christine Darden and the many other African American women at NASA trailblazed for so many until their untold story was revealed in Hidden Figures. Mrs. Johnson was a true American hero, and we were so proud to have her call Hampton Roads home. I want to send my deepest condolences to her family and friends, and to everyone who was inspired by her remarkable life and work,” Rep. Scott added.

“Today we mourn the loss of an American hero and a pioneer for women and African Americans in STEM fields. Katherine Johnson played a pivotal role in the outcome of the space race during her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, NACA. Without her accomplishments and those of her fellow Hidden Figures, which went largely unrecognized until the last decade, the outcome of the Space Race may have been quite different. Her achievements and impacts on our country are great, and her loss will be felt by many. I send my heartfelt condolences to her loved ones and colleagues,” NASA said in a statement.

“We’ve lost an icon and brilliant mathematician with the passing of Katherine Johnson. A barrier breaker and inspiration for women of color everywhere, Katherine’s legendary work with NASA will forever leave a mark on our history. My heart goes out to her family and loved ones,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

Black Voters Are The Cornerstone Of The Democratic Party And The Most Reliable Voting Block.

During the State of the Union, President Trump featured several African Americans from the gallery with long words of praise and detailed introductions. The Republican Party has always struggled with black voters. But Trump’s political team believes that even a small percentage of that vote could mean victory.

Trump is increasingly highlighting his pitch to African Americans as Democrats struggle to decide amongst a crowded field. Political observers understand that Trump is unlikely to win more than ten percent of the black vote. But it is also understood that any percentage higher than average could be the margin of victory in a close race.

Despite Trump’s efforts, polls indicate a huge problem with black voters. A Washington Post-Ipsos poll last month of 1,088 black adults found 83 percent of respondents said they believe Trump is a racist. The same percentage said they believe he has made racism a larger problem in America.

A Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released last week found that 22 percent of African American voters approve of Trump’s job performance. The relatively high percentage surprised some observers.

“Wake up, folks. The #IowaCaucus was a debacle, followed by a strong #SOTU speech laying out Trump’s strategy to win— which includes going for black voters. This was a warning shot from the Trump campaign to liberals, and we need to take this very seriously in order to win,” wrote CNN commentator Van Jones on February 4, 2020, after Trump delivered the State of the Union.

“Hey Black America, you see this crap? Trump has himself on a card with Fredrick Douglass. He didn’t know who that was last year right? Democrats get your shit together. FAST. Trump ain’t playin’! If he gets 12 percent or more of black voters it’s over,” wrote attorney Sophia Nelson over a photo she posted on twitter of Donald Trump and Frederick Douglass proclaiming plans to “Make Black America Great Again.”

Because a few of the leading Democrats who may win the nomination to take on Trump are having difficulty courting black voters, Trump’s efforts are not going

unnoticed. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigeig are having issues with black voters as well.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at and on twitter at @LVBurke

Michelle Obama Co-Chairs “When We All Vote”

“When We All Vote,” a non-partisan organization inspiring voter turnout in the run up to Election Day in November, is working on a National Week of Action. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is serving as a co-chair.

“When We All Vote, we get new ideas and new energy. We get leaders that share our values,” Mrs. Obama says in a new commercial running on prominent digital platforms and on radio across the United States. The commercial will air over the 14 days before voter registration deadlines.

On September 20, 2018, When We All Vote launched a text message campaign allowing people to text WeAllVote to 97779 for voter registration information.

The 2018 cycle has been propelled by two elements: Dislike of President Donald Trump and a record number of women running for office. According to NBC News, there were 53 female Senate candidates, previous record was 40 in 2016; and 476 female House candidates, with the previous record being 298 in 2012. Among the 476 women who ran for a seat in the U.S. House about 75 percent were Democrats.

Over 52 percent of Democratic House female candidates won their primary races. The percentage was higher than for Democratic men or Republican women. The 2018 election cycle is expected to be a record one for female candidates. Backlash to Trump’s presidency is widely seen as one of the main reasons as his disapprovals climb higher.

When We All Vote is planning a Week of Action in which volunteers will host nearly 2000 events across the U.S. The purpose of the events will be to register voters and recruit volunteers.

Along with the former First Lady, other Co-Chairs: Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Tom Hanks and Faith Hill, will lead flagship events along with Loni Love, Keegan-Michael Key and Shonda Rhimes.

When We All Vote is part of several efforts to spike voter turnout in a crucial “off-year” election at a time when voting numbers have increased dramatically when compared to the previous off-year cycle.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA. To contact her, email:

Trump’s EPA Awards Flint $100 Million for Water Crisis

— Buried in the 24-hour news cycle of Russian conspiracies, presidential tweets, and White House nepotism, the Trump Administration found the time to set aside $100 million for the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Mich.

According to a press release about the grant, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) $100 million to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint.

The press release said, “The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.”

In the statement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said that the people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government.

“EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure,” said Pruitt.

During a March 22 meeting at the White House with seven members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), said that she and President Trump spoke about assistance for Flint.

“He said he thought it was awful and criminal…I was surprised he understood how that happened,” said Lawrence, who represents parts of Detroit. The congresswoman added that the president also wanted to know who was responsible for the lead in Flint’s water.

After the EPA announced the news, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver expressed appreciation for the funds.

“The City of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit,” Weaver said in a statement. “As we prepare to start the next phase of the FAST Start pipe replacement program, these funds will give us what we need to reach our goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year and make other needed infrastructure improvements.”

Weaver continued: “We look forward to the continued support of the EPA and federal government.”

Additionally on March 28, a U.S. District Court settlement was announced, forcing the state of Michigan to set aside $97 million to replace defective water lines in Flint. The settlement money will cover 18,000 homes in the city by the year 2020.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and Connect with Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

President Trump Signs Executive Order on HBCUs

— President Trump signed an executive order to focus more attention on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

Although HBCUs comprise just three percent of higher education institutions in the United States, “HBCUs contributed 19 percent of the nearly nine percent of all bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering awarded to blacks in 2010,” according to American Institutes for Research (AIR).

AIR also reported that “By 2010, approximately 33 percent of all black students who earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and statistics attended HBCUs, and HBCUs produced nearly 37 percent of all black undergraduates who received bachelor’s degrees in the physical sciences.”

Every president since Jimmy Carter has issued an Executive Order establishing a White House Initiative on HBCUs. The order Trump signed will have a key difference: Trump’s order will move the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, previously part of the Department of Education, into the White House.

During the Obama Administration, the late Dr. George Cooper, headed the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Cooper was seceded by Dr. Ivory Toldson, who left the post in June 2016 to lead the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM), a non-profit group in Washington, D.C.

A February 27 photo-op with President Trump in the Oval Office and group “listening session” meeting with Vice President Michael Pence with over 60 HBCU presidents was the first meeting of its kind with HBCU presidents and chancellors in at least eight years.

HBCU presidents, who are in Washington, D.C., this week, also have decided to request $25 billion from the Trump Administration to assist their schools.

At a HBCU president’s reception on Monday night, Grambling President Rick Gallot told the NNPA Newswire that the priorities of HBCUs are, “spending on campus infrastructure and an increase in year around Pell Grants.”

A senior White House Official in the Trump Administration briefed reporters on February 27 at the White House on moving the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities into the White House and assigning an executive director.

The initiative on HBCUs, “lost track, because they didn’t have the full force of the White House behind them. This HBCU order will do that by repositioning the initiative in the White House,” the senior Trump Administration official said.

The senior White House Official added that the administration wants HBCUs to serve as partners in the President’s urban agenda and that the administration also wants to increase the private sector’s role in supporting and strengthening their participation in federal programs.

HBCUs did not fare well during the Obama Administration. In 2009, the Obama Administration failed to renew a two-year appropriation for HBCUs of $85 million a year. The money would later have to be restored by concerned Democrats who controlled Congress.

HBCUs collectively lost over $300 million in grants and tuition after a bureaucratic level decision in 2011 enacted in Obama’s Department of Education made obtaining Parent PLUS loans much more difficult. As a result, 28,000 HBCU students were negatively impacted.

In September 2013, President Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan apologized to HBCU leaders and advocates for the Parent PLUS loan decision. In 2012, Duncan proposed an end to a three-year implementation of summer Pell Grants.

The elimination of summer Pell Grants is an issue HBCU presidents often say they’d like restored. Almost two-thirds of African American undergraduate students receive Pell funding.

In 2015, President Obama proposed two years of free community college without consulting HBCU advocates. Many of those advocates viewed the proposal as a threat to HBCUs. The proposal, which was never enacted by a Republican-controlled Congress, was later changed to include HBCUs.

In early 2015, during a meeting with members of the Congressional black Caucus, President Obama expressed what many members later told the NNPA Newswire was a lack of support for HBCUs. President Obama was critical of HBCU graduation rates and loan policies.

In February 2015, President Obama’s own HBCU Board of Advisors Chair, Hampton University President Dr. William Harvey, was critical of the Obama Administration.

“We are not consulted when it comes to policy changes and decisions impacting— in a major way— the institutions on whose behalf we are to advocate,” said Harvey. “It happened with Pell. It happened with Parent PLUS. And, now it is happening with the new community college initiative.”

Regarding their visit to the White House on Monday, that included seeing President Trump and Vice President Pence, many HBCU presidents said they were happy to see HBCUs receiving attention within the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency, but they were cautiously optimistic.

“There was very little listening to HBCU presidents today. We were only given about two minutes each, and that was cut to one minute, so only about seven of maybe 15 or so speakers were given an opportunity today,” wrote Dillard President Walter Kimbrough detailed in a column posted on Medium on the night of February 27.

The HBCU presidents convened at the Library of Congress on February 28 for an all day session with members of Congress.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and Connect with Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Record number of African Americans will now serve in Congress

— Reality star billionaire Donald Trump won the presidency in shocking fashion, but African American candidates also made history on November 8, 2016.

There will be a record number of African Americans in Congress during the time Trump is in the White House. That number will rise from 48 to 52. There have never been more African Americans elected to Congress in American history.

Kamala Harris of California will be the second African American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Former Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Republicans in the House, Mia Love (R-Utah) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) won re-election, as did the only Black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Lisa Blunt Rochester was elected to the U.S. House in Delaware. Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings will also serve in the House. Virginia State Senator Don McEachin was elected to the House in a newly configured seat in Virginia that covers Richmond.

Though there will be more African American members serving in Congress, the dilemma they find themselves in is obvious: All but three are Democrats who will be serving in the minority in the House and Senate. Being a member of the minority party in the House is one of the most powerless positions in Congress. It’s the majority that sets the agenda, the hearing schedules, the floor schedule and when the Congress will be in recess.

The Senate is different. The two African American Democrats who will serve next year, Senator-elect Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) could have some opportunities to influence the agenda moving forward. The Senate will be a narrower 52-48, and the rules allow for some disruption from members of the minority party.

However, it won’t be easy. Currently members of the Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate are in a period stunned silence and are not even harping on the fact that Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump and therefore no Trump has no real mandate.

The Democratic Party in recent years has not been anywhere as militant as the rightwing, who created the so-called Tea Party movement and the “alt-right” to deal with the growing influence of African Americans and Latinos at the ballot box.

Democrats in Congress are primed for a new set of younger leaders to take the place of those who are in their mid-70s and who have failed strategically to win over voters in a country where Democrats are in the majority.

That the Democrats had two candidates over the age of 68 running for the presidency as Republicans fielded a candidate in his mid-40s is a sign it’s time for younger and more dynamic leadership on the left side of the aisle. One of those young leaders could come out of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is soon to elect a new caucus chair.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She can be contacted at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Donald Trump stuns nation and world in upset over Hillary Clinton

— New York real estate millionaire Donald Trump won the White House over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the biggest and most stunning upset victory for the White House in modern presidential politics.

Trump’s victory means that for the first time in U.S. history, an individual with no military experience or elected federal experience will be sworn in as President of the United States.

Clinton’s defeat and call of concession that ended the race in the early hours of November 9, ended a completely unpredictable campaign season in which polls, prognosticators and so-called political experts were wrong over and over again regarding Trump’s chances to win. As Trump defeated 16 other candidates during the Republican primary season, no one could explain his string of unexpected victories over more established candidates, some of whom were former or current governors and United States senators.

Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and gained control of the White House. Republican governors run 33 states. President-elect Donald Trump. Incredibly, House Democrats failed to pick up seats in Minnesota, Iowa, Florida, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania— something no one predicted would happen. Ironically, Trump’s triumphant election night also yielded a record number of African American congressmen (more than 50) who will now serve on Capitol Hill during Trump’s first year in office.

Clinton is expected to win the popular vote, as votes continue to be counted. There is no doubt that Trump’s victory is a rejection of the presidency of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the U.S. It is also a victory for the so-called “alt-right” wing of the Republican Party that has been a leading incubator of opposition and obstruction to President Obama for the better part of eight years.

Clinton lost the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina by less than two percent of the vote. The much-discussed “lack of enthusiasm” that has plagued the Clinton campaign has been a point of focus by many political observers for months. Though almost no one predicted that Trump would win, the Clinton campaign’s lack of specific and sustained grassroots-level investment in traditional Democratic voters will likely be a chief scapegoat for her loss.

Trump’s victory is no doubt a statement of white backlash against the successful programs and policies implemented during President Obama’s tenure. The bottom line is that on Trump’s victory inauguration on January 20, 2017, an African American will no longer control the White House and opens the door to a decidedly different type of president who has not detailed any specific and clear agenda.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer and political analyst. She can be contacted at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.