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Posts Tagged ‘2015

Tom Brady, race, Russia and politics: Why the new media, cum social media #fails at covering stories objectively.

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Statue of Liberty smallFiftieth Reunion Report

I saw my second family and growing-up boy in Ukraine in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and shall be back for my 23rd visit in January, 2016.

In the 45th report I boasted of publishing Politicus #1,074, which would date the drafting to March, 2011. I have just published #1,341. Many were written primarily for The Duxbury Clipper, where I went to work in November, 2011. My current salary is 40% of what I was making at The Providence Journal 12 years ago.

I am grateful. While it is painful to no longer have a steady forum for my views of the wide world, writing for a town of 16,000 has been good for my journalism. In a small town one can’t forget one is writing about fellow human beings. Disagreement today mustn’t become personal lest it prevent working together tomorrow. Had I better understood this when I was slam-banging governors and statesmen I’d have been a better journalist and person.

I joke that I am like FBI agent Herbert J. Philbrick in the 1950’s t.v. thriller, “I Led Three Lives.” There is my renewed life in Duxbury, which began as a summer place before I was born. There are my loves in, and love for, Ukraine. There is my life in Jamaica Plain — the varyingly minority, varyingly poor and rich Boston neighborhood where I have lived cheek by jowl with the manipulated and forgotten for 42 years.

In the 45th Report I noted that in 1986 I exposed the fact that the late Boston City Councillor Albert O’Neill was a member — a lifelong supporter it turned out — of a Missouri-based white-supremacist group. My report was picked up by responsible media and played a possibly decisive role in O’Neill’s not being elected sheriff of Suffolk County, which includes Boston.

But that was a generation ago. On January 15, 2013, I published a detailed story about bus stops at two Boston hospitals 6,600 feet apart. If I may quote: “…[T]he stop at Faulkner Hospital has good lighting, a sturdy shelter, a manual stoplight and a handicapped way crossing Centre Street to the inbound shelter.

“…[T]he stop at Lemuel Shattuck [state] Hospital, which serves the relied-upon buses to Ashmont and Mattapan, has poor lighting and no curb cut. …[T]he only indication it is a bus stop at all is worn grass in summer and icy footprints in winter from dangerous efforts by the Shattuck’s workers and patients to navigate the granite curbs of the center strip in the middle of the highway.”

These findings were sent to (among others) the responsible state officials, the elected officials representing the two stops, and every member of The Boston Globe’s editorial board. When no one bit I published an update with color pictures on August 28, 2013. The initial release on Martin Luther King’s birthday was coincidental; the update, sent on the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington, was so intended.

More than two years later the Shattuck’s stop remains an impending fatal accident ignored. The home of the owner of both The Boston Globe and the Boston Red Sox is 11,088 feet away. This will not do.

The coverage Tom Brady’s allegedly deflated footballs was proof enough to me that, from race to Russia to politics, the new media, cum social media, are not capable of covering any story objectively and without self-promotion.

The Globe’s editorial pages were once more important to the exchange of ideas in Greater Boston than any of our great universities. These pages were recently decimated, their best writers sent packing. There is little to replace them. This will not do.

I occasionally bump into Fred Glimp, who signed our admission to Harvard in 1962. I tell him that I was his only mistake in 45 years at Harvard. But in addition to friends who came to Harvard with me from Noble & Greenough, three I met made Harvard worthwhile: Deszo Nicholas de Thold, ’64; our First Marshall, Barry Lawson Williams, ’66; and the sweet Sydney Lieberman, ’66, who died on May 12, 2015.

–David A. Mittell, Jr.

Written by aboutblackboston

October 24, 2015 at 3:02 pm

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Books: David Mittell reviews Citizens Creak, by Lalita Tademy, a story about a slave and the Creek Indians.

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Citizens Creak, By Lalita Tademy (Atria Books, 418 pp.)

review written By David A. Mittell, Jr.

As a reader of history I usually eschew historical fiction by authors whose surname isn’t Shakespeare or Twain. However clever, Gore Vidal’s words put onto the lips of Thomas Jefferson (in Burr, 1972), or Hilary Mantel’s onto Thomas Cromwell’s (in Wolf Hall, 2009), are unhistorical and subject to the writer’s historical revisionism. As Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, ma’am!”

Perhaps. But author Lalita Tademy holds a mirror to my narrowness. Citizens Creek is her third historical novel. All of them are captivating. Her first book, Cane River (2001), dealt with generations of partly black, partly French antecedents of the author’s mother in Louisiana. Frenchmen, we learned, continued to migrate to francophone Louisiana throughout the 19th century – long after the Civil War and very long after the Louisiana Purchase ended French sovereignty in 1803.

Cane River made the New York Times best-seller list and was an Oprah’s Book Club Summer Selection. Red River (2006), which chronicled her father’s Tademy antecedents, was also a best-seller.

Citizens Creek is the story of an unrelated but real family. It begins with “Cow Tom,” a black slave born in 1810 and sold to the Creek Indians at age nine. Tom learns the Creek language and subsequently ingratiates himself with the U.S. Army by serving as a translator during one of the Seminole wars in Florida. (The three Seminole wars cost the United States more money and soldiers’ lives than any other Indian war.)

Tom searches forlornly for the mother who had abandoned him. He is witness to war and evil – sometimes participating in both. He is part of the forced removal of the Creek and their slaves to Oklahoma in 1837 and 1838. Eventually he rises to be a Creek chief. This is historical fact.

It is in the artistry of the dialogue she creates that Ms. Tademy is wise. She understands that cultural customs bleed across social and racial lines. Cow Tom is rigidly patrilineal: He has daughters but craves a male heir. He loves his firstborn granddaughter, Rose, but will not recognize this female child as his true inheritor.

The second part of Citizens Creek the story of Rose. Her twin brother has not survived childbirth. Because of that she, too, is rejected by her mother, though not abandoned. Poverty continually threatens her own children’s survival. She holds the family together with courage and compromises. Her endurance, like her grandfather’s, is beyond imagining.

Rose becomes an activist for the rights of Indians, red and black. (In the 1970s, the red of some tribes tried to disfranchise the black; this intensified with the coming of Indian casinos.) As she gets older Rose understands that her resentments have hardened her, and this has divided her family. As aging people need to, she tries to let go of her demons.

Lalita Tademy’s books are readable and thoroughly researched. The reader never confuses one character with another; and the author knows too much of this world to divide it into “good guys and bad guys.”

I remain struck by a character in Cane River. Joseph Billes Jr. was the son of a French immigrant and a black Louisiana woman his father loved but never married. Joseph Jr. died in France in World War I as member of the U.S. Army – fighting for parental homelands neither of which did much for him during his life. That is not fiction. It might be the author’s fourth novel.

More to the point, Lalita Tademy’s fictive dialogue involving real people whose lives she deeply understands fills an empty space in American literature. In the 1970s — after the civil rights laws of 1964 and 1965 had proven effective — author William Manchester wrote: “The voice of the American Negro was still unheard. The word Southerner meant white Southerner.”

Ms. Tademy’s novels are a vital refutation of that. The Last of The Mohicans (1826) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) shall not comprise the “book” on nonwhite American lives in the 21st century.


Written by aboutblackboston

October 24, 2015 at 2:40 pm

How to do Motown if are looking for a record label to sign you up in Hip Hop/Urban Music.

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If you missed the conversation with the Motown Records president and Mr. John Kellogg, Assistant Chair of the Berklee College of Music Business Management Department, then here it is.

click to read the PDF offline, its part one.

How to Do Motown Records


Written by aboutblackboston

October 7, 2015 at 1:20 pm

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Black urban Boston flicks the backyard fish fry. Suburban Blacks do yard sales.

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Fresh sign


fresh fish 

Fitts Flowers Presents:
Save your summer!


Porgies, Haddock, Talapia, Whiting, Shrimp Rice & Veggies BBQ Chicken ($5 Fish Sandwich), Mac &Cheese, Collards, Rice&Beans, Salad, Old School Music. 35+GROWN but SEXY CROWD.
12 Catawba Street Roxbury USA!
3pm this Saturday 8th.

Bring your Business Cards and Flyers. Tell your friends. RSVP: NOW! You never know who you will meet.
$8 DONATION on the Fish Plates

Networking Event 3pm

Written by aboutblackboston

August 8, 2015 at 11:08 am

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DSNI Multicultural Festival -Saturday, August 8, 2015 12:00pm – 6:00pm at KROC Center on Dudley Street

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The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative Multicultural Festival 2015 offers fFee Admission, Free Entertainment, cultural food, vendors and activities for the whole family.

DSNI Festival 2015


Its being held August 8th at the KROC Center on Dudley Street rom 12:00 noon to 6PM.


Written by aboutblackboston

August 8, 2015 at 9:42 am

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Duxbury columnist and Black Facebook is saying: the civilized reaction of the victims of the atrocity in Charleston is almost beyond imagining.

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All Lives Matter


After the urban riots of 1967 we were trained in riot control. It in was a National Guard unit based in Middleborough that would be called to active duty in March 1968. (Three weeks before the call-up, members living in Duxbury and points north were transferred to a unit in Hull. One of those bureaucratic things.)

The National Guard then was nowhere nearly as professional, nor as regularly put into harm’s way, as it is today. But riot control was taken seriously and the instructions were explicit: If the use of a firearm is necessary, aim below the belt to stop a man; above the belt to kill him. A gunshot wound below the waist is no favor. But it might let a man live.

Today, when lethal force is deemed necessary, the officer is instructed to aim for the center of the visible target. A seemingly small distinction that erases any difference between “stopping” and “killing.” It seems obvious that in a charged confrontation this can encourage deadlier force, and more multiple rounds being fired. The targets may be reckless kids or disturbed people representing less than a deadly threat to law enforcement.

America is not now in a good place in this regard. “Black lives matter” are not words that Martin Luther King, Jr. would have used. He would and did say that all lives matter. One understands the outrage when officers of the law show disregard for black citizens’ lives. But what amounts to a war-cry does no good. Police lives also matter. If retaliatory assassinations of police officers lead to temporarily diminished police services, “activists” will move on. It is the law-abiding black working class that will pay the price for a very long time. After 48 years, neither Detroit, nor Grove Hall in Boston, has completely recovered from its 1967 riot.

The civilized reaction of the victims of the atrocity in Charleston on June 17 is almost beyond imagining. But it is consonant with what Dr. King preached after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham on Sept. 14, 1963. Let us hope it awakens the nation to a new birth of unity.

In Duxbury in 2015, the police are well-trained in the practice of restraint. But every time any cop anywhere pulls a car over it entails a stressful encounter between two human beings. Neither can be sure how it will play out, and both know the taste of fear. We send kids to driver training, give them licenses and in many cases souped-up cars. But we do not teach them how to behave when they get pulled over — as sooner or later they will be.

So this is to kids of every age, everywhere: If those flashing lights behind you are meant for you, pull over and roll down your window. If it is nighttime turn on your interior light. The law says you must. Put your hands on top of the steering wheel where they can be seen, leave them there, and wait for instructions.

The fellow human being who has pulled you over does not know who you are or what you represent. But the officer will notice that you “know the drill,” and will appreciate it. By your cooperation you will have helped to avert a confrontation that could lead to tragedy. This is as much a verity in Duxbury as it is anywhere in the United States.

–D.A. Mittell, Jr.




Written by aboutblackboston

June 24, 2015 at 12:46 pm


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The black community is now painfully aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conspired to withhold crucial health information that establishes that Afro-American male children who received MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine before 36 months are at increased risk of developing autism. 

To read this incredible story and hear an inspiring 6 minute speech by Nation of Islam leader Tony Muhammad, click here.

written by

Jamie Murphy

Boston, MA

Author, What Every Parent Should Know about Childhood Immunization (

Written by jesse1949

June 23, 2015 at 11:08 am

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