Maryland Live! Casino Celebrates Black History Heroes During Black History Month

An enthusiastic throng of about 300 well-dressed folks gathered at the Center Stage area of Maryland Live! Casino in celebration of Black History Month on Thursday, February 20, 2020. Ten Maryland and District of Columbia business and community leaders were recognized for their contributions to their communities in a positive way at the 7th Annual Black History Heroes Awards.

Hosted by Live! Casino & Hotel along with the Maryland-Washington Minority Companies Association (MWMCA), the special affair saluted Luther “Luke” Atkinson, Former Negro league Baseball Star, Satchel Paige All Stars; Adrienne A. Jones, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, District 10; David L. Gadis, CEO and General Manager, DC Water; Joseph T. Jones, Jr., president and CEO, Center for Urban Families; Roz Hamlett, director of Multimedia Communications, Anne Arundel County; Le Gretta Ross-Rawlins, Baltimore Postmaster, United States Post Office; Bert J. Hash, Jr.’ former president and CEO, Municipal Employees Credit Union (MECU); Warner H. Session, Esq., principal and board member, Session Law Firm, P.C./Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA); Janice Hayes-Williams, coordinator, Cultural Resources, Department of Planning and Zoning, Anne Arundel County; and Dr. David Wilson, president, Morgan State University.

Each honoree received a special plaque denoting their individual awards.

In a special commendation letter Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stated: “This celebration seeks to honor and recognize Black History Heroes. Maryland is steeped in African-American history.

Numerous African American leaders have called Maryland home, includ- ing Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Banneker and Harriet Tubman. We are proud to celebrate these and other historical heroes here in Annapolis, and across our state.”

The Rev. Jerome Stephens, community outreach director for Senator Benjamin Cardin, delivered the prayer and described the ceremony as “a worthy tribute to our leaders, past and present.”

Several of the honorees gave remarks during the ceremony, including the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Adrienne Jones, who discussed the importance of educating future generations about influential African-American leaders in our nation’s history. She urged the crowd to take time to visit the two newly unveiled statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Old House of Delegates Chamber at the Maryland State House.

Former Negro League infielder Luther “Luke” Atkinson, 82, served as keynote speaker and offered insight into his playing days under the tutelage of legendary Hall of Fame pitcher, Leroy “Satchell” Paige. Atkinson also discussed the racism that he and his teammates faced on a daily basis, the poor playing conditions and the meager salaries that players of his generation had to endure.

“Although my teammates knew what we were up against, we persevered. We all played for tomorrow and for the love of the game,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson now volunteers for the Hubert V. Simmons Museum of Negro League Baseball Inc., located in Owings Mills, Maryland where Rayner “Ray” Banks is exhibits manager and hall of fame co-founder. He pointed out that 2020 as the 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues Baseball.

Live! Casino & Hotel, part of The Cordish Companies is committed to

diversity and inclusion is recognized as one of the top corporate philanthropists in the region. The Cordish Companies is committed to being a leader in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness. We embrace the diversity within the communities we serve nationwide, and we work with non-profit groups, civic leaders and civil rights organizations that, like us, are committed to ensuring the growth and

vibrancy of their communities, according to the company’s website.

“We are incredibly honored to host the seventh installment of the Black History Heroes Awards at Live! Casino & Hotel, honoring African-American community leaders across Baltimore and DC,” said Zed Smith, COO, The Cordish Companies. “Commitment to diversity and inclusion is core to our company culture, so this event is very special for our team. The honorees being recognized are influencers that are impacting change for

future generations and creating lasting legacy as we enter into a new decade. This celebration is just a small token of our appreciation for all of their efforts to positively impact the lives of others.”

Before Blacks Could Visit Ocean City, There Were Carr’s Beach and Sparrow’s Beach

During the Jim Crow era post 1940, a large number of recreational water locales, including the popular Ocean City, Maryland and Virginia Beach, Virginia were off limits to African-American vacationers.

Segregation-era laws in Southern states jetted its ugly heads just south of the Mason-Dixon Line and legally prohibited blacks from enjoying the fruits of summertime fun in the sun— even in Central Maryland near Baltimore.

Young ladies pose with a vehicle owned by popular radio DJ, Charles

Photo courtesy of

Young ladies pose with a vehicle owned by popular radio DJ, Charles “Hoppy” Adams of WANN radio in Annapolis.

To counteract such despicable acts, African-American entrepreneurs often created businesses that solely catered to a black clientele or a black patronage.

In an effort to provide blacks with opportunities to enjoy summertime fun in Maryland, two sisters— Elizabeth Carr Smith and Florence Carr Sparrow, who were bold, visionaries developed the beachfront property originally owned by their parents and former slaves, Frederick Carr and Mary Wells Carr.

According to published reports, the couple purchased 180 acres of farmland on the Annapolis Neck Peninsula, off the Chesapeake Bay and the Severn River. Even though they were farmers, the family hosted family picnics and church outings, and invited boarders to participate in summer outings on their water front property.

This photo taken around 1937, depicts men relaxing in the shade while their children and wives bathed in warm beach water.

Photo Courtesy Robert McNeill Archives

This photo taken around 1937, depicts men relaxing in the shade while their children and wives bathed in warm beach water.

By 1926, the family officially named the water location Carr’s Beach and a nearby ocean-side property was named Sparrow’s Beach.

By the late 1940s, Carr’s Beach had earned a growing reputation as one of the most popular beach spots on the East Coast. Black vacationers from as far west as Ohio and West Virginia, found themselves frolicking with revelers from New York State, Pennsylvania and of course nearby Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

While the weekdays attracted family-life picnics, Sunday School and church picnics, on weekends, some of the premier black entertainers from the

so-called “Chitlin Circuit” found themselves entertaining thousands of appreciative patrons who were starved to see top-notch performers such as Billie Holliday; Count Basie; James Brown; Ray Charles and the Raelettes; Wilson Pickett; Otis Redding; Little Richard; Esther Phillips; The Orioles and Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers.

Popular Annapolis radio disc jockey, Charles W. “Hoppy” Adams Jr. of radio station WANN, spear headed the music scene and ensured that premier entertainment consistently performed on “The Beach” soundstage.

Two Baltimore area gentlemen, Mike Lee and Robert Ford, were youngsters at a time when their parents would drive them from West Baltimore to partake in picnics and overall good summer fun, near the Annapolis beaches.

Mike Lee, 68, recalls being in elementary school when he first visited Carr’s Beach.

Mike Lee of Baltimore reflects on life at

Courtesy Photo

Mike Lee of Baltimore reflects on life at “the Beach” when he was a youngster.

“I was aware that we weren’t welcome to places like Ocean City,” said Lee. “So Carr’s and Sparrow beaches offered us a safe haven, a place where we could do what we wanted to do, and not have anyone looking over us, like law enforcement.”

Lee’s high school classmate, Robert Ford, 67, also has fond memories of visiting “The Beach” as a youngster.

“Carr’s Beach was a summertime location where everyone wanted to go to experience the beach but due to the

activities below the Mason-Dixon Line, we were faced with Jim Crowism and segregation [and] we could not go everywhere, including Ocean City,” said Ford. “To this day, I have never gone to Ocean City. It’s just something about not being allowed to go back then, I guess that’s lingered with me even now.”

Pittsburgh native, Darryl Dunn, 73, was first introduced to Carr’s Beach by a former girlfriend from Baltimore whose father had business partners who often frequented “The Beach.”

“It’s been several years ago but I recall the first time I heard about Carr’s Beach. She invited me down to go see James Brown perform. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“In Pittsburgh, we never had such a water-front beach presence so to see thousands of black people having so much fun in bathing suits, and picnicking and just having a flat-out ball— I knew it was something unique, and now I realize it was part of Black History.”

According to published reports, on the evening of July 21, 1956, an estimated 70,000 people traveled to Carr’s Beach to hear rock ‘n roll creator/guitarist Chuck Berry perform. However, only 8,000 made it past the gates because the grounds were filled beyond capacity.

Jazz legend

Photo Courtesy Robert McNeill Archives

Jazz legend “Sassy” Sarah Vaughn serenades Carr’s Beach music lovers.

It’s been said that a 1962 performance by James Brown drew 11,000 fans, and also marked the last of the major crowds drawn to the area, which is located near Annapolis, Maryland – off the Chesapeake Bay and Severn Rivers.

Susan McNeill’s father, photographer Robert H. McNeill, was a regular visitor to the beaches and took hundreds of photographs of revelers who visited Carr’s and Sparrow beaches. The District of Columbia native offered the Baltimore Times a choice of images of her father’s work at no cost for this story.

“There are times when we charge for [the] use of the images, McNeill said, “But in the case of a newspaper, we want to inform, and keep this historical legacy alive.”

Both Carr’s Beach and Sparrow’s Beach are now mostly populated with expansive million-dollar, single-family homes of which most are white-owned properties. The area where blacks used to congregate and dominate is now a ritzy beachfront property known as Annarundel on the Bay.

Prostate Cancer Survivor Says Spreading Message About Early Detection Is His Ministry

As a youngster, Jim Thomas survived the perils of living in the urban housing projects of Detroit, Michigan. After high school, he was swiftly drafted into the Vietnam War. He survived that challenge too, later to retire as a celebrated U.S. Army Colonel.

Of equal importance, Thomas is also a 17-year prostate cancer survivor.

Recently, Thomas joined about 30 interested participants at a Community Health Service Forum targeting Prostate Cancer Health and Urology Research. Dr. Arthur L. Burnett II, a professor from the Department of Urology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he is also director of the Basic Science Laboratory in Neuro-urology was the featured speaker.

Thomas, a patient of Dr. Burnett’s helped sponsor the event, which was held at the Come Just As You Are Bible Fellowship Crusade Ministry, in Severn, Maryland.

“I consider spreading this type of information as my ministry,” said Thomas, 78, who is a member of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover.

As the oldest of nine children, Thomas notes that while African-American men experience high rates of prostate cancer, “all men, and wives and significant others should encourage their loved ones to make an appointment to get [checked].”

Comedian and actor Chris Tucker has become a national spokesman helping to spread the word to African-American men that they need to become more aware of their prostate health and the importance of early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Thomas told the group that he, like many patients, never experienced any symptoms or warning signs before he was diagnosed.

“I only got checked because one of my brothers suggested that I get my PSA checked,” Thomas said.

Dr. Burnett concurred with Thomas, noting that the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is an essential tool used to diagnose prostate cancer. The PSA test measures levels of prostate–specific antigen in the blood. PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate, and cancerous cells tend to produce more of it, so a spike in the PSA level can signify a problem, according to Santa Monica, California-based National Prostate Cancer Foundation.

“Pros-tate cancer, not Pros-TRATE cancer is highly prevalent in African-American men,” said Dr. Burnett, a District of Columbia native and general surgeon specializing in urology, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Burnett told the attendees at the meeting that typically, most men refrain from discussing the prostate because it’s a “taboo subject because it affects parts of our manhood and sexual relations,” but he said it’s vital that black men get checked early— around their mid-40s— because with early detection and treatment, many men can live long and productive lives after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Dr. Burnette is the author of two books, “Johns Hopkins Patient’s Guide to Prostate Cancer” and “Prostate Cancer Survivors Speak Their Minds.”

For more information about Dr. Burnette and the Prostate Cancer speaking series, call Jim Thomas at 410-608-2081 or email:

Community Agencies Partner To Provide Services For Families In Perkins Community

Cierra Jones and her two-year-old niece Angelique spent a few precious hours at the Perkins Community housing headquarters in East Baltimore on the afternoon of Friday February 22, 2019.

Their time was “well-spent,” according to Jones, a three-year resident at one of the city’s five federally funded housing apartment complexes. Thanks to a collaborative effort between the Baltimore City Community Action Partnership (BCCAP) and St. Louis-based Urban Strategies, Inc. (USI), about 100 family households, including Jones and her four young children, were invited to a kick-off “Food Commodity Day” initiative where the two agencies provided residents with information and resources about eating healthy and financial literacy and strategies, in addition to free (uncooked) food staples for generating healthy meals in the home.

Table with free uncooked food staples for generating healthy meals in the home.

Timothy Cox

Table with free uncooked food staples for generating healthy meals in the home.

Lori Cunningham, director of Baltimore City Community Action Partnership, further explained that the event is the first of an ongoing project in accordance with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) and a $30 million federally subsidized Choice Neighborhood Grant administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Held at the Perkins Community headquarters, which is located in the 1400 block of Gough Street near the Fells Point neighborhood, the event was a debut-kick-off of a program set to occur twice a month through 2022 to benefit the remaining 500 family households at Perkins Homes, plus the residents in the greater Perkins-Somerset-Oldtown neighborhoods.

Cunningham says the new project is in-synch with the city’s priority of building stronger neighborhoods. “BCCAP aims to reduce and prevent causes and effects of poverty by providing resources to educate the community and promote economic and housing stability.”

Books and other educational materials were on display during the event.

Timothy Cox

Books and other educational materials were on display during the event.

Urban Strategies, Inc. is a national non-profit group with 40 years experience in developing human capital strategies for communities undergoing comprehensive physical revitalization.

The Perkins Housing Community is targeted for major renovations, which could impact residents over the next several years. According to the Baltimore City Housing Authority’s website, the complex will undergo major renovations which could possibly temporarily displace some of its 1,400 residents, who currently live in nearly 700 units.

Conversely, officials have urged that existing tenants not be displaced, but instead be relocated to existing vacant units during construction of the multi-phase project.

Some units within the facility are reportedly inundated with rodents and roaches, and some long-term residents enthusiastically favor razing the dwellings. During her three-year stay, Cierra Jones says she has no major complaints.

Partial view of the Perkins Homes Complex

Timothy Cox

Partial view of the Perkins Homes Complex

“It’s relatively safe here and normally quiet,” said the mother of four, including a set of nine-year-old twins. However, Jones, 28, says she is “all-in” for razing the current property and supports plans to institute a proposed mixed-use, residential-commercial combination property style.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was unable to attend the event but is very supportive of the program, according to Cunningham.

“Redeveloping our most distressed communities and improving the amenities available to Baltimore City residents are major goals of my administration,” she said in a recently published statement. “The Perkins transformation project will incorporate a neighborhood plan that combines new housing, infrastructure improvements, economic development, public safety strategies, and enhanced educational opportunities for the community.”

Renovation efforts at Perkins Community are likewise funded through HUD’s $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant Initiative.

Parents Share ‘Recipe For Success’ In Raising Collegiate Sons, High Achieving Daughter

John C. Dove Jr. and his wife Rhonda Caldwell Dove of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, are proud to share their recipe to success while raising three black boys to the ranks of successful, young college men. The Dove family resides in the Baltimore bedroom community of Gambrills.

Oldest son, Julian Dove, 22, is a recent Penn State graduate, majoring in cyber security and information science technology; Jordan Dove, 20, is a junior soccer player at University Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), studying finance and information science technology. Youngest son, Jared Dove, 18, graduated this year from Severn High School and is currently a first-year basic cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also on the Academy’s soccer team.

Youngest child, Riley Dove, 12, is the “baby sister” in the family and like her older siblings she is also an academic high-achiever. She is currently a 7th grader at Annapolis Area Christian School.

From left: Father, John C. Dove Jr., Riley Dove, Julian Dove, Jordan Dove, Jared Dove and mother, Rhonda Caldwell Dove.

Courtesy Photo

From left: Father, John C. Dove Jr., Riley Dove, Julian Dove, Jordan Dove, Jared Dove and mother, Rhonda Caldwell Dove.

In preparing for her sons’ achievement, Mrs. Dove says acknowledgement of family legacy and staying spiritually grounded, has developed a familial competitive aura of high-esteem amongst her young men.

“Kids tend to model what they see and what they hear,” said Mrs. Dove, adding that she and her husband of 27 years, John C. Dove Jr., “have always shared stories with our kids about our experiences in school and college— our mistakes, what we learned from those mistakes and our successes. I stress to my kids how their grandmother, Patricia B. Caldwell had to endure as a new teacher when schools were first integrated in Anne Arundel County; how she was bused to high school, attended Bowie Normal School (for blacks) because at the time she was not allowed to attend any college of her choice; and how her brothers and sisters sacrificed and provided her with financial means to attend and complete college.

“I’ve told them about the importance of their education, and never take it for granted, and to remember their grandmother’s journey and how she and others paved the way for them to have an equal education despite their ethnic race. I told them that they were just a generation from the out-house.”

Mrs. Dove attended Anne Arundel Community College and Towson University and was a committed stay-at-home mom, until recently. She currently works as an office manager for Infant and Child Loss for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The Doves stress the importance of a two-parent home and faith-based environment.

“We believe that having a strong father figure for both boys and girls makes a significant difference in how they deal with issues during their childhood,” said Mr. Dove, a graduate of both the U.S. Naval Academy and the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Baltimore’s Loyola University, Maryland. “I believe my children have always watched how I deal with everything that comes along in life— from handling pressures during work life, to tragedies such as death in our extended family. How I’ve been able to handle life provides a powerful message for our boys to reflect on when it comes to handling and reacting to their own issues.”

The ex-Marine currently works as a district medical sales manager for Minnesota-based Medtronic Corporation.

Reverend Herbert Watson, the pastor at St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover, Md. has nothing but appreciative words for the Dove family who are longtime parishioners.

“It has been one of my great blessings as pastor of St. Mark for 20 years to have John and Rhonda Caldwell Dove and their family, as members. Their oldest son Julian was the first child I baptized upon my new appointment,” he said.

“On that same Sunday, John became a member of St. Mark. They and their family continue to be good and faithful members of our congregation,” Pastor Watson continued. “And, it’s obvious they have raised their children on a foundation of faith, family and friends.”

In addition to her mother, Mrs. Dove also credits her father George Caldwell for laying a solid foundation for his grandchildren to emulate.

“I’m very proud of our grandchildren and of the committed work of my daughter and son-in-law,” said Mr. Caldwell, 81, and a retiree of General Motors Baltimore division. His wife is a retired Anne Arundel County schoolteacher.

Mr. Dove’s parents have also been influential on their grandchildren. John C. Dove Sr. is a retired U.S. Army Warrant Officer and his wife, Barbara Dove, is a retired nurse. The older Doves live in Huntsville, Alabama.

Baltimore Boxing Guru Releases Guide Book For Kid Athletes, Parents, Coaches

As the founder of Time2Grind Boxing Club, a safe haven for at-risk youth in Baltimore’s Northeast section, Mack Allison III has already established himself as one of the city’s saviors for young people. Now, he is turning his attention to sharing his knowledge with thousands, if not millions— as a published author.

Allison believes he is more than qualified to write a short-but-sweet memoir about youth boxing and youth sports, overall.

The book titled “Coach Mack’s Basic Training Guide: Boxing,” is a piece of literature that he believes can benefit boys, girls, their parents and even coaches and youth sports league administrators.

Allison actually wrote the initial draft several years ago, but in the past year felt the need to publish a revised edition reflecting on his memoirs. He says he has special reasons for producing the updated version.

“The book was written to serve as an inspiration to parents, coaches and ultimately to children and upcoming youths attracted to the boxing game,” he said.

Coach Mack has continuously watched out not only for the kids but for (young) parents too. He says he tries to train parents to ensure that their children aren’t being coached or coerced by adults who don’t have their children’s best interests in mind.

“I’m talking about sexual predators or pedophiles. You really have to pay close attention to your children these days,” said Allison, 48.

“I also wrote the book for boxers and people who want to box, coach and to basically understand the values and nuances of the ‘sweet science,’ aka boxing,” he said. “Boxing comes with lots of rules to follow in order to be successful in and out of the ring.”

Allison says he kept the book small in size on purpose.

“I want people to be able to carry it around— almost like a keepsake so it would be accessible anytime. So people are able to carry the book around with them in their pockets or their purses,” he said. “I have been in the boxing game for a long time. I feel like I can share my experiences with people to help them understand boxing, and to make the right decisions for their children.”

Allison grew up in a single-parent household, so he relates well to his young mentees.

“I grew up in South Baltimore in the projects (Summerset, Murphy Homes and Flag House projects). My mother (Gladys Allison) raised nine of us. She was a single mom, but she didn’t take [any] stuff. She was a disciplinarian— very tough. They called us ‘Gladys Knight & The Pips’ because it was so many of us,” Allison said with a reflective chuckle.

After studying to work in private security, Allison eventually served in the juvenile corrections arena prior to founding his successful boxing facilities.

As the married parent of two sons and a daughter, Allison and his wife of 22 years, Dawn Allison were committed to seeing to it that their now-adult children also experienced their own levels of personal success.

The couple is very proud of Kendall, Maya and Mack IV.

Speaking of family, Mack Allison III says he received personal editing assistance from sisters Sheila Allison-Brown and Tania Allison.

The book is published by and is available for sale for $12.00. For more information or to purchase a copy of the book, contact Mack Allison III at 443-631-1663 or email:

World Premiere of ‘SOUL The Stax Musical’ generates sell-outs, rave revues

— The world premiere of “SOUL The Stax Musical” has generated the excitement and applause that creative producers envisioned upon conceiving the historical musical production.

SOUL Stax Musical effectively tells the exciting-but-dramatic story of the legendary Memphis recording studio’s existence from 1957-1975.

The original studio (Satellite Records) was located in the heart of Memphis’ black community in the 900 block of Mclemore Avenue in Shelby County, Tennessee. What was then, a hotbed for attracting the city’s talented young black artists during that era, Stax easily rivaled Motown’s Northern Soul recording success in Detroit.

Having visited the actual Stax Museum of American Soul Music recently, this writer has a close affinity to the Stax 1950s successful business model, especially in the wake of Jim Crowism and devout racism that existed in the South during the record company’s heyday.

The play stays close to history, while depicting the ups and downs of the company’s business decisions, primarily made by sister-brother owners Jim Stewart (Robert Lenzi) and Estelle Axton (Mary Jo Mecca) and co-owner, Al Bell aka Alvertis Isbell (Warner Miller). Stewart and Axton’s surnames comprised the acronym STAX. Lenzi, Mecca and Miller were outstanding performers throughout the entire show.

In the lobby after the play, Baltimore natives, bassist Mark Russell and guitarist Matt Kruft credited Musical Director Rahn Coleman for comprising a singularly soulful unit of live musicians.

Boise Holmes plays

Boise Holmes plays “Black Moses” also known as Isaac Hayes.

The seven-piece band including three horns had a remarkable big-band sound and performed with the real-life dexterity of the original musicians. Respectfully, the cast depicted Stax stars like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas his daughter Carla Thomas, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, Johnnie Taylor, The Staple Singers, Booker T. (Jones) & The MGs with drummer Al Jackson Jr., bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn and guitarist Steve Cropper. Memphis Horns members Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love were conspicuously unmentioned in the play.

Chicago native Harrison White, was a show-stopper in his role as Rufus “Funky Chicken” Thomas, the “world’s oldest teenager.” After the play, White noted that rehearsals commenced “about six months ago” – helping to qualify why the entire performance was so spectacular.

SOUL The Stax Musical is Baltimore Center Stage’s final play of the 2017/18 Season.

My only criticism of the play is the awkward, unexplained entrance of composer David Porter, the co-writer of several Isaac Hayes’hits including “Soul Man” for Sam & Dave.

Although Sam & Dave were mentioned throughout the production, it was unclear who actually portrayed the energetic duo— at one point it seemed as though Isaac Hayes’ and David Porter’s characters played their roles. For the record, Sam & Dave were Sam Moore and the late Dave Prater.

Moore still occasionally performs, having sung for President Barack Obama for a soul music-homage television special. Al Bell, now 78, still lives in the Memphis area.

Sam & Dave were originally signed to Atlantic Records by producer Jerry Wexler, but recorded major hits for Stax from ’65 to ’68, and achieved the bulk of their success while with the Memphis-based firm.

Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE and choreographer Chase Brock must be credited for lending their extraordinary talents to create such a magnificent production. The play was adapted from a book written by Matthew Benjamin. If the Great White Way of Broadway is the producer’s goal, then without a doubt that’s exactly where this show is headed.

Soul The Stax Musical runs through Sunday, June 10, 2018 at Baltimore Center Stage located at 700 North Calvert Street in the Mount Vernon Cultural District in Baltimore City. For tickets, call: 410-332-0033 or visit:

Northeastern Ohio Youth Group Tours Baltimore Area

Teen group formed to counteract youth issues while promoting cultural pride and academics

As a child born in the 1990s, Malcom Deluvon Burton of Akron, Ohio, has experienced the excitement and the benefits of the Information Technological Age.

Conversely, he has witnessed another side of the new millennium generation, where young men who look like him are seemingly regarded as Public Enemy No. 1. Young men like Trayvon Martin, and closer to home, shooting victims like 12-year-old Tamir Rice of Cleveland and in Cincinnati, rap producer Samuel DuBose, were also fatally shot by law enforcement officials.

Even before the aforementioned fatal events occurred, Burton says he felt a need to forge a certain unity and bond amongst his peers. As a high school junior, Burton founded My Brother/My Sister (MBMS) ironically during Black History Month in 2008.

“I was 16 at Copley High School in Copley Twp. (Akron, Ohio), and being a black American male, I felt like my high school peers needed to be introduced to culture and community love,” he said.

He felt it was also a way to “nullify self-hate while promoting a more natural bond between the genders. Hence, the sisterhood-brotherhood organization was born.

“While our Civil Rights history— Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are valuable background, our young people also need to know other stories,” he said.

Recently, Burton’s group traveled by bus from Northeast Ohio to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. As a 2014 graduate of Morgan State University, Burton wanted to expose the young people from his hometown to significant historical sites such as Baltimore’s Great Blacks In Wax Museum; and the Martin Luther King Jr. monument in the District of Columbia.

In it’s ten-year history, MBMS, has grown to about 100 members, mainly of middle- and high-school ages. The group is open to all cultures but the primary goal is to sustain cultural love and pride among black youths,” according to Burton.

MBMS has two chapters that meet weekly— one in Akron at Copley High, the other in East Cleveland at East Technical High. Burton says the non-profit group is funded via the Cleveland Indians’ Larry Doby Youth Fund Grant.

Doby was the first black to play American League baseball with the Cleveland Indians in July 1947, three months after Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Burton says MBMS is currently awaiting national 501c3 non-profit status.

Older members of the group now serve as mentors and academic tutors for the younger members.

“Our goal is to produce scholars,” said Burton, noting that the organization currently boasts 30 college graduates and several current college attendees.

Burton also has a master’s degree in social work from Case Western Reserve University. Later this year, his first book, “A Safe Place To Call Home: Community Love and Culture,” will be released. He is just 26-years-old.

Burton is proud of his blended African-American and Puerto Rican heritage. He is also proud of having been raised in a two-parent home, and is cognizant of raising his own children in a similar environment “when that day comes,” he said, smiling.

For more information about MBMS, call Malcom D. Burton at 216-526-34

‘Maryland 529’ Enrollment Deadline Extended ‘til May 31

Maryland parents eager for their children to attend college should be aware of the new enrollment deadline for the Maryland Prepaid College Trust (MPCT). With enrollment now extended through May 31, 2018, families can save for college by locking-in tomorrow’s tuition at today’s rates.

The MPCT is one of two 529 college savings plans administered by Maryland 529, an independent state agency that gives families an opportunity to lock-in tomorrow’s tuition at today’s prices. Benefit payments from the Prepaid College Trust can be used at both in-state and out-of-state colleges and contributors with Maryland taxable income may take up to a $2,500 State income deduction per account, annually.

“With student loan borrowers having doubled in the last 10 years to 42 million people, and student loan debt ballooning from $240 billion to $1.3 trillion, saving for college by enrolling in a 529 plan can help reduce the amount borrowed, and in some cases eliminate the need to take out a student loan in the future,” said Michelle Winner, Public Relations and Marketing Program Manager of Maryland 529. “The Prepaid College Trust allows Maryland families to gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing they have locked into today’s prices for future tuition benefits that their children or grandchildren can ultimately use.”

According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, 65-percent of Maryland high school seniors choose to attend post-secondary institutions out-of-state. With over half of high school students opting to enroll in out-of-state schools, parents need to save with a plan that allows for flexibility.

With the Maryland Prepaid College Trust, account holders have the freedom to use their savings at both in-state and out-of-state colleges and universities. Savings can be used to pay the full in-state or in-county tuition and mandatory fees at any Maryland public college, or pay up to the Weighted Average Tuition or your Minimum Benefit toward tuition and mandatory fees at nearly any federally accredited private or out-of-state college.

Additional information-points are noted as follows:

•The MPCT is backed by a Maryland Legislative Guarantee, which adds an additional level of assurance for account holders.

•MPCT account holders are eligible for federal tax benefits and MPCT account holders and contributors with Maryland taxable income may take up to a $2,500 State income deduction per account, annually on their State taxes.

•The MPCT is open to children from newborn through 12th grade, but accounts must be open for at least three years before tuition benefits can be paid.

The deadline to enroll in the MPCT is Thursday, May 31, 2018. To open a MPCT account, visit: and complete the online enrollment form. More information about the benefits of the Maryland Prepaid College Trust can be found at

D.C. Museum Promotes ‘First Amendment’ Rights

Nestled neatly along historic Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital is a contemporarily-designed facility known as the Newseum. The structure stands as one of the District of Columbia’s more uniquely-designed museums.

According to Sonya Gavankar, Newseum Director of Public Relations, the mission of the Newseum is “to increase public understanding and the importance of a free press and the First Amendment.”

According to the U.S. Bill of Rights, there are currently 27 amendments and the First Amendment is defined as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In other words, this law provides freedom of speech and freedom of the press for American citizens.

With that in mind, the Newseum concept was created to “help visitors understand their First Amendment rights and have a better understanding of the importance of investigative journalism,” according to Gavanker.

Notably, it was Al Neuharth who conceived the idea of creating the Newseum. He was also the founder of the Gannett-owned national newspaper, USAToday.

Neuharth first founded the Freedom Forum, which is principal financier of Newseum and the Newseum Institute. Fittingly, the Freedom Forum was established on July 4, 1991. Neuharth died in 2013. He was 89.

The Freedom Forum remains dedicated to a free press, free speech and free spirit and is a nonpartisan foundation that champions the First Amendment, according to the Newseum’s website.

The Newseum is a very interactive museum, with seven levels including 15 galleries and 15 theaters. Exhibits include the 9/11 Gallery, which displays the broadcast antennae from the top of the World Trade Center; and a Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery, featuring photographs from every Pulitzer Prize-winning entry dating back to 1942.

Currently the facility is paying photographic homage to the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which occurred April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenneesee.

Gavanker enthusiastically suggests that people of all ages visit the facility. She encourages tours by church groups, social organizations, senior citizen groups and educators who sponsor school field trips to visit the downtown D.C. building located at 555 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On April 11, 2018, the Newseum celebrated its 10th anniversary in its current location. Previously, the facility was located in Arlington, Virginia.

We needed a larger footprint,” said Gavankar. “The location between the Capitol and the White House is a perfect place to discuss the First Amendment.”

The Newseum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, about the Newseum, call: 202-292-6100 or visit: