February EBONY: Barack and Michelle Obama

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The propaganda campaign to lock down the black community for Obama has begun, as this February cover for EBONY magazine reveals.  For the uninitiated, EBONY magazine is a staple publication in more black households than any other magazine in America, and has a circulation of 1.6 million.  Its companion weekly counterpart, JET magazine, has a weekly circulation of nearly one million. Published by the Johnson publishing company for 60 years, these twin publications have been educating and informing the community about the seminal events in black culture and serve as unrivaled proof that one has arrived. 

These publications have been in my mother’s and grandmother’s homes for decades. I don’t remember a time when we didn’t receive these.  Most of us, with a streak of nostalgia, have a favorite issue featuring a favorite celebrity. The issues featuring the deaths of Mrs. King, Mrs. Parks, Luther Vandross, and James Brown, are particular favorites of mine.  I intend to keep these for a long time.

While there are nearly 40 million African Americans in this country, few go through the checkout counter without sneakin’ a peak at the EBONY or JET.  Don’t let those circulation numbers fool you, black folks religiously read both, without fail. The battle for the hearts and minds of black folks has begun in earnest and will probably culminate in the bulk of black support going to one candidate.  It remains to be seen which candidate shall be choosen, but rest assured, it will be somebody with Chicago area roots.

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Chicago Mayor’s Race: Dorothy Brown and James Meeks feud

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Photograph of  Senator  James                T. Meeks            (I)

Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown ,ran into another stumbling block in her quest to reclaim the mayor’s office for the people of Chicago: State Senator James Meeks.   Meeks, an Illinois State Senator and Pastor of the 22,000 member Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, has refused to endorse Mrs. Brown , despite the swirling corruption scandals engulfing the incumbent Mayor, Richard M. Daley.   Meeks, elected to his last term as an independent, nearly ran for Governor as an independent to exact political concessions favorable to his pet projects from Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.

In refusing to endorse Brown, he sells out the black community and those interested in honest government in Chicago.  He also, without saying so, is helping Daley win re-election by keeping his powder dry. 

Daley has been shrewd in attempting to lengthen the white ethnic hold on City Hall by eliminating partisan primaries for city offices, the effect of which allows Republicans the power to swing city elections.  Daley couldn’t win a Democratic primary in today’s Chicago, and the only reason why he is mayor today is because of a split in the black vote between two black candidates vying to succeed the late, great Mayor Harold Washington after his death.  

The path for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr to challenge Daley solo, seemed clear until Mrs. Brown jumped in precipitously, hours before Jesse’s announcement was made.  Democrats subseqently won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, and he decided to stay put to exercise his newfound power.  In the tiff with Meeks, Mrs. Brown is getting back some of her own medicine, but the undercurrent of sexism is clear.

Daley has been skillful in obtaining important endorsements from prominent black politicians like Bobby Rush, appointing prominent black Uncle Tom’s and Aunt Jemima’s to his administration, and preemptively endorsing Barack Obama for President to keep Obama from meddling in the Mayor’s race.  His game plan is transparent and self-serving and not in the best interests of the people of Chicago. 

It remains to be seen whether or not Mrs. Brown has the chops to pull this off, but I would argue that black folks will never know unless they give her a chance.