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California

Tatyana Hargrove says she was heading home from buying her dad a Father’s Day gift on June 18 when she stopped to take a sip of water in the 103-degree heat. When she turned around, she says, three Bakersfield police cars were behind her, reports the Huffington Post. In a Facebook video by the Bakersfield NAACP, the 19-year-old Hargrove recalls that one of the officers drew his gun and asked her if she was inside the Grocery Outlet, a local convenience store. Hargrove says she responded “No” before turning to another officer, who asked her to hand over her backpack. “Do you have a warrant?”, Hargrove recalls asking the officer. According to Hargrove, the officer pointed behind her and said, “Look,” prompting her to turn around and see a police dog. Hargrove says she got scared and told the officer to take the backpack. That’s when Hargrove says one of the officers grabbed her by the wrist and neck and punched her in the mouth before throwing her on the ground, where the police dog bit her on the leg. “[The officer] put his other knee on my head, and I told him, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and I started yelling out, ‘Somebody help me, somebody help me, they’re going to kill me,’” Hargrove says in the video. She was eventually arrested and taken to jail. Police claim they mistook her for a suspect who had just robbed a store. The problem is Hargrove is a girl and the suspect is a much heavier man. An internal police investigation is reportedly underway.


San Diego Chargers player Brandon Mebane, once a Super Bowl winner, says that he and his teammates are facing discrimination in Orange County because they are Black, reports the Orange County Register. Mebane and other teammates have faced housing discrimination in Irvine and Newport Beach, even after being willing to put down advance rents of up to a year. “But you can’t tell a person they can’t come in your neighborhood because they’re Black; that’s against the law,” Mebane said. “They don’t actually say those types of things. But they’ll point out things … The neighborhood was brand new. There were no Black families there.” The veteran player also claims he and his wife were “subject to similar microaggressions, such as a security guard who not-so-subtly followed them for the entirety of their time,” at a Louis Vutton store. “People tell me it’s not true,” Mebane concluded, “but they don’t understand what it’s like to be Black in America. The only way we can move on and hear each other is by talking about this.”

Florida

Florida’s first African-American state attorney, Aramis Ayala, was leaving Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando on June 19, when police officers stopped her, reports the Miami Herald. Body camera footage from the stop showed the two officers attempting to explain why they pulled her over. One officer asked her what government agency she worked for after looking over her license. “I’m the state attorney,” Ayala said. “Thank you … your tag didn’t come back … never seen that before, but we’re good now,” the officer replied. “We ran the tag. I’ve never seen it before with a Florida tag … it didn’t come back to anything, so that’s the reason for the stop.” “What was the tag run for?” Ayala asked. “Oh we run tags through all the time, whether it’s a traffic light and that sort of stuff … that’s how we figure out if cars are stolen and that sort of thing,” the officer said. “Also, the windows are really dark. I don’t have a tint measure, but that’s another reason for the stop.” Sgt. Eduardo Bernal, a spokesman for the Orlando Police department, told the Tampa Bay Times that officers “routinely” check tags for official business. Ayala hasn’t filed a complaint with the police department, according to a statement Ayala’s office sent to the Tampa Bay Times. She insisted that her car tint was not a violation.

Georgia

The Liberty District of Columbus was once a thriving Black enclave with a myriad of restaurants, professional offices and entertainment in the 1950s and 1960s, reports U.S. News & World Report. It was home to the first Black United Service Organization in the world, Lula Huff recalls. Her father started a taxi service to transport Black soldiers to and from Fort Benning. Now, Huff and others with ties to the Liberty District are developing a master plan for the community, aiming to redevelop it with buildings, landscaping and bustling streets. “What took place down here inspired other parts of African American Columbus,” said J. Aleem Hud, who grew up in the city. Hud said he would like to see an off-Broadway-type movie theater come to the area, as well as ethnic food markets and eateries like those that exist in other cities. “I think right now, we’re kind of bland,” he said of Columbus. “I think this district should bring some flavor of the heritage.” City officials have been holding informational meetings and intend to form a committee to work on plans for the area, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported. At one of the recent meetings, City Manager Isaiah Hugley said he envisions the Liberty District being an extension of Uptown Columbus, with mixed-use development to include housing, restaurants, hotels and entertainment.

Maryland

Maggie O. Smith has spent decades preserving the memory of a man whose name most people in Baltimore wouldn’t recognize, but who played a significant role in its African American history, reports the Associated Press. Harry O. Wilson Sr. was a businessman, philanthropist and bank owner in Maryland at the turn of the 20th century. In 1917, he bought large tracts of land in Northeast Baltimore, built homes there and sold them to Black families. The neighborhood, Wilson Park, helped advance a growing affluent African American population in Baltimore at a time when laws prevented Blacks from buying homes in all but a few of the city’s neighborhoods, even if they could afford to. “This community was an incubator in being able to advance colored people,” said Dale Green, an assistant professor of architecture and historic preservation at Morgan State University. “To be able to walk out your door and across the street is a performer, a doctor, a professor … it played a tremendous role for that community and their children, and their children’s children.” A century after Wilson built the neighborhood near Cold Spring Lane and Alameda, he’s finally getting some recognition. Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation last week recommended the City Council approve a measure to designate Wilson’s former home at 4423 Craddock Ave. a historic landmark.

Pennsylvania

Black Love Philly (Celebrating the Black Family) is the brainchild of two city artists who want to celebrate Black culture, the arts and community members. “For me, it means a beginning or a new start. I feel that a lot of people from the neighborhood where I come from gave up. They felt like there was no hope,” said co-founder J. Kinvez to NewsWorks.com. “I feel like this is a new start for us, a new hope for us. It’s a point of us coming together in harmony, coming together in peace—no alcohol, no drugs, no violence.” At the core of the event is self-love, said co-founder Amirah Jennah. “This is a celebration. A celebration of who we are,” Jennah said. Black Love Philly, which honors a community member at each of its events this month, and will honor Teon Lee-Bey, who runs programs for children in North Philadelphia. While he no longer lives there, he returns to give back to the community. Lee-Bey does not receive any funding, so he pays for all of the programs out of his own pocket. He runs basketball tournaments and teaches gardening to give the kids more opportunities than he had growing up. Black Love Philly begins at 6 p.m. at the Collective Mic Art Gallery and Arts Cafe at 2066 Hunting Park Ave. At Black Love Philly, “You’re coming and you’re having a good time, but you’re doing this while you’re celebrating yourself and you’re celebrating your people, all while you’re celebrating your community,” Jennah said.

Tennessee

A Memphis woman is furious with her doctor after he called her “Aunt Jemima” during an examination, reports the New York Daily News. Lexi Carter said she was at a July 11 appointment with James Turner when he entered with a trainee and greeted her with the racial slur. “I was just sitting there waiting to be seen and he walked in,” Carter told local NBC affiliate WMC. “He had a young girl, physician’s assistant trainee, a student with him and he looked at me and he goes ‘Hi Aunt Jemima.’” Carter, who is Black, said Turner, who is White, referred to her that way several times and didn’t apologize at the time. The Aunt Jemima brand of breakfast foods has been a point of criticism for parent Quaker Oats Company. Descendents of another inspiration for the character sued Quaker Oats in August 2014, seeking $2 billion in revenue for the likeness. The case was dismissed the following February.

Texas

An 11-year-old Texas boy, who is Black, has invented a device that could eventually save the lives of babies across the country, reports the Houston Chronicle. After hearing about an infant who passed away after being left in a hot car in his area, Bishop Curry V decided that something had to be done. “I heard about babies dying in car seats and they could have grown up to be somebody important,” Curry said. “It makes me pretty upset.” The device works by first detecting that a child has been left in the car and blowing cool air on the baby until the parents or authorities arrive. It also sends a text to parents and officials letting them know the child is in the hot car. After seeing the idea drawn up, Bishop Curry IV—an employee with Toyota—decided to pitch the invention to the company in hopes that they would like it enough to get behind the idea. Now with the support of his family, Toyota executives and many others, Curry V’s invention is inching closer to becoming a reality. He has even surpassed the goal set for his Go Fund Me page by nearly $20,000.

National

Black babies born in America are more than twice as likely as White infants to die before their first birthdays, reports the Economist. A large racial gap has been present for as long as statistics have been kept. Nonetheless, infant mortality has generally declined at a faster rate for Blacks than Whites, leading to the hope that the disparity might eventually disappear. That encouraging trend seems to have levelled off. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Black infant mortality in America stopped falling in around 2012. The paper found that if Black babies had died at the same rate as White ones, in 2015 nearly 4,000 infant deaths would have been averted. The main explanation for the racial gap is that Black babies are much more likely than White ones to be born prematurely. What leads to prematurity itself is not fully understood: even a tentative cause can be identified in only about half of such births. Risk factors linked to the mother include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and obesity. Mothers are also more likely to go into labor too early if they are under 20 or over 35.


This year is the 70th anniversary of Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Larry Doby of the Cleveland Indians desegregating Major League Baseball. Baseball is known as the American pastime, but in 2017, it has the smallest percentage of African American players in the three major professional sports, reports U.S. News & World Report. Between 1946 and 1950, all three major professional sports had desegregated, and the total percentage of Black players was less than 3 percent. In 2017, 75 percent of the NBA and 64 percent of the NFL players are Black, but only 7.7 percent of MB players are Black. Last week was the 88th annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played at Marlins Park in Miami. The American League and National League rosters have 32 players, but there were only three Black all stars and all were Latinos. Some of the greatest baseball players in major league history were African American, among them Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson.

Compiled by Carol Ozemhoya.