Speech on New Orleans Statues Goes Viral

D.C.’s WAMU Boosts Black, Latino Listeners

Trump Budget Panned for Effect on Latinos

Jerry Perenchio Dies at 86, Built Univision

Being Biracial Teaches Activist Not to Generalize

Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity

Donald Franklin, St. Louis Journalist, Dies at 79

Short Takes

Support Journal-isms

Speech on New Orleans Statues Goes Viral

A speech by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the reasons his city removed four Confederate monuments has gone viral, its text reprinted in far-flung newspapers and landing Landrieu interviews Friday on NPR and this coming Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The reaction is not happening in a vacuum. In Alabama on Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill to prohibit local governments from moving historical monuments on public property that have been in place for 40 years or more.

For good measure, the law applies to “streets and schools at least 20 years old but less than 40 that are named after a historical person,” Mike Cason reported Wednesday for al.com.

The angry, divisive fight over public symbols of the Confederacy has swept through Columbia, S.C., Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans,” Julie Bosman wrote Friday for the New York Times. “This week, the debate made its way some 600 miles north, up the Mississippi River, to St. Louis, the home of a Confederate memorial many residents did not know was in their midst. . . .”

Landrieu said in an interview recorded for Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” “I’m surprised as you are that the speech went viral. (video) It was intended for a local audience, but evidently it’s an issue that people across the country are dealing with and I hope they do it in a forthright, honest manner with each other.”

With police protection, masked crews tear down the Battle of Liberty Place monument, center, in New Orleans on April 24. (Credit: Chris Granger, NOLA.com/ Times-Picayune)

With police protection, masked crews pull down the Battle of Liberty Place monument in New Orleans on April 24. (Credit: Chris Granger, NOLA.com/ Times-Picayune)

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board was forthright on Wednesday. “Confederate soldiers fought valiantly. But fighting valiantly for an abhorrent cause does not confer hero status on them. Slavery was wrong. Those who went to war to defend slave owners’ rights were dead wrong. . . .”

Mike Bayham, who wrote Monday for the Hayride in Baton Rouge, which calls itself “Louisiana’s premier conservative political commentary site,” was equally unequivocal.

Bayham said of Landrieu’s declaration, “It was a speech more fitting for a psychiatric institute patient suffering from severe delusions of grandeur than a man charged with running a major city with major problems. . . .”

And in Harrison, Ark., Mayor Dan Sherrell and Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway signed proclamations recognizing June as Confederate History and Heritage Month.

By contrast, NPR’s “On the Media” interviewed Malcolm Suber of Take ‘Em Down NOLA  and Brian Stevenson  of the Equal Justice Initiative, two African Americans who said Landrieu did not go far enough (audio). They said that visitors and residents must hear more of the history of the slavery and Jim Crow eras from the African American point of view.

Up north, editorial cartoonist Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe tied the controversy to national politics. A Wednesday sketch showed two men with Confederate battle flags on their backs watching a statue being hoisted. One man says, “They’re stripping us of our flag, our monuments, our proud heritage of white domination!”

The other says, “But we still have Jeff Sessions.” The former Alabama senator, now U.S. attorney general, has been accused of having a racist past. In fact, on Thursday the Riverfront Times in St. Louis suggested shipping that city’s Confederate statue to Sessions as one of “10 Completely Serious Solutions to St. Louis’ Confederate Monument Controversy.”

The Dallas Morning News said Thursday that it was not prepared to follow New Orleans. “This newspaper . . . has called for adding context to, rather than removing, Confederate statues in Austin. . . .,” it editorialized.

Still, it called Landrieu’s speech “extraordinary — and historic” and agreed that “as painful as history can be, it does not have to go on defining us against our will. . . .”

The controversy prompted Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, who is white, to reflect on her childhood.

I grew up in the South, surrounded by ‘rebel’ flags and the legends of Confederate ‘heroes,’ ” she wrote Tuesday. “I learned, as other white children did, that cheering for the Confederacy was an act of local pride, a defiance of the Northern invaders, a way to honor the valiant dead. Slavery was a side story.

“It’s a measure of the era’s segregation that I don’t know what black children were taught.

“I was fortunate to have parents who didn’t share the prevailing racial bigotry, but even so, the paraphernalia of the Confederacy was so ubiquitous that I didn’t recognize it for what it was. Only after I left the South, at the end of eighth grade, did I grasp the full nature of those statues, flags and legends, the history they represented and perverted. . . .”

Campbell Robertson and Katy Reckdahl of the New York Times interviewed New Orleanians, including Topsy Chapman, 69, whose ancestors were on a plantation owned by Jefferson Davis.

I passed those New Orleans monuments all the time for most of my adult life,” Chapman said in a story published Wednesday. “It never dawned on me that those statues were really honoring those people. But that point was made clear to me by the people who fought to keep the monuments there.

“We know it’s a part of history. It happened. That’s the way things were in those days. But why do you want to hold on to something so evil?

“To me, it’s like a never-ending story. My people are religious. They’re Baptists. When I was a little girl, the white Baptist church hired my father, who was a brick mason, to build a pretty brick building for them. But our church was wooden and it was raggedy. So I remember asking him: ‘Why don’t we just shut down our church and go to church with them? Because God loves everybody, right?’

“He told me, ‘We can’t do that, baby. That’s just the way the world is.’ ”

Landrieu said in his speech, “We have not erased history; we are becoming part of the city’s history by righting the wrong image these monuments represent and crafting a better, more complete future for all our children and for future generations.

“And unlike when these Confederate monuments were first erected as symbols of white supremacy, we now have a chance to create not only new symbols, but to do it together, as one people. . . .

“Instead of revering a 4-year brief historical aberration that was called the Confederacy we can celebrate all 300 years of our rich, diverse history as a place named New Orleans and set the tone for the next 300 years. . . .”

D.C.’s WAMU Boosts Black, Latino Listeners

In Washington, NPR affiliate “WAMU’s ratings have risen across the board since general manager JJ Yore started in August 2014 and began reimagining operations,” Andrew Beaujon reported Thursday for Washingtonian magazine.

“Average weekly listeners are nearing a million a week. Buoyed by the election and its news-intensive aftermath, WAMU clawed its way past WTOP to become number one in the market, a status few public-radio stations have managed.

“But the gain in black and Latino listeners has outpaced those numbers. . . . .”

Beaujon also wrote, “One easy reason: general changes to the station’s sound and programming. You know the voice that announces WAMU’s underwriting? It belongs to Heather Taylor, an African-American woman. The station’s ‘Anacostia Unmapped’ project collected oral histories from that historically black neighborhood, and veteran host Kojo Nnamdi has done more of his ‘Kojo in Your Community’ events in predominantly African-American neighborhoods. . . .”

Alicia Montgomery left Code Switch, NPR’s team that covers race and identity, to become WAMU’s editorial director in October.

“. . . Also, this past January, Joshua Johnson replaced Diane Rehm in the 10-to-noon slot following Morning Edition and BBC Newshour. He’s an excellent interviewer, and in February cumulative listenership to his 1A was up over Rehm’s show by about 7 percent.

“That kind of hire doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Another possible reason for the gains is a management committed to diversity. Yore pushed Taylor’s hiring following a suggestion by Richard Prince, a former Washington Post [reporter and copy] editor and longtime advocate for newsroom diversity. . . .”

WAMU General Manager JJ Yore hears a suggestion to integrate the underwriting announcers at a February 2015 Journalist Roundtable in Washington. Tamika Smith is at left. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

WAMU General Manager JJ Yore hears a suggestion to integrate the staffers who announce the underwriters at a 2015 Journalists Roundtable in Washington. Weekend host Tamika Smith is at left. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Trump Budget Panned for Effect on Latinos

Donald Trump has used Latinos as a piñata from the very first day he launched his campaign,” political scientist Victoria DeFrancesco Soto wrote Thursday for NBC Latino.

“If you’re angry about drugs, crime, the economy — blame it on Latinos, Latinos, Latinos. They were a handy scapegoat to beat up on during rallies and speeches.

“But with his budget, Trump takes the verbal abuse and puts it into policy terms. Under the proposed White House budget there are a ton of losers, but Hispanics will be among those hit the hardest. . . .”

On May 19, Andrés Oppenheimer wrote for the Miami Herald, “President Trump’s newly-released budget proposal for 2018 confirms what many in Latin America have long feared: he has a negative agenda for the region, focused on building a border wall, deporting Latino immigrants and cutting foreign aid, including humanitarian assistance to Cuban and Venezuelan independent groups. . . . ”

Jerry Perenchio Dies at 86, Built Univision

Jerry Perenchio

Jerry Perenchio

Jerry Perenchio, an entertainment mogul who promoted the Muhammad AliJoe Frazier heavyweight championship fight in 1971, produced television shows with Norman Lear and turned Univision into the dominant Hispanic TV network in the United States, died on Tuesday at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles,” Richard Sandomir reported Thursday for the New York Times. “He was 86.

“The cause was lung cancer, a family spokeswoman said. . . .”

Sandomir also wrote, “Mr. Perenchio had been thinking big for a while about trying to acquire what is known today as Univision only to see it sold instead to Hallmark Cards in 1987. Five years later, though, he led a group that bought the network for $550 million. He did not speak Spanish but understood that Univision had the ability to capitalize on the growth of Hispanic viewership and buying power in the United States.

“ ‘Jerry set out with a mission to serve a community that had been predominantly overlooked and underserved,’ Randy Falco, the president of Univision, said in a statement. Mr. Perenchio, he added, ‘envisioned a media company that would cater to this specific demographic’ and paved the way for Univision ‘to become the leading media company serving Hispanic America.’

“Mr. Perenchio sold Univision to a group of investors for more than $12 billion in 2006. His stake was worth about $1.3 billion. . . .”

Being Biracial Teaches Activist Not to Generalize

Shaun King

Shaun King

Shaun King, a Black Lives Matter activist who writes for the Daily News in New York, used own biography to argue against intolerance of Muslims in light of the terrorist bombing in Manchester, England, this week that left 22 dead.

My dear mother is a sweet, supportive, 66-year-old white woman from rural Kentucky,” King wrote Tuesday. “I love her without hesitation.

“Yet, on a daily basis, both as a journalist and an activist, I confront white privilege, white supremacy, and the devastating effects of systemic racism in our country and around the world.

“Out of necessity, though, I have always been forced to be nuanced and carefully parse how I approach my feelings about white people in general, in great part because I’ve always had this wonderful white woman, who first taught me to stand against racism, as one of the essential pillars in my life. . . .”

King also wrote, “We should all be upset at what happened in Manchester, but what happened there is no excuse to slide into Islamophobia. Whoever did this is no more a Muslim than those who lynched African Americans during Jim Crow were Christians. Wearing the garb of a faith no more makes you a follower of that faith than me wearing a Steph Curry jersey makes me a Golden State Warrior. . . .”

Nominate a J-Educator Who Promotes Diversity

Beginning in 1990, the Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually granted a Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship — actually an award — “in recognition of an educator’s outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism.”

AOJ merged last year into the American Society of News Editors, which is continuing the Bingham award tradition.

David Armstrong

David G. Armstrong

Since 2000, the recipient has been awarded an honorarium of $1,000 to be used to “further work in progress or begin a new project.”

Past winners include James Hawkins, Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa, Howard University (1992); Ben Holman, University of Maryland (1996); Linda Jones, Roosevelt University, Chicago (1998); Ramon Chavez, University of Colorado, Boulder (1999); Erna Smith, San Francisco State (2000); Joseph Selden, Penn State University (2001); Cheryl Smith, Paul Quinn College (2002); Rose Richard, Marquette University (2003).

Also, Leara D. Rhodes, University of Georgia (2004); Denny McAuliffe, University of Montana (2005); Pearl Stewart, Black College Wire (2006); Valerie White, Florida A&M University (2007); Phillip Dixon, Howard University (2008); Bruce DePyssler, North Carolina Central University (2009); Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University (2010); Yvonne Latty, New York University (2011); Michelle Johnson, Boston University (2012); Vanessa Shelton, University of Iowa (2013); William Drummond, University of California at Berkeley (2014); Julian Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Arlington (2015) (video); and David G. Armstrong, Georgia State University (2016) (video).

Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, ASNE Opinion Journalism committee, richardprince (at) hotmail.com. The deadline is June 23. Please use that address only for ASNE matters.

Donald Franklin, St. Louis Journalist, Dies at 79

Donald Franklin, c.1970

Donald Franklin, c. 1970

Donald E. Franklin, a 37-year journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a co-founder of the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists, died May 20 after a two-year battle with pulmonary fibrosis, his daughter, Nicole Franklin, said on Saturday. He was 79.

Franklin, a native of Marianna, Ark., grew up in East St. Louis, Ill.  He worked at the Post-Dispatch from 1967 to 2004, earning a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at Columbia University in 1970, covering the Metro East and later becoming an assistant city editor.

“Don pursued daily assignments as award-winning opportunities to expand coverage on civil rights, voting rights and exposing police brutality,” his daughter wrote in an obituary. “Near the end of his career Don went back on the streets as the homicide beat reporter. . . .”

The Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists commemorated its 40th anniversary in December.

Franklin also moonlighted as a home renovator.

A celebratory service and “Evening of Jazz” are scheduled for June 24. The service takes place at 11 a.m. at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 1648 Tudor Ave, East St. Louis, Ill. 62207. [Added May 27]

Short Takes

Support Journal-isms

Facebook users: “Like” “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” on Facebook.

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter @princeeditor

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.
Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince at journal-isms-owner@yahoogroups.com

To be notified of new columns, contact journal-isms-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and tell us who you are.