Page 1

The New Deal’s Black Congressman Arthur Wergs Mitchell 1883 - 1968 A Review of Conclave Charlotte

Sigmas In The U.S. Secret Service Bro. Armstrong Williams: Political Pundit or Savvy Politician?

An interview with

John Lewis Congressman

SPRING/SUMMER 2007


Editorial Staff The Crescent Magazine is published twice annually by Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Paul L. Griffin, Jr., President. Postmaster, please send address changes to: The Crescent Magazine Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. 145 Kennedy Street, NW

Departments 4

President’s Message

5

Editor’s Message

Washington, DC 20011-5294 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Ron Lewis GRAPHIC DESIGN, LAYOUT

10

Brothers In Blue: Sigmas in the U.S. Secret Service

18

Political Pundit and Sigma Brother, Armstrong Williams

24

Cover Story: An Interview with Congressman John Lewis

32

The New Deal’s Black Congressman: Bro. Arthur Wergs Mitchell

AND ART DIRECTION Ron Lewis REGIONAL EDITORS Dr. Ernest Miller - Western Region Martin B. Currie - Southwest Region Calvin B. Glover - Southern Region Reginald Tyiska - Gulf Coast Region Ralph J. Eichelberger - Great Lakes Region Christia V. Rey - Southeast Region Greville H. French - Eastern Region

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kevin Christian Todd LeBon Don Basilio Dwayne Thomas Carlos Williams, II Greville French

24

FOUNDERS A. Langston Taylor Leonard F. Morse Charles I. Brown

FOUNDING DATE January 9, 1914 Howard University Washington, DC

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 3


Bro. Paul L. Griffin, Jr. International President Dear Brothers: When we consider our history as a people, as an organization, as Sigma men committed to “Service for Humanity”, we recognize the impact of politics in our lives individually and collectively. We understand working together and the value of speaking with one voice. If the rights of any person is trammeled and denied, the rights of all are threatened and diminished. It is in this vein we honor in this edition some of our own, who have given their best to advance the rights and opportunities of others through the legislative and judicial process at college campuses, town halls, city councils, state legislatures and Capitol Hill. The political arena is a necessary and often essential forum to ensure decency of treatment and opportunity for all. We are pleased to spotlight a few of our Sigma Brothers who, during times of tremendous resistance and periods of which our country cannot be proud, braved the forces of suppression to vindicate the rights of blacks, of women, and all people. Historical figures of Sigma include Brother James Weldon Johnson – NAACP leader and author of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”; Brother A. Philip Randolph – architect of the 1963 March on Washington and legendary pioneer in the organization of union workers; Brother James Farmer, Brother Hosea Williams and many others of the civil rights movement, including The Honorable Congressman John Lewis of Georgaia, our Brother, featured on the cover in this edition of The Crescent. From the beginning of our existence, Phi Beta Sigma has attracted to its ranks collegiates of compassion and vision, three of whom would later become presidents of their respective African countries, including the Hon. Nnamde Azikiwe, former President of Nigeria, who implemented in real life and politics the principles of this organization, serving humanity. In this country, we can reflect on the continued legacy of brothers like Mayor Howard Lee of Chapel Hill, NC, the first elected black mayor of a white-majority Southern town since Reconstruction; Congressman Edolphus (Ed) Towns of New York, also featured in this edition. These men and others have carried the fight for the people in places small and large to advance opportunities, health and well-being for all people. The trial advocacy and legislative prowess of our own 24th International President, Hon. Demetrius C. Newton, Esquire, Speaker Pro-Tem of the Alabama State Legislature is proudly featured herein. Sigmas have truly made their mark in politics. Those who pried open the doors of opportunity, and those who continue the fight with vigilance needed to keep the doors open, must be heralded. They all have our enduring respect and thanks for their contributions which enable others to realize their own God-given potential. God bless. Fraternally, Paul L. Griffin, Jr. International President 4 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Marco W. McMillian International Executive Director

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” – Herman Melville Membership in Phi Beta Sigma carries with it not only privileges and opportunities, but responsibilities as well. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to serve as the 5th Executive Director. My service to our organization in this capacity is a privilege as much as it is a responsibility.

These are days of opportunities and promise for us as we journey toward our centennial. The Corporate Headquarters staff is excited about serving the membership and assisting in every way possible in ensuring that we provide Next Level Service to our communities. Please know that as we move forward, no one will work harder than the headquarters staff and each day we are committed to making something positive happen. We are here to provide the best quality service possible to you, our Brothers. Over the next few months, it is my hope that I will have a moment to visit with many of you as we begin state meetings and regional conferences. Our brotherhood is strong and viable in large part due to the sacrifices of many of you. May our work and good our Brothers do carry us into the future--- healthy, well and prospering. In the truest spirit of Fraternity, I remain a humble Sigma servant----always,

Brotherly yours, Marco W. McMillian

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 5


Bro. Ron Lewis Editor-In-Chief Greetings Brothers, The 100-year anniversary of our wondrous band is fast approaching and the impending occasion has given me cause to reflect. Many changes have taken place since 1914. The world, as we know it today, is a shadow of its former self. In his book, The World is Flat, author Thomas Friedman points out the many technological changes that enable us to exist in a truly horizontal world. It has been said that when someone is logging off the computer in New York, someone else is logging on in New Delhi. Truth of the matter is we never really log off – period. We are connected to a broader world, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, with the reality of this new global dynamic I couldn’t help but think where we (Sigma) stand on this grand, world stage. Of course I’m biased, Sigma has a history of producing architects of social, political and economic change. Political and social luminaries like A. Philip Randolph, James Weldon Johnson, Congressman John Lewis, Harold Washington, Arthur Wergs Mitchell, et al. have set the course for our organization to follow. Politics, for all its negative connotations, is still the best way I know to effect change. Countless men and women, black and white, suffered tremendous persecution for us to enjoy the liberties that we now enjoy. Through their efforts, landmark legislation has been passed giving women and African-Americans the right to vote, declared separate but equal educational institutions unconstitutional, and dismantled segregation in housing and the workforce. What can we do as beneficiaries of the legacy of Sigma leaders who have been involved in the community to help stem the slide, preserve and promote the common rights and opportunities for all? Let us move forward in 2008 and be the premier organization of vision and action; the leading agents of needed change in the proud tradition that is ours. Fraternally, Bro. Ron Lewis Editor-In-Chief

6 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 7


8 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Pi Mu Chapter Takes Top Academic Honors

Kappa Alpha Sigma Draws Over 300 For Job Fair

SOUTHEASTERN REGION: The Pi Mu Chapter at Western Carolina University took home top honors in the field of academics this year. The chapter had the highest GPA of all NPHC fraternities and 2nd Highest GPA at Western Carolina Univ. amongst fraternities. The chapter President, Eric Steward, had this to say , “It is a great honor to have such high accolades in Academics this year. We are thankful to the Lord, and pray that we and other chapters of Phi Beta Sigma will continue this pursuit of academic excellence in the years to come, as it is a cornerstone of all that out beloved fraternity stands for”. The Pi Mu chapter was founded in 1986, and continues to uphold the high ideals of Brotherhood, Scholarship, and Service.

SOUTHERN REGION: Kappa Alpha Sigma Chapter (Stone Mountain/Decatur/ and metro Atlanta, Georgia area) hosted a community job fair Saturday, June 2nd, at Victory Church. “Its hard for a community to blossom if it doesn’t have any economic resources,” stated Bro. Trae Johnson, State of Georgia Director of Social Action, Chapter Director of Bigger and Better Business, and Co-Coordinator for the job fair. Over 300 job seekers attended. “This is a great way to help the community, by using Social Action and Bigger and Better Business to help the unemployed find a new career path,” said Chapter Director of Social Action, Bro. Phillip Hogan. Companies that were in attendance were Dekalb County Workforce Development, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zoo Atlanta, Gwinnett County Police Department, Goodwill Industries, Georgia Department of Labor, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, and Comcast Cable.

Kappa Beta Sigma Brothers recognized by Black Achievers in Industry EASTERN REGION: Shown from left to right) Brothers Timothy Johnson (2006 BAI Award Recipient & Director of Workforce Development, United Way of NYC), Ronald Augustin (KBS Chapter President & Assoc. Director of Community Affairs, NYC Dept. of Education), Reg Chapman (2000 BAI Award Recipient & NBC News Reporter) Wayne Francis (2007 40 Under 40 Award Recipient & Director of Community Employment Program, Columbia University) and John Chris Miller (2007 BAI Award Recipient & Asset Manager, Port Authority of NY/NJ).

Nu Sigma Sigma Chapter Founded EASTERN REGION: Nu Sigma Sigma Alumni Chapter (Harford County/Greater Baltimore Metropolitian Area) was chartered on January 9, 2007 (yes, this is not a typo or error). The chapter was established with sixteen (16) charter members. The chapter’s founders are Don Basilio, Duane Johnson, Orlando Lilly, Ronnie Hawkins and Will Powell. The brothers in the photograph below include the chapter’s charter members. Seated left to right: Brothers Eric Talley; Will Powell; Orlando Lilly, Ronnie Hawkins, Don Basilio, Duane Johnson, Mike Zollicoffer and LaMont Smith. Standing left to right: Brothers Mike Alston, Gary Brooks, Ralph Paraway, Buddy Pitts, Reginald Johnson and Dion Lawson. (Not pictured are Brothers Jack Peterson and Richard James.)

Kappa Beta Sigma continues its long legacy of producing brothers who are hailed as young black leaders in their local communities. Two national organizations have recently highlighted several brothers from KBS for their contributions both on and off the job. Bro. John Chris Miller (Sum. ‘87) was chosen as this year’s National Salute to Black Achievers in Industry awardee. Recent recipients of the prominent BAI award include Bros. Timothy Johnson (Spr98) and Reg Chapman (Fa90). Bro. Wayne Francis (Fa88) was also selected for the prestigious 40-Under-Forty award given by The Network Journal, a monthly publication dedicated to educating and empowering Black professionals and small business owners.

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 9


Brother John Warren Dallas County Clerk John Warren, Rho chapter 1982, Southern University; recently made history after winning his bid for Dallas County Clerk. Warren became the first African – American in the history of Dallas County to be elected to that position. In becoming the first African – American to become Dallas County Clerk, he also made history by becoming the first African – American male to win a county wide non-judicial race in the 160 year history of Dallas County. Brother Warren defeated three opponents in the Democratic Primary and a run-off election before defeating the one-term Republican incumbent by nearly 53 percent of the votes in the recent election. (November 2006) As county clerk, Bro. Warren will be responsible for managing and maintaining

Tennessee State University Super Sophomore Running Back Bro. Javarris Williams Receives The Brute Award SOUTHWESTERN REGION: Tennessee State University sophomore running back Bro. Javarris Williams earned Ohio Valley Offensive Player of the Week honors three times during the 20062007 season and was the recipient of the Brute Award in honor of Brute Hayes. (Hayes was the renown former coach at TSU and a member of the Distinguished Service Chapter.) Williams, a 511, 212 lb product of Foster High School in Richmond, Texas, rushed for 162 yards on 35 carries and caught three passes for another 35 yards for 197 yards of total offense in the Tigers’ 29-7 win over Samford in TSU Homecoming Game on September 26, 2006. This performance marked the sixth 100-yard rushing game for the season for Williams. The sophomore running back also passed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 1,045. Williams moved into fourth place for career rushers at TSU. Javarris, the 2005 OVC Freshman of the Year, led the Ohio Valley Conference in rushing (130.6 ypg) and is ranked 6th nationally among NCAA I-AA rushers (as of this date). He also led the conference in All-Purpose Yards (154.7ypg) and ranked 7th nationally. He scored ten (10) touchdowns so far this season (9 rush, 1 pass) for a 7.5 ppg average. Brute Award ceremony at TSU basketball game. Shown left to right: Bro. Martin Currie, Southwestern Regional Director; Officer Bro. Claude Mann, 1st Vice-President, Eta Beta Sigma chapter; Bro. Javarris Williams, Honoree; Hon. Sylvester Davis, President, Distinguished Service Chapter; and Bro. Dwight Webster, President of Zeta Alpha chapter, Tennessee State University.

Continued on Page 11

10 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Suited for Success Is A Huge Success! all official records for Dallas County (birth and death records, assumed names for business, property deeds, issuing marriage licenses and approval of liquor licenses, and collecting fines assessed by the criminal courts). The county clerk is also responsible for providing support staff for 26 county civil, criminal, probate, truancy and appeals courts. Warren will also be responsible for managing nearly 200 employees, with an annual budget of $10 million. Prior to becoming Dallas County Clerk, Bro. Warren was a court administrator for Dallas County for 13 years. Brother Warren, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana is a 1984 graduate of Southern University – Baton Rouge, LA and received his B.A. degree in Political Science.

SOUTHEASTERN REGION: Members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. from the State of North Carolina held their Annual State Conference on the campus of Fayetteville State University earlier in the month of October. One of the highlights from this conference was the Second Annual “Suited for Success Drive.” Each alumni chapter brother was asked to donate new or used suits, sports coats, slacks and accessories for the benefit of collegiate members and Sigma Beta Club members. The goal for the “Suited for Success Drive” was to prepare young men to succeed in today’s job market by providing initial corporate or business wardrobe items for participants. 36 young men benefited from the drive and received suits, shirts, and ties. The drive netted more than 50 suits, many of which were expensive designer suits in excellent and nearly new condition. The approximate value of the items received was over $7,000. All donations were tax deductible through Youth Educational Society of Charlotte, Inc. a 501-c3 organization supporting the educational, social, cultural and citizenship opportunities of the Sigma Beta Club youth mentoring program for young men between the ages of eight and eighteen. Bro. Quentin Goodwin is the North Carolina State Director and Bro. Chris Rey is the Southeastern Regional Director. Bro. Keith Strickland-Smith, Esq., Director of Y.E.S., Inc. coordinated the event.

Bro. Warren is a member of Iota Mu Sigma Chapter in Arlington, Texas.

Beta Rho Sigma Chapter Raises Over $4,000 To Fight Birth Defects SOUTHEASTERN REGION: The brothers of the Beta Rho Sigma Chapter in Charlotte, NC recently completed the March of Dimes’ WalkAmerica®. The goal for the chapter was to raise $4,000. The chapter exceeded its goal by raising $4,075.00. 12 brothers walked and a host of others made donations to the effort. According to chapter president John Reaves, “This cause is so important that we wanted to stretch the brothers in the chapter. In true Beta Rho Sigma fashion, the brothers responded.”

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 11


Brothers In Blue, In Charge and Committed to a Mission Sigmas In The U.S. Secret Service

By Brother Don Basilio and Angela Moss, Contributing Writer, Office of Government Liaison and Public Affairs, United States Secret Service

12 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


As Phi Beta Sigma men, we know what it means to serve. It requires making a selfless commitment to something that is greater than one’s self - a cause, a principle, a mission. It is the kind of commitment that is required to be a special agent of the U.S. Secret Service. The U.S. Secret Service has two primary missions—protection and investigation. “The Service,” as it is commonly referred to by its personnel, was established in 1865 to combat counterfeit currency. Today, it is a global organization with more than 100 field offices worldwide. Over the years, the agency’s investigative mission has expanded to include access device fraud, identity theft, computer fraud, telecommunications and financial institution fraud. The Secret Service received its most notable assignment in 1901 following the assassination of President William McKinley— the duty of providing protection for the President of the United States. Special agents of this organization have taken a solemn oath to defend the life of this nation’s highest elected official - with their own lives if necessary. Brother Adrian

Andrews is an example of a “brother in blue” who has made a career of being committed to that mission. Adrian was initiated into Phi Beta Sigma in 1984 at the Epsilon Lambda chapter on the campus of Central Missouri State University. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice administration there, and enjoyed a successful collegiate sports career as a starting running back. He began his career as a Secret Service Agent in the Detroit Field Office in 1989. In his current assignment, he serves in the operations section on the Vice Presidential Protective Division. His daily duties include managing the logistics of this detail which include making personnel decisions, scheduling and coordinating agents’ travel. As Adrian reflects on his career, he recalls an experience that helped influence his decision to pursue a career in the U.S. Secret Service: “When I was in the eighth grade, I was given an assignment to research and debate presidential candidate Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter’s views on political issues.  While conducting this research, I saw Governor Carter on television and asked my mother who were those men wearing the sunglasses surrounding the presidential candidate.  My mother’s response was one that

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 13


An attentive looking Brother Don Basilio (far right) with former Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper during the 1997 Inaugural Parade. she used a lot, ‘go look it up.’  I did look it up and discovered they were agents of the U.S. Secret Service.  I learned all of the history behind the storied agency and decided at the ripe old age of thirteen that this is what I wanted to do when I ‘grew up.’ I am one of those truly blessed individuals that is living a dream that I have had for a very long time.”  Another Sigma brother, Jeff Gilbert, works in the Secret Service’s Miami Field Office as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge. During his tenure in Miami he has supervised

the counterfeit squad and protection squad. His current supervisory responsibilities include overseeing the San Juan Resident Office in Puerto Rico. A 17-year veteran of the Service, Jeff has had the unique opportunity to work directly with some of the upper management at Secret Service headquarters during his assignment as a supervisor under the Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations. A 1982 graduate of Hampton University, he appreciates the benefits he’s gained by working for the U.S.

14 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007

Secret Service. “This is an awesome opportunity and has been tremendously gratifying for me. I have been to over 50 countries and worked with some wonderful people,” says Jeff. Brother Allen Taylor, a 1988 charter line member at Rho Zeta chapter, Radford University supervises the Greensboro Resident Office in North Carolina. Fulfilling a demanding role, he is another example of the trust placed in a Sigma brother by the U.S. Secret Service. Initiated into Sigma in the Fall of 2001 in Zeta Sigma chapter, Brother Anthony Bynum comes from a “blue and white family.” His sister and one of his nieces are Zetas and his brother-in-law is a Sigma. He is the detail leader for Secretary John Snow of the Treasury Department. Working on security planning to ensure the safety of the President and Vice President of the United States, their families and world leaders visiting the United States can be stressful at times. On short notice, an agent may be instructed to travel domestically or to a far corner of the world to lead or assist in the coordination of security plan-


ning for a protectee of the Secret Service. It’s not all work, however. While traveling overseas agents can often take advantage of the tourist opportunities associated with their worldly travels. Brother Bynum, for example, has had the pleasure of visiting many countries around the world and famous sights like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France; Buckingham Palace in London, England; Sugarloaf Mountain in Brazil; and, the Great Wall of China. For those agents who have families, frequent travel often has its downside. The constant traveling can complicate personal and family relationships. Some things such as holidays, anniversaries, birthdays and soccer games are occasionally missed. However, agents and their loved ones understand that it comes with the territory. Brother Doug Thigpen is in his fourth year as

an agent on the Presidential Protective Division. He has had a variety of duties in that capacity—one of which included coordinating the security arrangements for President George W. Bush’s appearance at RFK Stadium to throw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ inaugural baseball game last year. He served as the lead advance agent for the 2006 Presidential State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. During Brother Thigpen’s tenure at Southern Mississippi University he was a strong safety on the school’s football team. He has grown accustomed to having to perform under both mentally and physically stressful circumstances on the detail- similar to those placed on him years ago on the football field in front of thousands of people. Attention to intricate details is vital and can be directly attributed to

the success of security preparations and planning. “The stress of doing security work can be directly related to the importance or nature of our job. I’ve enjoyed doing this type of work and have always embraced the opportunities it has presented to me,” says Doug. The specialized training received by the men and women of the Secret Service is crucial to the agency’s mission and success. The training is conducted at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Laurel, Maryland. Brother Jack Peterson has served as a back-up supervisor and instructor at the Center. During his tenure at the training facility, he provided classroom and practical exercise instruction to more than 36 Special Agent and Uniformed Division Training classes over a period of 2 years. The ClarkAtlanta University graduate states, “Our duty as instructors are to immerse new special agents and Uniformed Division trainees in the culture that is the United States Secret Service.  We highlight past successes as well as analyze past failures of this organization in the area of protection, constantly seeking to

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 15


improve our work product and performance.  We never rest on our laurels. We hold each trainee to the highest standards in conduct and professionalism.  We stress the importance of preparation……. ‘Perfect practice makes perfect.’  Our adversary has to be right only one time, we have to be right every time.” Brother Peterson is now assigned to the Security Services Branch where he supervises 72 Special Officers. He is also responsible for securing Secret Service facilities in Washington, D.C., and the management of the Secret Service vehicle motor pool during all domestic and foreign missions. The supervisory role of Sigma brothers in the Secret Service is not limited to agent personnel. Brother Keith Williams, an 18-year veteran of the Service, is a lieutenant in the Uniformed Division’s Foreign Missions Branch--the branch responsible for providing physical protection for embassies in Washington, D.C. The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service is comprised of officers who are responsible for providing physical security for all Secret Service protectees through fixed posts, vehicular and foot patrols

and special support programs. Uniformed Division officers have assigned posts at the White House, Vice President’s Residence, Treasury Building and foreign diplomatic missions in Washington, D.C. Some of the specialized units include the Emergency Response Team, Crime Scene Search

Brian relates the importance of his work by saying, “This is worthwhile work that is needed and very important. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.” Brian became a Sigma at Alpha Mu chapter at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 1995. He assisted at the 2003 Memphis

Brother Jack Peterson, Vice Presidential detail, standing tall during a speech by Vice President Dick Cheney. Unit, K-9 Unit, Countersniper Unit, Magnetometers and bicycle/motorcycle patrol units. Brother Brian Colbert is a member of the Emergency Response Team Unit (ERT) that is assigned to the White House grounds. Brian has been with ERT for five of the seven years that he has been with the Uniformed Division.

16 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007

Conclave during the Secret Service’s recruitment efforts for the Uniformed Division. Lastly, the writer of this article, Brother Don Basilio, is also a part of the U.S. Secret Service. A classmate of Brother Andrews, he has had memorable experiences during his tenure in the U.S. Secret Service. He entered the job in 1989 after work-


ing for 6 years as a policeman with the City of Houston Police Department. His career assignments have included working in the Jackson office in Mississippi, Chicago Field Office, and the Vice Presidential Protective Division. In his current assignment in the Service’s Liaison Division, he supervises the security arrangements for all protectees of the Secret Service visiting the U.S. Capitol, U.S. Supreme Court and Library of Congress. A graduate of Texas Southern University and member of Nu Sigma Sigma chapter, he was initiated in 1976 at Zeta Upsilon chapter at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County campus. An active member of Sigma, Brother Basilio is a past National Second Vice President.

“I’m proud of the fact that the majority of the Sigma brothers with the Service in law enforcement positions have ascended to supervisory roles which have encompassed assignments from the Presidential and Vice Presidential details to assignments at the White House, U.S. Capitol, Dignitary Protection Division, embassies in Washington, and field offices throughout the country.” Brother Basilio is happy to add, “Many of the brothers on the job aren’t able to physically participate in chapter meetings, programs or events because of conflicting long work hours or travel obligations. This has not discouraged many of the brothers from fulfilling their financial obligations to the fraternity. This

could not have been more evident as five brothers were reactivated in 2005 with Zeta Sigma alumni chapter in Baltimore during its monumental achievement of becoming the largest chapter in the history of the fraternity. Brothers Doug Thigpen, Jonathan Bryant, Jack Peterson, Adrian Andrews and Anthony Bynum all came back to the fold. So the next time you see the President or Vice President on the evening news, and you see people surrounding him wearing the infamous “dark suits and sunglasses,” remember that some of them may be “brothers in blue,” out front and committed to the mission of the United States Secret Service.

Tau Iota Sigma joined the Memphis Metropolitan Pan Hellenic Council to donate blood. On Saturday February 10, 2007 Tau Iota Sigma chapter joined the Memphis Metropolitan Pan Hellenic Council at Stax Museum of Soul to give blood. The goal for this day was to supply the Life Blood drive with one day’s full supply of blood, which is 300 units. The theme for the weekend was “Greeks and Friends of Greeks Getting Together to Give.” All donations went to Life Blood MidSouth Regional Blood Center.

Zetas L-R Philyss Galloway, Shelly Guy, Mario Moton of Phi Beta Sigma, and Audrey Johnson

Bro. Kelvin Hinton and family arrive to donate blood.

Bro. AnTawan Daniels sits in the seat at the Life Blood Drive at the Stax Museum. THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 17


Bro. Robert Parker Director, Miami-Dade County Police Department On April 1, 2004, Bro. Robert Parker was appointed Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. He has been employed with the Department for 29 distinguished years. Director Parker joined the Miami-Dade Police Department in 1976, and was promoted through all the civil service ranks. He has diverse experience in police management and operations, including past assignments as a Division Chief of the North Operations Division and the Special Investigations Division, Major in charge of a district command, as well as Police Bureau Commander in charge of the Economic Crimes and Strategic Investigations Bureaus. He has also worked in a variety of other investigative and uniformed police assignments as a Lieutenant, Master Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporal and Officer. In February 2002, he was appointed Assistant Director, Police Services. In that capacity, he was responsible for the operations of three divisions and two bureaus, to include nine uniform district stations, Uniform Services Division, Intergovernmental and Police Administrative Bureaus. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Barry University and a Master’s Degree from Nova Southeastern University. Additionally, Director Parker has honorably served in the United States Army. He is a 1997 graduate of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia. His professional affiliations include the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), FBI National Executive Institute, FBI National Academy, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, Florida Chiefs of Police Association, Dade County Association of Chiefs of Police, 5000 Role Models, the Spirit of Christ Ministries, Inc., and membership in the 200 Club (Miami). Moreover, he has received many commendations and awards for his service and dedication to the city of Miami and the Miami-Dade Police Department. Director Robert Parker has been married to Veronica Buie Parker for 28 years and together they have three children, Kalika, Robert, Jr., and Kyron.

18 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 19


AW

20 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


AW

Armstrong Williams Candid, Insightful, Enlightening, Informative, and Brotherly are just a few adjectives to describe the recent visit by brothers

Kevin Christian, Will Harrington, and Willard Hutt with syndicated columnist, talk show host, political pundit, and Sigma Brother, Armstrong Williams.

The Crescent Magazine sat down with Brother Williams to get a

glimpse of Armstrong, the brother and the Sigma at his home in

Washington, D.C. Brother Williams’s house has pictures of him with such dignitaries as President George H.W. Bush, and President

George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynn, Nelson Mandela, Steadman Graham, Juan Williams, and Johnny Cochran, along with his family and friends.

By Bro. Kevin Christian

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 21


CM: When and where did you join Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.? AW: 1980, Eta Alpha Chapter, South Carolina State University. I was #1 on a line of 4. Back then, Phi Beta Sigma was considered the academic fraternity, so I was very interested in what it stood for. CM: Why did you attend South Carolina State University? AW: I am from Marion, SC. SCSU was close to home, 2 hour drive, it was in-state, and my parents paid for me to attend school. I come from a family of 10 children. I am number 6 of 10, eight girls and 2 boys. I grew up on a farm. My father taught us a strong work ethic at a very young age. I worked on our farm which required me to get up at 4:30am. CM: In your view, what is the biggest crisis facing Black America today? AW: Clearly, the family structure and lack of two-parent households. Having a father today has become a luxury. CM: Do you feel that fraternities and sororities should be involved in the political process? AW: Yes I do. Fraternities and sororities can and should get involved. Some already have. It is all about building and maintaining relationships. We as a people have to be more morally upright and honest. Constructive criticism and open and honest dialogue is necessary for us to move forward. Remember, we are all in politics. CM: How did you get started in politics? AW: I am a third generation Republican. My family never left the party of Lincoln. When I was 16 years old, I attended a dinner with my parents given by Senator Strom Thurmond. While shaking Sen. Thurmond’s hand, I said to him “I am Armstrong Williams and I hear that you are a racist”. Sen. Thurmond responded to me and my father (who was a little embarrassed), “I tell you what, when you turn 18, you come and work for me, young man; I will show you how racist I am”. It was Senator Thurmond, who gave me my first job in 1981, outside of working for my parents. I interned for Senator Thurmond while in college my junior and senior year. On May 10, 1981, I graduated from South Carolina State with a degree in English and Economics. On May 11, 1981, my parents drove me to D.C., found me a place, and gave me $500 and I have been here ever since. CM: When you first moved to D.C., where did you reside? AW: I stayed at the Woodener on 16th Street. Sen. Thurmond got me a position with the United States Department of Agriculture. I worked for APHIS, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service. CM: When did you start your businesses, “The Graham Williams Group”, and International Public Relations and Media Syndication Company?

22 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Brothers from chapters in Maryland and Northern Virginia joined Bro. Williams at his home in Washington, DC. They are from left to right: Bro. Willard Hutt, Bro. Armstrong Williams, Bro. Will Harrington and Bro. Kevin Christian. Photo courtesy of Bro. Willard Hutt.

AW: In the late 1980’s. The Graham in my company is Steadman Graham, my business partner. CM: What would you like your SIGMA brothers to know about you that might not be a known fact about you? AW: I AM A HUGE, HUGE DALLAS COWBOYS FAN. Diehard. I have season tickets to both the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens games, and when Dallas comes to town, I am there. I also like to travel, I love fishing, hanging out with my friends, playing tennis, and reading. I read two books a week. I am very motivated and very focused. CM: You have never strayed away from your views? How do you feel about “race” in today’s society? AW: I don’t see race as an issue in today’s society. CM: Bro. Williams, with all due respect, when you walk out your door, you are viewed as a black man. AW: I see myself as a man, a human being, I don’t view myself as a black man. I don’t see color. People, regardless of color, have to sustain and build businesses. You have to say to yourself, “I am going to be the best I can be”. If you set your mind to it, you can do anything. Get rid of the negative. CM: How do you give back to the community? AW: One of the initiatives that I am actively involved in is teaching financial stability and wealth and

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 23


acquiring real estate. Homeownership is vital. I conduct seminars all over the country with American Home Mortgage, educating people on the importance of building wealth. I also serve as a mentor for one of the D.C. public schools. It is important to me that I give back and I personally go to the school and work with the children. It is interesting to say the least. So many children feel like their problems are the result of someone else’s fault. It is my goal to teach them that they can be whatever they set their minds to be, no matter where they came from. My humble beginnings were on a farm, but my parents taught me the principles of hard work and dedication. CM: Today’s communities, especially minority communities, face many issues. What are some issues that you see as we try to bridge the gap between young minorities and education? AW: As I stated before, having a father today is viewed as a luxury. The lack of two-parent households has greatly affected the family structure and how we raise children. Mentoring, health and well-being, church/spirituality, and building wealth are all essential in teaching young men and women what it will take to be successful in the 21st century. CM: If there is one piece of advice that you would like to give young Sigma Brothers today, what would that be? AW: Brothers, I would say to you, focus on trust and honesty. Give to your communities, become educated, learn business and always continue to learn how to build wealth. Bro. Williams is the Founder and CEO of the Graham Williams Group and International Public Relations and Media Syndication. You can listen to Bro. Williams on WWRL 1600, New York’s Urban Talk Show, Monday-Friday, from 3pm-6pm on Drivetime Dialogue. To contact Bro. Williams, visit his website at www.armstrongwilliams.com

24 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Bro. Congressman Edolphus “Ed” Towns serves Sigma and the 10th Congressional District of Brooklyn, NY By Bro. Greville French Eastern Regional Director

Edolphus “Ed” Towns is a proud member of Kappa Beta Sigma Chapter, located in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently serving his twelfth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents the tenth Congressional District of Brooklyn, New York, encompassing the neighborhoods of East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, BedfordStuyvesant, Cypress Hills, Clinton Hill, Mill Basin, Midwood, downtown Brooklyn, Boreum Hill, as well as parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg. Representative Towns is a member of the exclusive Energy and Commerce Committee where he is on the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, the Health Subcommittee, and the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee. Through his committee appointments, Rep. Towns has worked to enhance consumers’ privacy protections on the internet, develop innovative initiatives to reduce asthma, and bridge the digital divide. He also serves on the Government Reform Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Efficiency and Financial Management where he is the Ranking Member. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Rep. Towns’ legislative work in education, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services and the environment has earned him numerous awards. Some of his legislative successes include: the “Student Right to Know Act”, a law to mandate the reporting of

student athletes graduation rates; new bilingual education programs for the gifted and talented, teacher training and special education; enhanced Medicare reimbursement rates for mid-level practitioners; and creating the Telecommunications Development Fund to provide capital for small and minority telecommunications businesses. In the environmental area, Rep. Towns continues to be committed to protecting our national parks and creating open spaces throughout Brooklyn, including the Brooklyn Bridge Park project of which he was an original incorporator. He has also worked to preserve and restore ecologically sensitive estuaries and coastal areas. In addition, the National Audubon Society recognized the Congressman for his leadership in securing federal funds for restoration activities in Prospect Park. Representative Towns had the distinction of being the first African-American to serve as Deputy Brooklyn Borough President. Additionally, he and his son, Assemblyman Darryl Towns, became the first African-American father/son tandem to serve simultaneously in public office in New York State. Rep. Towns’ varied professional background includes assignments as an administrator at Beth Israel Medical Center, a professor at New York’s Medgar Evers College and Fordham University and a teacher in the New York City Public School System. He is also a veteran of the United States Army and an ordained Baptist minister. The Congressman has a master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina A & T State University. Congressman Towns was born in Chadbourn, North Carolina. He is married to the former Gwendolyn Forbes and they reside in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn. They have two children, Darryl and Deidra, and five grandchildren, Kiara, Jasmine, Kristian, Dale and Trinity. The Congressman also serves as a surrogate father to his nephews Jason and Jereme Towns.

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 25


John Lewis Congressman

An interview with

by Bro. Ron Lewis

Bro. John Lewis (L), chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and Bro. Hosea Williams, of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), announce a campaign of demonstrations against segregation in Georgia, July 26, 1965. Photo credit: © Bettmann/CORBIS

26 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 27


Congressman Lewis is the complete antithesis of a politician. He is warm, engaging, humble, spiritual and completely in touch with himself as a man and with his place in history. The Crescent: As we approach the 100-year anniversary of Phi Beta Sigma, what changes do you see as being necessary in order to make Sigma more viable in the next 100 years? Congressman Lewis: This generation of brothers must pick up where brothers in the past have left off. We are called to serve. Every generation of Sigma has an obligation to do what they can to keep the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the Founders alive. Younger members are so much smarter. Previous generations of Sigma men didn’t have cell phones, fax machines, or the internet, but they used what they had. So, this generation must leverage today’s technologies to move Sigma forward. We must not look at the fraternity on the local level or even regional level. Instead, we must look globally. The Crescent: In Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat, he talks about how horizontal the world has become. He cites examples of technology moving to places like India and China. Business is conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Can we make the necessary changes? In other words do we see ourselves as a global organization?

28 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007

Congressman Lewis: Many members in the fraternity’s leadership are taking a long, hard look and realizing that people in different professions know and understand that if we are going to be viable and relevant we must look at the larger world, especially with our brothers in the third world, Africa and the Caribbean. As Sigmas, we have to


begin to relate to people in India, China and Japan. These are the people holding the debt and they may call it in some day. The Crescent: Can you describe a typical day in the life of Congressman John Lewis? Congressman Lewis: I get up early in the morning and start my day with a workout at the gym around 6:00 AM. I haven’t been working out lately, so I need to refocus and recast myself. Then I come to the office and go over my appointments for the day. I go to committee meetings and some days I may have several meetings. I go to the floor of the House when there are votes. In the evening there may be a dinner or reception. When I first came to Washington, I attended almost every reception involving people from the state of Georgia or involving African-Americans. I remember one evening I went to six receptions and one dinner and I didn’t have anything to eat. All I had was a glass of water or a Diet Coke. I am constantly meeting with someone or seeing someone. At times I feel like a doctor seeing patients all day. You are constantly meeting with people to talk about problems and meeting with staff from time to time. Even though the work is long and hard I would not take anything for my journey. I absolutely love what I do. One of the most gratifying things for me since I’ve been here, and this is my 21st year in the Congress, is to have Sigma brothers drop in from time to time, and when I go places to speak I see Sigma brothers. I wonder, “How do they know I’m here? But, the word gets around.” Brothers have greeted me, they’ve presented me with plaques and it’s very moving to me. It’s very uplifting to know that all across America there are Sigmas. The Crescent: It’s well documented your involvement with civil rights and your assosication with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Can you share with our readers what that experience was like, your years with Dr. King and the whole movement. What compelled you to get involved? Congressman Lewis: I grew up during a very turbulent time in our nation’s history in the heart of the deep south, in rural Alabama, very poor with six brothers and three sisters. I had wonderful parents and wonderful grandparents and a whole host of first cousins. We were like a village. Almost like a community unto ourselves. When we went downtown to the little town of Troy, about 10 miles from where I grew up, or go to Tuskeegee or Montgomery I saw those signs that read, “Whites Only” or “Colored”. I’d go to the theater on a Saturday afternoon and all the Black children had to go to the balcony and all the White children got to go down front. I would come home and ask my parents and grandparents why the situation was the way it was. They would tell me, “That’s the way it is, don’t get in the way, don’t make trouble”. I had a high school teacher who encouraged me to read. I tried to read everything I could. I read Ebony, Jet, The Chicago Defender, The Pittsburgh Courier, and the Afro American. I read those papers and kept up with what was going on in the world. When I was 15 years old, in the 10th grade, I heard of Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and I followed the drama of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. One day, I heard Dr. King speaking on an old radio and I knew I had to get involved. In 1957, at the age of 17, I met Rosa Parks. In 1958 I met Dr. King Continued on Page 32 THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 29


24th International President of Phi Beta Sigma is the First African-American Speaker Pro Tempore of Alabama House of Representatives

Hon. Bro. Demetrius C. Newton was elected the 24th International President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. in 1981. But he is also an established statesman and politician in his home state of Alabama. He currently serves as a Democrat where he is the Alabama State Representative for the 53rd District (Jefferson). In 1985, Hon. Bro. Newton was elected to the Legislature and has served four terms in the Alabama House of Representatives and served as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee becoming the first African-American to hold this position. He is the first African-American to be elected for membership in Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity at Boston University Law School, his alma mater. On January 14, 2003, he was elected to serve his second term as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Alabama House of Representatives being the first African-American ever elected to this position. In 1996 the American Cancer Society awarded Hon. Bro. Newton its “Outstanding Legislator Award”. Hon. Bro. Newton is admitted to practice law in all of the courts of Alabama, The United States District Court, the United States Court of Appeals

for the 5th and 11th Circuits, the U.S. Tax Court, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Supreme Court of the United States. He was born on March 15, 1928 and received his B.A. from Wilberforce University, and J.D. from Boston University. He pledged Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity on March 8, 1947 at Alpha Alpha Chapter at Wilberforce University. “During my term as president, we had the largest membership at that time and not a single lawsuit for hazing,” stated Hon. Bro. Newton proudly. He was also named to Ebony Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in America,” three times and is listed in Who’s Who in Black America, Who’s Who in American Law, and the International Dictionary of Biographies. He was appointed by Governor George Wallace as Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama in 1978. For more than thirty years, Hon. Bro. Newton headed his own law firm and in 1991 was named Chief City Attorney for the City of Birmingham, a position he held for eight years. His Birmingham-based law firm has led the charge for justice in employment, winning more than $30 million for victims of discrimination in the process.

30 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Hon. Bro. Newton served as president of the Birmingham Chapter of the NAACP, Chairman of the Board of the Birmingham Urban League, and as Chairman of the Board of the Metro Area Legal Services Corporation. He served on the Board of Trustees of Tuskegee University and served as National President of

ments in Phi Beta Sigma was his economic wisdom that he used to make our fraternity more financially stable after Conclave Charleston in 1981. “The fraternity has opened many doors for me, not the least of them being the international recognition I have received,” Hon. Bro. Newton explained. “I am always, and still

The fraternity has opened many doors for me, not the least of them being the international recognition I have received. the Wilberforce University Alumni Association. His hometown of Fairfield, Alabama, honored him by naming the major public Housing Village, “The Demetrius C. Newton Gardens.” Hon. Bro. Newton is a Sunday School Teacher and Chairman of the Board of Deacons at Fairfield’s Mount Olive Baptist Church. He is the father of two children: Deidre, a deputy district attorney in Manhattan, N.Y., and Demetrius, Jr., a communications professor and film entrepreneur. As an active member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. he is a member of the Tau Sigma Alumni Chapter in Birmingham, AL. Hon. Bro. Newton has the special honor of being inducted into the fraternity’s “Distinguished Service Chapter” in 1982, a recognition given to brothers with unparalled dedication to the fraternity. In 2006, a fraternity gala honoring him and his service was thrown in his hometown. One of Newton’s greatest achieve-

am,

perhaps Sigma’s biggest cheerleader!” Newton is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Alabama Lawyer’s Association’s “Outstanding Lawyer Award,” and Wilberforce University’s “Honorary Doctor of Letters.” He is also a Past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Birmingham Urban League. Representative Newton is currently a member of the Alabama, National, and American Bar Associations, as well as, the American Judicature Society, NAACP, 100 Black Men, and the Vulcan Gold Club. By: Bro. Carlos Williams II, MA Director of Publicity, Southern Region Past Editor-In-Chief, The Crescent

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 31


Continued From Page 29

and it changed my life forever. Dr. King was inspiring. He became my hero. When I went off to school at Fisk University, I became involved in civil rights. I started sitting in at lunch counters. I was beaten and got arrested for the first time in 1960 when I was 20 years old. In 1961 I came to Washington, D.C. to embark upon a freedom ride. It was very dangerous to talk about getting on a Greyhound bus with a group of Blacks and Whites traveling to the deep south to attempt to desegregate the lunch counters, restaurants, restrooms, the waiting rooms, and other public facilities. We were beaten in Rock Hill, South Carolina; beaten in Montgomery, Alabama; and arrested in Jackson, Mississippi. All of these experiences strengthened my resolve. Martin Luther King was wonderful to work with. He was like a big brother. But it was not just Dr. King. It was A. Philip Randolph. He was a prince of a man. I have often said, if A. Philip Randolph would have been born on another continent, maybe of another race, he probably would have been president or a prime minister. He was a wonderful man, so gifted. I feel very blessed and honored to have been in their midst. The Crescent: Given all that you have experienced in civil rights and your career as a Congressman and some of the advancements that African-Americans have made (actual or perceived), do you feel, at times, that the cause for championing civil rights in no longer necessary? Congressman Lewis: In spite of all of the changes, in spite of all of the progress we’ve made, and no one can deny we’ve made progress, but the struggle is an ongoing one. We cannot afford to let our guard down. There are still too many people left behind because of their race. When it comes to education, healthcare, economics, you still have this unbelievable gap. Racism is still deeply embedded in the American psyche. We must continue to push at all levels in every corner of the American society. The Crescent: Is there any legislation that’s pending or being introduced that African-Americans should be aware of? Congressman Lewis: There are several pieces of legislation that African-Americans should be aware of, actively advocating and lobbying for. I happen to believe that healthcare is a right. All of us, as human beings and citizens have a right to quality healthcare. Millions of African-Americans are not receiving healthcare because of lack of health insurance and other reasons. Healthcare should not be predicated on the size of one’s wallet or the size of their bank account. There are several pieces of legislation that have been introduced or will be introduced calling for comprehensive healthcare. It’s going to be costly but we’ve got to pay for it. African Americans should be out front on this issue. In the African-American community we have thousands of African-Americans who work every single day who cannot afford healthcare. I’ve seen it in my own district, in metropolitan Atlanta and all across the country. When people use the emergency room as their primary care it’s going to cost a lot more. We’ve got to find the mechanism to say that we are going to finance comprehensive healthcare for all of our citizens.

32 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


The Crescent: In a November 2005 article in Newsweek you were very critical of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Here we are almost 2 years later and not much has changed. As a nation, what do we have to do? Congressman Lewis: When I saw what was happening in New Orleans, I cried. The most powerful nation in the world could not respond to the cries and the pains of our people in an efficient and timely manner. I said then that it was a shame and a disgrace. I don’t think history will be kind to us as a nation. To see men, women, children and the elderly crying out for help, hand-made signs, it reminded me of a disaster in another part of the world. If we could get our planes and ships to go around the world to engage in military conflicts why did it take us so long to respond? I think we’ve got to do more including the administration and the congress. A. Philip Randolph said we need a Marshall Plan to rebuild urban America. We should have had a Marshall Plan to rebuild the Gulf Coast, especially the city of New Orleans. I think it was a matter of race and class. If the great majority of people in New Orleans had been of another race I think there would have been a different response. That must never happen again in America. The Crescent: When you retire from public service, what do you want history to record about your life? Congressman Lewis: More than anything else, I would be pleased if someone would just say or someone would just write that he did his best. He worked hard. He got in the way. That he didn’t give up, he didn’t give in and he didn’t give out. I don’t plan to retire. I plan to continue to stay involved. I don’t think about retirement. I may not be in Congress, I may be doing something else. There is a calling, there is a mission. That’s what I like about the fraternity. There is this sense of getting out there and fulfilling a calling, a mission.

U.S. Congressman Bro. John Lewis and the Editor of The Crescent Magazine Bro. Ron Lewis in the Congressman’s Washington, D.C. office. THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 33


34 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Bro. Harold B. Collins Special Assistant to the Shelby County District Attorney General Elected to Memphis City Council

Harold Collins has over 20 years of experience in Criminal Justice, extensive knowledge of local, state and federal government agencies as well as public administration. Harold graduated from the University of Memphis in 1986. As Special Assistant to Shelby County Attorney General Bill Gibbons, Harold prepares and coordinates community programs and policies for the District Attorney’s Office. He is also responsible for promoting the offices’ Project Safe Neighborhood Program known as “ Gun Crime IS Jail Time”. He manages the District Attorney’s Office Mentoring Program for three pilot schools, Chickasaw, Cypress and Hickory Ridge middle schools. Harold also represents Mr. Gibbons at special functions and advises Mr. Gibbons on sensitive and special matters.

Bro. Collins was recently elected to the City Council of Memphis in a hard fought race involving many candidates. Prior to joining Mr. Gibbons’ staff, Harold owned and operated Advanced Corrections, Inc., a private probation firm for non-violent offenders. Harold has served his community as, Chairman of the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, Chairman of Memphis Area Neighborhood Watch, Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission Board of Directors, President of the Memphis Alumni Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, CoChair of the National Conclave Memphis 2003. Harold is a graduate of Leadership Memphis Class of 1999 and Nexus Future Leaders Graduate Class of 2006. Currently, Harold serves on the Board of Directors of Memphis Athletic Ministries (MAM) and Methodist Hospital South Community Advisory Board. Harold is a member of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church where he served as a deacon, the Moderator of the Congregation from 2001-2003 and most recently is President of the National Convocation Christian Church Disciples of Christ. Harold is married to Kimberly Williams and they have two teenage daughters, Sydney and Erin.

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 35


A REVIEW OF CONCLAVE 2007

o BY TODD LEBON The brothers of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. celebrated the 93rd Bi-Annual Conclave July 30 – August 5, 2007 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sigma men from western plains to eastern hills were charged to gather in the Queen City. Beta Rho Sigma, the Charlotte alumni chapter, served as host for the conference. The week was filled with a variety of activities allowing all attendees to experience southern hospitality at its finest. The week’s agenda also included a host of events open to the public. Brothers arriving on Sunday could participate in the Sigma golf outing Monday morning. The golf outing is fast becoming a signature conclave event. Monday was a major travel day for most del-

egates. Arriving on Monday would give them an opportunity to settle in and prepare for the first business session on Tuesday. It was a time to reconnect with old friends and meet new brothers. We were happy to see Bro. Moses McClendon, our 26th president, join us after a brief absence from conclaves. The General Board held its Pre-Conclave Board Meeting on Monday afternoon hosted by the Executive Board of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.. That evening, brothers gathered with the community for a Men’s Empowerment Seminar with Bro. Les Brown at Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church. After a day of relaxing and brotherhood it was time to get down to business. Delegates continued to arrive in the

36 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 37


President Paul L. Griffin, Jr. sounds the gavel to mark the start of the 2007 Conclave in Charlotte, North Carolina

President Paul L. Griffin, Jr. receives a gift from Zeta Phi Beta’s Grand Basilus Soror Barbara Moore.

morning in time to attend the first business session later in the day. Tuesday morning’s agenda items included the various committee meetings and the bi-annual Distinguished Service Chapter teddy bear presentation. The opening of the Vendor Fair and the “Chapters on Display” presentation kicked off the afternoon’s activities. Two chapters from each region were selected to display chapter photos

activities they performed in the area of community service. The Vendor Fair, located in the Charlotte Convention Center, consisted of The Sigma Exchange and other licensed vendors selling their wares. Business Session I would close out the official business of the day. After the confirma-

tion of seated delegates and the establishment of a quorum by our and items in the Executive Director, Bro. Marco McMillian, we Westin Grand Ballroom Foyer. This was were cleared to carry on with the business. First an opportunity for chapters to showcase the many up was the adoption of the Conclave Rules and the

38 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Business Session agenda. Upon acceptance, all eyes were on our 32nd International President, Bro. Paul L. Griffin, Jr., as he gave the State of the Fraternity Address. Bro President was received warmly by the Body and they gave several spirited responses of approval during his address. “Conclave 2007: A Reunion of Lines” was now in full swing. The candidate’s forum followed the business session and gave the Body an opportunity to hear from those seeking to serve the Fraternity for the next two years. The forum included a question and answer period. With the daily business completed it was time to celebrate with the Charlotte community. The Opening Ceremony was held in the Grand Ballroom in the early evening. We received warm greetings from the presidents or representatives of the local National Pan-Hellenic Council member organizations. The ceremony was also an opportunity to recognize past presidents and continued national partnerships. The president’s Power of One Award was given to Ronnie King, Chaplain, United States Navy. Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented by President Griffin to the Hon. Dr. Marshall Bass (Business), former executive at R.J. Reynolds; Dr. Willis Gilchrist, President Elizabeth City State University, (Education); the Hon. Edolphus Townes (Social Action), U.S. Congressman. A President’s Reception capped the day’s activities. Wednesday morning began early with the Founders Award Breakfast, sponsored by the March of Dimes. Chapters were recognized for best programs and membership achievements. The 2007 overall model Chapters of the Year were Iota Nu Sigma, Chicago and Delta Theta, Prairie View A&M University. The salute to our beloved Founders was followed by Business Session II. We heard from several General Board members during

Past International presidents Hon. Carter D. Womack, Hon. William E. Stanley and Hon. Peter Adams display the Sigma Centennial Book.

this session; Bros. Sidney McCray (1st VP), John M. Turner (General Counsel) and Jimmy Hammock (Treasurer). Brothers were pleased to hear of our financial stability and commended Bro. Hammock for a job well done. Several committees reported during the session, including the Elections Committee. Wednesday’s agenda included several activities outside of the business meetings. The Leaders Luncheon took place in the Blake Hotel Grand Ballroom. Luncheon attendees were treated to a informative and spirited presentation by the Hon. Bro. Dudley Flood. The Oratorical Competition winner was Corey Dargan, Gulf Coast region. The Debate Competition winner was Giovanni Carr, Southwest Region. The Sigma Museum would open its doors later that afternoon. The Museum has become one of the most popular events of any conference at which it appears. The Museum gives Bros. Mark “Mallet” Pacich and Kevin Christian an opportunity to share the rich history of Phi Beta Sigma with the brothers and the community. The Sigma Wellness Health Fair: “Living Well Brother to Brother” was also kicked off in the Convention Center and would last for the remainder of the conference. Our partners and community orga-

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 39


nizations were present in the Convention Center foyer to share information with all conclave guests. The Westin was host to a number of Leadership Development Labs in the early afternoon, the Collegiate Caucus and the various committee meetings. The development labs addressed such issues as effective communication and the mentoring of Black males. The evening would end with the Meet & “Greek” event at the Sunset Club. The event was open to the public and a chance to meet with the local Greeks in the Charlotte and surrounding areas. Business Session III would open up Thursday’s agenda. The Resolutions Committee reported during the session and called for development of a program to increase the number

of Black males in college. A move to adopt The Sigma Clean Speech Act aimed at abolishing all derogatory and/or racial slurs in chants, during step shows and at all gatherings failed as presented. The first national program of Phi Beta Sigma was The Clean Speech movement, adopted in 1924. The program originated at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, home of Mu Chapter. Two special committees reported during this session: The Strategic Planning Committee addressed a number of areas including; a stronger commitment to community initiatives, branding and marketing of Sigma and leadership development. The Centennial

Celebration Committee, co-chaired by past presidents Peter Adams, William Stanley and Carter Womack gave a Powerpoint presentation of preliminary plans and introduced the Centennial Pin and a commemorative scroll book to receive brothers’ signatures celebrating 100 years of service in 2014. The morning business session was followed by An Historical Forum with Bro. Georg Iggers. The event was facilitated by Bro. Clarence Davis, Fraternity Historian. Bro. Iggers first spoke to the brotherhood at the 1955 Conclave in Louisville, Kentucky. A world-renowned historian and civil rights activist, both here and abroad, Bro. Iggers and his wife Dr. Wilma Iggers have fought injustice worldwide for over 60 years. Bro. Iggers’ inspirational words motivated those present to do more in the area of social action. He

spoke about some of the ills of society and what Sigma can do to help combat these ills. His 1955 speech is part of the Sigma Museum collection. Following the forum, Bro. Iggers took time to take photos and talk to the brothers about his life’s work. A book signing by Bro. and Mrs. Iggers latest book, “Two Lives In Uncertain Times”, closed out the event. The Future Leader’s Luncheon took place at the Hilton Hotel where a spirited address was give by Bro. Benjamin Chavis Muhammad. After the lun-

Continued on Page 46 40 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


The New Deal’s Black Congressman and Sigma’s Longest Serving President Bro. Arthur Wergs Mitchell, 1883-1968 by DENNIS S. NORDIN, PH.D.

Born into the household of Taylor and Ammar Patterson Mitchell on December 22, 1883, Arthur Wergs Mitchell spent his early life near Roanoke in northeastern Alabama. Most of what is known about young Mitchell’s development and experiences was conveyed to third wife Clara Mann Mitchell a half century after the events or was

incorporated into a bloated political resume for use in congressional campaigns. Tuskegee Institute records, for instance, confirm Mitchell’s attendance there for one academic year, but evidence is unavailable to support his boasting about service to Booker T. Washington as an all-time favorite student office assistant. After a schoolyear at Tuskegee, Mitchell studied for two terms with William J. Edwards at Snow Hill Institute, this as his preparation for a career in education. Teaching began in 1903 at Tullibody Academy, the Greensboro, Alabama, “colored” school. Not long after an appointment there, Mitchell began laying plans for a school modeled after Tuskegee. For help in accomplishing this goal, the young educator turned to Washington, but his assistance never came. Undeterred by this unwillingness to share resources, Mitchell used financial backing from prominent local whites to establish West Alabama Normal and Industrial Institute. From opening in 1903, variations of this school continued at different sites in Alabama until 1919. Before each move, prominent white land developers with timber for clearing encouraged Mitchell to establish a school as a drawing magnet for black families to settle and strip forested plantation land. Hence from Greensboro, Panola, and Geiger, West Alabama began with logging operations and disappeared with trees, only to resurface in West Butler in

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 41


1916 with the same formula but now as Armstrong Agricultural Institute. After a stay of five or fewer years at each location, Mitchell began anew with son Wergs and second wife Annie activities of him supervising first construction of new buildings and then of running a school. And left behind in each instance were fire-charred remains of schoolhouses and children without further educational opportunities. In an interview with the author, Clara Mitchell shared suspicions of her late husband’s responsibilities for these fires; it was her feeling that he had torched frame structures in order to collect on insurance. Again, what really occurred and what prompted movements will likely never be known. On a positive note, Mitchell gave his West Alabama and Armstrong students basic academic lessons in the 3 R’s and horticulture. Equally important for their communities, his schools were activity centers where adults often participated in institutes and celebrated holidays. Their “professor” was often gone, traveling frequently for prolong periods to the Northeast on fundraising trips, and during several summers, for attendance at special enrichment classes held at Harvard and Columbia universities for Southern black educators. In 1919 with a large sum of money, said to be around $10,000, the Mitchell family hastily fled Alabama and legal problems for the nation’s capital. Washington offered many opportunities. Thus during a ten-year period, Mitchell bought and managed two apartment buildings, and he studied law at the offices of black lawyers and took legal correspondence courses from Chicago’s Blackstone School of Law. These efforts enabled him to pass the District of Columbia bar examination.

More importantly for the future, Mitchell was fitting comfortably into Washington’s elite African American social establishment. By invitation he joined the prestigious Mu-So-Lit Club, and he also became active in the Phi Beta Sigma social fraternity. The climax to the latter affiliation occurred in 1925 at the brotherhood’s annual convention when delegates named Mitchell their national president, an honor he would hold for nine consecutive years. More likely than other factors accounting for Mitchell’s success, the Sigma presidency provided unprecedented opportunities. Suddenly from every section of the United States, there were contacts with some of the nation’s most influential AfricanAmericans. Among benefits received by Mitchell was the responsibility to energize black Chicagoans for Herbert C. Hoover’s presidential candidacy in 1928. Although no paper trail exists to link this experience directly to Sigma connections, it is safe to assume an appointment from the Colored Division of the Republican National Committee had resulted from a contact. Regardless, the experience of being in Chicago turned into an epiphany for the campaign worker. What especially perked Mitchell’s interest about Windy City politics was the fact of so many blacks winning elections to offices at all levels of government. In the Hoover worker’s judgment, Oscar DePriest’s congressional victory in Illinois’s First Congressional District exheeded all the other African American politi-

42 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


cal triumphs. Soon it became Mitchell’s intention to abandon all in Washington for settlement in the Bronzeville section of Chicago and an eventual challenge to DePriest for his seat in the House of Representatives. It was financially possible for him to aim for this eventuality because of Annie’s salary as a federal government clerk and the income from apartment rents. As part of Mitchell’s master plan to unseat DePriest, the striving Sigma president arrived in Chicago by himself during 1929. There he established permanent residency, and he quickly achieved recognition as a perfectly pliable individual. This was the type of person Windy City political machine bosses were finding suitable for offices and jobs. During an era when African-Americans were still overwhelmingly loyal Republicans, it quickly occurred to Mitchell that few opportunities would exist for a black newcomer to Chicago to advance in the GOP. The result was a pragmatic decision to change parties. Mitchell, as an African-American Democrat, found many possibilities to be noticed and appreciated at local precinct and ward meetings. With only a limited law practice and no family obligations from 1929 to1934, the attorney committed himself wholeheartedly to local politics. Leading Democrats began taking notice of a willing worker who did not question authority. Wardheeler Joseph Tittinger was one influential Democrat who liked what he was discovering about Mitchell. A bond of trust and understanding developed between the local white ward boss and a person whom he was considering as suitable for a future party nomination. In 1934 after machine backing had helped veteran party hack Harry Baker to an easy Democratic primary win over Mitchell as the party’s nominee to

Eigthteenth Phi Beta Sigma convention, December 30, 1933, Chicago. President Arthur Mitchell is seated in the middle of the first row.

unseat DePriest, Baker died unexpectantly. It was then at an emergency slating session that Tittinger successfully argued for Mitchell’s slating as the perfect choice for machine backing. Securing the nomination with this endorsement, the new candidate faced a task of running against the three-term incumbent in a racially bifurcated congressional district. Being a fighter for civil rights and a partisan GOP New Deal opponent, DePriest enjoyed general popularity in Bronzeville, but among most white residents of the District he was disliked. To most of the electorate, Mitchell was a political unknown. He campaigned as a complete supporter of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. With a choice between men on opposite sides of the New Deal, voters chose the Democrat. Analyzing the vote racially reveals Mitchell carrying white precincts in a landslide and gaining enough votes among disgruntled blacks to be victorious. After the win, Mitchell broke with the Sigmas in a parting that was filled with rancor and bitterness. Members had hurt Mitchell’s feelings because they had

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 43


not showered “little Napoleon” with enough appreciation and praise for his long service. Carefully instructed and coached by Democratic machine bosses to go to Washington without a civil rights agenda, Mitchell followed the advice more or less for three of his four terms. In speeches and by actions, he distanced himself from the NAACP on such issues as antilynching legislation, and he defended white southerners, claiming they were the only true friends of black Americans. To a myriad of pleas from southern blacks for his help in dealing with racism or discrimination, Mitchell advised his correspondents to turn to their own congressmen for aid because he was not considering himself to be the representative at large to African-Americans. On roll-call votes, Mitchell voted more or less in lockstep with other Chicago Democratic representatives. As much as he did not want to be perceived as championing any causes disruptive to Roosevelt’s odd coalition, Mitchell’s role as the only African-American on Capitol Hill set him apart from all others in Congress. He literally traveled across the nation, speaking only before most carefully screened black audiences to offer the New Deal as a wonderful program for the minority and Roosevelt as the race’s best friend. Legislatively, he introduced several “safe” bills with a theme of promoting black achievements. In one, Mitchell sought recognition for the bravery of polar explorer Matthew A. Henson, and the lawmaker tried to obtain funds to preserve Booker T. Washington’s Virginia birthplace. On behalf of FDR’s reelections, Mitchell twice served as a major leader of the Democratic National

Committee’s Colored Division. In this capacity, Mitchell relied apparently upon several former Sigma brothers to serve as state chairs. During a fourth and final term in Congress, Mitchell changed. No longer willing to keep silent altogether, he began criticizing discrimination in the military and in employment by defense industries. Although never as adamant as Robert Vann of the Pittsburgh Courier about blacks waging a two-front war—against Axis military forces in Asia and Europe and against racism at home—Mitchell delivered stinging rebukes about wrong actions, nevertheless. He also nominated qualified African American young men to West Point and Annapolis, but in most cases at these military institutions fellow cadets insured that Mitchell’s appointees could not finish their studies. In the case of an unfair dismissal of Midshipman James L. Johnson, Jr., from the Naval Academy, Mitchell began a personal investigation into circumstances leading to the departure; without support and Johnson’s return to Case Institute in Cleveland, the lawmaker’s efforts at reinstatement ended. But none of this represented the most important contribution to fairness and to justice from a seemingly unshackled lawmaker. His determination to pursue a lawsuit against the Rock Island, Illinois Central, and Pullman companies for their unwillingness to honor his first-class railroad ticket aboard a Chicago-toArkansas train caused a conflict with machine bosses. Inexperienced black attorneys Richard E. Westbrooks and Mitchell, demanding separate-but-equal services for all passengers, filed legal appeals against three railroading giants all the way to the Supreme Court; their actions

44 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


defied Chicago’s powerful political establishment and upset attorneys generals from Southern states. On April 28, 1941, in a unanimous decision, the justices sided with plaintiff Mitchell against three transportation company defendants, asserting insufficient demand was no excuse for a public carrier to deny blacks access to the same first-class accommodations as white travelers had. Informed of the machine’s intention to slate William L. Dawson for Congress in 1942, a not disappointed incumbent accepted this fate. After eight years on Capitol Hill and with African-Americans once able to identify only Joe Louis and Jesse Owens more correctly than the lawmaker, Mitchell retired to an estate on the outskirts of Petersburg, Virginia. There at Rose-Anna Gardens he settled into a pleasant life of rose growing and gentleman farming. Expecting importance as a senior black statesman, the Alabama native who had turned from education to politics died peacefully but obscurely on May 9, 1968, in bed at his columned mansion he had modeled after a magnificent antebellum plantation home. Oddly, but nowhere in Alabama, Washington, Chicago, or Virginia can one find a visible reminder of Mitchell’s accomplishments as the first black Democratic congressman. For a more complete biographical sketch of this remarkable Sigma brother’s life, one should read The New

Deal’s Black Congressman: A Life of Arthur Wergs Mitchell published in 1997 by the University of Missouri Press. Pride of authorship tells me every Sigma and Sigma chapter should have a copy! As for the origins of and interest in writing about the life story of Arthur Mitchell, it came as a suggestion by the Chicago Historical Society’s archivist Archie Motley; he had recently secured the congressman’s manuscripts. Motley advised

that I examine the collection to determine if anything useful could result from it. I became immediately engulfed with a scholar’s passion to explore further the life of an important lawmaker and contributor to African-American history. Dennis S. Nordin, Ph.D. Mississippi State Univ. Author of The New Deal’s Black Congressman: A Life of Arthur Wergs Mitchell

Bro. Brandon C. Brim Theta Zeta Chapter at Columbus State University Columbus, Georgia President of the American Criminal Justice Association Gamma Lambda Chapter Senator/Senate Pro Tempore CSU Student Government Association As President of the American Criminal Justice Association, Bro. Brim is responsible for providing leadership to the organization, the executive board, and to chapter members. He represents the chapter at the regional and national level. His duties require him to enforce the bylaws and constitution of the organization and maintain and increase membership for the chapter. In addition, Bro. Brim plans and chairs all meetings, chapter events, and conferences. As the Senator/Senate Pro Tempore, he is the Vice President of the SGA Senate. In that capacity he is responsible for presiding over all committee meetings, serves as the acting President of the Senate in the event the Speaker of the Senate is not able to perform, serve as Chair of all committees and attends all schedule Senate meetings.

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 45


Continued From Page 40

cheon the brothers returned to the Westin to participate in one of several Personal Development Labs. These labs were designed to assist our undergraduate brothers as they graduate to the world beyond the campus. The evening’s events began with the Miss Phi Beta Sigma Pageant. All of the young ladies represented themselves and their respective regions with dignity and class. Guests not attending the pageant had the option of attending An Evening of

Miss International Phi Beta Sigma Veronica Hunter and her court.

Jazz and Music with Bro. Everett Harp and Howard Hewett. The concert took place in the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. The Phi Beta Sigma National Step Team Competition and party closed out the day in the Blake Hotel. The winner was Eta Chapter, North Carolina A&T State University. The Life Members Breakfast was the first agenda item on Friday morning. Ron Carter was elected president. The breakfast was followed by one of the most solemn events on the week’s agenda, the Omega and Rededication Ceremonies. These ceremonies always seem to revive the spirit within the membership and motivate the Body. The early afternoon agenda consisted of a choice of several Chapter Development Labs. Business Session IV followed with a report from the recently appointed Historian, Bro. Clarence Davis. Bro. Davis spoke of those steps put into place to preserve historical items located within the Headquarters building. He shared the

plan for the continued storage of items in an ideal environment and the efforts to document our history. His report was well received by the Body. The Honorary Member Committee submitted the names of, Wynton Marsalis (musician, composer, musical director), Bradford Marsalis (jazz great), and Montel Williams (talk show host and motivational speaker). The Marsalis brothers are the sons of Sigma Bro. Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Montel is the son of Bro. Herman Williams. All three candidates were approved for induction to be held at a later date. The Election Committee announced the results of the elections held on Wednesday. The newly elected members of the General Board are as follows: Paul L. Griffin, Jr. (President), Jimmy Hammock (1st V.P.), Steven Kniffley (2nd V.P.), Donald Jemison (Treasurer), William L. Powell, Jr. (Director of Education), Winston O’Neal (Director of BBB), John E. White (Director of Social Action) and John M. Turner (General Counsel). The Body congratulated the newly elected Board and committed themselves to work with and support all elected officers as we move forward. The business would concluded in a fifth on Saturday morning.

President Griffin extends congratulations to the new Miss Phi Beta Sigma Veronica Hunter as the outgoing Miss Phi Beta Sigma Nythea Campbell looks on.

The Friday evening events began with the African-American Male ImageAwards Banquet. Zeta sister Dr. N. Joyce Payne founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund was recognized during the Continued on Page 50

46 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Book Review

Charles B. Rangel with Leon Wynter, And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2007. 293 pages. $24.95. Reviewed by Bro. Todd D. Le Bon Charles B. Rangel is a nineteen-term Democratic congressman from New York and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He lives in New York City and Washington, D.C. Leon Wynter is a former Wall Street Journal columnist and the author of American Skin: Pop Culture, Big Business and the End of White America. Congressman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) shares his life journey from the streets of Harlem to the chairmanship of the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives. In this groundbreaking book we are introduced to a high school dropout who turned his life around and rose to great heights in all aspects of his life. Rangel is a Korean War veteran, former federal prosecutor and nineteen-term congressman from New York City. He speaks candidly about his family and relationships forged with childhood buddies and political allies on both sides of the aisle. Friendships he continues to enjoy to this day. The book title, “And I Haven’t Had a Bad Day Since: From the Streets of Harlem to the Halls of Congress”, refers to a day while Rangel was serving in the Korean War. Rangel was almost killed that day and made a promise. He promised not to cause trouble to anyone again if God would see him through that day. Rangel managed to lead a group of soldiers out of harms way and saved their lives. Whenever facing a challenge he reflects on that day, and it helps him put things into proper perspective. The reader is given an inside look at Rangel’s rise through the political ranks. Rangel discusses his introduction to the local political clubs, as well as his often uncomfortable relationship with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. While navigating his way through the political clubs of New York , Rangel managed to befriend many of the biggest names in New York political history. After a legislative session with Governor Rockefeller in 1969, Rangel made a trip to the island of Bimini to ask Congressman Powell to return to New York. Powell was in a self-imposed exile due to legal problems at home. Powell would eventually return to New York and find himself in a race against Rangel for his seat in the House. Rangel would win a close race and Powell would pass away a few years later at the age of 63. Rangel never planned to be a U. S. Congressman. In fact, he reminds the readers of his lack of any plan for his life’s journey. This book is an excellent read for teenagers as a motivational tool to realize their talents and take full advantage of them. After reading Rangel’s story they will realize anything is possible. Talents once used as a small time hustler in Harlem and in the military were utilized in a positive direction as a prosecutor and now senior member of Congress. Rangel’s talents helped him survive the streets of Harlem and the mountains of Korea, and he hasn’t had a bad day since. THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • FALL 2007 |

47


Alumni Profile: Bro. John M. Turner: Deputy Chief Assistant, D.A. and General Counsel for Phi Beta Sigma When John Turner walks into the courtroom for closing arguments in a murder trial, he wears his cowboy boots. It’s a mental showdown, a verbal gunfight, a facing off of two lawyers. John Turner has prosecuted cases on the state and federal level for twenty years but, since he joined the Clayton County Georgia District Attorney’s office as Deputy Chief Assistant D.A., he has prosecuted the worst of the worst. “I enjoy the criminal justice system and I prefer to represent the victims and their families,” Turner said. “The really bad guys, that’s my specialty. It’s the manifestation of evil, the many faces of evil that I find interesting and challenging.” John Turner has become known as an expert in difficult-to-prosecute cases, multiple-defendant murder trials and the most serious cases to come to the Clayton District Attorney’s office. In his time as a trial attorney in the Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney’s office and as the chief trial attorney in the Clayton County District Attorney’s office, Turner has prosecuted murderers, serial killers, gang members, torture killers, and a variety of defendants facing the possibility of life in prison and the death penalty. “I’ve prosecuted many murder cases,” Turner said, “but it’s challenging

in that there are many manifestations of the face of evil. Every time I think I’ve seen it all, a new twist develops, a new wrinkle surfaces”. Turner led the prosecution against Robert Dale Conklin, who was convicted of murder and the dismemberment of his victim’s body, and was the last defendant executed in Georgia to date. Turner prosecuted another case in 2006, with sixteen co-defendants – an almost unheard of number – indicted for the death of a 4 year old boy who was riding a red bicycle in a city park when he was caught in the cross fire of a gang fight and killed in. Turner was named as the Exceptional Prosecutor Of The Year by Clayton District Attorney Jewel Scott in 2006. John Turner’s legal work has not been all about good and evil. He has served for eight years as the internationally elected General Counsel of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Turner became a member of Phi Beta Sigma in 1966 on the campus of Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia. A member of Phi Beta Sigma for forty-one years, Turner has served as the president of alumni chapter Lambda Sigma in Atlanta, Georgia State Legal Counsel, Phi Beta Sigma, and as the Sigma Southern Regional Legal Counsel. As General Counsel of Phi Beta Sigma, Turner supervises all litigation and oversees all legal issues concerning the fraternity. He is responsible for the overall legal health of the fraternity. “Representing Phi Beta Sigma as General Counsel is essentially a corporate practice”, Turner said. “I enjoy the change of pace, the challenge, and the opportunity to serve Sigma. It is an honor for me to be able to represent and serve my fraternity and my brothers”.

48 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


Collegiate Profile: Bro. Anthony DuBose Becomes the First African-American Student Body President at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Bro. Anthony DuBose is the current President of the Theta Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. He is a senior with a double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology. Bro. DuBose is also very involved on his campus. He is a Resident Advisor and a member of the Black Student Union. On May 2, 2007 Bro. Anthony DuBose was inaugurated as the University of Wisconsin Parkside Student Body President. This was the first time in 10 years that UW-Parkside has had an African-American President. Bro. DuBose stood on a platform that was based around grassroots student organizing and unifying the campus organizations. He is also making plans to host workshops on campus to teach students lobbying skills. Bro. Dubose says: “These skills will be essential to students that want to make changes on campus and in their own communities.”

Senator Yvonne B. Miller Fifth Senatorial District-Virginia Born in Edenton, North Carolina; educated at Norfolk Division of Virginia State College (B.S.); Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A.) and University of Pittsburg (Ph.D.) Professor, Department of Early Childhood/ Elementary Education, Retired 1999; Professor Emeritus, Norfolk State University, 2000; member: C.H. Mason Memorial Church of God in Christ; American Association of University Professors; Past Board Member of National Alliance of Black School Educators (life member) and past board member, Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education; life member of National Education Association

and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. (Beta Theta Zeta Chapter); Legislative Black Caucus; Women’s Caucus; National Caucus & Center on Black Aged, Inc.; Past Vice-Chair Youth Commission; Commissioner, Easter Virginia Medical Authority; Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (1993); Department for Children, Board member; Legislative Advisory Board, Healthy Families-Virginia; Advisory Board of Women’s Network, NCSL; Disabilities Commission; LEGISLATIVE Studies: Welfare Reform; HIV Aids; Breast Cancer susceptibility Gene Research; Remedial Summer School; Virginia Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation; Virginia Maternal and Child health Council; Standards of Accreditation on Local School Division Budgets; Unemployment Trust fund; Faith-Based Community Service Groups; Lead Poisoning Prevention; Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactively Disorder.

POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS: • First African-American Woman in the Virginia House of Delegates1984-1987 • First African-American Woman in the Virginia Senate- 1988-present • Former, First Vice-Chair, Virginia Democratic Party • Vice-Chair, Virginia Senate Democratic Legislative Caucus (current) • First woman to Chair a Senate Standing Committee- 1996-1999 (Rehabilitation Services • Woman with the longest service in Senate-1988-present • Woman Senator with longest legislative service- House of Delegates-1984-87; Senate, 1998-present

THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 49


Continued From Page 46

event. The program spotlighted the Sigma Beta Club youth group as well as Bro. William Killibrew for academic achievement and collegiate leadership. Several activities were planned for the evening, all open to the public. The activities took place at various locations in uptown (downtown) Charlotte. Chapter delegates were called to a fifth business session on Saturday.The Law and Revision Committee

took center stage. There were a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution for action. One of the highlights was the creation of two at-large positions to be added to the General Board. The amendment was passed giving the collegiate brothers a greater voice on the General Board. These two positions will work closely with the 2nd Vice President on behalf of our collegiate brothers and chapters. The completion of Business Session V signaled a close to the business agenda for Conclave 2007. The Conclave approved seven brothers for induction into the Distinguished Service Chapter (DSC). The 2007 DSC inductees are: Bros. Scherod Barnes (Zeta Sigma), Eric Gilliam (Alpha Sigma), Dr. Ernest Miller (Phi Beta Sigma), Dr. J. W. Mason (Epsilon Sigma Sigma), Millard Watkins, Jr.. (Iota Sigma), Larry Blanding (Delta Kappa Sigma) and Anthony A. Samad (Phi Beta Sigma). The Body received these brothers with heart felt applause. The newly elected president of the Distinguished Past International Presidents Hon. William E. Stanley, Jr., Hon. Peter Service Chapter in the Hon. William E. Stanley, Jr., 28th International President. He succeeds the Hon. Adams, Esq., and Hon. Demetrius C. Newton, Esq. prepare for the Sylvester Davis who served for ten years. We salute first business session. the newest members of the DSC for their tireless work in the community and in the name of Sigma. The East Coast All-Star Step Show took place Saturday evening in Ovens Auditorium. The show featured some of the best step teams on the east coast, representing all the NPHC member organizations. The finale of the conference was the President’s Pinning Ceremony, installation of officers and the Grand Orchid Ball. What better way to end our stay in the Queen City. At midnight the Men of Sigma thundered back along the line in style with the Grand March. We express our sincerest thanks to Beta Rho Sigma Chapter The Sigma Museum is always a conclave favorite for brothers. Here, and the Charlotte community for their hospitalbrothers Mark Pacich and Todd LeBon display memorabilia from ity. All roads lead to New Orleans in 2009!!! Sigma’s illustrious past.

50 | THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007


THE CRESCENT MAGAZINE • SPRING / SUMMER 2007 | 51


Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. International Headquarters 145 Kennedy Street, NW Washington, DC 20011-5294

The Crescent Magazine - Spring 2007  

The official publication of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. The theme for this issue is politics and government.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you