Virginia Drama Increases By The Hour



The drama over racist uses of black face painting and alleged sexual assaults have turned the State government on its ear as calls for resignations are coming from every corner of the political spectrum. So far, not one of the three top public officials have stepped down. This is an era of zero tolerance, and it allows for no context. There are reasons to take second looks at this turmoil.

Governor Ralph Northam started this disaster when a right-wing news site set out to get the governor for his controversial position on late term abortion. His cavalier response only angered pro-life advocates. They discovered an outrageous page in Northam’s college yearbook where incredibly there were pictures of a man dressed in black-face and another in a KKK outfit. Northam first admitted he was in the picture and later denied it was him. He did admit he had put on black face paint in a dance contest. He said he only used a little because black shoe polish is difficult to remove. Despite calls from everyone to resign he said he wants to stay on and become a better person.

Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax would replace Northam should he resign; however two accusations of sexual assault by Dr. Vanessa Tyson in 2004 and Meredith Watson in 2000 have been taken so seriously that there are talks of impeachment circulating among Virginia lawmakers. For his part Fairfax has not resigned. He is calling for a full investigation of the accusations that he has denied. Fairfax is African American and has also asked the FBI to fully investigate the accusations. It is not known if the women ever made police reports but said they reported the attacks to friends by email. While it may be true, guilty people don’t regularly welcome investigations. There doesn’t appear to be any physical evidence either. Despite no resolution of either Graham or Fairfax’s troubles, there seems to be little either of them can do to repair their reputations or their ability to lead the state as governor.

In the event the two men resign, fellow democrat Attorney General Mark Herring would be next in line to assume the top post. Trouble is Herring has admitted to wearing black face in 1980 in what he describes as a one-time occurrence. Saturday Night Live lampooned the problems with Virginia with someone asking, “is there anyone who hasn’t painted their face black?”  This is of course no laughing matter. If Herring also resigns, the next in-line will be republican Speaker of the House Kirk Cox.

Lost in the Virginia headlines, Florida’s Secretary of State Michael Ertel has been on the job three weeks. Pictures of him black-face surfaced. He did not struggle with his situation and he promptly resigned. He said political enemies were responsible for the pictures being released. Logic would seem to say he is no longer the top election official and is no longer in his job because of his past; not the actions of his enemies.

For reasons passing understanding Northam is not likely to resign and Herring, despite on a scale of awful, seems to come in third as least sinful, has hinted he may resign. Because of the legal and terrible nature of Fairfax’s accusations the legislature may remove him from office. In the event those proceedings start it’s not likely he will see it through till its painful end, and he would most likely resign. But in Virginia, who knows?


Frank Robinson Passes Away As Baseball Mourns


Frank Robinson was without a doubt one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He was one of the greatest baseball executives as well. However, his greatest skill might have been his remarkable courage in the face of racism so vile that his life was often in danger from the bigots of the day. True today most remember the batting titles, MVP awards, World Series victories and his home runs. Time has dulled the evil lashed out at him every time he took the field. He never reacted with hate in response.

Robinson played for the Tulsa Oilers in 1954, and he made history for signing with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956, Robinson was not the first African American to play professional baseball. That distinction belongs to Moses Fleetwood Walker and William Edward White who played at the turn of the century. Back then racial hatred ran even hotter. Walker was going to be lynched in Virginia by 75 men. The league later released him and created the first agreed upon boycott of black players. Robinson broke in for good.

While he remained calm during the most hateful of environments, he never lost his temper. Some wonder what would have happened had he lashed out in anger for the bigoted behavior aimed at him.

Robinson, Walker, and White are courageous men for what they endured in their day. While there are still problems in sports and society, the paths they blazed paved the way for a league that still is not populated by many African Americans. While the NFL and NBA are way over 60 percent African American, baseball struggles to reach 8 percent black. As a nation mourns Robinson it’s time the doors of opportunity open wide for all people in all places.

Economic Development on The Upswing In Tulsa North

Tulsa North has been called a depressed area, a food desert and other descriptions that are neither wanted nor appreciated. Lately, because of recent economic development, proposals have developers looking at the Greenwood district to expand. That interest has created a lot of discussion and debate on how best to proceed. Some positives seem to be on the horizon.

Efforts to bring a super market to Tulsa North appear to be closer than ever. That addresses a long time problem regarding reasonable access to fresh food. That development is not just about economic development. Lack of access to fresh food has a lot to do with health issues where today shoppers often purchase something to eat at stores like Dollar General and Dollar Store. Those foods are often packed with preservatives and are high in sodium. Health issues attributed to high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems are high in area households.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and the city council are spearheading a redevelopment at 36th and Peoria. The new business park already has a company ready to open. Thanks to the Kaiser Family Foundation for purchasing the 120 acres for the site.

Black Wall Street is the history of African American Tulsans. A proud legacy of economic development of free and open trade between black merchants. The Black Wall Street Exchange is hoping to replicate that positive business model. The idea of black businesses supporting each other ensures dollars earned here stay here and bounce around several times before leaving.

It’s a good idea and as a reminder, The Oklahoma Eagle is a business entity as well.


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