As we celebrate our 6th anniversary, we offer a condensed version of some of our best cover stories from this past year. - OW.
'Grim Sleeper' suspect taken into custody
Arrest believed to conclude decade's long investigation
By Joseph Wright
OW Senior Staff Writer
After the deaths of 10 Black women and at least one Black man in South Central Los Angeles over a period of almost 25 years, a man suspected of being the so-called "Grim Sleeper" was arrested by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Robbery-Homicide Division of the LAPD took 57-year-old Lonnie David Franklin Jr. into custody at his home on 81st Street near Western Avenue. His arrest was the culmination of an investigation that began more than two decades ago.
LAPD Detective Dennis Kilcoyne said the Grim Sleeper serial killer was linked by forensic evidence to eight murders between 1985-88 and three murders between 2001-07. The killer was given the "Grim Sleeper" moniker because of what was believed to be a 13- or 14-year gap between his murderous rampages.
The district attorney's office charged Franklin with 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder. Prosecutors said he was eligible for the death penalty.
The common links in the killings were that all the victims were Black, all but one were women, and most of them were involved in prostitution or drug activity.
Franklin was described as a neighborhood mechanic who showed no signs of being capable of such horrible crimes.
After Katrina, oil spill threatened ways of life
New Orleans Blacks dispersed
By Manny Otiko
Having been battered by Hurricane Katrina, which dispersed African American families to the four corners of the country, many Black fishermen were also threatened by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The spill, caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, leaked about 12-19,000 barrels of oil a day into the ocean, according to figures from the United States Geological Survey. Considered the worst oil spill in U.S. history, it took 88 days to stop.
Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, said the spill had the potential to devastate a way of life that has gone on for generations.
"One major misconception is that oil that has dissolved into water is gone and, therefore, harmless," said Charles Hopkinson, director of Georgia Sea Grant and professor of marine sciences at the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "The oil is still out there, and it will likely take years to completely degrade. We are still far from a complete understanding of what its impacts are."
Losing a family tradition that has been around for generations puts a lot of emotional stress on people, said Burnell Tolbert, president of the Lafourche Parish branch of the NAACP. "For a lot of these guys, (fishing) is a way of life."
Tea Party boiled over with hot displeasure
Some African Americans caught up in the movement
By Brittney M. Walker
OW Staff Writer
Since President Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009, an interesting faction of political activists called the Tea Party ("tea" standing for taxed enough already) began making a ruckus.
According to TeaParty.org, the group's core values include the belief that immigration is bad; English should be a key language requirement; a stronger military is essential; smaller government and fewer personal and business taxes; bailouts and stimulus plans are illegal; average citizens should have access to political offices, and the national budget needs to be balanced.
In March, the party verbally attacked some in the African American community, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was spat on by party demonstrators and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) was called the n-word.
There was, however, a small group of African American supporters who claim the party is for everyone.
Candidate for the first congressional district of Mississippi, Angela McGlowan, was recruited by the Tea Party for the November election. She was one of the few African American faces who sided with the movement. She was also frequently called upon to be a political analyst for FOX News.