n a i l l i v e z n o r B e th
nt Suppleme A newsletter from the An electronic newsletter from the Department of African African American American and and African African Studies Studies Community Extension Extension Center Center Community
“12 Years a Slave,” Yesterday and Today Film
Pages 1, 3: “12 Years a Slave,” Yesterday and Today – Renford Reese, Ph.D Sports Page 4: Bernard Hopkins Retains Light Heavyweight Title at Age 48 – Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D. Political Commentary Page 5: Mike Ditka Opened the Door For an Obama Presidency? – Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. Page 6: Mayor Coleman’s Hip Hop Video Collaboration – C. Earl Campbell DA III, M.A. Page 10: 50 Years Later; Reflections on A Journey to Birmingham, Alabama – Yoftahie Mesfin Upcoming Events Page 7: The Eighth Annual Black Veterans Day Salute Page 8: Grambling State University Student Reporters Talk About the Football Team and its Controversial Protest
Page 9: Spectrum A Journal On Black Men
By: Renford R. Reese, Ph.D.
“12 Years a Slave” is the most important film since “Roots” on the subject of slavery. This Oscar-worthy film is unrelenting in its brutality and gruesomeness. It is a horror film based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born black man who was drugged, kidnapped and forced into slavery for 12 painful years. Northup was a successful violinist who lived in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with his wife and children. He was captured in 1841 and regained his freedom in 1853. Northup, brilliantly played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, was well educated, played his violin at many well-known hotels, and worked in construction and carpentry before his capture. I saw the movie early in its release and did not know what to expect. After 10 minutes, I found myself trapped. The indescribable brutality and callousness had me wanting to leave the theater on multiple occasions. However, I knew I needed to endure the rawness of the film in order to tell others of its importance. The film is important because rarely has Hollywood captured historic reality in such a profound way. The industry generally favors stories of entertainment value over all else. Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” was a gruesome but entertaining depiction of slavery in which Django, played by Jamie Foxx, outsmarts and out-guns white slave owners and rides into the sunset victoriously — that is Hollywood, not historic reality. “Roots” was a television mini-series that captured the grisly inhumanity of slavery. The most memorable scene in the film was when the overseer beat Kunte Kinte into saying his slave
Faces In The Crowd
Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413
continued on page 3
Phone: (614) 292-3922 Fax: (614) 292-3892 http://aaascec.osu.edu firstname.lastname@example.org
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of the CEC 12Core Programs 6 T he Ohio State University’s AAAS Community Extension Center is the outreach component of the Department of African American and African Studies. The CEC is one of the few off-campus facilities of its kind in the nation. Originally housed at two different locations on Ohio Avenue, the CEC moved to its current location in 1986. The CEC plays an integral role in enhancing the life chances of those who live in and around the Mount Vernon Avenue Area. Toward that end, the CEC offers an array of programs at no or nominal cost to the public. Programs include, but are not limited to, the following: conferences, symposia, computer classes, credit and noncredit courses, summer programs, lecture series, and film series. People from all walks of life have participated in these programs. Based on evaluations of our programs and personal testimonies, the CEC is having an impact on residents living in and around the Bronzeville Neighborhood.
1 Black Veterans Day Salute During the salute, Black men and women from Ohio who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are publicly recognized. Since the salute’s inception in 2006, the CEC has honored the Tuskegee Airmen (2006), Vietnam War veterans (2007), Korean War veterans (2008), African-American servicewomen (2009), World War II veterans (2010), Gulf War Era veterans (2011) and Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans (2012).
2 Ray Miller Institute for Change & Leadership This 10-week long leadership course trains young Black professionals from the Columbus community in various areas of leadership. The Institute was founded in 2006 by former State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller. Miller has built a reputation as a strong advocate for those who have historically not had access to power. Admission to the Institute is highly competitive. The Institute is offered during OSU’s autumn and spring semesters with the support of OSU’s Office of Continuing Education. Participants who complete the course receive three CEU credits.
3 Senior Citizens Movie Matinee The movie matinee is a chance for senior citizens to watch a film that otherwise might be cost prohibitive in an accommodating environment. A discussion, usually led by an OSU professor or administrator, is held at the end of the film.
4 Computer Literacy Program Throughout the academic year, the CEC offers free and reduced-cost computer technology courses. The program is geared toward seniors but open to everyone. Courses include the following: Senior Computer Orientation, Internet, Email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher.
5 Lecture Series Presentations given by OSU faculty, students and/or community members about topics pertinent to the Black community.
Math and Science Program
The Math and Science Program was established in partnership with the OSU Medical Center in 2003. The Math and Science Program exposes students in grades 4 through 12 to the wonders of math and science using hands-on activities. The purpose of the program is three-fold: 1) To increase competency in math and science among students of color; 2) To expose students of color to math and science related careers; and 3) To encourage students of color to major in math or science. The program meets on the fourth Monday of each month from October to May.
7 Summer Residential Program The Summer Residential Program (SRP) was established in 1999 and is designed to provide students with both an appreciation for and an understanding of African-American and African culture and history. The SRP also helps students strengthen their computer literacy skills. Past themes include: “The Underground Railroad” (2012), “All Eyez On Me: Deconstructing Images of African-American Women in Hip Hop” (2011), “letz b down: Social Justice Advocacy for Blacks During the American Revolutionary War Era” (2010), “The Low Country: Black Culture, Literacy and History in Charleston, South Carolina” (2009), and “Hip Hop Literacies” (2008). The program is held every June and is for rising 11th and 12th graders. Students live on OSU’s campus.
8 African Affairs Symposium This one-day symposium brings members of the African American and African communities together to discuss issues of particular interest to Africa. The inaugural symposium in 2007 examined the life of South African civil rights activist Steve Biko. “Africa in the Age of Globalization” was the theme of the 2008 symposium. The 2009 symposium examined the life of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, West Africa. In 2010, the focus was on Pan-Africanism and the Diaspora. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the theme of the 2011 symposium.
9 Summer Enrichment Program This week-long, non-residential day program is designed to help rising 9th and 10th graders improve their reading and writing skills. The program, which was founded in 2009, is hosted annually in June and accepts approximately 15 students.
10 History of Black Columbus Conference This one-day conference celebrates the rich history of African Americans in Columbus and increases awareness of the significant contributions African Americans have made in all areas of city life. This annual conference is held in the spring.
11 Black History Month Forum The forum is in its fourth year and is focused on celebrating African descended peoples from all over the world. This year, documentaries about the following influential Black historical figures were shown: John Henrik Clarke, Kwame Nkrumah, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Baldwin, Minister Elijah Muhummad.
12 Enemies of the State The annual event features activists from America’s most notorious radical organizations, people who pressured America to live up to its highest ideals. In past years, activists from The Us Organization (2012), The Black Panther Party (2011) and the Young Lords Organization (2010) were invited to speak.
About Bronzeville During the 1930s, African-American leaders in Columbus named the predominately African-American neighborhood between the boundaries of Woodland Avenue (East), Cleveland Avenue (West), Broad Street (South) and the railroad tracks (North) “Bronzeville.” The population was approximately 40,000 residents. In 1937, the same African-American leaders elected a mayor of Bronzeville and created an eight member Cabinet to address social, political and economic issues in the neighborhood. Now, as a result of the establishment of several Neighborhood Civic Associations such as the Woodland Civic Association (East) and the Discovery District (West), Bronzeville was reduced to its current boundaries: Taylor Avenue (East), Jefferson Avenue (West), Broad Street (South), and I-670 (North). The Bronzevillian is inspired by this rich history.
CEC Advisory Board Paul Cook Wanda Dillard Francisca Figueroa-Jackson Mark S. Froehlich Ray Miller, former State Senator Lupenga Mphande, Ph.D. William E. Nelson, Jr., Ph.D. (Deceased) *Ike Newsum, Ph.D. and Chair Rick Pfeiffer, City Attorney Thomas Simpson, Ph.D. Reita Smith Charleta Tavares, State Senator Nana Watson
CEC Director *Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D.
CEC Staff Sarah Twitty Senior Program Coordinator & Fiscal Officer Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D. Program Coordinator Alecia Shipe Technology Program Coordinator
Address Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413 *Ex officio members.
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name (Toby). Those of us who have seen “Roots” know the pain we felt in watching this scene. But in “Roots,” the audience had the chance to see other non-brutal facets of slave life. In watching “12 Years a Slave,” there is no chance for you to escape the brutality of slave life. There is no chance to take a break from the verbal abuse, beatings, rapes, contradictions and sheer evil of the institution. The brilliance of this film is in its ability to grip you from the beginning to the end and put you in that dehumanizing place and time. It puts you in the shackles of a once-free man and forces you to live his tragic story one brutal beating at a time.
this country since the Middle Passage. We see it in our youth who join gangs and kill each other over colors they wear and for protecting “turf” that they do not own. We see it in the over 50 percent dropout rates among young black men in our inner-city schools. Some 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. We also see this identity crisis in a number of other social ills plaguing the black community. As the founder/director of the Prison Education Project, the biggest prison education program in the United States, I could not help but see the striking similarities between “12 Years a Slave” and today’s prison industrial complex. Young black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated for the same crime as their white counterparts. Mandatory minimum sentencing, the “Three Strikes Law,” and a myriad of drug laws that evolved from the failed “War on Drugs” have resulted in a disproportionate number of black men serving an array of disproportionate sentences. As in 1841, America has embraced noble principles but ignoble practices. “12 Years a Slave” is important to watch in order for us to begin to empathize with the victims of social injustice in this nation. This film should inspire Americans to match our practices with our principles. The film should inspire all of us to confront our past and to examine our policies and behavior in the present and the future.
Photo courtesy of suffolkvoice.net
This film is important because it gives us the capacity to examine the ubiquitous divisions in our nation today. We see the genesis of an “Us” vs. “Them” mindset and the legacy of racial hate, bigotry and social injustice.
Photo courtesy of www.collider.com
Renford Reese, Ph.D., is a political science professor at Cal Poly Pomona. He is the author of five books and the founder/director of the Prison Education Project, www.PrisonEducationProject.org. Photo courtesy of www.nydailynews.com
For African Americans, “12 Years a Slave” is important because it shows us why we have been locked in an identity crisis in
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Bernard Hopkins Retains Light Heavyweight Title at Age 48 By: Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D.
ernard Hopkins defeated Karo Murat by unanimous decision to retain the IBF Light Heavyweight title in what turned out to be a slugfest on Saturday, October 26th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The 48-year-old Hopkins turned in another captivating performance dominating Murat, 18 years his junior. He pounded the former European titleholder relentlessly in the second half of the fight to keep his win streaks alive as boxing’s oldest world champion and oldest champion to defend his title. Hopkins’ skill, technique and gamesmanship proved too much for Murat. Although not considered a top five contender in the light heavyweight division, Murat was game nonetheless coming out strong and aggressive after the opening bell and throughout the early rounds. The flow and momentum of the fight began to swing during the fifth round. After a clinch between the two fighters, Hopkins kissed Murat twice, once on the neck and the other on the back of the head.
ruled for more than ten years, the fans would witness a pugilistic chess match between two of boxing’s greatest ring masters. When asked could a fight between him and Mayweather happen, Hopkins exclaimed, “Hell yeah!” He continued by providing a thoughtful perspective on why he believes he’s a serious contender. “People realize none of these young guys are gonna beat a chess player playing checkers…None of these young guys has the IQ and the chess board to be able to compete mentally…We’re talking about who can win. Who has an opportunity, a possible chance on winning?” Certainly, Hopkins believes he has the physical tools and ring acumen to beat Mayweather. His last fight as a middleweight was in 2005 losing by split decision and relinquishing his undisputed middleweight championship to Jermain Taylor. Mayweather, who fought and beat Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alverez at the 154 pound limit (light middleweight), would have to come up in weight for the fight; no small feat for the man many consider pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world today.
Photo courtesy of www.dailynews.com
Hopkins discarded his usual slow-paced, methodical approach and delivered a bruising performance, landing thunderous punches that bloodied the younger fighter’s face. As a result, Hopkins invoked his will, walking Murat down, crowding him, applying pressure and landing power punches in pursuit of a knockout. Though he was unable to secure the knockout, he produced one of his most electrifying fights over his illustrious, 25-year career. The fact that he is approaching the age of 50 is unbelievable and makes his victory all the more special. Hopkins, one of Philadelphia’s greatest fighters, wants to continue fighting. The only question is who will be his next opponent. Although his speed and stamina have declined over the years, his heart and ring IQ have not waned and are second to none. If Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Hopkins could agree to meet at a catch-weight of 160 pounds (middleweight), a weight class Hopkins
Photo courtesy of www.sunherald.com
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Mike Ditka opened the door for an Obama Presidency? By: Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D.
n 2004, Illinois Republicans approached Mike Ditka about running for the United States Senate, an idea that he entertained, but ultimately decided against. At the time the Republicans were desperate, not for reaching out to Ditka per se, but because their party was in danger of losing an important seat in the Congress’s upper chamber where the Republicans held a slight advantage, 51-48 with one independent. That summer State Senator Barack Obama had served himself well by giving an impressive keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. The result: his name recognition skyrocketed, which emboldened both his campaign workers as well as his prospects for election in the fall. Weeks earlier, Republican Jack Ryan (the front-runner) was forced to drop out of the race when embarrassing details about his divorce were leaked to the media. Enter Mike Ditka, the former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints coach who won the 1985 Super Bowl with the Bears behind one of the NFL’s most vaunted defenses in the history of the game. Ditka is one of few who have won a Super Bowl as both a coach and a player (with the Dallas Cowboys in 1971). Overshadowed is the championship he won as the Bears starting tight end in the pre Super Bowl era in 1963. Ditka also owns the distinction of being the first tight end to be inducted into the National Football League’s Hall of Fame. Save for Oprah and Michael Jordan few people in the state of Illinois are more well-known and dare I say popular than Mike Ditka. Much to the chagrin of Illinois Republicans, Ditka cited a mountain of both personal and professional responsibilities that precluded him from embarking on a senate run. The Republicans understood that they needed a candidate who could match Obama’s star power. They ended up with political also-ran Alan Keyes who would go on to lose to Obama by a landslide. Recently while delivering a speech at North Dakota’s Oil Patch, Ditka told a crowd that his decision not to run for the U.S. Senate was the “Biggest mistake I’ve ever made . . . “Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he [Obama] wouldn’t be in the White House.” Ditka’s comments were no doubt fueled by America’s struggling economy, gridlock in congress and the recent government shutdown. Some considered Ditka’s comments pretentious, however, were his comments without merit? Provided the Republican Party intended to give Ditka it’s full; and that Ditka possessed the ability to campaign effectively he would have been the Republican’s best hope in 2004. If Ditka did indeed err by declining to run for the senate, his prerogative to do so would have been in line with a number of other dubious decisions on his part during his tenure as coach of the Bears and Saints. For example, in
1999 Ditka convinced the Saints brass to send eight draft picks, including all of their 1999 selections, and 2000 first-and-third-round choices, to Washington for the chance to select Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams with the number five pick in the draft. The opportunity to draft future Hall of Famer Edgerrin James was there, but Ditka opted not to. When asked why Ditka said, “I didn’t like James’ handshake . . . it was like shaking hands with a dead fish.” Although Ditka’s selection of Williams is not on par with the Cleveland Brown’s drafting of Tim Couch over Donovan McNabb or the Portland Trail Blazer’s selection of Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, it still ranks as one of the all-time questionable draft picks. To be fair, Williams had a solid career with the Saints, but it did not measure up to THE Saints’ expectations. Ditka’s decision to give up the farm to draft Williams and “its spectacular failure ultimately defined his legacy in New Orleans, an ignominious exclamation point to an embarrassing 15-33 three coaching year tenure.” Ditka’s time in Chicago was also not without several head-scratching moments. In Super Bowl XX, against the New England Patriots, Ditka had Defensive Tackle William “Refrigerator” Perry line up in the backfield, take a hand off and rumble into the end zone. When reporters asked him why he put Perry in the backfield when longtime Bear Walter Payton had yet to score a touchdown Ditka seemed oblivious. Then, there was the feud with Buddy Ryan, the Bears defensive coordinator and architect of the famed 46 defense. Unable to co-exist with Ditka, Ryan left the Bears after their Super Bowl victory to take the head coaching job with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is likely that Ryan may have bolted to Philadelphia regardless of his relationship with Ditka, but what is certain is that the Bears would not return to the Super Bowl during the Ditka era. Following the Super Bowl win, the Bears were America’s darlings, prompting Ditka to implore his players to leave the endorsements alone and focus on football. This according to Ditka was necessary if the Bears were to repeat as champions. Meanwhile, Ditka was seemingly cornering the market on this front endorsing everything from cars to antifreeze to antihistamines. In 1986, the Bears were bounced from the playoffs by Washington. Some blame Ditka for starting the diminutive Doug Flutie at quarterback over Mike Tomczak and Steve Fuller, both of whom shared the quarterback duties (rather successfully) in the absence of the injured Jim McMahon. In light of Ditka’s record on making important decisions his decision to stay clear of the 2004 Illinois senate race may have been the best decision he ever made.
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Mayor Coleman’s Hip Hop Video Collaboration By: C. Earl Campbell DA III, M.A.
espite Mayor Michael Coleman’s participation in a Hip Hop Video in an effort to promote the Columbus City School’s Levy hi stewardship of Columbus, when it comes to African Americans leaves something to be desired. The Columbus City Schools are one glowing example of his failure. While others railed against former Superintendent Gene Harris for being asleep at the wheel, if indeed she was asleep Mayor Coleman specifically failed to publicly hold her and members of the school accountable. One wonders whether they follow the established, but unwritten practice of Columbus’ White Ruling Elite or the Titans; that is, by putting intellectually impoverished Black Faces in High Places, with the expressed purpose of maintaining the status quo. Indeed said Blacks are well rewarded for their role in being complicit in Black people’s oppression. At any rate, in the video, Mayor Coleman includes several city departments include fire safety, health, zoo, courts and others. That was a small, but obviously, inadvertent example of how each city department should be collaborating to ensure that all Columbus citizens receive an equitable distribution of services and resources, especially when it comes to economic development. Too often when you examine the redistribution of the City Contracts and investments, there are built-in biases and in some cases whole sale racist rules, and other barriers designed to keep Black folk subjugated. All to African Americans leaders elect not to challenge those traditions. This is an example of the Mayor’s failure. Nevertheless, I trust that the Mayor’s video is an example of the kind of collaboration on which his administration plans to embark in the coming years.
Photo courtesy of www.dispatch.com
Photo courtesy of www.clevescene.com
If Mayor Coleman believes that the Black community is satisfied with his leadership, then he is mistaken. Leaders solve problems without fear of reprisal from those who don’t look like them. We however also some bare responsibility for our leaders’ inaction. A great man, William Bill” Moss, once said that a man can only keep his foot on your back, if it’s bent.” Our behavior must change before others in power will respect African Americans enough to venture into the Black community and speak to our concerns community, not just when they need a school levy. Mayor Coleman should consider focusing on the needs of all the citizens all the time, not just when he wants our tax dollars. A fair redistribution of city taxes would be a true testament to his leadership. African Americans must put aside our differences of opinion and organize economically to compete in the marketplace of ideas, technology and innovation. It is our responsibility to demand Black Leadership that doesn’t just reward the well-connected sycophants. We all desire security, health, jobs, economic opportunities, education, job training, transportation, healthy food and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Transparency, integrity and accountability and results are what “We The People” want from Mayor Coleman. A Hip Hop Video is a start, but we should demand more from Columbus’ wannabe hip-hop Mayor.
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The Eighth Annual Black Veterans Day Salute
EIGHTH ANNUAL BLACK VETERANS DAY SALUTE Honoring Black Civil War Veterans Especially the U.S. Colored Troops of Ohio Who Served During the Civil War (5th and 127 Regiment) In honor of our nationâ€™s veterans, the Ohio State University Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center will present its Eighth Annual Veterans Day Salute in partnership with the Kelton House Museum and Garden. The two-day event will be held from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday, November 9 at the CEC and from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, November 10 at the Kelton House.
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Upcoming Event Faces Crowd
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Spectrum A Journal On Black Men
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50 YEARS LATER; REFLECTIONS ON A JOURNEY TO BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA By: Yoftahie Mesfin Ph.D. No
one professor, documentary or textbook could ever provide me with the insight of the struggle for civil rights like the trip I, along with other OSU students as well as students from Central State University took to Birmingham, Alabama in September. As an African American and African studies major, I have always dreamt of partaking in an experience of this magnitude. Despite driving all night and being exhausted once I arrived, the trip was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Beginning with the southern hospitality, bonding with students from different backgrounds to the various sights and landmarks, the trip was both academically and personally enriching. Being in the same room with Dr. Carolyn McKinstry, a survivor of the 16th St. Baptist church bombing was a blessing as was visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The firsthand photos and videos that were playing continuously on the monitors gave me chills. The video documentary of the freedom riders (black and white student activists from CORE) riding the bus from Washington D.C. into the segregated southern states to challenge the non-enforcement of desegregation of 1961 was especially striking. The visuals captured a sad, dark and true story that should be shared with young people everywhere. One artifact that was especially poignant was the actual bus ridden by the Freedom Riders. The bus had been pierced with bullets as evident by the small round holes that still remain on its exterior. There were also shattered windows into which torches had been thrown. As I viewed the bus I could only imagine how scared, yet how brave the Freedom Riders were to put themselves in harm’s way. We as future leaders of this “great” nation, built on the brutal and savage crimes against humanity, should challenge current issues and understand that violence was used to implement these racial laws and rules that governed the ideal of American democracy. While race is a construct to divide and conquer, racism is the invention, creation and systematizing of structures to place one racial group that possesses economic, social, political and educational power over another group. African Americans’, whose struggle was omnipresent during the 1960’s, were exposed to social degradation, political oppression, and economic exploitation. In 1963, Birmingham was one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. Despite such odds, men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth remained undeterred. Along with Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King believed that although a campaign in Birmingham would be the most difficult to undergo, it would, if successful, break the back of segregation all over the nation. They began to prepare a top - secret file which they called “Project C”, the “C” for Birmingham’s confrontation with the fight for justice and morality in race relations. It started with a three-day retreat and planning session with SCLC staff and board members at the training center near Savannah, Georgia. They agreed that one of their major mistakes in fighting for racial equality was too much publicity and the scattering of their efforts too widely. Whether or not this was a mistake is debatable. What is not debatable is if Project C did not take place, we would be living in an entirely different nation than the one in which we live now. Regardless of skin color, it is only right to treat all people of all races fairly and with respect.
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Faces In The Crowd