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Across Black America for February 2, 2012

2/1/2012, 5 p.m.

Here's a look at African American people and issues making headlines throughout the country.

Arkansas
Walmart Stores Inc. recently announced the promotion of Rosalind G. Brewer, 49, to president and CEO of Sam's Club. She will replace current Sam's Club President and CEO Brian Cornell, who informed the company that he would move back to the Northeast for family reasons. Brewer was most recently president of the Walmart U.S. east business unit, where she was responsible for more than $100 billion in annual revenue, representing almost 1,600 stores and more than 500,000 associates. Brewer was also the first chairperson of the Walmart President's Council of Global Women Leaders. "Roz came to us with an outstanding background in consumer packaged goods more than five years ago," said Mike Duke, Walmart president and CEO. "During that time I have seen her develop into a talented merchant and retailer. She has strong strategic, analytical and operational skills and has successfully managed a large and complex business. I've also been struck by Roz's servant leadership when I have visited stores with her. She always lets her team do the talking, with her focus being on how to better support their needs."

California
Essence magazine recently announced the fifth annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon honoring the industry's most exciting African American talent, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes in Hollywood. The event will take place on Feb. 23 at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Essence will celebrate five extraordinary women who have left an indelible impression with their work within the film and television industries: Kerry Washington (Vanguard Award), Octavia Spencer (Breakthrough Performance), Pam Grier (Legend Award), Paula Patton (Shining Star Award) and Shonda Rhimes (Visionary Award). This star-studded event commemorates Essence magazine's annual Hollywood issue and in honor of the fifth anniversary, Essence.com is giving fans exclusive access to all the red-carpet interviews via live stream from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and re-airing that evening at 9 p.m. EST.

District of Columbia
On Wednesday, Feb. 22, the Smithsonian will break ground for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. It is expected to open in 2015. The event will take place in a heated tent and seating will be limited. The event is by invitation only and not open to the public. The entire ceremony will be available via webcast.

Illinois
One of the nation's highest honors was recently presented to pioneering entrepreneur and publisher John H. Johnson, who is commemorated on this year's Black Heritage Forever Stamp by the United States Postal Service. Johnson, the founder of Johnson Publishing Co., which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, is the 35th honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series. The Postal Service has recognized the achievements of prominent African Americans through the Black Heritage series since 1978. Past honorees have included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Barbara Jordan. "John Johnson's unyielding commitment to journalistic excellence and his unparalleled reporting on African American culture have distinguished him as one of America's greatest publishers," said USPS Chicago Senior Plant Manager Anthony Vaughan. The stamp went on sale this week at post offices nationwide, online at usps.com and by phone at (800) 782-6724.

Indiana
Six-time NFL Pro-Bowl player Terrell "T.O." Owens, multi-platinum recording artist/actor Chris Brown, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, NBA champion Rasheed Wallace and 2011 WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings are a few of the athletes participating in the Gridiron Celebrity Hoops XIV All-Star Game during Super Bowl weekend. Gridiron Celebrity Hoops XIV, the first and only celebrity basketball game to become officially sanctioned by the National Football League will, for the 14th-consecutive year, pit two star-studded leagues--the National Foster Care (NFC) and the American Foster Care (AFC)--against one another in a showdown at Butler University. More than three dozen celebrities and professional athletes will take to the court on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the university's Hinkle Fieldhouse. In addition to the basketball game, fans will be able to meet the celebrities, get autographs, take pictures and participate in contests. The hoops event's benefactor is Juli's Kids Motivated to Succeed, a nonprofit whose mission is to enrich the lives of abused, abandoned, neglected and homeless children and teens. The annual Gridiron Hoops event is the largest fundraiser for the charity.

Maryland
In a ceremony in Monrovia, Liberia, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity gave Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf its Alpha Award of Honor. The award is the highest accolade presented to a nonmember of the fraternity. Johnson-Sirleaf also was given the first-ever Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Medal by the fraternity. The awards were bestowed at Paynesville Town Hall, during a rechartering ceremony of the Eta Epsilon Lambda Chapter. Johnson-Sirleaf is the third Liberian president to receive the Alpha Award of Honor. An economist, Johnson-Sirleaf, 73, is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Harvard University. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, she is credited with breaking down many gender barriers in her country and has been lauded all over the world as a powerful and stabilizing force for Liberia. In 2005, Johnson-Sirleaf made history when she became Africa's first elected woman head of state. In 2011, she received the Nobel Peace Prize and returned to office, becoming the first Liberian president to have a second term in the first successive, peaceful democratic transition in 20 years.

New Jersey
On May 12, at the Prudential Center (165 Mulberry St., Newark, N.J.) competitors in the McDonald's Gospelfest will share the stage with some of the biggest names in Gospel, including Shirley Caesar, Donnie McClurkin, Mary Mary, Fred Hammond, Vickie Winans, and a special comedy set by Steve Harvey. Produced and directed by Emmy Award-winning Producer A. Curtis Farrow, Gospelfest is a talent competition. Rising stars of all colors, ages, cultures and faiths will compete in a variety of categories, including soloists, youth choir, adult choir, praise dance, step, singing groups, and Gospel rappers. For further information, call the Gospelfest hot line at (866) 898-7772.

HARVEY ENTERS JOURNALISTS HALL OF FAME
KCBS-TV Channel 2 anchor Pat Harvey was recently inducted into the National Assn. of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held on Jan. 26 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Harvey joined KCBS in 2010 after helping to launch sister station KCAL's prime-time newscast two decades earlier. She is considered one of the most prominent anchors in Los Angeles.