Monday, February 13, 2006

Billie on the African-American News & Issues

Billie: Everytime C.I. has posted something of mine up here, I read it and see a spelling/grammer mistake I made or just think, "You sound like an idiot!" But I'm willing to keep trying. I hope you will try to so we can note somethings for Black History Month.

What I would like to note is the African-American News & Issues. It's abbreviated AAN&I and it's "TEXAS' Widest Circulated and Read Newspaper with a Black Perspective." It's a weekly newspaper and you can also read it online. Roy Douglas Malonson founded the paper which covers all geographical regions of Texas.

African-American News & Issues is celebrating its tenth anniversary and you never know what you'll learn. Here's a recent example. Do you remember when Rosa Parks passed away? She was the second African-American to lie in state at the nation's capitol. Did you hear who the first one was? Do you know who it was?

It was Private First Class Jacob Joseph Chesnut.

Do you know that name or why he was given that honor?

He and Detective John Michael Gibson died on July 24, 1998. He stood guard outside the House of Represenatives' Document Room. When a gunman burst into the Capitol on July 24, 1998, both Mr. Chestnut and Mr. Gibson defended the Capitol. Even Newt Gingrich praised the two officers. Mr. Chestnut was a veteran of Vietnam, served in the Air Force for twenty years, was a husband, a father, and a grandfather.

In the coverage of Rosa Parks, I often heard that she was the second African-American to lie in state at the Capitol but the only place I heard or read about the first was the African-American News & Issues.

It is an independent weekly and, here, we support independent media. There are many features and writers in each week's issues to enjoy, but my favorite writer is Bud Johnson who we highlighted here before.

Here is the conclusion of Mr. Johnson's "ON: New Year's Revisions:"

Verily, verily, I say unto you, if Bill Cosby can speak his mind about poor Black parents, because he donates money, Belafonte, who risked fame, fortune and his life for his people's human rights, sho' nuff can criticize Bush. I wonder if anybody knows where I'm coming from?

I was happy when a member noted The Chicago Defender and it was added to the links and hope that we can add African-American News & Issues. I'm sure that there are strong weeklies in everyone's area and hope that members will share them. I know that I'm always excited when it's time for the new African-American News & Issues to come out.

Independent media is important for many reasons. Let me talk about my area, DFW, which stands for Dallas-Fort Worth. In my area, there are two large newspapers, daily newspapers. One is, at best, okay. The other, despite having "Dallas" in the title, is no longer interested in covering the city of Dallas. They've expanded coverage of the suburbs and it hasn't gone without notice that the suburbs added are predominately White or that, despite the area's ethnic and racial diversity, that's not reflected on the op-ed page or among the columnists who make the front page of the Metro section. As the population of Dallas gets more diverse, the paper continues to increase their coverage of the northern suburbs. The general feeling is that if you're African-American, your best chance of making it into the paper is to be arrested, under investigation, or an athlete. If you are an athlete who is arrested, an African-American can make the front page with a story devoted to them.

So there is a need for alternative media in my area, as I'm sure there is in all of our areas. Issues and ideas that would never pop up in the daily papers can be heard in alternative media. The most wonderful idea in the world means very little if no one ever learns of it.

In this month of Black History, I'll step up and note the African-American News & Issues which provides coverage of issues that would otherwise not get attention. I congratulate them on ten years and hope they have at least a hundred more.