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‘The Book of Jeremiah: The Life and Ministry of Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.’

Book of_Jeremiah_600Susan Williams Smith, an author, ordained minister and former mentee of Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., presents an honorable and comprehensive picture of Wright as a man, an African-American, a patriot, scholar, and pastor in her new book – "The Book of Jeremiah: The Life and Ministry of Jeremiah A. Wright Jr."

Smith first met Wright when she was a student at Yale Divinity School. She had heard him preach a stirring sermon, but it was at a dinner with him and the president of Yale that evening that she "became fascinated with this man and his work, and knew his ministry was something of which I wanted to be a part." She asked Wright then and there if she could become an intern at his church, Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.

With some help from the United Church of Christ denomination, Smith was able to serve at Trinity, first as an intern, then as associate pastor upon her graduation from Yale. After Trinity, Smith went on to pastor a church in Ohio for 22 years. When Wright and Trinity were maligned during the debacle of the 2008 election, Smith recalled, "I felt in my spirit a need to at least try to tell the story and to embrace those who had embraced me, by writing this book."

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Billion dollar debt buying and collection abuses

debtcollector 600Are you or someone you know being pursued or harassed late into the evenings and on weekends by debt collectors? If so, research shows that you are among one in seven Americans being pursued by debt collection agencies.

In a newly-released chapter in its State of Lending series, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) found that debt buying and debt collection is big, big business. Among publicly-traded debt buyers' income grew from $582 million in 2009 to more than $1 billion in 2012.

And amid these billion dollar deals, scant regulation allows profiteers to take advantage of financially-distressed consumers, often securing court judgments for debts that may not even be owed. A 2009 Federal Trade Commission analysis of 3.9 million consumer accounts, found only 6 percent of the accounts came with any documentation.

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‘Thugs in the desert’ at the Bundy Ranch

desertthugs 600One can be forgiven for thinking the contest for the most outrageous, publicly-exposed racist behavior of recent weeks was between Cliven Bundy, the chiseling Nevada rancher, and Donald Sterling, the despicable billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

As New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote recently of Sterling's now-famous taped rant, both men's words offer "a rare and vivid exposition of the historical themes and loopy logic of the racist mind: possessed of derangement, detached from reason, bereft of morality." Further, Blow's column is a must-read for its sharp-eyed analysis that the race-driven pathology of both Sterling and his mistress, V. Stiviano, provides "a disturbing peek at the intersection of racism, misogyny and privilege."

In one sense, that tips the scale between the two toward Sterling. He's so deeply mired in the psychosexual muck of the slave-master mentality – of being attracted to a woman of African-American and Mexican-American parentage while deluding himself that he's dominating Black men because he's so personally powerful and attractive.

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Brown v Board of Education’s uncertain legacy on teacher diversity

troublingnumbers 600There's a growing racial gap between students and their teachers. On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision on May 18, the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association released data from the National Center of Education Statistics, which found that 82 percent of the teachers are white, while 48 percent of the students are non-white.

The racial gap among teachers will grow according to experts. Woodrow Wilson reports that if current trends hold, the percentage of teachers of color will fall to an all-time low of 5 percent of the total teacher workforce by 2020. At the same time the percentage of students of color will likely exceed 50 percent in the fall of 2014.

Most people look at these numbers and singularly point to a teacher pipeline issue. We assume that people of color need to be recruited into the profession. But, let's not fall in the trap of blaming people of color for these numbers. Ask, "Why aren't people of color being hired as teachers?"

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'Diddy' wows crowd in emotional commencement speech at Howard University graduation

drcombs 600Chants roared from the crowd as attendees of Howard University's 146th commencement waited to hear from one of the entertainment industry's most notable figures, Sean "Diddy" Combs.

After weeks of controversy surrounding the university's decision to award Diddy with an honorary doctorate of humanities, the media mogul took the stage to address more than a thousand graduates, even those who disagreed with Howard choosing him as the commencement speaker.

"There were some graduates who thought him receiving an honorary degree when they earned theirs is contradictory to what they went through," said Cameron Terry, a junior business management major. "But if you had the same opportunity you would do the same thing."


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