Saturday, March 17, 2018


As anyone who has seen Black Panther can tell you, the Dora Milaje are a force to be reckoned with. The devoted female warriors sworn to protect Wakanda’s throne are an essential part of the boundary-breaking blockbuster—so it should come as little surprise that Marvel’s latest release takes their story far beyond their service to their king, T’Challa. In Wakanda Forever: The Amazing Spider-Man, the Dora Milaje are finally getting their own arc, with Okoye, Ayo, and Aneka headed to New York to investigate a threat to national security, and connecting with Peter Parker in the process. Written by acclaimed sci-fi and fantasy author Nnedi Okorafor, with illustrations by Alberto JimĂ©nez Alburquerque and Terry Dodson, the three-part comic will shed new light on the heroes who have become fan favorites. If the film whet viewers’ appetite for more adventures featuring the near invincible trio, the new series promises to deliver all that and then some. “Typically when you see them, they’re with T’Challa, representing and protecting him,” Okorafor told Vogue. “Now you’re going to see the Dora Miljae for the first time as an independent entity; they’re not under the shadow of the throne.”

Okorafor has already won Hugo and Nebula awards for her game-changing fiction, which explores themes of Afro-futurism and fantastical mythology inspired by Nigerian folklore, but she’s found stepping into the world of comics no less gratifying. “It’s been amazing, and I’ve learned so much along the way,” says Okorafor, whose first book for Marvel, Black Panther: Long Live the King, debuted last year. Presenting a vision of the African continent through the sci-fi lens felt completely natural. “I like to write the future; the Africa I feel can be and the Africa that will be, that has always been my vision,” she says. “With Wakanda, a place set in the present but with a futuristic outlook, it wasn’t a hard transition—it made a lot of sense.”


Nearly $900k Raised for HBCUs at 2018 UNCF National Gala

Close to $900,000 was raised at the recent UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala honoring game-changing HBCU alumnus and White House correspondent April Ryan, Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon and UNCF campaign contributor Oracle Corporation. More than 900 business, civic and education leaders attending the March 8 event. UNCF member-institution presidents, along with UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax also attended. HBCU alum (Howard University) and “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent, A.J. Calloway served as master of ceremonies.
“HBCUs continue to produce leaders across all professions, including honorees April     Ryan, graduate of Morgan State; and Kenny Leon, graduate of Clark Atlanta,” said Lomax. “These honorees and our students attending HBCUs across the nation help change the narrative about HBCUs and address misperceptions and myths about them.”
The 2018 UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala continued its tradition of honoring trailblazers for their game-changing education advocacy through partnerships with UNCF and through their own work. This year’s honorees, who through their sacrifices and determination, have led the charge in championing for a quality education for all, include White House correspondent April Ryan, who received the Shirley Chisholm Award for community service. Both Kenny Leon and the Oracle Corporation accepted the UNCF President’s Award.
“We could not be prouder of our partnership with UNCF, which spans more than 20 years,” said Hamidou Dia, senior vice president, Oracle. “During that period of time, we’ve donated over $13 million, sponsored countless interns, hired many students and have supported UNCF’s HBCU Innovation Summit. The foundation that you’ve laid since 1944 is remarkable. I’m sure that I speak for my colleagues at Oracle and beyond in saying that we’ve been the proud recipients of your graduates. They come to the table with new ideas, the courage to speak up, the skills to deliver, the fire to make a difference, and the commitment to reach back and help others. Simply put, you make our organizations and our country better.”
With the support of platinum sponsors Wells Fargo and Delta Air Lines, funds from the event help support UNCF programs and our 37 member institutions— 
colleges and universities that contribute to the regions and communities HBCUS have served for more than 100 years. And in the recent landmark study, HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities--commissioned by UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute--UNCF shows the nation’s HBCUs generate $1.8 billion in economic impact annually; equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations.
These institutions generate more than134,000 jobs for their local and regional economies—equal to the number of jobs provided by president’s awardee Oracle, one of the nation’s largest private employers.
To view images from the 2018 UNCF “A Mind Is…” Gala, visit: 
To stay connected to UNCF throughout the year, please visit:
Follow us on social media @UNCF #UNCF
About UNCF 
UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”® Learn more at, or for continuous updates and news, follow UNCF on Twitter at @UNCF. #AMIGala

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hampton votes to name neighborhood center after NASA trailblazer, Mary Jackson

Dozens packed the Hampton City Council chambers Wednesday for the renaming of a $3.5 million Olde Hampton neighborhood center in honor of Mary Jackson, a city native, and among the first African-American women to serve as a human computer at what is now NASA Langley.

Many of those in attendance included members of Jackson’s sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha to pay tribute to the pioneering engineer, whose story was featured in the book by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly and movie “Hidden Figures.”

Last July, members of Local 8888 of the United Steelworkers lobbied the City Council to have a public place named for Jackson. Jackson, who died in 2005, grew up in Olde Hampton and was a science education advocate.

The city is working with local neighborhood citizen groups to finalize the types of programs that will be featured at the center, City Manager Mary Bunting said. The city is also seeking to hire a firm for the building design.

Vice Mayor Linda Curtis said there is not a set location for the new Mary Jackson Neighborhood Center.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Package bombings targeting African Americans in Austin Texas

Package bombs that killed a teenager and wounded two women Monday in Austin are probably linked to a similar bombing that killed a man in the city earlier this month, authorities said, and investigators are considering whether race was a factor because all of the victims were minorities.

The first of Monday’s attacks killed a 17-year-old boy and wounded a 40-year-old woman, both whom were black. As police Chief Brian Manley held a news conference to discuss that blast, officers were called to the scene of another explosion that badly injured a 75-year-old Hispanic woman. She was taken to a hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

Authorities suspect that both of Monday’s blasts are linked to a March 2 attack that killed a 39-year-old black man, and they urged the public to call police if they receive any unexpected packages.

The three explosions occurred in different parts of Austin. Monday’s first explosion happened at a home near the city’s Windsor Park neighborhood and about 12 miles from the home where the March 2 package bomb killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House. His death was initially investigated as suspicious, but is now viewed as a homicide.

Monday’s second explosion happened in the Montopolis neighborhood, near the airport and about five miles south of the day’s first blast.

In at least the first two blasts, the packages were left overnight on the victims’ doorsteps and were not mailed or sent by a delivery service. He said neither the U.S. Postal Service nor private carriers such as UPS or FedEx have any record of delivering the package to the home, where Monday’s explosion occurred.

“There are similarities that we cannot rule out that these two items are, in fact, related,” Manley said.

Investigators have not determined a motive for the attacks, but it is possible that the victims could have been targeted because of their race, he said.

“We don’t know what the motive behind these may be,” Manley said. “We do know that both of the homes that were the recipients of these packages belong to African-Americans, so we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this.”

Special Agent Michelle Lee, a San Antonio-based spokesman for the FBI, said the agency responded to both events and was assisting Austin police, who were leading the local investigation. She said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was leading the federal investigation.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Baltimore park space where Confederate statue once stood rededicated to Harriet Tubman

More than 200 local residents and elected leaders gathered in a tree-lined corner of a Baltimore park Saturday to rededicate the space, which had long venerated two Confederate generals, to the famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

“We stand on the shoulders of this great woman,” said Ernestine Jones-Williams, 71, a Baltimore County resident and a Tubman family descendant who spoke on behalf of the family. “We are overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Thank you, and God bless you.”

The ceremony in Wyman Park Dell, on the 105th anniversary of Tubman’s death, took place feet from the now-empty pedestal of a large, bronze, double-equestrian statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and officially renamed the space Harriet Tubman Grove.

At the event Saturday, city officials and local residents cited the events in Charleston and Charlottesville, but largely focused on more local efforts to have Baltimore’s statues removed, including a grass-roots petition drive.

They said the removal of the statues has imbued the spaces where they once stood, such as the Harriet Tubman Grove, with their own symbolic power.

“Since the removal of the Lee-Jackson statue, this park has become a gathering place for city residents of all backgrounds to meet, talk and enjoy the location as a space that symbolizes hope and positive change,” said Ciara Harris, chief of staff to Baltimore Recreation and Parks Director Reginald Moore. “Harriet Tubman Grove will provide the city an opportunity to correct historic injustice to a Maryland native. Our city is properly recognizing an African-American hero.”

Read more: Baltimore park space where Confederate statue once stood is rededicated to Harriet Tubman