Celebrating 100 years of “America’s Black Eden”: Idlewild, Michigan’s Centennial visit: http://www.iaacc.com/ for more information

Dedication and Grand Opening of John Meeks Park

IDLEWILD, MI (Tell Us USA) – Long considered the “Black Eden”, Idlewild will mark its 100th year with the dedication of John Meeks Park, named in honor of educator, successful businessman, historian and longtime resident. An after party will be held like this area has never seen before. The ceremony will be held from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm August 4, 2012 at M. L. King & Idlewild Boulevard in this historic and beautiful northern resort setting.

The celebration will continue with guest speakers, entertainment and activities for all ages, from 1:00 pm – until, so don’t forget your coolers, blankets and lawn chairs.

Idlewild, a vacation and retirement community in Yates Township located in a small rural northwestern part of Michigan, was one of only a few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property before this discrimination became illegal in 1964.

Upper and middle class African American professionals from Detroit, Chicago, and other Midwestern cities were drawn to this rustic community a hundred years ago with residents the likes of NAACP co-founder, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, cosmetic entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, Lemuel L. Foster, president of Fisk University, Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Sr. of Detroit, and the famous African-American novelist Charles Waddell Chesnutt.


Famous entertainers who performed in Idlewild were Della Reese, Al Hibbler, Bill Doggett, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Roy Hamilton, Brook Benton, Lottie “the Body” Graves, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Sammy Davis, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, Fats Waller, and Billy Eckstein and many other performers, entertained thousands of Idlewilders and white citizens in neighboring Lake County townships throughout the 1950s and early 1960s.

Long considered the “Black Eden”, Idlewild will mark its 100th year with the dedication of John Meeks Park, named in honor of successful businessman, historian and longtime resident.

For more information on this historic centennial or Free Picnic Table Reservation call: IAACC at 231-745-4742 or email: johnmeekssr2@gmail.com For rooms call Paradise Lake Motel: 231-745-9695





Candidates to discuss ‘Quality of Life in Detroit Neighborhoods’ at three forums #QualityofLifeinDetroit #TellUsDetroit

A woman and girl are seen talking in front of store in the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit. Most of the people in neighborhood were displaced so that General Motors could build a new plant. (Photo by David Turnley/CORBIS)

By Elsie Aquino/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Detroit) – The Detroit Neighborhood Forum: Meet the Candidates inspired by the Detroit Works Project – Long Term Planning (DWP LTP) will take place July 24th, 26th, and 30th. The three State Representative forums will be hosted by nine community organizations and the focus will be on improving the quality of life in Detroit.

Each of the three State Representative Candidate Forums will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a Candidate Meet and Greet. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end by 8:30 p.m. Detroit residents will also be able to find out their polling locations when they attend any of the three candidate forums.

The candidate forum schedule is as follows:
• Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at Serbian Memorial Hall, 19940 Van Dyke St., Detroit, MI 48234-3212 (313) 366-9668 for residents living on the Northeast side of the city

• Thursday, July 26, 2012 at Wayne County Community College District Downtown Campus, 1001 West Fort Street, Detroit, MI 48226-3001 (313) 496 2758 for residents living in the Southwest, Central, and Near East Communities

• Monday, July 30, 2012 at Northwest Activities Center, 18100 Meyers Rd # 1, Detroit, MI 48235 (313) 578-7500 for residents living on the Northwest side of the city

“Inspired by the work we did with residents during the Long Term Planning Community Conversations, our organizations thought it would be important to hear from candidates about how they intend to use their office to improve the quality of life in Detroit if we were to elect them,” said Steve Tobocman, Interim Director of Community Development Advocates of Detroit.

Invited candidates, both Democrats and Republicans, have been provided with information about the project including the imperatives actions that have been identified as being necessary to improve the quality of life in Detroit; and feedback received from the community about the factors they want to see focused on for Detroit’s future.

The nine community organizations co-hosting the candidate forums are: Community Development Advocates of Detroit, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Detroiter’s Working for Environmental Justice, Excellent Schools Detroit, Michigan Environmental Council, MOSES, Transportation Riders United, Excellent Schools Detroit, Detroit Collaborative Design Center, and Michigan Community Resources.

Detroit Works Project – Long Term Planning is developing a Strategic Framework Plan, a comprehensive, action oriented road map for near and long-range decision-making that can be used as a guide by Government, Businesses and Investors, Neighborhoods and Community Organizations, Philanthropic Groups, and other Non-Governmental Organizations. When completed this fall it will include a physical vision, public policies, recommended implementers, and strategies for:

• economic growth and attracting new job opportunities for residents
• stabilization and growth of neighborhoods and employment centers
• more efficient practices for improving city systems and infrastructure
• reforms to zoning that accommodate modern and innovative land uses
For more information visit: http://detroitworksproject.com


Judge Damon Keith to be honored by colleagues at his 90th Birthday celebration #JudgeDamonKeith #Damons90thBirthday #TellUsDetroit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Damon Keith stands before a display of his career at a VIP luncheon held at the McGregor prior to the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Center for Civil Rights which will bare his name. (Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

By Laydell Wood Harper/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – The Association of Black Judges and other judicial and community leaders will gather at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday, July 8th for a special 11 am service to celebrate the 90th Birthday of the Honorable Damon J. Keith, Senior Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Born on July 4th Judge Keith is one of the nation’s most well respected leaders and civil rights icons. “I am both delighted and honored to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Judge Damon J. Keith, a dear friend, nationally respected Jurist and civil rights icon on Sunday at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, said Dr. Charles G. Adams, Pastor of Hartford. “His contributions to the legal field are invaluable; The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights represents the foremost resource for the legal history of the Civil Rights Movement and historic accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges. We are proud of you Judge Keith, as a church and as a community. You have paved the way so eloquently for future Jurists of color.”

Judge Keith is also a hometown hero; born and raised in Detroit he has a long and proud history with the judicial system. Since 1977 he has been a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court. He has also served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and recently named Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit Court. He has consistently stood as a courageous defender of the constitutional and civil rights of all people, a common thread that is prominent throughout his career.

In the United States v. Sinclair, commonly referred to as the Keith Decision, the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Judge Keith’s landmark ruling prohibiting President Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Judge Keith was heralded for that decision in Joseph Goulden’s book, The Benchwarmers, as “a prime example of an independent federal judge” who “had the courage to say ‘no'” in the face of “a presidency which likened itself to a ‘sovereign.'” “The strength of the judiciary,” Goulden wrote, “is rooted in just such independence as that displayed by Keith.”

Known as a “Fighter for Justice,” Judge Keith has never forgotten his roots. He is passionate about his long time involvement with the Detroit Chapter of the NAACP and speaks at length about some of their well-documented accomplishments under the leadership of his best friend Arthur Johnson as they worked side by side to bring about change. His annual Black History Month Soul Food luncheon is the talk of the town and attended by everyone from Governor Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing to many of his former law clerks including former Governor Jennifer Granholm, and also business and community leaders. Many of whom attend every year.

The Honorable Judge Keith continues to shine the spotlight on the principles represented in the United States Constitution while ensuring equal rights for all who have been victims of discrimination. The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School held its grand opening last Oct 19, 2011. The Keith Center honors the life and legacy of Judge Keith by carrying out his vision of civil rights.

The public is invited to this 90th Birthday celebration to be held Sunday, July 8th at 11 am at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens Hwy., Detroit, Michigan 48235. For more information call (313) 861-1285


Ex-Penn St. assistant coach guilty of child sex abuse #JerrySandusky #TellUsDetroit

Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse Friday, June 22, 2012, after being found guilty in his sexual abuse trial. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)

Associated Press

BELLEFONTE, PA – For years, the children Jerry Sandusky had preyed upon kept quiet about what the former Penn State assistant football coach did to them in echoing shower stalls, empty hotel rooms and the muffled confines of his basement bedroom.

Late Friday, after a swift trial and less than two days of deliberations, a jury issued an emphatic verdict: Sandusky was guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, meaning the man once considered a successor to coach Joe Paterno will likely die in prison.

The verdict is not the end of the scandal that took down Paterno and deeply shook the state’s most prominent university. It will play out for years in courtrooms and through a set of ongoing investigations.

But the trial did present one piece of finality: Sandusky was taken away in handcuffs to the county jail. Sentencing will be in about three months, but mandatory minimums will keep him behind bars for life.

“One of the recurring themes in this case was, `Who would believe a kid?'” Attorney General Linda Kelly said. “The answer is, we in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid.”

Sandusky, a retired defensive coach, showed little emotion as the verdict was read, giving his wife, Dottie, and family members a half-wave as the county sheriff led him away.

There were only three acquittals among the charges related to 10 victims, eight of whom took the stand to describe fondling, forced oral sex and anal rape. Many of the accusers testified that they had told no one of the abuse that dated as far back as the mid-1990s – not parents, not girlfriends and not police.

The accuser known in court papers as Victim 6, whose mother alerted authorities in 1998 after Sandusky took her son into a shower, broke down in tears upon hearing the verdicts in the courtroom. Afterward, a prosecutor embraced him and said, “Did I ever lie to you?”

The man, now 25, testified that Sandusky called himself the “tickle monster” in a shower assault. He declined to comment to a reporter afterward. His mother said: “Nobody wins. We’ve all lost.”

One of the three counts for which Sandusky was acquitted concerned Victim 6, an indecent assault charge. The man testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just “blacked out.”

The other acquittals were an indecent assault charge related to Victim 5, who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower, and an involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charge regarding Victim 2, the boy graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw being attacked in a campus shower.

Almost immediately after the judge adjourned, loud cheers could be heard from a couple hundred people gathered outside the courthouse as word quickly spread that Sandusky had been convicted. The crowd included victim advocates and local residents with their kids. Many held up their smartphones to take pictures as people filtered out of the building.

As Sandusky was placed in the cruiser to be taken to jail, someone yelled at him to “rot in hell!” Others hurled insults and he shook his head no in response.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola was interrupted by cheers from the crowd on the courthouse steps when he said, “The sentence that Jerry will receive will be a life sentence.”

In addition to the eight who testified, there were two yet-unidentified victims for whom prosecutors relied on testimony from a university janitor and McQueary, whose account of a sexual encounter between Sandusky and a boy of about 10 years old ultimately led to the Paterno’s dismissal and the university president’s ouster.

Sandusky did not take the stand in his own defense.

After the verdict was announced, defense attorney Karl Rominger said it was “a tough case” with a lot of charges and that an appeal was certain. He said the defense team “didn’t exactly have a lot of time to prepare.”

The ex-coach had repeatedly denied the allegations, and his defense suggested that his accusers had a financial motive to make up stories, years after the fact. His attorneys also painted Sandusky as the victim of overzealous police investigators who coached the alleged victims into giving accusatory statements.

One accuser testified that Sandusky molested him in the locker-room showers and in hotels while trying to ensure his silence with gifts and trips to bowl games. He also said Sandusky had sent him “creepy love letters.”

Another spoke of forced oral sex and instances of rape in the basement of Sandusky’s home, including abuse that left him bleeding. He said he once tried to scream for help, knowing that Sandusky’s wife was upstairs, but figured the basement must be soundproof.

Another, a foster child, said Sandusky warned that he would never see his family again if he ever told anyone what happened.

And just hours after the case went to jurors, lawyers for one of Sandusky’s six children, Matt, said he had told authorities that his father abused him.

Matt Sandusky had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors, his lawyers said in a statement. The lawyers said they arranged for Matt Sandusky to meet with law enforcement officials but did not explain why he didn’t testify.

“This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy,” the statement said. It didn’t go into details about his allegations.

Defense witnesses, including Dottie Sandusky, described Sandusky’s philanthropic work with children over the years, and many spoke in positive terms about his reputation in the community. Prosecutors had portrayed those efforts as an effective means by which Sandusky could camouflage his molestation as he targeted boys who were the same age as participants in The Second Mile, a charity he founded in the 1970s for at-risk youth.

Sandusky’s arrest in November led the Penn State trustees to fire Paterno as head coach, saying he exhibited a lack of leadership after fielding a report from McQueary. The scandal also led to the ouster of university President Graham Spanier and criminal charges against two university administrators for failing to properly report suspected child abuse and perjury.

The two administrators, athletic director Tim Curley and now-retired vice president Gary Schultz, are fighting the allegations and await trial.

The family of Paterno, who died exactly five months before Sandusky’s conviction, released a statement saying: “Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today’s verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.”

In a statement, Penn State praised the accusers who testified and said that it planned to invite the victims of Sandusky’s abuse to participate in a private program to address their concerns and compensate them for claims related to the school.

Sandusky had initially faced 52 counts of sex abuse. Prosecutors dropped one count and the judge tossed three others during the trial, on grounds two were unproven, one was brought under a statute that didn’t apply and another was duplicative.

Detroit Hosts The 106th Annual National Baptist Congress @NBCongress #TellUsDetroit


By Abenaah Ezrah/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – Today was the official Kickoff for the 2012 National Baptist Congress with a News Conference at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, which included National Baptist Congress organizers, government leaders, and host committee, among others. This years ‘theme: “Peace and Prosperity in difficult times.”

“We feel extremely blessed to have Detroit as our host city this year,” said Dr. T.B. Boyd III, National Baptist Congress. “The National Baptist Congress is appreciative of the city of Detroit for showing true hospitality in inviting thousands of our Congress members from across the country, and some from overseas, to enjoy a week of praising the Lord and appreciating what life itself has to offer.”

“We feel extremely blessed to have Detroit as our host city this year,” said Dr. T.B. Boyd III, National Baptist Congress. “The National Baptist Congress is appreciative of the city of Detroit.” (Photo by Tina Nelson/Tell Us Detroit)

The National Baptist Congress is a traveling school of Christian educators teaching leadership skills that reaches thousands of people across the country. Founded in 1906 by Reverend Richard Henry Boyd, the congress has expanded to include a Youth Congress targeting children, teens and young adults ages 4-24 providing tailored workshops.

The National Baptist Congress is sponsored by R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, which has been a beacon of excellence in the printing, publishing, and global distribution of hymnals, curriculum, and church supplies, as well as religious, family, educational and historical books. The company specializes in the development of contemporary Christian education materials for churches and individuals, which provide positive family imagery and nurturing values.

Founded in 1896 by Dr. Richard Henry Boyd, the company has seen four generations of leadership and progress from the Boyd family. For more information about R.H. Boyd Publishing Company visit: http://www.rhboydpublishing.com

Pictured with his wife and three children at the Charles H. Wright Museum Monday morning June 11, 2012, Dr. T.B. Boyd III said, “We feel extremely blessed to have Detroit as our host city this year. The National Baptist Congress is appreciative of the city of Detroit.” (Photo by Thomas Richardson/Tell Us Detroit)

Specific local dignitaries whom attended included: Representatives from Mayor Bing’s Office, Congressman Hansen Clark, State Senator Coleman A. Young II, State Senator Virgil Smith, Rev. Jim Holley, the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church, Ken Harris, President/CEO of Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

This year star studded line up includes: Dr. Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, Karen Clark Sheard, Jessica Reedy, 21:03, John Gray, and Zebulon Ellis.

For a full schedule and day by day updates visit: http://www.nationalbaptist.com/
On facebook: National Baptist Congress
On twitter: @NBCongress

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