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Teaneck names first African American to fire chief post

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By Joseph Ax,

Anthony Verley was sworn in as the town’s newest fire chief this week, the first time this diverse town has named a black man to the post.

“When you make a milestone like that, it’s after the sacrifices of many before you,” Verley said Wednesday. “I appreciate that there are many others that blazed a trail before me, and I hope that I will now help someone else progress in the future.”

Verley, who has served as interim chief since Robert Montgomery’s retirement this spring, has experienced a turbulent couple of years.

In 2009, he was demoted from deputy chief to captain when the town eliminated the rank of deputy chief as a cost-cutting measure.

Earlier this year, after a series of legal challenges from the town’s two fire unions and a ruling from the state that the captains were improperly asked to perform duties outside of their rank, Verley was reinstated as a deputy chief.

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Written by Symphony

December 16, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Leadership

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Ohio governor picks running mate, 1st Black woman, as high court justice

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SOURCE: Associated Press (

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland picked the woman who ran at his side in his failed re-election bid as the next justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Yvette McGee Brown will be the first black woman to serve on the state’s highest court and the third black justice in Ohio history. She will assume the seat Jan. 1.

The Democratic governor selected McGee Brown, the former lieutenant governor candidate, to fill the vacancy created by the November election of Justice Maureen O’Connor as chief justice.

Strickland said McGee Brown, raised by a teenage mother and her grandmother, would bring an important viewpoint to the Republican-dominated court.

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Written by Symphony

December 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Law

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A healthy trend at medical schools

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By Kemba Dunham, Boston Globe

As a child, Ryan Rasmus dreamed of being a doctor. Now, the 22-year-old is a first-year student at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

“There is a great responsibility that comes with this education,’’ said Rasmus, an African-American who is originally from Houston. ’’It will enable me to impact my community in ways that may increase their quality of life and their longevity.’’

More minority students like Rasmus are enrolling in US medical schools, according a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges, a nonprofit that represents all 150 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada. Native Americans had the largest enrollment growth, at 24.8 percent, followed by a 9 percent increase for Hispanics; 2.9 percent for African-Americans; and 2.4 percent for Asians. The growth is in part due to a push by schools to attract more underrepresented minorities — African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans, and mainland Puerto Ricans — to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population.

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Written by Symphony

December 10, 2010 at 3:12 pm

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin to speak at Appalachian’s Dec. 12 commencement

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SOURCE Appalachian State University

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin will deliver the commencement address Dec. 12 at Appalachian State University. She will speak on “The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation.”

Benjamin will address graduates of the College of Arts and Science, Reich College of Education and University College at 10 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center on campus. She will address graduates of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, College of Health Sciences, Hayes School of Music and Walker College of Business beginning at 2 p.m., also in the Holmes Center.

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Written by Symphony

December 10, 2010 at 9:51 am

Oral histories of African-Americans now online

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SOURCE: Associated Press

The public can now listen to stories of segregation, community life and other issues important to Springfield’s African-American community simply by logging onto a computer.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has put the oral histories online through a partnership with the Springfield African American History Foundation.

State historian Tom Schwartz says the Lincoln Library is trying to tell the larger story of Illinois, not just the life of the 16th president. He says the oral histories help listeners understand the lives of African-Americans and the contributions they have made to Illinois.

There currently are 15 interviews online, and more will be added as they are transcribed.

They touch on topics from family life to discrimination to the 1908 Springfield Race Riots.




Written by Symphony

December 10, 2010 at 9:13 am

Bramlett’s Q-School achievement a milestone in African-American golf

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By Farrell Evans,

The history of African-American golf has some notable milestones. In 1961, the fall of the PGA’s caucasian-only clause gave men like Charlie Sifford and Pete Brown a chance to play on the PGA Tour. In 1975, Lee Elder became the first African-American to play in the Masters. (Four years later, he was the first person of color to compete in a Ryder Cup.)

These milestones might only be known to hardcore golf fans, but everybody remembers Tiger Woods embracing his dad after winning the 1997 Masters. What Jim Nantz called “a win for the ages” had a unique significance for African-Americans like the World War II veteran who told me that Tiger’s win felt as good as when Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling in their 1938 rematch at Yankee Stadium. After Woods’s first victory at Augusta National, many African-American parents saw golf as a sport their children could play, just as Barack Obama’s election made the presidency seem possible.

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Written by Symphony

December 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

Posted in Athletics

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A stash of love letters results in Vanderbilt scholar’s first book

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SOURCE: Vanderbilt University

Long-neglected love letters between a domestic servant husband and his teacher wife have provided an important part of a new book that tracks how middle class African American marriages evolved in the early and mid 20th century.

Stormy Weather: Middle-Class African American Marriages between the World Wars, published by The University of North Carolina Press, was written by Anastasia C. Curwood, assistant professor of African American and Diaspora Studies at Vanderbilt University. The book documents the strains that developed in African American marriages as the early civil rights and sexual revolutions played out.

“Around the turn of the century, the big concept was respectability – chastity and piety in women, breadwinning and restrained manliness in men,” Curwood said.

But mass migration of black Americans to the north along with evolving political and sexual mores complicated matters, she found.

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