U.S. Marines’ First Black Pilot, Gen. Frank Peterson, Dies At 83

Frank Peterson, the U.S. Marines' first Black pilot, has died at age 83.

Hoping to escape pervasive racism in his Kansas hometown, General Frank Petersen joined the U.S. Navy in 1950 as a seaman apprentice, reports The Boston Globe.

The following year, motivated by the death of the Navy's first Black aviator Jesse Brown in the Korean War, Peterson entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, the report says. From there, he went on to make history himself, earning a Purple Heart for wounds suffered in Vietnam “when he was ejected after his plane was struck by anti-aircraft fire over the demilitarized zone” in 1968.

He died Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The cause was complications from lung cancer, according to The Globe:

President Harry S. Truman had ordered the armed forces to desegregate in 1948, but General Petersen later wrote that the Navy and Marine Corps were ‘‘the last to even entertain the idea of integrating their forces.'' And whenever he left the flight training base in Pensacola, Fla., he was subjected to the indignities of the Jim Crow South.

Bus drivers ordered him to the back of the coach, and he was barred from sitting with white cadets in restaurants and movie theaters. He largely swallowed the treatment, he later told The Washington Post, because he could not fight two battles at once. ‘‘I knew that I couldn't win if I were to tackle that, as opposed to getting my wings,'' he said.

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Texas Deputy Shot & Killed While Pumping Gas

A Texas sheriff in uniform was shot to death on Friday evening after filling up his patrol car with gas at a suburban Houston gas station. The sheriff has been identified as 47-year-old Deputy Darren Goforth, and according to reports, the gunman killed him without reason.

From CNN:

Deputy Darren H. Goforth, 47, was returning to his car after pumping gas Friday night.

The gunman walked up from behind him and opened fire for no apparent reason, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.

When Goforth fell to the ground, the gunman stood over him and shot him some more, authorities said. He died at the scene.

Goforth was a married father with two children. Texas officials have a man in custody who is believed to be Goforth's killer.

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Suspected Shooter In Death Of 9-Year-Old Ferguson Girl Arrested, Charged

St. Louis Police have arrested and charged a man believed to be the shooter in an incident that claimed the life of a 9-year-old girl who was doing homework on her mother's bed.

Authorities were not able to provide a motive in the shooting death of Jamyla Bolden, who lived not far from the location where Michael Brown Jr. was killed by a former Ferguson police officer a year before. De'Eris Brown, 21, was arrested by St. Louis County police and U.S. marshals on Wednesday night at a nearby hospital, where he was visiting a patient. Brown was charged with “one count of second-degree murder, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and three counts of armed criminal action” for the Aug. 18 incident, the St. Louis Dispatch reports.

The shooting also injured Kendric Henderson, the young girl's mother. She was treated for a gunshot wound to the leg and released from the hospital shortly after. Henderson and Jamyla were not the intended targets, police said.

It is, however, unclear if the victims were connected to the suspect in any way.

From The Dispatch:

Late Thursday afternoon, a man outside the bullet-pocked house in the 9200 block of Ellison Drive, who identified himself as Jamyla's grandfather, declined to say whether Brown was known to the family. He said the relatives might say more Friday.

Police said Brown was not related to the victims but would not say whether he had some connection to them, citing the ongoing investigation.

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Gunman in TV Killings Remembered As ‘Professional Victim’

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Vester Flanagan constantly saw himself as the target in his conflicts with WDBJ-TV colleagues, leading his former boss to describe him as a “professional victim.”

When the station tried to persuade Flanagan to get along better with his co-workers, he accused them of discrimination.

“He was victimized by everything and everyone and could never quite grasp the fact that he was the common denominator in all of these really sometimes serious interpersonal conflicts that he had with people,” said Dan Dennison, the former news director at WDBJ in Virginia.

Flanagan killed two of his former colleagues on Wednesday during a live broadcast and later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On the day he was fired in 2013, Flanagan pressed a wooden cross into Dennison's hand and said, “You'll need this,” as two police officers escorted him out. Flanagan's departure was filmed by Adam Ward, the cameraman who was killed along with reporter Alison Parker.

Parker and Ward died of gunshot wounds to the head and body, the medical examiner's office said Friday. The woman Parker was interviewing, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and was in good condition at a hospital.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe met privately Friday with grieving station employees to share his condolences. The 50 or so workers have been described as a close-knit group, and they have continued reporting on their slain colleagues in the face of the tragedy.

“The courage and determination they showed is truly, truly extraordinary,” McAuliffe said outside the station.

He talked about his support for universal background checks for gun purchases and said “there are too many guns in America and there are clearly too many guns in the wrong hands.” But McAuliffe, himself a gun owner, also said Flanagan had passed a background check.

Dennison, the former news director, said WDBJ had no idea ...read more

Prosecutors: No Retrial For White Officer Who Shot Black Man

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina state attorneys have decided against retrying a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man after his trial ended last week in a deadlock.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery told the Mecklenburg County district attorney Friday of the state's decision in the case of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Officer Randall Kerrick. He had been accused of voluntary manslaughter in the September 2013 death of Jonathan Ferrell, a former college football player.

The jury in the case deadlocked with an 8-4 vote in favor of acquittal, leading the judge to declare a mistrial.

Montgomery wrote to District Attorney Andrew Murray that state attorneys will submit dismissal papers to end the case. Montgomery says it's the prosecutors' “unanimous belief a retrial will not yield a different result.”

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Lisa Johnson Relives Being Kicked Off Napa Wine Train, Talks #LaughingWhileBlack


Lisa Johnson was one of the 11 Black women that were kicked off the Napa Wine Train. Johnson and a group of black women are part of “Sistahs on the Reading Edge,” a book club from Antioch, California. After a social media account of the incident went viral with the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack, the Yelp reviews of the train tanked, as people wrote in sharing their experiences and saying they would no longer support the company, and other saying similar behavior hadn't resulted in their being removed from the train.

The Napa Wine Train's CEO, Tony Giaccio apologized and offered to host the group and more of their friends as his personal guests, but both the wording of the apology and the way it was transmitted was less than sincere.

“They reached out to us privately,” says Johnson. “They gave a written statement. During the conversation, he ended up saying that this situation traumatized their staff and how they were portrayed in the media. Something that they were not. And here you are supposed to listening to our concerns and apologizing to us, but somehow its transitioned to how its traumatizing to you and your staff. That's exactly the same thing that you did to us. The apology really feels unauthentic.

They are in this big PR spin thing….we think he's being coached. The fact that they invited us back on the train to be as loud as we would like to be so that's really insensitive as well…” Johnson said. Other groups, including a Latino group has had similar experiences. “There's so many who have contacted us who have had similar treatment on the train,” says Johnson. “I'm so excited that our story has gained such traction so that we could bring light to the situation so ...read more

“Mayor Landrieu Needs To Stop Telling Lies, We’re Not Buying It,” Phyllis Montana Leblanc On The State Of New Orleans, 10 Years Later


Phyllis Montana LeBlanc talks to the Tom Joyner Morning Show about the anniversary

“I need Mayor Landrieu to stop telling the lies. We're not back, that ain't true. We're back 50 percent. When you go into the lower ninth ward, which I did yesterday, it looks like Katrina just happened yesterday. Now we're dealing with gentrification. It's still a struggle. We had a huge opportunity with millions of dollars coming here, why not bring New Orleans back? Don't just cherry pick where the money goes,” LeBlanc said.

Click the link above to hear the interview and read her personal reflections on the storm here.

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Street Sandra Bland Stopped On Renamed In Her Honor

Prairie View City Council members in Texas are hoping a road renamed after activist Sandra Bland will serve as a constant reminder of the injustices they say she suffered in Waller County, USA Today reports.

City officials are also hopeful that the road, which leads to Bland's alma mater, Prairie View A&M University, will also encourage law enforcement to make better choices and always follow best practices when making stops on University Drive, which will become Sandra Bland Parkway for three to five years before the council votes on the matter again.

“I am overwhelmed, and I am just truly thankful to the city of Prairie View,” Geneva Reed-Veal, Bland's mother, said in a press conference here after the decision to rename the road.

“This is the first step, the very first step,” Reed-Veal said. “There's still so much more that needs to be done.”

Bland, 28, was stopped on the same road July 10 for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. When Texas state Trooper Brian Encinia felt his power threatened by Bland's wit and matter-of-fact tone, he arrested her on a charge of assaulting a public servant.

She was found hanging in her jail cell three days after her arrest, a death that has been ruled a suicide but is also being treated like a murder investigation. According to CNN, the Texas Rangers and the FBI are investigating Sandra's death.

“It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis told reporters. “This is being treated like a murder investigation.”

Mathis said the case would go to a grand jury.

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60 Years After His Horrific Murder, Emmitt Till Is Remembered And Celebrated

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Sixty years after a black Chicago teenager was killed for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, relatives and civil rights activists are holding church services and movie screenings to remember Emmett Till.

They're also trying to continue the legacy of his late mother, Mamie Till Mobley, who worked with young people and encouraged them to challenge injustice in their everyday lives. It's a message that Deborah Watts, a distant cousin of Till's, sees as relevant amid the killings in recent years of young black men such as Trayvon Martin in Florida and Tamir Rice in Ohio.

Watts, of Minneapolis, was a toddler when Till was killed. She said that as she grew up, she spoke often with Mobley about Till.

“It was her motivation to turn his death into something positive,” Watts said Thursday in Jackson.

The 14-year-old Till was visiting relatives in the cotton country of the Mississippi Delta on Aug. 24, 1955, when witnesses said he violated the Jim Crow social code by whistling at Carolyn Bryant, a white woman working behind the counter of a store in the tiny town of Money.

On Aug. 28, he was kidnapped from his uncle's home a few miles away. On Aug. 31, his body was recovered from the Tallahatchie River, with a bullet hole in his head and severe cuts on his face. Barbed wire was wrapped around his neck and he was weighted down with a cotton gin fan.

Till's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago, and Jet magazine published photos of his corpse. The brutality sparked outrage that galvanized the civil rights movement.

In September 1955, an all-white, all-male jury in Sumner, Mississippi, acquitted the two white men charged in the slaying — J.W. Milam and his half brother, Roy Bryant, the husband of Carolyn Bryant.

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Obama To New Orleans: ‘You Inspire Me, And America’

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Visiting residents on tidy porch stoops and sampling the fried chicken at a corner restaurant, President Barack Obama held out the people of New Orleans on Thursday as an extraordinary example of renewal and resilience 10 years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

“There's something in you guys that is just irrepressible,” Obama told hundreds of residents assembled at a bustling new community center in an area of the Lower 9th Ward that was once under 17 feet of water. “The people of New Orleans didn't just inspire me, you inspired all of America.”

He held out the city's comeback as a metaphor for what's happening all across a nation that has moved from economic crisis to higher ground.

“Look at what's happened here,” he declared, speaking of a transformed American city that was once “dark and underwater.”

Still, Obama acknowledged that much remains to be done. And after walking door to door in the historic Treme section of a city reborn from tragedy, he cautioned that “just because the housing is nice doesn't mean our job is done.”

Areas of the city still suffer from high poverty, he said, and young people still take the wrong path.

There is more to be done to confront “structural inequities that existed long before the storm happened,” he added.

In his remarks at the community center, Obama blended the same themes of resilience and renewal that he drew from encounters with the sturdy residents he met along Magic Street and at other locations.

Leah Chase, the 92-year-old proprietor of Dooky Chase's Restaurant, was one of those to chat with Obama. She pronounced herself a fan of the man, saying he'd handled “a rough road.”

Chase — who's known as the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” — said, “That's all you have to do: handle what's handed to ...read more