Category: Community - Original Written by Yvette Bing
The mayor and I are looking forward to the May 18 Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure at Comerica Park. Since Detroit’s first Race for the Cure in 1992, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has been the local presenting sponsor. Over the years, the event has raised more than $23 million for the fight against breast cancer with some remarkable results. Dave and I join fellow Honorary Co- Chairs Governor Snyder and First Lady Sue Snyder (a breast cancer survivor), Senator Carl and Barbara Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman John and Debbie Dingell, Congressman John Conyers, and Congressman Gary and Colleen Peters in lending both our names and our commitment to this fight. Breast cancer touches all of us in some way.
My friend and colleague, Sue Ray, who has been with Dave and me for 26 years, is a breast cancer survivor. My late twin sister, Yvonne, had breast cancer. I know many other women who are courageously fighting now and, sadly, too many who have lost their battle. Most of us know that all women are at risk for developing breast cancer, and that men can develop it too. We’ve certainly heard that early detection really does make a difference.
Every woman should learn about her family history with this disease, and understand what’s normal for her. Talk to your doctor about the importance of regular screening, including mammograms, in order to detect cancer at its earliest, most curable stages. What may not be as widely known, however, is that breast cancer can be a greater challenge and often a deadlier disease for African American women. While White women are diagnosed with breast cancer more often, African American women die more often from the disease. One of the reasons is that for African American women, their cancers are more likely to be found later, after they’ve begun to spread. Here in metro Detroit for example, African American women are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed at stage 3 or 4, meaning the cancers have already begun to spread to other parts of the body. This also means their treatment is more difficult and more costly.
It’s always awful for someone to hear “You have breast cancer,” so much worse to learn it is not early-stage disease. There is no question that great progress is being made. Yet, even progress milestones include some level of disparities. For example, since 1975 the fiveyear relative survival rate has increased significantly for African American women, yet there remains a substantial gap between us and White women. Currently, the five-year relative survival rate is 77 percent for African Americans compared to 90-plus percent among white women. And fewer of us report that we are getting our mammograms than do other women. There is much to be optimistic about, however.
The Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) is widely available in the city of Detroit, providing free screening for women who are uninsured and under-insured. Money raised by the Komen Detroit Race funds grants that are providing an even tighter safety net, including six programs across Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties that are working to provide access to early detection and quality care. Susan G. Komen has also funded cutting-edge breast cancer research. Several of their projects at Karmanos, Wayne State University and Henry Ford are delving more deeply into the scientific mechanisms behind racial disparities of breast cancer. Every one of us can do something to make a difference. We can talk with our families and share medical histories. We can talk with our doctors to learn our own personal risk.
We can transform that knowledge into personal care plans, with earlier or more frequent screenings if we are at greater risk. We can learn more about breast cancer and its impact on our community, then share what we know. We can be vigilant about our own health — getting more active, eating sensibly and reducing stress. It can be as simple as a morning walk shared with 40,000 others who believe as I do, that one day, we will see a world without breast cancer. I’ll be at Comerica Park with the mayor on Saturday, May 18. I hope you will join us.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 17:41
Category: Community - Original Written by Amber L. Bogins
The Southfield Human Services Department is partnering with the Pi Tau Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated to provide free legal advice in celebration of Law Day on May 1st. The program, entitled “Ask the Lawyer” will involve volunteer lawyers answering legal questions in one-on-one consultations.
“With the rate of mortgage foreclosures and other financial difficulties facing Soutfield residents, providing free legal aid is a more pressing need than ever,” commented Southfield’s Human Services Director Susan Cuevas.
The “Ask the Lawyer” legal aid clinic will be held on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Southfield Pavilion. Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha will handle the on-site registration and intake to ensure that citizens are able to meet with a volunteer lawyer that can answer their specific legal question.
Founded on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC in 1908, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA) is the oldest Greek-letter organization established by African American college-educated women. Pi Tau Omega Chapter in Southfield, chartered in 1987, has over 175 members.
The City of Southfield’s Human Services Department provides a comprehensive range of programs and services designed to meet the specialized needs of Southfield residents, including emergency relief programs and other legal aid programs that provide free legal consultations.
Pre-registration is appreciated (but not required) at
. For more information, contact Southfield Human Services at (248) 796-4540
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:43
Category: Community Written by Steve Holsey
At the recent White House Correspondents Dinner, President Barack Obama, a staunch music lover, surprised everyone in attendance by making reference to the much-publicized controversy surrounding the recent trip to Cuba made by rap superstar Jay-Z and his megastar wife, Beyoncé. With his usual wit, the president quipped, "This whole controversy with Jay-Z (and Beyoncé) going to Cuba, it's unbelievable! I've got 99 problems and now Jay-Z (and Beyonce) are one!"
Mr. Obama's No. 1 preference is not hip-hop — he leans more towards Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind & Fire — but he keeps an open mind and you will find many kinds of music on his iPod. For those who are completely not hip-hop inclined, "99 Problems" is one of the songs made popular by Jay-Z, described by one national publication as "the greatest rapper alive."
And speaking of descriptions, another publication somewhat jokingly labeled Obama as "history's most hip-hop commander in chief." Maybe it all started when on another occasion Mr. Obama sang a few lines from Al Green's classic hit "Let's Stay Together" (he can really sing!), or maybe it was when, as a presidential candidate, he cut a few steps with Ellen DeGeneres on her popular daytime TV show. In any event, there has never been a president like this one — for more reasons than one.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:36
Category: Community Written by Huffington Post
The five original members of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will descend on Detroit this summer, performing together for their 20 year anniversary reunion. But it won't be at a standard arena: the group will be performing '90s hits like "Ghetto Cowboy" at Oakaloosa, a brand-new, all-day music festival that happens to be held at an 1840s-era army fort on the Detroit River. Click Here For The Full Story.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 April 2013 16:20
Category: Community - Original Written by Donald James
They were exciting. They were proud. They were incredibly good. They were the Detroit Stars, the legendary Black baseball team that captivated the hearts and souls of Negro National League baseball fans in Detroit and beyond from 1919 to 1933. While White major league players, such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were deemed the superstars of baseball in their playing days, there were numerous Black players of the era who were just as good — if not better — but never got the recognition or opportunity to showcase their talents to the world, simply because their skin was black. Yet, in Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Pittsburg, St. Louis and many other American cities, both large and small, Negro ballplayers treated fans to an electrifying brand of baseball, rarely seen.
To truly appreciate the Detroit Stars and the Negro Leagues, one must go back in history to 1860, the year that many baseball historians believe the first baseball game between two Black teams was played. The game: the Weeksville of New York versus the Colored Union Club. The Weeksville won 11-0. This historic game occurred about 14 years after historians believe the first ever baseball game was played.
Approximately five years after the Weeksville-Colored Union Club game, Black baseball teams such as the Monitor Club of Jamaica (New York), the Blue Sky Club of Camden (New Jersey), the Bachelors of Albany (New York), the Unique Club of Chicago and many others began to form. While Blacks frequently played other Black teams, there are accounts that white teams played Black teams, drawing interracial crowds of thousands without incidents of racial hatred.
However, as time progressed and the game became more organized, business oriented, financially rewarding…and racist, a so-called “gentleman’s agreement” was struck between White owners that would keep Black players from signing to play in major and minor league baseball systems. This unwritten agreement held up from around 1880 until 1947, although there were some rare instances where Blacks were able to usurp the system, especially when it benefited White owners financially.
For the most part, this policy and practice of exclusion didn’t keep Black players from playing the game that they were becoming very good at perfecting. Some Black entrepreneurs started all-Black pro teams and all-Black pro leagues. In 1885, it is believed that the first Black pro baseball team called the Cuban Giants formed. While called Cuban, the team, according to baseball aficionados, actually had Black players who were former waiters and porters in New York.
In 1887, the National Colored Base Ball League was created with a “very unique” window of time that allowed the Colored League to serve as a minor league system and actually play against some white National League teams. It wasn’t long before the window closed shut, after racist attitudes magnified, coupled with Black players showing superior baseball skills when playing against White players.
For the most part, Black teams and leagues created during this period of time didn’t stay around for long, often because of the financial burdens associated with the business side of the game which included team payrolls, rental of playing venues, uniforms and equipment, travel and lodging, and much more. Yet, Negro teams and leagues continued to rise and fall.
Deciding that he could make Negro League Baseball work effectively, Andrew “Rube” Foster had a vision. In the early part of 1920, he created a Constitution that officially formed the Negro National League (NNL) which consisted of eight teams: The Detroit Stars, Chicago American Giants, Dayton Marcos, Kansas City Monarchs, Indianapolis ABCs, Chicago Giants, Cuban Stars, and the St. Louis Giants. Foster served as the league’s president and treasurer.
Foster was a former pitcher who played many years for several Negro teams, such as the Fort Worth Yellow Jackets, Philadelphia Cuban Giants, Leland Giants in Chicago, and the Chicago American Giants. As his career waned, he became more business minded. He owned Chicago’s first professional Black baseball team called the Chicago American Giants. His extensive playing experience and relationships with Negro players allowed him to convince many of them to play for certain NNL teams, inclusive of the Detroit Stars.
Including the Stars in his new league was a no-brainer. After all, Detroit was a destination city with a growing Black population fueled by the robust automobile industry, thanks to Henry Ford and his Ford Motor Company. Foster appointed John T. “Tenny” Blount to promote the Detroit Stars. Some close to the team’s history said that Blount was the team’s business manager and possibly had some level of ownership. Nevertheless, Foster and Blount’s business relationship was often rocky.
Rocky or not, The Detroit Stars, which formed in 1919, was the city’s first Black professional sports franchise and was more than ready to join the newly formed NNL in 1920. The team’s home field was Mack Park, located on Detroit’s eastside.
Built in 1914, the stadium was said to hold between 5,500 and 6,000 people, comfortably. However, with creative arrangements, the stadium could pack in a few thousands more. Mack Park would serve as the Stars’ home field until a July, 1929 fire destroyed a large section of the stadium. The team moved to Dequindre Park, located at Dequindre and Modern on Detroit’s eastside. The team would later play at Hamtramck Stadium, a newly built facility in Hamtramck, Michigan that could accommodate both baseball and football games.
Taking the field for the Detroit Stars’ inaugural game were players like Bill Holland, Edgar Wesley, Bruce Petway, Chick Harper, Bill Gatewood, Joe Hewitt, Pete Hill, Jimmie Lyons Andy Cooper, Mule Riggins, Frank Warfield, Pete Hill, and Webster McDonald. The team’s record in its first season was 35 wins, 22 loses, which was good for second place behind the Chicago American Giants. In the ensuing years, the team was always competitive; however, they never finished first in the NNL standings.
While there were many players that donned the Detroit Stars’ uniform from 1919 to 1933, the team’s most famous and greatest star was Norman “Turkey” Stearnes. He joined the Stars in 1923 and was called “Turkey” because he flapped his arms as he ran the bases. From 1923 to 1931, Stearnes was a superstar. He was a fleet-footed and sure-handed centerfielder who was an incredible power hitter.
“He had a funny stance, but could get around on you,” the legendary pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige once told a reporter. “He could hit the ball over the right field fence, the left field fence and the center field fence. If you didn’t pitch him in just the right spot, he would just hit the ball out the park just about every time. He was as good as anybody that ever played baseball.”
Stearnes’ nine seasons with the Stars is the longest tenure of any player in the franchise’s history. When he left the game, he held just about every team hitting record possible.
In 1931, the NNL folded, with the Detroit Stars meeting the same fate. However, a team called the Detroit Wolves, featuring Cool Papa Bell, played in 1932 in the newly formed, short-lived East-West League. In 1933, another edition of the Detroit Stars appeared when the NNL made a comeback; the league and the stars disappeared after a partial season of play. Another comeback of the Detroit Stars was in 1937 as a charter member of the Negro American League (NAL), a membership that lasted one season, although NAL struggled for a few more seasons. As Jackie Robinson was making his quantum leap over the color barrier to Major League Baseball in 1947, and with other African-Americans close behind, a drop-off in the Negro Leagues was evident.
There are scattered accounts that in the late 1950s, the Stars — under another name — tried to shine again. Owner Ted Rasberry, who also owned the Kansas City Monarch, wanted to field a more entertaining team based on the antics of Reece “Goose” Tatum, a famous member of the Harlem Globetrotters, who also played in the Negro Leagues. Rasberry’s new team left the field and baseball for good in the early 1960s.
While it has been over five decades since the Detroit Stars played baseball, this storied franchise will live forever in the folklore of Negro Leagues Baseball. Even though many of the major players never got a chance to play Major League Baseball, there is no doubt that they were some of the greatest baseball players that ever lived, pitched and hit on the playing grounds in such Negro League cities as Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Dayton and an array of others.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 April 2013 14:46
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