Town Creek’s First African American Business Owner Gets a Historical Marker

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TOWN CREEK, Ala. – Town Creek’s first African American business owner and longest running business owner will be remembered forever thanks to his family. Today they honored Reverend O.C. Stanley with a historical marker.

Tons of O.C. Stanley’s family and friends showed to First Missionary Baptist Church Town Creek for the ceremony. Stanley was a pastor of two churches, he owned O.C. Stanley Grocery and City Cleaners, was a farmer, and a taxi driver.

He opened his store in 1921. “Not only was he an African American, but he was 17-years-old in 1921”, O.C. Stanley’s grandson Wayne Stanley said. He was able to do this even with people saying he couldn’t.

His store was in business for six decades. “He started with two boxes of cookies and a case of drinks. He would sell those and go back and get some more. He borrowed $50 for a gas pump to sell gas,” Wayne Stanley explained.

The gas station is no longer around and O.C. Stanley died in 1987, but his legacy lives on through his family. Town Creek will always be reminded of Stanley too, since a marker is now permanently placed where O.C. Stanley Grocery City Cleaners once stood.

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Nichols appointed to WKU’s Board of Regents

Growing up in what he described as a “very poor family,” George Nichols III never imagined he’d get the chance to attend college one day.

Now, the Bowling Green native and 1983 Western Kentucky University graduate has been named to the university’s Board of Regents by Gov. Matt Bevin. He will replace Cynthia Harris, whose term expired June 30. Harris and Nichols are the board’s only African-American members.

“This is an honor, and I’m humbled by this,” Nichols said in an interview.

Nichols is currently the senior vice president in the Office of Governmental Affairs at New York Life Insurance Co. He’s served as the Kentucky commissioner of insurance, special adviser to former Gov. Paul Patton and was also executive director of the Kentucky Health Policy Board during Patton’s administration.

Nichols also serves on the Alice Lloyd College Board of Trustees in eastern Kentucky and is on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Nichols will be sworn in during the board’s July 28 meeting, according to a WKU news release. When asked about his political party affiliation, Nichols said he’s a Republican.

Although Nichols currently lives in Potomac, Md., just outside Washington, D.C., he doesn’t see the distance as an obstacle to serving on the board. Nichols has family in Bowling Green and Shelbyville and said he visits Kentucky at least once every two months.

Regents Chair Frederick Higdon said in a news release that “George will be an excellent board member and contributor as WKU begins its newest chapter under the leadership of President (Timothy) Caboni.”

After speaking with Nichols on the phone, Regent Phillip Bale described Nichols as “a very personable guy” and praised his broad background in health care, insurance and working with organizational budgets. Bale will replace Higdon as chair during the next board meeting.

Regent John Ridley was also impressed with Nichols’ experience, but noted that he hasn’t spoken with him yet.

“We welcome his expertise and his life experiences to add value to an excellent board of regents,” Ridley said.

Born and raised in Bowling Green, Nichols said that although his parents only had a sixth-grade education, they pushed him to get a college degree. He met his wife, Cynthia, at WKU and has provided gifts that supported the construction of the Chandler Memorial Chapel and a scholarship.

Going into his new role as a regent, Nichols said he’d like to expand the university’s efforts to diversify its student population. Although he described WKU’s efforts on that front as “tremendous,” he’d like more minority and female students going into math, science and technology fields.

“Things like that I think are really important,” he said. “I’d like to see more of that.”

Nichols said the university responded well to racist incidents on campus last school year, including when an African-American student’s car was vandalized with a racial epithet and when an African-American associate dean received threatening messages.

“I’m not surprised,” Nichols said of the incidents, adding that similar incidents occur across the country. Growing up in Bowling Green, Nichols said he’s no stranger to racism. He remembers how his family would receive warning fliers whenever the Ku Klux Klan would march downtown.

Nevertheless, Nichols said he believes there are more good people than bad in the world.

“You have to set a tone of what is tolerable and what’s not and how you want to run things,” Nichols said. “The university has the right policies in place.”

John Paul Blair, interim vice president for development and alumni relations, praised George and Cynthia Nichols’ pivotal role in support of the university through philanthropy. They gave $100,000 to the Chandler Memorial Chapel and created a scholarship for WKU students from Jefferson County.

In a later email, Blair said the two “have carried the ‘WKU Spirit’ with them from the time they met on ‘the Hill’, raised their children – one a WKU graduate – and hosted WKU Alumni events around the country. … George has also been a volunteer leader as a past member of the WKU Foundation Board and now the Board of Regents. You will not meet two finer representatives of WKU.”

Since joining New York Life in 2001, Nichols has held various leadership positions, according to a news release from the company.

Going forward, Nichols sees challenges in the low amount of state funding for higher education, student recruitment and college affordability. Ultimately, Nichols said universities must remember to serve their students and ensure there’s opportunity for all no matter their background.

“I want to make sure that that is available for as many people as possible,” he said.

© Copyright, 2017, News Publishing LLC (Bowling Green, KY), source Newspapers


PARIS, FRANCE, July 21, 2017 / — In August 20017 new album by Daniel Roure


12 titles. from old french hits,(Trenet,Jean Sablon,Blossom Dearie,Eartha Kitt,Brel,Gainsbourg….)

Arrangements:Vocal, Jazzy and Lounge for smooth evenings of summer.!

With Christophe Le Van Bass/Philippe Le Van Drums/ Thomas Roure Sax Alto/Daniel Roure Vocal/Piano.

Daniel Roure for the love of “vintage France” Music and Jazz.

Daniel Roure
email us here

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Finding the Inspiration to Stand Up for Each Other: An Interview With Sister Aisha al-Adawiya

Protester's signs are left near the White House during the Womens March on Washington on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images)Protesters’ signs are left near the White House during the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017, in Washington, DC. (Photo: Mario Tama / Getty Images)

Community leader Aisha al-Adawiya (known as Sister Aisha) embodies a life grounded in a profound commitment to pursuing justice, social transformation and deep, meaningful relationships. I met Sister Aisha many years ago during the struggle to save the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first Arabic-English dual language public school in New York City. I was drawn to Sister Aisha’s beautiful energy and spirit and soon realized that many of the women I was organizing with from within Muslim communities looked up to her deeply as a mentor, role model and inspiration, and that this was true of partners from other communities, like myself, as well. Given the challenging moment we are in, I wanted to interview Sister Aisha to learn from her wisdom and her generous self.

Born and raised in Alabama, Sister Aisha came to New York in the early 1960s right after high school to pursue a singing career. She was raised in the Black church and sang in her church choir. Describing herself in those years as “a free spirit,” she lived in Greenwich Village until moving to Harlem. Seeking a spiritual home, she said that “Islam found me” in 1972. She encountered Malcolm X, “was blown away by him, and began my education as it were. Malcolm X continues to be my mentor.” She has worked for more than 30 years at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and is currently the administrator of its Scholars-in-Residence Program. She recounted how the founder of the Schomburg Center began collecting documents because he was told by a teacher that Black people didn’t have any history — a history, she said, that she also hadn’t known growing up.

Sister Aisha founded Women in Islam, Inc. in 1992 to bring the voices of Muslim women into critical community discussions that were local, domestic and global in scope. The organization was born soon after the story broke about rape camps in Bosnia. Sister Aisha began to speak out about what was going on and said that, at some point, she was challenged. “Here you are, an African American woman showing up for Bosnians. What does that have to do with you? I was compelled to speak out after hearing about women being herded into rape camps. And the majority of the women being victimized were Muslim.”  She realized that, because there weren’t visible voices from Muslim women on this issue, “I felt the need to construct something that would enable us to engage in this conversation, and to do what we continue to do.” Women in Islam, Inc. has, since its inception, stood up for Muslim women, been a space for Muslim women to discuss who they are and the role of women in Islam, and engaged collectively in the struggle for human rights and social justice.

The first thing Sister Aisha said to me was, “One woman does not make a movement.” That really does capture her humility and belief system.

Reflecting on the current moment, Sister Aisha spoke about how busy we all are right now. But she is concerned that “a lot of us are in reactionary mode. It’s not going to end if we spend our energy and resources just reacting.” Thinking about how to move forward in a different way, she said, “I’m reminded of the Black arts movement and all those … people who were just brilliant and awe-inspiring and how they really fed us and people in the movement through their art. Art may be our last frontier here,” she added. “How do we get back to that? How do we re-engage the arts so that we can have deep expression coming from artists and artistic creativity as we continue to speak truth to power?”

Pausing for a moment, she said, “I’m really trying to reorient myself to the more artistic side of my brain.”

She then spoke about the commonalities in the different struggles for justice. “We are all struggling on so many fronts with few resources except for our will and commitment to what we think is right. More and more of us — and I see it happening so much now in the Muslim community — are recognizing the importance and power of coming together and joining efforts with one another and across our communities. It’s about much more than being an ally. It’s about being family.”

She began speaking about the young man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, who survived in Portland after being one of three men attacked by a white supremacist when they tried to stop his racist tirade against two teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab and one of whom was Black. The other two men who were attacked, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, didn’t survive. “Look at how this young man took it upon himself to say what he did about the two young girls who were assaulted — that we should be focusing on them and not on him. From his hospital bed, he was holding up his thumb. You could feel his indomitable spirit. That is much more than allyship. That is way beyond solidarity. This is humanity here.”

She paused before speaking more about what we can learn from Micah’s experience. “How do we harness that? That is an inspiration for anybody and everybody who wants to look for hope in any direction.” And then she spoke for a moment about her own role. “How can I support that in any way, and help cultivate that in ourselves and the younger generation? I’m thinking about that a lot.”

“I’m really in awe of this young man and of those people who are just there to stand up. I’m speechless, really. This is exactly where I believe we need to move as human beings. Standing up for each other in a real authentic way. No cameras rolling. Just the human spirit calling on us to say, ‘This is not right and I have to say something’.”

Clearly profoundly moved, she continued to talk about what had happened in Portland. “These two men lost their lives doing that, and this young man who survived, he shined the light back on those girls. How can you — how can we — inspire that sort of commitment? I don’t think they had a choice. They just knew they had to do it.”

Speaking about our challenges at this particular moment, Sister Aisha said she thinks that “the work is much the same, but I do think we need to try to find new tools. For example, I want to dig deeper, more spiritually. I think about Native American cultures and communities a lot. Theirs is a history and reality that often gets ignored or minimized. Yet, we have so much to learn from them and their experience. This is where my spirit is moving me. When we talk about interfaith work, we have to remember that there is a whole world of people with deep spiritual connections, including those who may not adhere to a formal religion, but are committed to human dignity.”

At the end of our conversation, Sister Aisha spoke about our needing to think more about ways to bring our whole political and spiritual and artistic selves into the different facets of our work. “We need to create platforms for people in our communities to express themselves when they have something they want to say. They need to know their voices matter and that they have something to contribute because they are human, because they are part of the human race, because we are all part of humanity together.”

While it is, of course, true that no one person makes a movement, Sister Aisha’s wisdom, grace, compassion and kindness have powerfully impacted so many of us and our movements. She is a leader and visionary we all hold dear.

Did you know? Truthout is a nonprofit publication and the vast majority of our budget comes from reader donations. It’s easy to support our work — click here to get started.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Hall & Oates attract new generation of fans on current tour

Abetted by red wine and Heinekens, three cool dudes are talking about why they’ve seldom been considered cool.

“If you were a rock-and-roll or a blues-influenced person, you were cool,” explains Daryl Hall from the kitchen of his home in Millerton, New York. “If you were influenced by other things, then you were suspect.”

“We have the same problem with us,” adds Patrick Gemayel, keyboardist/bassist for Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo.

“Why are New Wave records less cool than Rick James records?” wonders Chromeo frontman David Macklovitch.

Hall, a friendly yet feisty presence, has the answer: to dismiss those kind of questions.

“It’s really interesting to buck it. See what happens,” he says. “I think that we’re brave people, because we didn’t do what the obvious thing was.”

‘Buck it’

The scene is from a 2008 episode of “Live From Daryl’s House,” the fascinating online series where the Hall & Oates frontman jams with various musicians from his pastoral pad in southeastern New York, sharing abundant stories, spirits and verve.

This brief exchange encapsulates a lengthy career: “Buck it.”

Those two words have pretty much served as Hall & Oates’ operating principle for the past forty-odd years.

Think about the unlikeliness of their rise to becoming the top-selling music duo of all time.

A brief recap:

Two white dudes from Philly, who met while enrolled at Temple University in the late ’60s, start a band and earn their first airplay on R&B stations, then almost the sole province of African-American artists.

Over the course of three consecutive albums in the early ’70s, they made a full-on blue-eyed soul record (“Abandoned Luncheonette”), followed by a prog-rock opus produced by Todd Rundgren (“War Babies”) and then a glam-rock excursion adorned with a dudes-lookin’-like-ladies album cover (“Daryl Hall & John Oates”).

It takes them nine albums and 10 years to deliver their breakthrough hit record, 1980’s “Voices.”

In the early ’80s, they embraced electronics to a far greater extent than many of their peers, helping catalyze electro-pop, which is why, decades later, a band like Chromeo continues to cite the group as a primary influence.

The extent of Hall & Oates’ artistic breadth is underscored by “Live From Daryl’s House,” where artists as wide-ranging as Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump, proggy indie rockers Minus the Bear, Latin pop favorite Jose Feliciano, ska lifers Toots and the Maytalls and dozens more jammed with the show’s namesake.

It serves as a reminder of just how deep and diverse the Hall & Oates songbook is.

“I think ‘Live From Daryl’s House’ really had a big impact on the whole thing,” Hall says, “because it showed my true persona, musically. It also showed off the songs in a slightly different way, because the arrangements were different than what you’re going to hear on the radio or on a record. People were listening to me with different ears. I speak a lot of musical languages. I can be comfortable singing with Sammy Hagar, Cheap Trick, somebody like that, and also be comfortable with the O’Jays.”

A new generation of fans

The show introduced Hall & Oates’ repertoire — a musically rich reservoir of soul, New Wave, digital funk, art rock, adult contemporary staples, and hit after hit after hit (34 in all) — to a new generation of music fans thanks in part to appearances by contemporary acts like Plain White T’s, Aloe Blacc and Neon Trees.

These Hall & Oates newcomers have helped reinvigorate the duo both musically and at the box office: They didn’t grow up hearing the band on the radio, where songs like “Maneater” and “Out of Touch” were once as ubiquitous as loud-talking DJs with goofy, self-applied nicknames, and so their entree into the band consists of more than just the hits.

“The younger kids who are coming to the show — and there are a lot of them, man — they have a broader expectation of what they’re going to hear,” Hall says. “They’re listening to us as a whole. Everybody wants to hear ‘Rich Girl’, ‘Kiss on My List,’ but I think that people are looking at us as a career band as opposed to just a radio band, because it’s not their experience with us. It’s very encouraging, and allows us to be freer with what we do.”

This will manifest in Hall & Oates’ current tour, where the expected hit parade will veer off course, from time to time.

“We’re doing some changes,” Hall says. “It’s not the show we’ve been doing for a while, which was a very kinetic, high-energy, song-after-song-after-song kind of show. I think there’s a little more texture in this show, musically. We’re changing some of the arrangements, things like that, which I think makes it more interesting for the audience, hearing songs in a slightly different way, and it makes it more interesting for us.”

Finding the right tour mate

Hall & Oates will be joined on the trek by an inspired choice for an opening act: artful English popsters Tears for Fears.

Like Hall & Oates, Tear for Fears brought a sense of refinement and a love of pop craftsmanship to the mainstream airwaves beginning in the ’80s.

Hall’s a picky dude.

Which is why he picked them.

“When we decided we were going to go back out this year, we were approached with a lot of different bands to open for us or co-headline, whatever you want to call it, and I didn’t like any of them,” Hall says. “None of them were good fits. They all felt wrong.

“We heard that Tears for Fears wanted to go out on the road and we contacted them because of all the people that I had thought about, that was the best fit of anybody going out at the same time we were,” he continues. “It was really our choice. There’s a certain melodic sophistication that they have in their music. Their music is timeless. I sort of feel that’s the same thing you could say about our music.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Learning, embracing our Appalachian heritage

Photos submitted Family from across many states gathered recently to attend a ceremony honoring the late Maj. William Ellis Adams, a WWII veteran, in Cumberland. Family members wanted the children of the group to learn about the Tri-Cities area while visiting. Items on the list of attractions to see ranged from Portal 31, Rebel Rock, ATV trail heads and zip lines and monuments that indicate the names of long-deceased male relatives who worked in the coal mines.

Photos submitted Family from across many states gathered recently to attend a ceremony honoring the late Maj. William Ellis Adams, a WWII veteran, in Cumberland. Family members wanted the children of the group to learn about the Tri-Cities area while visiting. Items on the list of attractions to see ranged from Portal 31, Rebel Rock, ATV trail heads and zip lines and monuments that indicate the names of long-deceased male relatives who worked in the coal mines.

Have you read the book Hillbilly Elegy? I have, and I hope readers realize that Vance’s story is not the story of all families that have come out of Appalachia, both those with origins there as well as those who have opted to remain there. His story reinforces stereotypes and perpetuates an American consciousness that says of all the ethnic American groups, this is the only one that can be spoken of in such a derogatory way without raising a single eyebrow.

I spent a good part of last week with a sister and three first cousins and their families, a total of 40 plus, in Appalachia.

We gathered at the Benham Schoolhouse Inn in Benham, Kentucky, the high school our mothers and father attended which has now been converted to an excellent inn. Inn manager and Appalachian Hospitality Group president C. Travis Wharf, says of the inn, “I call these mountains home. I have an appreciation for what our leaders are working toward, making us a tourist destination. I see the value in this old building from an historical perspective. The value is in our people, both living and those who have left legacies for us to embrace and enjoy. We are one of the richest areas in the country. Our riches here are our history, our stories, our ancestors who came to America to have a better life. After almost 100 years since its opening, this building is full of life with families making new and happy memories. We are charged with preserving and honoring this building.”

We were in the Tri-City area of Harlan County, Kentucky, to honor Maj. William Ellis Adams, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, born in 1919, died in 1991. A bridge in Cumberland to be built this year will be named in his honor . Not only did relatives attend but also a representative of the first Masonic lodge he joined and a large contingent of his fellow soldiers from the Tri City VFW Honor Guard Post 5171. Following a ceremony at the Central Baptist Church the honor guard provided a 21 gun salute, “Taps” and presentation of an American flag to Adams’ youngest daughter, Reagan Kichens, at the Huff Cemetery.

With almost two dozen children in our group, we wanted them to learn something about their historic hero Maj. Adams but also about the area where coal is no longer king (the population in the Tri City area of Cumberland, Benham and Lynch has declined to an estimated total population in 2016 of 3,212 when at in the 1940s the population of Lynch alone was more than 10,000).

Maj. Adams, my mother’s brother, had a dispute with a teacher at Benham High School and dropped out. His plan was to work in the thriving coal mines; however, family legend indicates that at the mines where he applied, his mother followed close behind to tell prospective employers, “I’m a widow, and I don’t want my only son to die in the coal mines.”

With no job in the coal mines, Adams joined what was then the Army Air Corps, later in 1947 to become the U.S. Air Force. He learned to fly at Chanute Field in Champaign County, Illnois, was the first to fly solo in his class and was one of the pilots running to get his plane airborne when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said would live in infamy. History tells us that only five U.S. pilots were able to get their planes airborne that day, and Adams was not one of them.

From Pearl Harbor it was on to the European Theater where he flew B-17 bombers. From there he was in Occupied Japan until the Korean War broke out in 1950. Men and equipment from World War II were used in that war, and Adams flew B-17s and B-52s. It was back to Occupied Japan and then retirement- for a short period. He and his family then settled in Warner Robins, Georgia, where he became a civil servant at Robins Air Force Base. With a team of seven men (including three others from that base and four from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio), Adams worked for 10 years on the flight logistics of the F-15, an all-weather tactical fighter aircraft which debuted in 1972.

To educate our young relatives to the riches of Harlan County, I put together a two-page, single-spaced handout on the must-see attractions in the area. Items on the list ranged from Portal 31, an underground mine tour, to Rebel Rock where Rebels hid from the Union army in an area with widely-divided sentiments during the Civil War to ATV trail heads and zip lines to monuments that indicate the names of long-deceased male relatives who worked in the coal mines.

Our current family bears no resemblance to the family from which we came: Viva Moore Adams born in 1895 and died in 1991 and William Stephen Adams born in 1891 and died in 1931. Our ancestors were white who emigrated from Western Europe.

Today our family reflects the population of the U.S. with marriages, divorces, adoptions; Republicans and Democrats; Catholic, Protestant and no religion; African American, Hispanic Americans and Anglo Americans; some high school graduates and many with graduate degrees representing a range of disciplines and occupations.

I like this diversity and was especially pleased that the states of Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky were represented in our group. Ages ranged from 5 to 80 years.

Back to Vance’s book, Hillbilly Elegy. An elegy is a song written to lament the dead. Thank you very much, Mr. Vance, we are alive and thriving, eager to learn about and embrace our Appalachian heritage even as we move into the larger world, assuming our leadership roles in government, education, health care, manufacturing and in enterprises yet to be conceived.

Contact Dr. Vivian Blevins at

Photos submitted Family from across many states gathered recently to attend a ceremony honoring the late Maj. William Ellis Adams, a WWII veteran, in Cumberland. Family members wanted the children of the group to learn about the Tri-Cities area while visiting. Items on the list of attractions to see ranged from Portal 31, Rebel Rock, ATV trail heads and zip lines and monuments that indicate the names of long-deceased male relatives who worked in the coal mines.

Photos submitted Family from across many states gathered recently to attend a ceremony honoring the late Maj. William Ellis Adams, a WWII veteran, in Cumberland. Family members wanted the children of the group to learn about the Tri-Cities area while visiting. Items on the list of attractions to see ranged from Portal 31, Rebel Rock, ATV trail heads and zip lines and monuments that indicate the names of long-deceased male relatives who worked in the coal mines.

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In Memoriam: Pam McConnell, 1946-2017

Pam McConnell was a warrior for the values that she believed in.

When she took on a cause she was fierce in winning the day, carefully developing a winning strategy, putting forward the case in public or council settings and making the necessary background phone calls and connections to make it happen. Pam McConnell died July 7. She was 71 years old.

To Pam, the most important number at City Hall was 23, the number of council votes needed to win. She was marvellously adept at building a coalition to get her to that magic number. 

Whether it was stick-handling policing during the turbulent transition out of the Fantino years, outsmarting colleagues out to scuttle plans to build the Wellesley Community Centre and Library in St. James Town or opposition to the regeneration of Regent Park, Pam’s tenacity shone through. 

Pam was a principal architect behind the Regent Park redevelopment. The multi-million dollar, multi-year project was a complex one. Not everyone was on board on how best to revitalize Toronto’s oldest social housing experiment, create affordable housing and build community in the process. Leveraging the land, creating a mixed-income neighbourhood and ensuring strong community amenities like Artscape’s Daniels Spectrum and the Regent Park Aquatic Centre was visionary. It was Pam’s creativity and ability to bring together a variety of players that made it happen.

During the tumultuous Rob Ford years, Pam resisted the temptation to go head on into battle against him, unlike many councillors and public figures.  

“Ford will fall on his own,” she rightly predicted. “The better attention,” she said, should be spent on the projects that mattered in the life of our communities. 

A veteran councillor and former school trustee who was a believer in the idea that “all things will pass,” Pam’s prescience calmed everyone down during the Ford term, helping ensure waterfront redevelopment stayed on track in the face of Island airport expansion plans.

Her tactical know-how was complemented by some very clever diplomatic skills. Most mayors over her political career saw this in Pam and thus placed her in key positions to help bridge divisive issues.

After John Tory was elected mayor,  for example, poverty reduction became her mission as the Mayor’s deputy. 

Pam used the five fingers on her hand to explain that Toronto needed a multi-pronged strategy to address five key areas to fight poverty: housing stability, access to services, transit equity, food security and quality jobs with living incomes. 

The plan’s implementation was key and she ensured that as much funding as possible for poverty reduction was made available each council budget. Free access to recreation programs for all Torontonians was another mission she successfully fought to enhance.

Also dear to Pam was the leadership of women in politics through her work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. She championed mentorship programs across the country. Pam believed that gender equity at decision-making tables made for better public policy. She was a widely respected figure nationally, speaking annually at the national FCM conference on the state of women’s participation in political work. She established the annual Women’s Breakfast with FCM and the Canadian Labour Congress to raise scholarship funds for aspiring young political women.

One of Pam’s favourite expressions, which she used with political supporters and opponents alike, was to “find the island,” which was her way of explaining that we all come to political work from our own perspective, and that we need to swim to that place where common purpose can be found. It was her way of explaining the theme of politics as the art of the possible and finding the most progressive place achievable at any given moment in the city’s life.  

For all her victories, there were also defeats. Losing the vote on taking down the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway hit her hard (only 21 votes came to the table).  

Pam’s life showed a deep commitment to a socially and economically just society. She was the complete package. 

Always kind and caring, it was Pam who invited new and returning councillors to her condo after the 2010 election, and it was Pam who bought the bouquet of flowers and a book for then Councillor Rob Ford when his son Dougie was born.  

There were many tears at City Hall when Pam’s death became known, as she had the deep respect and affection of so many city staff with whom she had worked.  

Pam showed us how to live and struggle with the right combination of ferocity and gentleness.  

We are especially thankful to Pam’s family for sharing their Mom and Nana with the rest of us. We are better for their sacrifices.

Her legacy lives on in the communities and causes she supported toward building a better Toronto.

Paula Fletcher and Joe Mihevc are Toronto city councillors.

A Celebration of Life for Pam McConnell takes place at Cathedral Church of St. James (65 Church) Friday, August 25 at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, the McConnell family encourages donations to Collective of Black Artists, Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services or Riverdale Housing Animation Programs. | @nowtoronto

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Champions Cup has brought together a group of the best horses in the country

The R1-million, Grade 1 World Sports Betting Champions Cup (1800m) at Greyville on Saturday, July 29 has the hallmarks of a race that could go down as one of the greatest thoroughbred clashes in South African racing history.

Captain America, picture Nkosi Hlophe

Run at the Theatre of Champions on the first day of the two-day Gold Cup Festival of Racing Weekend that also features the R1.25-million eLan Gold Cup, the race has brought together a group of the best horses in the country including four Grade 1 winners that could all make their mark on the international stage.

The World Sports Betting Champions Cup heads the nine-race card on the Saturday and will be followed on the Sunday by a 10-race programme that, in addition to the eLan Gold Cup over 3 200m, also features the final races in the season’s juvenile programme, the R750 000, Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes and the R750 000, Grade 1 Thekwini Stakes for fillies with both races being contested over 1 600m.

Heading the 12-horse field for the World Sports Betting Champions Cup are two of the top horses from the Cape, Captain America from the Brett Crawford stable that thrashed the opposition in the Grade 1 Rising Sun Gold Challenge and Marinaresco from the Candice Bass-Robinson stable that defied his top weight to win Africa’s Greatest horserace, the R4.25-million, Grade 1 Vodacom Durban July and will be bidding to complete the Champions Cup double.

Bela-Bela VDJ day 2017, picture Liesl King

Capable of upsetting all her opponents and also from the Cape is the brilliant Dynasty filly Bela-Bela from the Justin Snaith stable that demolished her opposition in the Grade 1 Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes and is likely to be retired to stud after the meeting. Her impressive record includes victory in the Grade 1 Paddock Stakes at Kenilworth at the beginning of the year.

Also in the field is the winner of the Grade 1 President’s Champion Challenge at Turffontein, Deo Juvente from the Geoff Woodruff stable, that had to be withdrawn from the Vodacom Durban July due to a set-back in training. The Woodruff yard is renowned for producing winners of big races and this Trippi gelding will be a major contender in this race.

The surprise winner of the Grade 2 Betting World 1900 at Greyville earlier in the season, Ten Gun Salute from the Duncan Howells yard, is also among the runners and his disappointing unplaced run in the Vodacom Durban July is best ignored as he suffered major interference in the running.

With the other well-performed runners like It’s My Turn, Sail South, Judicial, Matador Man and Black Arthur also in the field, this race could be the highlight of the weekend and the season as they fight out what should be a thrilling finish.

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Interview: Sean (P. Diddy) Combs

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‘Devil’s Music, Holy Rollers and Hillbillies’ Joins the Debate on the Origins of Rock ‘n’ Roll

US: May 2016

The history of rock ‘n’ roll and its myriad “firsts” is about as convoluted and controversial as things can get when it comes to determining who originated what, when, where and why. Ask five different rock ‘n’ roll scholars what the first rock ‘n’ roll song was and you’ll likely get five different answers ranging from songs from as early as the mid-‘20s up through the early ‘50s. Part of the problem is that there isn’t necessarily a line of delineation as to when rock ‘n’ roll became rock ‘n’ roll, as the disparate elements that came together to make the sound of what is commonly thought of as the genre were in existence for decades prior to its ‘50s heyday.

It’s easy to argue that what was considered rock ‘n’ roll in the wake of Elvis Presley and others was really nothing more than white-washed (literally) R&B with a mix of hillbilly music for good measure. The fact of the matter is, the music of black artists playing jump blues and similar forms in the ‘40s doesn’t sound all that much different from what would be labeled rock ‘n’ roll in the next decade. Considering that the music itself relied on the same basic I-IV-V chord progression within a 12-bar blues format, the similarities are plain as day. The difference is the culture within which each came to the greater public attention, one in which race played a deciding role in who would receive credit for having done what.

Of course it’s easy to be a revisionist historian, looking back over the whole of the spectrum of popular music, hoping to pinpoint an exact starting point, and this is why the discussion has become so heated in recent years. Indeed, rock ‘n’ roll historian Ed Ward went so far as to title his attempt at a comprehensive overview of the form The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963. Bringing together everything from minstrel shows to Delta blues to hillbilly music to elements of jazz, what we now think of as rock ‘n’ roll is little more than a jumbled gumbo of popular American musical styles. In other words, there is no definitive starting point or original artist responsible for the movement as a whole; rather, there is only those who helped popularize rock ‘n’ in their own time, namely during the ‘50s.

Author (and PopMatters contributor) James A. Cosby’s Devil’s Music, Holy Rollers and Hillbillies: How America Gave Birth to Rock and Roll recognizes the ongoing—and ultimately pointless—debate as to the music’s origins, providing a sort of musical and cultural genealogy that brings together bite-sized chunks of musical trivia generally scattered across myriad sources and placing it within its representational cultural context. By cutting through the speculative nature of those looking to put a name on the first, Cosby’s approach helps provide a historical context to show how and why certain styles and performers won out over others.

From the esoteric early ‘20s blues that utilized the term “rock” and/or “roll” within their lyrical context through the Pentecostal “holy rollers” to the more well-known, widely recognized originators such as Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, Cosby attempts to weave together the disparate narrative threads into a coherent whole. It’s an ambitious undertaking, to be sure, but Cosby has a way of distilling the most significant elements of each era and laying out the simple facts without getting into a lot of snobbish speculation. His approach is at once readable and interesting in a way that appeals to both those who claim to know it all and those who think rock ‘n’ roll started with Elvis Presley (spoiler alert: it decidedly did not, and Elvis would’ve been one of the first to admit as such).

Without any sort of overarching operating thesis, Cosby instead plays the role of impartial observer, citing those who’ve obsessively pored over the minutiae of rock ‘n’ roll and penned densely-structured think pieces on everything from why Ike Turner’s role in the formation of rock ‘n’ roll has been largely overlooked (hint: it might’ve had a little something to do with the way he treated his wife, Tina) to why or why not Elvis Presley was a racist cultural thief who simply took black music and made it acceptable for a white audience. While not adding much to the over discussion of the history of rock ‘n’ roll, Cosby’s work allows for a greater, more concise contextual analysis as the cultural, political and societal factors behind the emergence of the idiom in post-war America.

In this, Devil’s Music serves as both a fine primer on and overview of the ongoing debates surrounding the origins of rock ‘n’ roll, its primary architects and the complex series of racially motivated factors that went into the music’s cultural ascendency and troubling historical legacy. Cosby makes sure to give no one short shrift, going into great detail on the evolution of early blues through the minstrel and traveling medicine shows, Delta blues through to the hillbilly music that borrowed just as much from the blues as rock ‘n’ roll ultimately would and beyond. It’s far from comprehensive, but instead offers a concise look at the often confusing history behind one of the biggest musical movements of the 20th century.

Devil’s Music, Holy Rollers and Hillbillies: How America Gave Birth to Rock and Roll


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