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from the publisher

Kirk J. Lynch


elcome to the February/March 2014 issue of the Greater Cincinnati African Shoppers’ Guide. We are very proud of our annual African American History Month issue. We have timely, provocative stories and advertisements from the very finest businesses in the Tri-State. Our cover story looks at Dawson Heating & Air Conditioning, and his 30th anniversary in business. Mr. Dawson has served the Greater Cincinnati community for three decades now. He has also been a tireless community servant, contributing his time, financial resources and talents to help the youth of the city, especially in Avondale. We have three news features you won’t want to miss. The State of Black Economics in 2014 looks at our financial condition, now 50 years after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King led the March on Washington. Our employment numbers are nearly exactly the same as they were then. And studies show that the net worth of White Americans is 20 TIMES higher than ours. Jim Clingman, nationally syndicated columnist, author

and adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati gives us his insights on what we can do to turn this dismal situation around. The second feature looks at how our voting rights are under siege. The hard fought right we obtained in the 1960s are being eroded in 2014. State Representative Alicia Reece believes the only way to make Dr. King’s accomplishments in the voting rights arena permanent is the passage of a Voters Bill of Rights. She is working to get this referendum on the 2014 November ballot in the state of Ohio. Her hope is that other states will also follow suit and pass a Voters Bill of Rights in their respective state legislatures or that a similar referendum be placed on the ballot in state after state. For those who would like to trace their genealogy, it really can be done. In the article “Discovering African Americans’ Past,” we give you a primer on how to begin to flesh out your family tree and trace your ancestors back as far as possible. The key is to record what you do know about your family and work to fill the holes. And lets not forget that Febrary is also Healthy Heart Month. Please read the article and learn about how to protect yourself from this dreadful disease. I hope you take time to read some Black history, enjoy the many wonderful displays at the Underground Railroad Freedom Center and make sure you talk to your children about African Americans’ many contributions. And we want to, last but not least, thank you for your loyalty to the Greater Cincinnati African American Shoppers Guide. We know that without you we wouldn’t exist.

Voting Rights For African Americans under Siege..........4

Kirk Lynch Publisher

Great Recession Nearly Doubled Race Disparity...........8

Managing Editor Victoria Starkey

Feature Story: Thaddaus Dawson, Sr. Dawson Heating & Air Air Conditioning Svc...............14

Advertising Sales Sharon Smith

Discovering African American Past..........................16 Febrary is Healthy Heart Month..............................18

Layout/Design LSA Graphics

Staff Writer Linda Wright Distribution Distributech






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The African American Shopper’s Guide is published by LSA. Advertisers assume liability for content incuding text, representations, and illustrations of advertisements printed and also assume responsibility for any claims arising made against the company. LSA can not be responsible for any errors in the advertisements beyound the cost of the space occupied by the error. Credit claims must be made no later than 10 days prior to the publication release date. All advertisements produced by LSA are considered exclusive property and any authorized duplications or reproductions used in printed material for proďŹ t is prohibited. If you would like more information on the publication, contact LSA at 7672 Montgomery Road, Suite 142, Cincinnati, OH 45236 or call (513) 544-1992. email address:

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Voting Rights for African Americans Are Under Siege Ohio Representative Alicia Reece Pushes for Voter Bill of Rights’


oting rights for African Americans, a hard fought for victory of the Civil Rights Movement, is under siege today – as witnessed by the U.S. Supreme Court decision last June that struck down Section 5, a critical portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and the many voter ID and voter restriction laws being passed in states across the nation. State Representative Alicia Reece, president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, has launched a petition drive to put a referendum on the November 2014 ballot to establish a Voter Bill of Rights as an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Reece says a constitutional amendment in Ohio and eventually in all the other states across America is the only way to ensure that voting rights are protected permanently.

largest ethnic group to vote. And most African Americans voted Democratic for President Obama and other Democratic candidates. “Voting is the very lifeline of Democracy,” Reece said. “When I was in Washington, DC last summer for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I thought where do we go from here? “I am convinced that having a Voter’s Bill of Rights is the only way to make Dr. King’s accomplishments permanent,” she said. “Also, because it’s enacted through a measure that’s put on the ballot (as a referendum), everyday people will get a chance to vote on it themselves.”

Here’s what has to happen to have the Voter’s Bill of Rights become a reality. First the ballot initiative must be written, then 1,000 signatures are needed on a petition to start the process. Then, The proposed voters’ bill of rights would give all qualified for the initiative to be put on the ballot, a total of about Ohio citizens the right to cast a ballot and have their vote 285,000 valid signatures are needed. Then if the counted; set guidelines for voting on Election Day and before; and allow lawmakers to expand voting opportunities but majority of Ohio voters want the constitutional amendnot restrict them.“Nearly every month there’s a new piece of ment – A Voter’s Bill of Rights – it will become part of the constitution and law in this state. legislation that’s introduced (in the Ohio legislature) to limit voting,” Reece says. Reece said she hopes Ohio is just the first of many states to pass such a Voter’s Bill of Rights. “As Ohio State lawmakers have considered various Republicanbacked bills, including ones to shave a week off early voting goes, so goes the nation. We’re a battleground state and limit who is permitted to mail unsolicited absentee-ballot and we hope to be an example for the rest of the nation,” she said. applications. Both passed the Senate with House approval expected early this year. To help with the volunteer grassroots effort to make Reece said many Republicans are trying to limit voting bethe Voter’s Bill of Rights a reality, contact Shaun cause in the 2012 election African Americans comprised the Tucker, Executive Director of the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus at 614-917-8551. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965

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White Americans’ Net Worth Is More than 20 Times that of Black Americans Great Recession Nearly Doubled Disparity, Exacerbating Existing Wealth Gap


little more than 50 years after the historic March On Washington led by Martin Luther King, African Americans have seen tremendous advances. We have a Black president; more and more African American legislators at the local, state and national levels; voting rights advances (despite the recent rollback of part of the act by the U.S. Supreme Court); the ability to Jim Clingman obtain accommodations in hotels and on all forms of transportation; and service in restaurants and retail establishments throughout the nation.

But when it comes to the state of African American economics today, we haven’t budged at all. For instance, in 1963, the unemployment rate was 5 percent for Whites and 10.9 percent for Blacks. Today it’s 6.6 percent for Whites and 12.6 for Blacks. Statistics also reveal that White Americans have 22 times more wealth than Blacks, and that nearly 40 percent of Black households have negative net worth. The numbers are both undeniable and staggering. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we as a community can turn the tide of economic ruin around, says Jim Clingman, nationally syndicated columnist, adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and founder of http:// .

“During the Great Recession Blacks lost more than a $ 1 trillion in assets, which diminished our net worth,” Clingman said. “Net worth is income, savings, property, stocks, bonds, other securities and savings minus what we owe – on credit cards, mortgages, student loans, medical bills, everything. Many of us have negative net worth.” Clingman explained that the Pew Research Center report on wealth showed that home equity made up 59 percent of net worth for Blacks, but only 44 percent for Whites. Blacks are far less likely to have assets in the financial system, such as saving accounts or stocks. So when the housing bubble burst, we suffered much more than Whites – not just because we were more likely to have gotten those sub-prime mortgages, but because a larger part of our net worth is tied up in our homes, he said. Clingman said the key to turning things around in the African American community is for us to change how we think about things like politics, jobs and business, and thus change our behavior. His recommendations include: 1. Start businesses, and keep building them until we can start hiring our children and then more and more African Americans. Clingman said that according to the last Con’t on page -22-

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Licensed by City of Cincinnati

New Horizons Childcare Center

3212 Woodburn Ave

(513) 861-5284

Accepting Children Ages Infants thru school age.

New Horizon Childcare Offers a loving atmosphere that fosters development of the whole child’s positive intellectural, social, emotional and physical growth. We stress a loving partnership. Day activities are divided into small group instruction where the children work with puzzles, art activities, math & science and creative writing opportunities. We now provide State-of-the-Art computer (interactive Touch Screen usage for all children. Affiliated with: Head-Start, USDA Child & Adult Food Program Contract, 4C’s for Children, Girl Scouts (ages 6-17), Hamilton County Dept. of Human Service, National Assoc. for the Ed. of Young Children, National Black Child Development Institute, Before School & After School Care, Parent Teacher Organization, Monthly Market Day Fundraiser.

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Feature Story

THADDAUS E. DAWSON SR., OWNER OF DAWSON HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING Philanthropist Runs a Successful Business While Serving the Community


a family. Dawson Heatawson started Dawson Heating ing and Air Conditioning and Air Condibusiness has been an tioning more than 30 established company for years ago. Begun as a many years. He is a small one-man operation, he business owner whose has built it into a fullaim and focus has been service HVAC company to provide hvac service to with four installer/technipeople in Avondale and cians. Dawson’s prothe surrounding comvides installation, sermunities. It was through a strong sense of work vice, maintenance and ethic, devotion and vision cleaning for heating and that he decided to take air conditioning units, the next step forward to along with installing heat improve his community pumps, boilers and water by rehabilitating homes in heaters. Dawson’s also Avondale. provides fast 24 hour emergency service, 365 Mentoring Youth Is His days a year. Dawson is First Love licensed by the State of Ohio as an HVAC TechDawson’s first love is nician; has a Universal mentoring young men EPA certification; and who need a helping hand he is a graduate of the – hiring them as apprenTurner School of Con(l to r) Jerry Johnson (d), Thaddaus Dawson, Sr. struction Management. tices, and teaching them He is also a real estate investor, who has bought, the value of hard, honest work and a strong faith in rehabilitated and resold more than 60 houses. God. “I get more excited about young people growing up, becoming successful and going on with Thaddaus lived and grew up on Hutchins Avenue in their lives, than I do about making money,” Dawson Avondale. Even as a young child, Thaddaus had a said. “I want to leave a legacy other than money.” strong work ethic and hauled groceries for shoppers at Kroger Supermarket. At the age of 23, he opened His legacy continues to grow as he helps more and more teenagers get on the right track to a local dry cleaners on Forest Avenue so that area becoming productive, responsible adults. Last residents wouldn’t have to travel out of their comsummer he employed two teens as apprentices munity. He has always been business minded and through the JCG Youth Employment Opportunity service driven with a great devotion to see Avondale be a thriving and productive place to live and raise Con’t on next page

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program. Teaching young people the heating and air conditioning business is something he’s been doing for more than 20 years. Avondale Community The Avondale community is poised to receive millions of dollars in government funds to help rebuild homes and infrastructures. And although this will help the community in the short run there needs to be a long-term investment plan on the part of local banks and small businesses. “There has to be a partnership between local banks and small businesses”, “banks need to provide loans to businesses to help facilitate the long term survival of the community” Dawson said. Mr. Dawson has conducted his own personal crusade over the last 10 to 12 years investing his own money and time to help create housing. “As a business owner it has been very frustrating and overwhelming for me to be turned down and rejected multiple times by local area banks who have refused to support my efforts to redevelop homes in Avondale.” Moreover Mr. Dawson says, “ I can get approved for $55,000.00 loan for a 2014 Cadillac within minutes but they won’t approve me for a small business loan.” Mr. Dawson’s frustrations are shared by many small business owners in the community. It is with great hope and courage that local banks will reach out to local businesses and create the synergy that will sustain Avondale for years to come.

a.m., he takes a group of 12 to 15 kids to church in their neighborhood. They all live on Hutchins Ave. in Avondale, the street on which he grew up and street where he owns several rental homes. “As a child growing up in Avondale, I wasn’t expected to do anything, to be anybody,” Dawson explained. “I love working with young people in similar circumstances, to let them know that things can be better for them when they grow up – if they really want it they’ll work for it.” The Power of Black Owned Businesses Dawson said many people underestimate the power of African American owned businesses to help transform our communities. The reason he can do what he does – train young people for good jobs; support youth activities and mentor young people is because of the strength of his business. “There’s a ripple effect with small Black owned businesses like ours,” Dawson said. “African American families hire us to install and fix furnaces, so we grow and hire Black people to work as technicians. Those technicians are able to establish themselves, raise a family, maybe buy a house and support other Black owned businesses in their community. Their children grow up in a stable family with a good education and some of them start their own companies, and so on.”

His business success and his generosity are all due to his deep faith in God. He’s always taken the boys he mentors to church with him at New Jerusalem Baptist Church, where he and his wife Jo Alice are very active and where he serves on the usher board.

He said Black owned businesses don’t have the advantages white owned firms do. They don’t have associations – the connections in the “good ol’ boy network” — to get the big contracts. “That’s why we have to support our own,” he concluded. “When the community supports minority businesses, we can employ our youth and give them the training they need to make a good living. That in turn, impacts the stability and safety of our communities.”

But a few months ago, he was moved to do more. Now he gets up early, attends New Jerusalem’s 8 o’clock service, and then after church is out at 10

For more information on Dawson Heating and Air Conditioning, at 7747 Stillwell Rd. in Roselawn call (513) 281-3311 or fax at (513) 281-2393.

Why He Serves The Community

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Discovering African-Americans’ Past The overwhelming majority of Americans of African ancestry are descendants of slaves forcibly brought to the Ameridcas during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Most of these slaves were from peoples living within 400 miles of the Atlantic coast between the Congo and Gambia rivers in East Africa. Since most tribal history in Africa was recorded by oral tradition rather than written down, actually tracing one’s roots in Africa can be an extremely difficult task, but not impossible. Famous Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey, with the help of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was able to trace her roots back to a little known tribe called the Kampala located in Liberia. By examining records of slave sales, slave owners slave registries, and DNA many people may be able to trace their family history all the way back to the continent of Africa. Because slaves were prohibited from reading, writing, owning land, and voting, few of the documents genealogists depend on do not exist for them. Prior to 1870 - the first year that emancipated former slaves were accounted for by name in the Census - is the furthest back one can go using traditional documentation. Slaves were considered chattal, therefore they were

recorded as property. Records for individual slaves were mostly held under their slave masters name. Many geologists use slave masters last name when trying to find relationships. (If you are unable to locate your family after 1870, you might want to consider using your last name that corresponds to the slave masters name. There you will be able to find the name and age of your family members.) Where Do You Start? 1. It is importantl to create a timelime of the history that you know of. You probably know more than you think. Then you can set about filling in the holes. You must try to locate your family in the 1870 census. This was one of the most important census for Blacks. 2. Send for death certificates or social security records. This is a great resource. 3. Also do not forget marriage certifcates. These can also be a great resource of info. 4. Start conducting oral interviews with older members of your family, keep in mind many of your family members may be reluctant of talking about the early days because of the harshness of living under Jim Crow Laws, however, this is key in order that you may get information on family members, and timelines to begin your study To find out information contact our local public library, or go to the web, google search geneology, and you will be directed to dozens of geneolgoy sites that will assist you in your search.

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HOW TO HAVE A HEALTHY HEART American Heart Health Month Observance In February Especially Crucial For African Americans

February marks both Black History Month and American Heart Month – both significant observances for African American men and women. While Black History Month celebrates our rich history and contributions, American Heart Month concentrates on cutting deaths from cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death for African Americans. “It’s often said that heart disease and stroke do not discriminate,” said Kelvin Sapp, the American Heart Association’s Director of Community Heart and Stroke Initiatives. “But, in a sense, that’s not true. There’s clearly a disparity when it comes to the incidence of cardiovascular diseases in African-Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans compared to Caucasians.” In 2010, about four out of every 10 African Americans and three out of 10 Mexican Americans had some form of CVD, according to American Heart Association prepared statements. Furthermore, in New York State, where about 46 percent of deaths can be attributed to heart disease and stroke, blacks are 30 percent more likely than whites to die from cardiovascular diseases. This disparity is even more pronounced when you isolate stroke, a condition from which blacks are 48 percent more likely to die prematurely than whites. “Don’t let your history dictate your future. Perception is not reality, and there is something you can do to create a new legacy of heart health for you and your family,” said Robert

Bonow, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. “Knowing the warning signs of heart attack and stroke is the first step in making a difference. Just as important is taking action to reduce heart disease risk factors. This means stopping smoking, lowering high blood pressure and high cholesterol, exercising regularly, losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, and controlling diabetes.” To help African Americans reduce their risk factors, The American Heart Association recently established a special faith-based program for heart health and stroke prevention in Blacks and Hispanics, called “Search Your Heart.” It utilizes a pre-designed kit/curriculum, including: Check for Life, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, and conducting health screenings; Bread for Life, heart-healthy cooking and nutrition; Activities for Life, regular exercise and fitness; Stress Reduction, stress management techniques; and Stomp Out Stroke, warning signs of stroke and screening and risk assessment. Local churches involved include: New Prospect Baptist Church, Corinthian Baptist Church and Union Baptist Church. Each new church that enrolls in the program receives a complete curriculum kit and health assessment equipment, including three stethoscopes and three blood pressure cuffs. To get your church involved, contact Nikki Mills or Candice Alexander at the American Heart Association at (513) 281-4048.

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economic census, there were 1,197,864 Blackowned firms in the nation, but only 106,566 had employees. And the ones with employees only had 909,552 workers.

“We march and talk about jobs, jobs, but we’re not doing all we can to create jobs in our own communities,” Clingman said. “We must do everything we can to grow and strengthen our businesses.” 2. We must spend our money with African American owned businesses, so they can grow and be engines of employment. “We need a whole new paradigm shift,” Clingman said. “Black people have $1.2 trillion in aggregate wealth in the United States. But we’re primarily spending it all. And we’re spending 95 percent of our money in nonBlack owned companies, companies that are not employing our people. We need to begin supporting Black owned businesses that are decreasing our unemployment rates. Indians and Chinese hire their children and others in their community. Why can’t we?” 3. We must change the way we view politics, and start “playing to win.” “Many Black folks only `talk’ politics,” Clingman explained. “We aren’t doing anything about politics. What we don’t realize is that politics is about reciprocity and it’s driven by business.” In other words, the wealthy business owners

who give tens of thousands of dollars to political campaigns through various avenues end up getting perhaps millions of dollars in government contracts. He said Blacks need to become a true economically based voting bloc. “The only way for us to play politics and win is to aggregate our money, give to candidates and hold them responsible,” Clingman said. “We keep losing out because the Democrats take us for granted and the Republicans ignore us. I don’t care about the party of a politician or the color of his skin. What is he doing to help Black people?” 4.Stabilize the Black family. “The break up of the Black family is probably one of the greatest problems we face today,” Clingman said. Studies show that, according to 2011 figures, the marriage rate for Blacks is just 31 percent, while for Whites it is 56 percent. Census data reveals that 52.1 percent children are living in single parent households, and those single parent households are more likely to be living near or below the poverty level. For more information on Black economics, visit Jim Clingman’s website at www.

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“Auto Services by People who care”

Milton McPherson

3590 Woodford Avenue, Cincinnati, OH (513) 351-0404

Greater Cincinnati African American Shopper's Guide  

February/March 2014