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Chocolate Vent’s Question of the Day – If you sing a song without making any mistake on the lyrics you win 1,000,000$. What song would you sing?

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Remembering Kenneth A. Gibson (1931-2019)

Kenneth Allen Gibson, the first African American mayor of Newark, New Jersey, was born in 1931 in the town of Enterprise, Alabama.  He graduated from high school in Enterprise in 1950 and joined the U.S. Army as a civil engineer.  He remained in the Army until 1958. After his discharge, he took a job as a New Jersey State Highway Patrol trooper while simultaneously attending Newark College. Gibson graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1963.

After college Gibson took an engineering position for the Newark Housing Authority where he oversaw urban renewal projects from 1960-1966. In 1966, he became Newark’s chief structural engineer. He was also the head of Newark’s Business and Industry Coordinating Council and served as vice president of the United Community Corporation, which fought poverty in Newark during that time.

In 1970 Gibson ran for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey and defeated incumbent Hugh J. Addonizio, who was subsequently convicted of extortion and conspiracy charges. Gibson took over a predominantly African American city, still recovering from the race riot of 1967 which left 23 people dead. He was credited for economic revival that resuscitated the city’s economy. When he first came into office, the city was in the midst of a population loss from 400,000 to 300,000.  By the end of his first term, the numbers slowly began to grow again as Gibson encouraged the return of middle class residents with urban housing developments such as Society Hill.  His administration was also initially identified with black nationalist poet and playwright Amiri Baraka whom many credited with Gibson’s first election to the mayor’s post.

Kenneth Gibson served four consecutive terms in office until 1986 when he was defeated for reelection by Sharpe James following a scandal which resulted in his indictment on conspiracy and misconduct charges.  Gibson was acquitted in his subsequent trial that took place after he left office.

Gibson was actively involved in a number of civil rights organizations such as the National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).  In 1976 Gibson also became the first African American to serve as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Remembering Damon Keith (1922-2019)

Judge Damon J. Keith has had an illustrious career. Born on July 4, 1922, he has served as a United States Court of Appeals judge for the Sixth Circuit since 1977. Keith was the youngest of six children born to Annie and Perry Alexander Keith and the first to attend college. He graduated from West Virginia State College in 1943 and was then drafted into the military. His experiences in the segregated Army strengthened his conviction to the cause of civil rights. Keith received a J.D. from Howard Law School in 1949, passed the Michigan bar exam in 1950, and earned an L.L.M. from Wayne State University School of Law in 1956.

In 1964, Keith established his own law practice, Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown, & Wahls, with four other African American attorneys. Keith was also very active in the Democratic Party and used his political connections to help his community. He served as the chair to the Detroit Housing Commission and the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Keith to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, where he served as Chief Judge from 1975 to 1977 before President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Keith took senior status in 1995.

In 1993, the Damon J. Keith Law Collection, an archival resource devoted to the substantial historical accomplishments of African American lawyers and judges as well as the African American legal experience, was created at Wayne State University and named in his honor. Keith has received numerous awards and honors, including: thirty-eight honorary degrees from various colleges and universities; the NAACP’s highest award, the Spingarn Medal; the 1997 American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award; the Detroit Urban League’s 1998 Distinguished Warrior Award; the Distinguished Public Service Award for the National Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith; the prestigious Edward J. Devitt Award for Distinguished Service to Justice; the Pinnacle Award at the 2000 Trumpet Awards in Atlanta; and the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award in 2001.

Keith has also received the lifetime achievement award from the National Black College Alumni and was inducted into their Hall of Fame. Keith is married to Rachel Boone Keith, M.D., with whom he has three daughters.

Keith passed away on April 28, 2019.

Remembering John Singleton (1968-2019)

John Daniel Singleton was born on January 6, 1968, in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in South Central Los Angeles and his work as a film director, producer and screenwriter depicted these turbulent, often violent roots.

Singleton studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, winning three writing awards from the university, which led to a contract with Creative Artists Agency during his sophomore year.

In 1991, Columbia Pictures bought his script for Boyz n the Hood and budgeted it at $7 million. The film portrayed life in crime-ridden South Central L.A. and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director in 1991, making Singleton the first African-American and the youngest person ever nominated for the award. The film also garnered a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Singleton followed the win with Poetic Justice in 1993 and Higher Learning in 1995. Both films examined modern race relations, and while they enjoyed success at the box office, they were not as highly praised by critics as his debut effort.

Subsequent works include 1997’s historical drama Rosewood, 2000’s Shaft remake starring Samuel L. Jackson and 2001’s Baby Boy. In 2005, he produced the critically acclaimed indie film Hustle & Flow and directed the box office hit Four Brothers.

Singleton was married to Ghanaian princess and actress Akosua Gyamama Busia from 1996 to 1997; they had one daughter together.

In April 2019, Singleton suffered a stroke and was placed in a medically induced coma at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He passed away on April 29, 2019.

Discovering God’s Will

Would you say that discovering God’s will is like trying to catch a butterfly that’s always just out of reach? Or is it more like fishing, where you cast your lure and hope for the best? In either case, you lack the assurance that you can know what His will is. Jesus, on the other hand, was absolutely certain that He knew what His Father had planned (John 6:38-39). In fact, the heavenly Father gives believers His Holy Spirit to reveal His purposes for each one.

Scripture is the Lord’s primary means of communication. It is both complete and comprehensive in content. Containing principles that address all areas of life, the Bible is the Father’s instruction book for godly living. You cannot maintain the Christian life apart from a steady diet of His Word.

The Bible’s purpose is to give us guidelines for living, and—through the influence of the Holy Spirit—the wisdom to apply them to our daily decisions. The more familiar we are with Scripture, the easier it will be to see the relevance of biblical precepts to our lives. Not adhering to the Lord’s plan will result in missing out on the abundant spiritual life that Christ has promised. Even more importantly, veering from God’s way will mean failure to bring Him the glory He deserves—glory that would result from following His plan.

Unless the Word of God has a central place in our lives, we’ll find it almost impossible to be certain we are in His will. Today is the day to change all that. God is waiting to meet with you in His Word. Won’t you join Him—nothing on your schedule could possibly be more valuable than time spent with your Father.