Saturday, June 24, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Sold to Group in Atlanta

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, Andrew Young, and a host of civic, education and business leaders have struck a deal with the family of Martin Luther King Jr. to buy an extensive collection of the civil rights leader's writings for $32 million.

Coretta Scott King for years kept the collection in the basement of her west Atlanta home after her husband's assassination in 1968. Sotheby's first tried to sell the papers in 2003 for the King estate — which at the time included Coretta Scott King, who died Jan. 30, and her four grown children: Dexter, Bernice, Martin III and Yolanda. At that time, Sotheby's could not come to an agreement on terms with the family.

The papers will be going "home" to Morehouse College in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King, Jr. received his bachelors degree.

plez sez: "Yes" with a triumphant fist pump!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Six Flags Hairstyle Ban - Not a Good News Story!

Jonathan DeLeon, 17, was hired at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland, in March to wear the costumes of Sylvester and Daffy Duck. A few weeks later, he said he was told to cut his braids, which were at least 3 feet long. His mother cut more than 2 feet of his hair, park officials were dissatisfied and demanded that his hair be cut shorter.

The Associate Press (AP) reports that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is investigating complaints from more than a dozen black employees at a Six Flags theme park who were told their hairstyles were inappropriate.

plez sez: This takes me back to the early- to mid-1970's when the Afro was all the rage. We had hot combs and blowout kits (who can forget that vile smelling Vigaro) to help achieve maximum length of our naturally curly hair. Even though the girls would swoon over the guy with the largest Afro, many white employers, school administrators, and athletics coaches balked at our attempt at "self expression" with our hairstyles. Many a Black man missed out on a job opportunity, countless Black boys were suspended from school, and numerous guys opted out of playing basketball or football because they didn't want to cut their hair.

My parents put my three older brothers and I on a bus to visit my Aunt Beatrice down south for the summer when I was 8 years old. When we got off the Greyhound bus, she shrieked at how long our hair was. Our first stop (before even going to her house) was the barber shop, where all of our Afros were left on the cutting room floor. And so went our little Black Power Movement!

My point is... some things never change. As long as "we" are working for "them", we'll have to occasionally put up with their B.S.! When "we" are in a position of power (i.e. you know, the Golden Rule), then "we'll" be able to wear our Afros and dreadlocks and jheri curls to our hearts desire. Just as my Aunt Beatrice wasn't going to have four Afros running around her house all summer, it doesn't appear that Six Flags is going to stand for it either.

I wish the ACLU luck in their pursuit of "justice," but I don't see where they'll be able to get a judge to tell Six Flags to alter the way they want their "product" to look.

LeBron James - Good News Story... well sort of!

King James (of NBA fame) has traded in his jersey for a gray business suit and a hard hat. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that LeBron James and his business associates (a group of friends from high school formed LRMR Development LLC) are investors in a housing project in an urban neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio.

plez sez: I applaud anyone who has the where with all to make a difference to use their popularity (and money) to do good things in our communities. Even though, this is my good news story for the day, upon reading the entire article, you should note that the 18-unit development will feature two- and three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot townhouses expected to sell for $265,000 to $325,000 each.

This ain't no public housing project! It sounds like a gentrification project to me, I wonder how many people from the 'hood will be able to afford one of these units?

It's My Birthday ... yeah!!!

My Birthdate: June 22

You tend to be understated and under appreciated.
You have a hidden force to do amazing things, doing them your own way.
People may see you as strange and shy, but they know little.
Your unconventional ways have more power than they (and even you) know.

Your strength: Standing up for what you know is true

Your weakness: You tend to be picky and rigid

Your power color: Silver (it's really Red!)

Your power symbol: Square

Your power month: April


Same birthday as Clyde "The Glide" Drexler (Former NBA Star)

Same birthdate as Ed Bradley (of "60 Minutes) and Meryl Streep (Oscar Award Winning Actress)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Game of Shadows" Contains Lies

In this age of grand schemes and book selling phenoms, along comes the "Game of Shadows" to cast a glaring light into the steroid consuming lifestyle of one Barry Bonds. But wait a second, in all of the hoopla and "we knew it!" frenzy, it appears that the authors have inserted some non-truths (maybe even some downright lies).

In an article by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Olympic track diva Gail Devers alleges that "Game of Shadows" has impuned her reputation by erroneously including her name and accounts of her life in the book. She calls it "guilt by association." Tucked away in the book in a section titled Cheat or Lose, the authors allege that Devers trained under a coach who was later found guilty of distributing performance enhancing substances. He supposedly trained her for the Olympics and she supposedly went to his 70th birthday party and gave him a plaque that read "The Greatest Track Coach of All Time." They also said that injuries kept her from competing in 5 Olympic games.

In actuality, Gail Devers never trained with this coach, never went to his birthday party, and never gave him a plaque. And she did compete in 5 Olympic games. Devers has demanded a public apology (in the form of a press release) from the authors and the book's publisher, but they refuse to do so. They did offer to give her a private apology and remove her name from future editions of the book; "Game of Shadows" has over 308,000 copies in print and the book peaked at No. 2 on The New York Times Best Sellers list.

plez sez: This story is disturbing on a number of fronts. I am not a track aficionado, but I have heard of Gail Devers, the five time Olympic gold medalist and know the story of how she battled Graves' disease. It is a shame that her name was dragged into this steroids mess (if even on the periphery) because of sloppy work by the authors of the book. I think authors are supposed to research these types of reports before writing them as fact (in the article, they claimed to have gotten this information from "American Track & Field" magazine and she never complained about the inaccuracies from that periodical).

In their zealous attempts to smear Barry Bonds, these authors have gone to great lengths to substantiate their claims with faulty and incorrect information. If this is section of the book is so wrong and so off base, it calls into question what other sections of the book are wrong and off base. Maybe the accounts of creams, gels, and injections may be factually incorrect. Maybe some of their sources lied and these authors only used information that substantiated their claims that Barry Bonds had full knowledge of his steroids use. Maybe Barry Bonds was unaware that he was using steroids.

I don't know. But it makes me wonder what else is incorrect in this book, "Game of Shadows."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr Papers for Sale

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that Sotheby's in New York plans to auction more than 10,000 manuscripts and books written by Martin Luther King Jr. on June 30. Dr. King was the face and the force behind the Civil Rights Movement from the Birmingham Bus Boycott through the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon B. Johnson. These documents by Dr. King are easily some of the most important papers produced during the 20th century. The plan is to raise between $15 and $20 million from the sale.

plez sez: I only hope that this information will finally be put in the public domain. The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. transcends any gain by the family and I only hope that one day my daughter will be able to see, touch, and read what was written by Dr. King in his handwriting. These treasures deserve a public audience on par with the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence.

And with the money, maybe the King Family will get their collective act together to save the King Center for Nonviolent Change and turn that place into a world class museum about the civil rights movement.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blog Alert - Movie Review Posted

It's been WEEKS since I've had the opportunity to get on here and dump my thoughts on plezWorld. I've been very busy interviewing and changing jobs/companies, nursing a tweaked hamstring injury, traveling, keeping an eye on Barry Bonds' assault on the record books, and scampering around suburbia. And all that's happened in the last four weeks! Whew!

Well, I've finally gotten around to posting my review of the 1915 epic "The Birth of a Nation" by D.W. Griffin. I wasn't blown away by the movie because it is quite old and dated, but it does have an effect. Check it out and post your thoughts.