Family Reunions: Keeping the Tradition Alive

This past weekend was the 37th family reunion on my maternal side, and I was shocked to see how much our numbers have dwindled over the years. I had to admit my own responsibility to this change: it had been at least 10 years since I’d last attended so I shouldn’t have been surprised at the lack of 30-somethings in attendance. However, I was – and was confronted with a banquet filled with elders and children. So many members of our family who were central to reunion planning had transitioned in recent years, that the committee had gone from 30 to 6 – what would happen to this tradition if we didn’t step up?

I immediately recalled my childhood and the large packet that would arrive every spring announcing where this year’s reunion would take place. I eagerly anticipated the road trips we would take and the family and American history I would soak up on each trip. I thought about the cousins from New York and Detroit that I would kick it with every year, and how much we shared in common in spite of our regional differences. I remembered the feeling of sitting with my grandmother’s cousins and listening to them chat about their childhoods, breaking into roaring laughter at their memories at times, and how priceless those stories were. I had to accept how far removed I’d become from it all, letting work and other events of life get in the way.

There’s nothing like our families, but too often our time together is spent at funerals and weddings only, and not spending time talking about our history and culture. The family reunion is the one event where we can say, “Look at how far we’ve come” and celebrate our collective experience together. Without the reunions, the ties that bind aren’t strong and it’s easy to only spend time with immediate family, never knowing the background and foundation for how things came to be. The reunion traditions are an important part of our history, one that my generations’ lack of participation in showcases just how much the world has changed in the last decade.

This week, I’m starting a Facebook page for my family reunion group, in hopes of getting more people of my generation involved in the planning. We can’t leave it on the elders to take care of everything – at some point we have to pick up the torch and let them rest. I’m looking forward to introducing my son to his family around this nation and elsewhere, and helping him learn the value of attending this annual event. One day, it will be his turn to take the reins and I want to lead him to that place, by setting an example for him to follow – the same way all the generations before have done for me.

Make time to spend time with family today – tomorrow is not promised.

Recommended Reading For African American Financial Starters

The way to wealth is as plain as the way to market. It depends chiefly on two words, industry and frugality; that is, waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality nothing will do; with them, everything. – Benjamin Franklin


Capitalism & Slavery by Eric Williams

Comments – This book is tied for one of the most important books I have ever read period with Miseducation of the Negro. It is by far the most important financial book I have ever read. To understand the history of system you are engaging is vital. One of the most important lessons I came away with in this book is that capital within the capitalist system will always seek to find the cheapest labor.

Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the making of a Black American millionaire by Carol Jenkins & Elizabeth Hines


Comments – The biography of arguably one of the greatest business men to ever grace America’s soil. His story of entrepreneurship and building of an empire is worth the read. He owned a bank, insurance company, along with  many other businesses, and before his death was proposing an African American owned stock exchange. His rise from humble beginnings that would make many of us blush today gives one a role model of perseverance.



Comments – Robert Kiyosaki explains the three types of income. He is also the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. A book that is worth reading but there is much of it that must be taken with a grain of salt.

Robert Kiyosaki: Three Types of Income

Mr. Kiyosaki, while I respect his opinion in a lot of areas of his book, primarily that your house is not an investment, some of his book is a sales job to get you to buy more of his products so reader beware.







The median net worth for African Americans is $2,170.

The median net worth for European Americans is $97,860

And more can be found here:

Men Lie, Women Lie – Numbers Don’t: The Financial State of African America

STOP: African Americans should NOT be maxing out their 401(k)



Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham & David Dodd

Comments – This one will put your mettle to the test. Its long. Its boring. Its fundamental. Its imperative. Benjamin Graham was Warren Buffett’s teacher and that alone makes it a must read. Beyond that this book will provide the discipline needed to make you understand the need for long-term value investing and not subject to the whims of the ups and downs of the daily market.



Common Stocks & Uncommon Profits by Philip A. Fisher

Comments – If Warren Buffett is known as the greatest value investor of all-time then Philip Fisher is arguably the greatest growth investor of all-time. Again, focused on long-term investing but this time in growth companies. Mr. Fisher did not believe in diversification investing but finding a few (7 to 10) really good stocks and being dedicated to them over the long-term.


These are websites that I check with some frequency on a weekly if not daily basis. Now while I wouldn’t expect anyone to check them at the rate I do these are websites that should at least find your eyeballs at least once a month. Also check newspapers from around the world. This is important because you want to start to see trends. The reality is that geopolitical and geoeconomical events can echo strongly into financial markets at times. No, reading CNN is not enough. You want to read events from others point of view about the world. CNN gives you the world view from European America’s perch. Understanding the difference can and will give you an edge when examining your company if it has a multinational operation.

This is just the start of a long road of wealth building but a foundation to begin you on your way. All of these avenues will potentially lead you to other avenues of information. Don’t invest in isolation either. Conversations about companies and their long-term potential with other investors can help you see things you might miss.

MOST importantly – SHARE this information with your family, friends, and community.

Make more money than you spend and don’t spend that much.

Mr. Foster is the Interim Executive Director of HBCU Endowment Foundation, sits on the board of directors at the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy, & President of AK, Inc. A former banker & financial analyst who earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics & Finance from Virginia State University as well his master’s degree in Community Development & Urban Planning from Prairie View A&M University. Publishing research on the agriculture economics of food waste, full-time contributor at HBCU Money, and guest contributor for a number of African American media outlets.



The Fall of Black Music – Part 2

Black Americans have contributed to the advancement of American society in an endless number of ways. Intellectually, technologically, politically, militarily, and of course by the captivity of our labor our affect on the shaping of the United States of America can hardly be denied. But it might not be wrong to say that our greatest collective legacy in this country has lied in the cultural sphere, particularly through our art and our music. There’s an easy reason for this. In literature, academics and other areas where some measure of organized education has been necessary to gain a mastery of the field, such education was prohibited to the African-American, first by slavery, and then for all intents and purposes by discrimination and segregation. Such barriers to education have declined precipitously across the course of one-hundred and forty-five years, but we are still enduring the ills of a long history of educational disenfranchisement, one that to some extent persists to this day. But in the area of music (and certainly dance and culinary arts) we didn’t need any training. We brought our music over from Africa, and although the precise forms and languages of our former arts were lost to us, our innate, human urge to sing, to dance, and to express ourselves in song was not lost. Music was one of the few consolations for our circumstances the slave master, whether by whip, dog, or separation, could not take away from us. The deeper our pain, the more powerful our music; the purer our songs,the more resonant our expression of the longings of the human soul. Even a cultural critic as narrow minded as Joseph Goebbels, the virulently racist propaganda minister of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi empire, commented that the most distinctive music product of American culture historically was the spirituals of the negro. That the Nazi’s could recognize the power of such music is simply a testament to the depth of its quality.

With the Blues and later Rhythm and Blues came expressions of an evolving but similar pain. Not all music of the forties and fifties dealt directly with the ills of societal injustice and the pain of our persecution, but when you listen to Billie Holiday conjure the deathly imagery of blacks lynched, swinging from trees in the song Strange Fruit, or the soaring somberness of Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come, it is easy to hear in that the same mourning that colors Old Man River and other dark, somber songs of sadness and lament that arose from the pain of our bondage. That pain has morphed in recent times, but has never disappeared. It lives on, expressed with increasing complexity concurrent with the sprawling urbanization and societal inequity overwhelming the faith and the worldview of our ghetto youth. Our humble mourning of ages gone by has become profane, militant and directionless anger in the noise of many rappers, but if you listen past the cursing and the anger of a song like Tupac Shakur’s They Don’t Give a F–k about Us, or if you bother to pay attention to the words of Momma’s Just a Little Girl, it is not hard to tell that the last agony grows from the same roots as the first. Inasmuch as our music has had a particular power in the heart of America and over the imagination of the world it starts in this, that so much of it grows directly from our experience, that we sing and we play what we know from life.

Of course, not all black music is sorrowful. In the very same way the joy of our music, it’s love and romance, has contributed a warmth and a genuineness to American music that too comes from the hardness of our circumstance. What’s true of black music is also true of Jewish music and surely other peoples who have known oppression, and that is that the happiest and the loving-est music comes from those who are well acquainted with sadness. In the case of black music you can’t talk about the music of Sam Cooke (think You Send Me) or Jackie Wilson (think To Be Loved) or Solomon Burke or Donny Hathaway or Ray Charles without calling to mind a body of romantic music to equal a treatise on love for all time (to say nothing of the great musicians and composers that permeate the history of black music, from Louis Armstrong, to Duke Ellington to Miles Davis). Whereas the politics of race and civil rights divided Americans black and white in so many ways, the universality of American music put crack after crack in the color barrier, and brought blacks and whites together in at least this one thing over time. This tradition continued with the great groups of the Motown era, including of course the Temptations, the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, not to mention the many greats outside of Motown like Aretha Franklin, The Platters and near countless others.

Our music isn’t primarily about love anymore; nor does it find so much time to soulfully reflect upon the smaller and simpler things and battles of life that music helps to illuminate. As the years passed and television and the multimedia era enveloped the years, songs like Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, a song about a woman who spends her life putting her own dreams on hold first for an irresponsible father, than an unreliable lover, and finally for their children as a single mother, did not come along much anymore. On occasion there is an India Arie, who sings about things that are real. On occasion an Anthony Hamilton can rise to the task. But the overflow of materialism, of gratuitousness and even violence that persists in our music today was never there before. As image transcended substance love was replaced by lust in our music, to great degree, and inasmuch as this is true our music is not as inspiring as it once was. What is troubling is that black people as a whole have little inkling as to how much weaker this has made us as a people.

Women: Game Changers, Less Known, Here Celebrated

On exhibit now until March 29th:

Utilizing CAAM’s soaring entrance space, flying banners celebrate centuries of achievements by African American women, many of whom are less publicly known. We see physicians and nurses; barrier-breaking women pilots; chroniclers of history and culture; and sisters-in-arms marching through the military. Some women are game changers in sports while others are legal defenders, activists and champions for women, children and human rights. From inventors and high achievers peering through microscopes to writers of headlines and verse, these are, and were, women mavericks who walked outside the lines and flew outside the box. Many of these triumphs have been lost in the mist of time — names not in headlines, and faces faded into the background. CAAM celebrates these game changers as sister ancestors, and an inspiration for generations.

Women presented in the exhibit include:

Women of Wisdom


Artist, Educator, Writer, Filmmaker

Samella Lewis, (b. 1924) is an iconic figure in American art.


Museum Founder

Alberta Kearney, (b. 1920) created the Doris Nelson African American Art and History Museum in 1979.


Visual Artist, Educator, Arts Organizer

Margaret Taylor, (b. 1917) founded the South Side Community Art Center Chicago, The National Conference of Artists, the Lake Meadows Outdoor Art Fair and America’s first museum of Black History.


Journalist, Author

Isabel Wilkerson, (b. 1961) became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.


Wise Woman of Real Estate

Eula McClaney, (b. 1913) was raised on a sharecropper’s farm in Alabama, taught herself the intricacies of the real estate market and became a philanthropist.


African American Librarian

Vivian Gordon Harsh, (b. 1890) became the first African American librarian in the Chicago Public Library system where she developed a world-renowned Black History collection.

High Flyers


The Air Force’s highest ranking Black female aviator

Stayce Harris, (b. 1959) airborne career has propelled her to command an airlift squadron, air expeditionary group and serve as the first and only Black woman to command a flying wing in the Air Force.


First African American Woman in Outer Space

Mae Carol Jemison, (b. 1956) was chosen from a pool of 2,000 applicants, and in the process made history as the first African American female astronaut.


America’ s First Female African American Combat Pilot

Vernice Armour, (b. 1973) flew with HMLA-169 during the invasion of Iraq becoming America’s first African American female combat pilot.


US Coast Guard’s First Black Female Aviator

Jeanine McIntosh Menze, (b. 1978) became the first African American woman to successfully complete flight training and be assigned as a pilot in the United States Coast Guard.


First African American to earn an Aviator’s License

Bessie Coleman, (b. 1892) made history June 15, 1921, when she earned an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale becoming the first African American, male or female, to earn an aviator’s license.


First Black nurse in Regular Army Nurse Corps

Nancy Leftenant-Colon transferred to the Air Force as a flight nurse a year after making history as the first African American nurse in the Regular Army Nurse Corps.

Publishers and Poets


Newspaper Publisher, Activist

Charlotta Bass, (b. 1879) was a newspaper publisher-editor and civil rights activist.


Essayist, Playwright, Fiction Writer

Marita Bonner, (b. 1899) won first place in the Crisis Literary Contest of 1925, pinpointing the devalued status of African American women in American mainstream society.


First African American Poetry Pulitzer Prize Winner

Gwendolyn Brooks, (b. 1917) won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize, making Brooks the first African American recipient of the Pulitzer.


Journalist, Lawyer, Educator

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, (b. 1823) launched the Provincial Freeman in March, becoming the first Black woman publisher in North America.


Prolific Writer, Orator

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, (b. 1826) was a prolific and popular writer who published in practically every genre.


Musician, Teacher, Poet

Ariel Williams, (b. 1905) received a bachelor’s degree in music from Fisk University in 1926 and another bachelor’s degree in music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.



Octavia Albert., (b. 1853) combined in “The House of Bondage,” the personal narratives of former slaves, along with her own incisive commentary.

Legal Eagles


International War Crimes Law

Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, (b. 1942) was appointed a federal district court judge, the first African American on the Texas federal bench, serving through 1988.


The Children’ s Champion

Marian Wright Edelman, (b. 1939) is founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and has been a champion for children and the disadvantaged her entire career.


First Black Woman Lawyer

Charlotte E. Ray, (b. 1850) was the first African American woman to practice law in the United States.


First Black Woman Judge in US

Jane Bolin, (b. 1908) was the first Black woman judge in the United States.


Fifty Years as a Jurist

Constance Baker Motley, (b. 1921) was appointed to a judgeship for the Southern District of New York in 1966 where she became the first African American woman on the federal bench.

SADIE TANNER MOSSEL ALEXANDER Pioneer in Law & Civil Rights Sadie Tanner, (b. 1898) was the first Black woman to graduate from Pennsylvania Law School and the first Black woman admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1927.

Inventive, Scientific Women


Inventor, Forensic Scientist

Bessie Blount, (b. 1914) invented a device that delivered food through a tube, one bite at a time, and appeared on the Philadelphia television show “The Big Idea” in 1953, becoming the first Black and the first woman to be given such recognition.


Teacher, Inventor

Miriam E. Benjamin, (b. 1861) was a successful teacher in 1888 when she became the second Black woman in history to receive a patent on a system enabling customers to quietly alert staff when in need of service.


Theoretical Physicist, Ultimate Role Model

Shirley Ann Jackson, (b. 1946) was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Inventor, Entrepreneur

Sarah E. Goode, (b. 1850) was the first African American woman to be granted a patent by the US Patent and Trademark Office for her cabinet bed invention on July 14, 1885.


Ophthalmologist, Inventor

Patricia Era Bath, (b. 1942) is the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose–an “apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses.”



Beth Brown, (b. 1969) went to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as a National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council post-doctoral research associate and joined the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC) in 2001 as a civil servant.


Scientist, Engineer

Aprille Ericsson, (b. 1963) was the first female M.I.T graduate to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and the first African American female to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Activists & People’s Champions


Human Rights Activist

Ora Mobley Sweeting, (b. 1927) became a charter member of the Organization of Afro- American Unity, and a supporter of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr.


Slave Turned Business Woman, Philanthropist

Bridget Mason, (b. 1818) was one of the first African Americans to purchase land in the city of Los Angeles.


Pioneer Nursing Home Founder

Eliza Bryant, (b. 1827) worked with the Sarah Green and Lethia Flemming in 1896 and established a home for former slaves to reside.


Fearless Crusader, Women’ s Rights Champion

Ida B. Wells, (b. 1862) was a forceful speaker, writer, and anti-lynching crusader.


Civil Rights Activist, Writer, Publisher

Daisy Bates, (b. 1914) became the president of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1952.


Mississippi Freedom Party Founder

Fannie Lou Hamer, (b. 1917) challenged Mississippi’s all-white delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.



Entertainment Visionary

Suzanne de Passe, (b. 1948) signed and developed the Jackson 5 and became the first African American woman ever nominated for an Academy Award for screenwriting with “Lady Sings the Blues.”


United Methodist Bishop

Leontine Kelly, (b. 1920) served as chief administrator and spiritual leader of more than 100,000 United Methodists in California and Nevada.


Pioneer, Protector, Postal Employee

Mary Fields, (b. 1812) became the second woman and the first African American woman to work for the United States Postal Service.


First Bank President

Maggie Walker, (b. 1867) opened the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank and became its president in 1903.


Nurse, Adventurer

Barbara Hillary, (b. 1931) used her skills in gerontology to tailor staff development in nursing homes and reached both the North and South Poles in her seventies.


First Registered African American Woman Architect

Norma Merrick Sklarek, (b. 1928) was the first African American woman registered as an architect in the US, earning her degree from Barnard and her certification in New York in 1954.

She Got Game


World Class Warrior

Anita DeFrantz, (b. 1952) a rowing champion who became a voice for athletes’ rights; she was appointed the first female vp in the history of the International Olympic Committee.


First American Woman Long Jump Medalist

Willye White, (b. 1939) competed for the United States in an astonishing five Olympic Games and became the first American woman to ever medal in the long jump.


Tennis Pioneer

Althea Gibson, (b. 1927) was the first African American of either gender to break the color barrier in tennis and the top-ranked US player in 1957 and 1958.


Playing Ball With the Boys

Toni Stone, (b. 1921) became the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues and managed what almost nobody could ever do: She got a hit off the legendary pitcher Saitchel Page.


Dominated the High Jump

Alice Coachman, (b. 1923) became the first Black female athlete of any nation to win an Olympic gold medal and also was the first American female to win an Olympic medal in track and field.


Cooper, Leslie, Thompson

CYNTHIA COOPER-DYKE, (b. 1963) rocketed to fame in the very first season of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She took the Comets to four WNBA Championships and was named Most Valuable Player in each of those finals. LISA LESLIE, (b. 1972 sunk 49 straight free throws in one season and was the first center to be named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. On July 31, 2001, Leslie became the WNBA’s career scoring leader.

TINA MARIE THOMPSON, (b. 1965) made history when she became the inaugural draft pick of the WNBA when the Houston Comets picked her for the debut season. Thompson is a nine-time All-Star, winning MVP honors at the 2000 All-Star Game.

She Heals


America’ s Doctor

The 18th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, Regina M. Benjamin, (b. 1956) oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers serving around the world.


First US African American Woman Neurosurgeon

Alexa Irene Canady, (b. 1950) was Chief of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. She was named Woman of the Year by the American Women’s Medical Association and mentors young people by speaking at high schools.


The Power of Adoption

Dorothy Lavinia Brown, (b. 1919) spent her childhood in an orphanage and grew up to become the first African American woman surgeon in the South, and was eventually named chief of surgery at Nashville’s Riverside Hospital.


Reaching the Height of Public Service

Audrey Forbes Manley, (b. 1934) served as deputy US surgeon general and later reached the pinnacle of public service in medicine as acting US surgeon general before becoming president of Spelman College.


First African American Doctress

When she graduated medical school in 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, (b. 1831) became the first African American woman in the United States to earn her MD degree and the only African American woman to graduate from the New England Female Medical College.

Sisters in Arms


The General Is A Lady

Hazel Johnson, (b. 1939) was named the first Black woman general in the United States Army. As chief of the Army Nurse Corps, Johnson oversaw 7,000 men and women nurses in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves.


Navy Daughter to Rear Admiral

Lillian Fishburne, (b. 1949) became the first female African American to be promoted to flag rank in the US Navy she served as the Director, Information Transfer Division for the Space, Information Warfare, Command and Control Directorate.


Actress Hopeful Turned General

When Marcelite Harris, (b. 1943) was promoted to the rank of Major-General in 1995, she became the highest-ranking woman in the Air Force, and also the highest ranking Black woman in the entire Department of Defense.


Nurse, Educator, Warrior

Susie Reed was born into slavery on Aug. 6, 1848, on a farm near Savannah, GA. During the Civil War she escaped with her uncle’s family and joined the all-Black 1st South Carolina Volunteers (which later became the 33d US Colored Infantry) as a nurse, teacher, and laundress.


From Slave to Spy

To get access to top-secret information, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, (b. 1848) became “Ellen Bond,” a dim-witted but able servant in the household of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. She took notes on the documents left out by Davis, unaware the woman they assumed was a slave could read.

The 6888th Central Postal Squadron: Major CHARITY ADAMS, Commander They made history as the only battalion of African American women to be deployed overseas, delivering mail to approximately seven million American troops stationed in Europe, and were under Major Charity Adams’ command, the first woman to be commissioned as an officer in the WACS.

Visit the California Afro-American Museum at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, CA 90037

Black Is: A Day In Our History

No crime in American history– let alone a crime that never occurred– produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did an alleged gang rape of two white girls by nine black teenagers on a Southern Railroad freight run on March 25, 1931.  Over the course of the two decades that followed, the struggle for justice of the “Scottsboro Boys,” as the black teens were called, made celebrities out of anonymities, launched and ended careers, wasted lives, produced heroes, opened southern juries to blacks, exacerbated sectional strife, and divided America’s political left.

Nine black youths are indicted in Scottsboro, Alabama, on charges of having raped two white women. Although the evidence was slim, the southern jury sentenced them to death. The Supreme Court overturns their convictions twice; each time Alabama retries them, finding them guilty. In a third trial, four of the Scottsboro boys are freed; but five are sentenced to long prison terms.


Source: Famous American Trials

LA EVENTS: Ebony Repertory Theatre Celebrates Black History

A Celebration of Black History

A Journey in Four Parts



February 4    7:30PM – A Celebration of History

February 11   8:00pm – A Celebration of Love

February 18   8:00pm – A Celebration of Men

February 25   8:00pm – A Celebration of Women

Doors open one hour prior to performances

Purchase YOUR Tickets Now!

For tickets and information, contact Ebony Repertory Theatre   or 323-964-9766

Ebony Repertory Theatre is located in the

Nate Holden Performing Arts Center

4718 W. Washington Blvd

Los Angeles, CA  90016


Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (VIDEO)

When the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. set their mind to a thing, they get it done and it was in 1983 when five members, George Sealy, Alfred Bailey, John Harvey, Oscar Little, and Eddie Madison, developed the idea that would be the greatest undertaking in the fraternities’ history. It took 28 years, but finally last August a statue created by sculptor, Lei Yixin, in the likeness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, DC., a location reserved for past presidents of the United States.

Thousands gathered at the National Mall last August for this historic event and to celebrate the greatest posthumous tribute to Dr. King’s life and legacy. Here are a few highlights from that glorious weekend:

Stevie Wonder performs at the MLK Dedication.


Stevie Wonder discusses his visit to the monument.


India Arie performs at the MLK Memorial.


Patti LaBelle performs at the MLK Dedication.


Bernice King speaks during the dedication.


Julian Bond at the MLK Dedication.


Eddie Levert performs at the dedication concert.


Cicely Tyson discusses the unveiling of the memorial.


Al Sharpton at the MLK Memorial.


Diahann Carroll Reflects on the life of Dr. King.


Andrew Young at the MLK Dedication.


President Obama’s speech at the MLK Memorial Dedication.


Thank you Dr. King for your tireless sacrifices! You remain in our hearts and minds every day, for we know we would not have come as far as we have without your efforts!

USNS Medgar Evers

The U.S. Navy christened its newest supply ship, USNS Medgar Evers.  Named in honor of the African American civil rights leader from Mississippi, the USNS Medgar Evers is the 13th ship of a class of 14 dry cargo/ammunition ships designed and built by NASSCO.

More than 1,000 people attended the Saturday morning christening ceremony for the USNS Medgar Evers at NASSCO’s San Diego shipyard.  Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was the ceremony’s principal speaker.  Myrlie Evers, the widow of the late Medgar Evers, served as the ship’s sponsor.  She christened the ship by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against the hull of the 689-foot-long vessel.

As the first field secretary of the NAACP in Mississippi, Medgar Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) created and organized voter-registration efforts, peaceful demonstrations and economic boycotts to draw attention to the unjust practices of companies that practiced discrimination.  Evers became one of the most visible civil rights leaders in the state of Mississippi, working closely with church leaders and other civil rights advocates to promote understanding and equality.  His life’s work helped increase support for the legislation that would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Each ship in the T-AKE Class is named for a noted pioneer in our nation’s history.  Mr. Evers was an Army veteran of World War II and an important civil rights pioneer.  The NASSCO team is proud to add Medgar Evers’ name to this distinguished list,” said Fred Harris, president of NASSCO.

USNS Medgar Evers is the 13th ship of the Lewis and Clark (T-AKE) Class of dry cargo ammunition ships General Dynamics NASSCO is building for the U.S. Navy. NASSCO began constructing USNS Medgar Evers in April 2010.  Following its at-sea testing phase, the ship will be delivered to the Navy in the second quarter of 2012.  USNS Medgar Evers will mark the 13th T-AKE ship that NASSCO has delivered to the Navy since 2006.

NASSCO has reduced the labor hours required to build the USNS Medgar Evers by 67 percent, compared to the first ship of the class.  This dramatic reduction in cost has been gleaned from NASSCO’s culture of continuous improvement over the course of this stable, long-term shipbuilding program.  NASSCO has accomplished this efficient serial production by conducting more than 1.5 million hours of trades training since 2006, equipping each tradesperson with the knowledge and tools required to build T-AKE ships to   unparalleled quality standards.

When in active service, USNS Medgar Evers will join a tradition of NASSCO-built or modified ships directly supporting the United States Marine Corps. The primary mission of USNS Medgar Evers will be to deliver more than 10,000 tons of food, ammunition, fuel and other provisions at one time to combat ships on the move at sea.  T-AKE ships have also served in Navy humanitarian efforts around the globe.