By Ronald W. Weathersby
1. President Obama inaugurated to second term The second inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the U.S. took place on Monday, January 21, 2013. The inauguration marked the beginning of Obama’s second term. Only 17 presidents have been reelected to a consecutive second term and only 13 have served two full terms as president.
2. Crack Cocaine Commutations a Step in Right Direction Clarence Aaron, a non-violent drug offender sentenced to three life terms when he was 24 years old will finally be freed after twenty years behind bars along with seven other people serving time for crack cocaine-related offenses. Though it was his first offense and he was not the drug dealer, supplier or buyer, Aaron, who was 24 at the time, received a harsher sentence than anyone convicted in connection with the case. Most convicted of using crack cocaine are black, while most convicted of using powder cocaine are white. Sentences for crack cocaine are sometimes 10 times higher than those of the powder form.
3. Mass Incarceration There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began according to The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group dedicated to changing how we think about crime and punishment. More than 60 percent of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities.
For Black Males in their 30’s, one in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day
4. Supreme Court guts Voting Rights Bill The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and in doing so unleashed all manner of new efforts to suppress minority voting. Rep. Marcia Fudge, chairwoman of the Black Congressional Caucus slammed the high court for its choice “to ignore” reports that” racial discrimination in voting districts continues to exist.” Hillary Rodham Clinton gave blistering critique of the decision saying, “Anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in American elections must not be paying attention.” She decried the “unseemly rush” to enact or enforce discriminatory laws after the decision.
5. George Zimmerman Acquitted George Zimmerman, the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter Saturday night. Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s parents said they were devastated. “Even though I am brokenhearted, my faith is unshattered. I will always love my baby Tray,” Mr. Martin said. Since his acquittal Zimmerman has had several run-ins with law enforcement officials where it is alleged he brandished firearms and threatened the lives of other individuals.
6. Crime in America’s Black community Although the numbers seem to be trending downwards, the epidemic of crime, especially murder goes on in America’s inner cities. No one story brought this matter to the attention of the country more than the shooting death of 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton, a honor student in Chicago who performed during President Obama’s inaugural parade in Washington a little more than a week before she was killed when a gunman opened fire on a group of students who’d taken cover from the rain in a park a few blocks from her school.
7. Cory Booker Elected US Senate Former Newark, New Jersey mayor, Cory Booker became the fourth African American elected to the U.S. Senate. He follows Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and, Carol Mosely-Braun and Barack Obama of Illinois. Several African Americans have been appointed the Senate either by State legislatures of the governor including current senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina. Booker’s mother, Carolyn is a graduate of Fisk University.
(Far Left) Cory Booker Elected to US Senate
8. Mass Shootings in U.S. In what has become an all too common occurrence in this country a heavily armed shooter entered the Navy Yard in Washington and opened fire, killing at least 12 people before being shot to death by police. The increasing number of mass killings over the past five years left the country in search of a term that would distinguish mass murder by gun from those using other weapons. Mass shooting has gained favor but the FBI doesn’t specifically define mass shooting, it does define mass murder, calling it a single incident in which a perpetrator kills four or more people, not including himself or herself.
1. TSU First Woman President “It is an exciting privilege to stand before you today to accept the presidency of Tennessee State University and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead.” With that statement, TSU Alumnus Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover officially became the first woman and eighth president of Nashville’s only state funded university. Among other dignitaries participating in the investiture of Dr. Glover were several former TSU presidents, including Dr. James A. Hefner, Dr. Frederick Humphries and Dr. Charles B. Fancher, who served briefly as interim president. Also participating in the ceremony was Mayor Karl Dean, of Nashville.
Inauguration of Tennessee State University President Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover
2. Meharry Medical College New President Dr. Cherrie Epps became Meharry Medical College’s first female president of the country’s oldest African American medical school. She is a longtime member of institution’s leadership team. Epps has a Ph.D. in zoology from Howard University. She has published articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet and the Journal of the National Medical Association. She has worked at Meharry since 1994.
3. Fisk New President H. James Williams, Ph.D., C.P.A., C.M.A., J.D., LL.M. is the fifteenth president of Fisk University. Prior to his selection as president, he served as dean of the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Since his appointment Fisk was awarded full accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. Additionally, Fisk’s academic credentials remain impeccable as the 147-year-old institution continues to prepare its students for acceptance into prestigious graduate schools around the world.
Fisk President H. James Williams
4. Music City Center Opens The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new billion-dollar facility drew thousands of people from across the state. The center will enable Nashville to compete globally for large conventions and meetings and is projected to bring over $130 million annually in economic activity to the city.
5. Lois DeBerry Dies Tennessee State Representative Lois DeBerry, one of the state’s preeminent civil and human rights leaders died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 68. She was honored by leaders of both parties for her legislative contributions.
6. NNPA Meets in Nashville The National Newspaper Publishers Associations, the world’s largest organization of black publishers met in Nashville for the first time. The meetings were hosted by Rosetta Miller Perry, Publisher of the Tennessee Tribune and Scott Davis, Publisher of the Nashville Pride.
7. TSU Homecoming Parade After a one-year change in its historical route the TSU Homecoming Parade returned to Jefferson Street in 2013. Business leaders on Jefferson Street and street vendors along the traditional route were pleased to once again greet thousands of revelers as they enjoyed the Homecoming celebration.
8. American Baptist College Becomes HBCU The U.S. Department of Education approved ABC’s recognition as a Historically Black College and University after an appeal which began in 2012. The announcement was made by ABC President Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr. The private school is now the 106th HBCU in the U.S. and joins Fisk, Meharry and TSU with that official designation in Nashville. The city now joins Atlanta as home to four HBCUs. Since 1924, American Baptist College students have received a world class Christian education and preparation for leadership, ministry and social justice.
1. Nelson Mandela Dies The freedom fighter turned Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and first elected president of South Africa died at his home after a series of medical setbacks. He was honored at a memorial by over 90 heads of state including President Obama.
2. New Pope Since assuming the Papacy last spring, Pope Francis has shown himself is a great humanitarian, not afraid to mingle with the public and engage in a conversation especially with the children. His statements on income inequality and other issues have encouraged millions of people globally and as raised the ire of conservatives here and in other countries.
3. Global Terrorism Many acts of violence still shock people around the world. As they strolled through Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya guns strapped to their bodies, attackers chatted on their cell phones while they randomly gunned down terrified shoppers. Other acts took place here in the U.S. and several countries in 2013.
4. Afghanistan War Approximately 2,100 Americans have lost their lives since 2001 in America’s longest war. The U.S. is currently in negotiations with the government of the country to end U.S. military involvement in the war.
5. Global Climate Change Although several American lawmakers and political pundits still argue the matter evidence of the effects of climate change are becoming undeniable. Average global temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees since 1880; the 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years; average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average; Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing, and the region may have its first completely ice- free summer by 2040; glaciers are rapidly melting—for example, Glacier National Park in Montana now has 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910; coral reefs, which are highly sensitive to small changes in water temperature, suffered the worst die-off ever recorded; and, there has been an upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events, such as wildfires, heat waves and intense tropical storms worldwide.