Monthly Archives: February 2016

Black History Month Series 2/22

Amos Brown DL

My Community….

Governor Pence Names the Late Amos Brown Recipient of Indiana’s Highest Honor: 2015 Sachem Award

Brown Joins John Wooden, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, and other notable Hoosier Sachem Honorees

Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today posthumously named Amos C. Brown III the 2015 recipient of the Sachem Award, Indiana’s highest honor. This announcement comes following Mr. Brown’s untimely death at his family home in Chicago last Friday. Governor Pence is also directing flags at state facilities in Marion County to be flown at half-staff in honor of radio broadcaster Amos Brown on the day of his funeral, Saturday, November 14, 2015. He also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff to honor the life and legacy of Amos Brown.

The Sachem, whose name comes from the Algonquin term given to leaders who exhibit wisdom, judgment and grace and whose character underscores the importance of moral example, is given annually by the Governor to Hoosiers whose life and character exemplify these qualities. Previous recipients include college basketball coaching legend John Wooden; the Reverend Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame and world statesman; philanthropist Jane Blaffer Owen; and gospel music singing and songwriting pioneers Bill and Gloria Gaither. This is the 10th year in a row this award has been presented to notable Hoosiers. The Governor plans to present the posthumous award to the family of Amos Brown in the coming months. With this recognition, Amos Brown’s name will be enshrined in the Rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse.

“The Sachem is Indiana’s highest honor and is reserved to honor one Hoosier every year whose life and example enriched our state with wisdom, judgment and grace,” said Governor Pence. “Amos Brown was such a man and he will be dearly missed. For more than 40 years, Amos Brown used his extraordinary talents as a broadcaster and thought leader to serve as a passionate advocate for Hoosiers. The life and legacy of Amos Brown will leave an indelible impact on Indianapolis and our state. Amos used his voice as a platform to address some of the most challenging issues facing underprivileged and underserved Hoosiers. From education inequality, racial and socioeconomic issues, Amos Brown strived each and every day to improve lives. For all these reasons, I can think of no one more deserving to receive the state’s highest honor than Amos C. Brown III.”

Amos Brown was born in Chicago and earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. He also received an honorary doctorate from Martin University in Indianapolis in 2006. Mr. Brown has been awarded several recognitions for his work on the radio and in his community, including induction to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2007, a Sagamore of the Wabash, four CASPER Awards from the United Way/Community Service Council, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Crystal Award for Community Service, and a four-time nominee and two-time winner of the Indiana Broadcasters Association Spectrum Award. He was also a two-time finalist of the NAB Marconi Award and has received the Heritage Place Lifetime Achievement Award, Indiana Civil Rights Commission Drum Major Award, Indiana Black Expo’s President’s Award, Indianapolis NAACP Humanitarian Award, the Mass Media Award and Director’s Award from the Center for Leadership Development, two Communications Awards from the Indianapolis Education Association and the Outstanding Leadership and Service Award from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Amos Brown began his radio career in 1976 as an advertising sales representative, and quickly rose through the ranks to station manager in 1981. He was the longest-serving African-American media manager in the Indianapolis market after serving 40 years in Indianapolis broadcasting. He also was the on-air host for Morning with the Mayor for 15 years, from 1977 to 1993. He launched his first daily radio talk show called “The Noon Show” in 1992 and in 1994, he transitioned to Hoosier Radio and TV, hosting “Six Thirty PM” and later “The Amos Brown Show.” In 2004, Mr. Brown became the host of the well-known “Afternoons with Amos” show on WTLC, in addition to his role as Director of Strategic Research.

Over the last 40 years, Mr. Brown has been an advocate for the Indianapolis community. He has worked with organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, Riley Hospital for Children, Mozel Sanders Foundation’s Thanksgiving Dinner, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana Education Roundtable, and Circle City Classic.



Community Corner

Welcome to the Washington Weekly Newsletter

From the Director | On the Hill | Affiliate Highlight | Bureau Updates | Relevant Articles and Updates
Supreme Decisions for the Electorate and Elected Officials

Obama to Support Responsible Homeowners in Saving their Homes
Don Cravins, Executive Director of the National Urban League Washington Bureau lists the top five things you need to know this week and highlights the release of the National Urban League’s 2016 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire.


The Next Supreme Court Justice

On the Hill
While the nation mourns the loss of the country’s first Italian-American justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, Capitol Hill has responded immediately over the importance of confirming a nominee for this crucial vacancy in the highest court in the land.

Read more »

Bureau Updates & Affiliates Welcome!

Washington Updates
Join the National Urban League’s Every Student Succeeds Act Webinar Thursday, February 18!
President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)—the nation’s most important civil rights legislation governing K-12 education—into law last December. This law replaces its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and creates a bigger role for states and localities to define student success.
Join us Friday February 19 at 2:00PM EST for the “Housing Policy and Politics” webinar, a forum for conversation, learning, and strategic thinking about the work of the National Urban League.

Relevant Articles and Updates

Did You Know? Black History by Congressman William Lacy Clay, Sr.
A special featured article from former Congressman William Lacy Clay, Sr. who shared with us an important “Did You Know” Black History moment about the co-founder of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Read more »
SAVE-the-DATE!! It’s Tax Season and There is Important Information You Should Know!

The Get It Back Campaign, a project of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, is a national effort to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and free tax filing assistance. For more than 25 years the campaign has provided training and resources to help organizations conduct local tax credit outreach activities. Learn more about the Campaign and its popular outreach tools here.
The Center, CFED, and Tax Credits for Working Families invite you to join an #EITCAware Twitter Chat on February 23, 2:00 – 3:00 PM EST. As a follow-up to EITC Awareness Day, this chat will discuss tools and tactics for raising awareness of the credit and share EITC outreach materials. Get the list of the questions in advance so you can be ready to participate.

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National Urban League – Empowering Communities | Changing Lives Join the Community! Join the Conversation! I AM EMPOWERED

Should POTUS Appoint A Black Woman To Supreme Court To Protect His Legacy?

Should POTUS Appoint A Black Woman To Supreme Court To Protect His Legacy?

Source: Should POTUS Appoint A Black Woman To Supreme Court To Protect His Legacy?

Little Known Black History Fact: Charles Bolden, Jr.

Charles Bolden, Jr. is NASA’s first African-American administrator.

Source: Little Known Black History Fact: Charles Bolden, Jr.

Community Corner…OpportunINDY

News Release
February 15, 2016
Media contact:
Dian Foreman
Communications Manager

City-wide Initiative for Young Black Males
Rebrands with New Name and Launches New Website 
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Black Expo, Inc. announced today that it is changing the name of a collective impact initiative created to eliminate barriers for young Black men.  The rebranding effort is designed to combat marketing challenges and to avoid confusion among the community.  Its previous name – Your Life Matters® — is now OpportunINDY.  “Our use of the popular empowerment slogan “Your Life Matters” over the last year has come with challenges.  The name often is confused with the national Black Lives Matter movement.  Many local groups and organizations also label their events with the name leaving many to believe that those efforts are ours,” said Tanya Bell, IBE President & CEO.   “The name is trademarked by Radio One who graciously gave us permission to use it during our data research and plan of action phase of the project.  Now that we have transitioned into the implementation phase, we felt this was perfect timing to rebrand the initiative,” added Bell.
“The new name – OpportunINDY -reflects the belief that together we all can ensure that Indianapolis is a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, particularly young Black men,” said Dr. Michael Twyman, Executive Director of OpportunINDY.  “We have made many strides since the inception of this initiative.  The infrastructure has been put in place with two new hires, the launch of a placed-based initiative and a new website at, added Twyman.
“As a city, we must continue to identify new opportunities to invest in the future of our young people,” said Indianapolis Deputy Mayor of Neighborhood Engagement Dr. David Hampton. “Initiatives like OpportunINDY rely on strong partnerships and deep community investment to help address the challenges Indianapolis children face, added Hampton.”
About OpportunINDY
OpportunINDY is a city-wide initiative that focuses on eliminating barriers for Black young men between the ages of 14 – 24.  OpportunINDY uses a Collective Impact approach by engaging a variety of community stakeholders who work together to improve the life outcomes of young Black men in Indianapolis.  Expanding opportunities in education, employment, and health for the target population will lead to them having more choices and better life outcomes. Increasing the number of Black men graduating from high school, taking greater advantage of post-secondary offerings, and attaining jobs and careers with livable wages will add to making Indy a world-class city.
For more information about the initiative, visit

Stephan James Stars As Jesse Owens In ‘Race’ [WATCH]

Stephan James Stars As Jesse Owens In ‘Race’ [WATCH]

Source: Stephan James Stars As Jesse Owens In ‘Race’ [WATCH]

Black History Series 2/15

Modern-Day Influencers Recreate Legendary Images of Black History Icons

Female leaders in media, fashion and social media pay homage to greats


Image: Style Influencers Group

In honor of Black History Month, the Style Influencers Group L.L.C., a fearless group of multicultural digital influencers came together to recreate legendary photos of black history icons. The project entitled, the #WeAreBlackHistory editorial campaign, aims to celebrate positive and uplifting voices in the digital community while paying respect to Black History.

“The #WeAreBlackHistory movement was created to honor our history and foster a sense of unity among powerful black women voices in the digital space,” says co-founder Lexi Felder via Style Influencers’ Website. “Each influencer has a personal connection to the legend they’re paying tribute to. They were selected because they’re making a tangible impact and shaping our history with their words, actions, and images,” says co-founder Christina Brown. “In no way are we claiming to be the next iteration of these icons. We’re simply paying homage to them for the way they’ve inspired us in our careers and beyond,” says co-founder Jessica C. Andrews.

For More On This Story:

Black History Month Series 2/11

PBS Black Culture Connection
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Black History Month Series 2/8

28 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month

Learn more about the exceptional contributions made by African Americans with these ideas for each day of Black History Month.



1. Share with students “I, Too, Sing America” by poet Langston Hughes and have a discussion about the poem’s vocabulary, rhythm, and meaning.

2. Bake sweet potato biscuits, a traditional soul food treat, with this delicious recipe.

3. Listen to the blues and then invite students to compose their own 12-bar blues music

4. Conduct a read-aloud of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, then invite students to write their own speeches about what they are inspired to change in the world.

5. Play the African counting game Mancala. To make the game board, use a large egg carton (cut off the lid) and tape an extra cup (cut from another carton) to each end.

6. View an interactive timeline chronicling “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow” and other historical events, such as the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

7. See James Karales’s photographs of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches.

8. Examine these oral histories from elderly African Americans in Elbert County, Georgia, and Abbeville County., South Carolina on the National Park Service website.

9. For older students, share excerpts from Push, a novel by Sapphire, and clips from the film Precious. Host a discussion about the culture Precious grows up in, and how she overcomes adversity with education.

10. Share excerpts of contemporary novelist Zadie Smith’s On Beauty with students and, using the reading guide, have a discussion about her portrayal of white and black middle-class kids in America.

11. Teach about the importance of journalism as well as its limitations by exploring a variety of clippings from the freedom rides of 1961 to the reporting on Malcolm X’s assassination.

12. Watch student-made digital stories on important African Americans. Divide students into groups to make their own digital stories about a person of their choice.

13. Teach students the songs of the civil rights movement, such as “This Little Light of Mine” and “Oh, Freedom.” Discuss how the lyrics reflect the defiant and hopeful spirit of the time.

14. Trace the history of the blues from its beginnings in the fields of the South to its global impact on today’s music. Visit the Kennedy Center to learn about B. B. King and other musicians.

15. Teach students about director, producer, writer, and actor Spike Lee, a successful and prolific African American filmmaker.

16. Take students through artists’ interpretations of freedom and equality with works by Norman Rockwell, Martin Puryear, and many others, in this gallery from the National Endowment for the Humanities. (Enter the gallery, chose “Themes” on the upper right, and then choose “Freedom and Equality.”)

17. View artist Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, which depicts the migration of slaves from the South to the North in search of a better life.

18. Read “A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth” by poet Maya Angelou. Then, watch a video about her inspiration for this profound piece on youth and education.

19. Learn about the history of hip-hop music, a genre that emerged in the Bronx, New York City, in 1970. Ask students to bring in examples of their favorite songs or dances to discuss.

20. Teach students about Nelson Mandela, his imprisonment, and the battle to end apartheid in South Africa.

21. Show students Paul Robeson’s home, the Lincoln Memorial, and other historic places of the civil rights movement with this interactive road trip.

22. In Africa, sesame seeds bring good luck. Make a delicious batch of sesame cookies with this recipe.

23. Explore CNN’s Black in America 2, which continues CNN’s investigation of the most challenging issues facing African-Americans. Soledad O’Brien reports on people who are using ground-breaking solutions to transform the black experience.

24. Watch Christopher Paul Curtis, a winner of the Newbery Medal, give advice to young authors.

25. Learn about the scientific work of African Americans with these Black History Month resources from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

26. Read excerpts from President Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope (or his Audacity of Hope speech) and discuss the importance of the election of our country’s first black president.

27. Who was the first African American tennis player to win the U.S. Open? Who was the first African American woman elected to U.S. Congress? Find out about many famous firsts in black history on Biography.

28. Tour an online exhibit that marked the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that changed education and helped end segregation in schools.

My Sista’s Business….

When Her Husband Stunned Her by Filing For Divorce, This Woman Did Something Amazing

Tracy Saelinger
February 4, 2016

From Woman’s Day

After 20 years of marriage, at the age of 43, Yvonne Anderson-Thomas found herself in free fall: Her husband filed for divorce and she hadn’t completed her nursing degree. To make ends meet, she started selling baked goods at food festivals near her in Boise, Idaho, drawing on her experience running a bakery. However, at the festivals, she realized customers would pass her by, with vague promises of saving room for dessert.

“I realized, shoot, the savory food people were making all the money!” she says. So Yvonne decided to sell smoked turkey legs, an old family favorite. After seeing her initial success, a generous friend loaned her several thousand dollars to buy a truck. Soon enough, Brown Shuga was up and running, and Yvonne was working three events in a day with the help of her son Daniel, a college student, some seasonal workers and friends who’d volunteer for free food.

Running a food truck isn’t cheap. Aside from licensing, fees and the truck itself, there was a lot to buy: a fridge, freezer, smoker, food warmers, prep tables, straws, lids, cups, napkins, serving boats, parchment-not to mention all the ingredients. Luckily, a local women’s shelter allowed Yvonne to park her vehicle in its lot, and she repaid the kindness by donating her tips and extra food.

To keep up with Brown Shuga’s growing demand, Yvonne soon added a second truck, and today both trucks are known for on her popular soul-food recipes. “It’s Southern cuisine in the African-American tradition, the kind of food we’d have at Grandma’s for Sunday dinner,” she says. “I want to bring people that kind of memory.”

On her proudest moment:

After initially opening up shop, “It felt like, ‘When will my customers come?” Yvonne remembers. Now, five years later, she has collected a host of awards, including one for best food truck. “Finally, when I say, ‘Brown Shuga Soul Food,’ people know the name, and it makes me feel so good,” she says.

On overcoming setbacks:

The truck’s pipes burst two winters in a row, so Yvonne now operates May through October and works as a culinary instructor to fill in the gaps. “I had some struggles, but I keep at it everyday,” she says. “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way no matter what obstacles come at you.”

On the unexpected joy of starting over:

A decade ago, Yvonne never imagined that she’d be running a food truck. Looking back, the move makes sense: As a military spouse, she had always loved cooking and baking for functions on base. She credits much of her success to the resourcefulness she gained in those years of frequent moves and long deployments, and still draws on that strength today: “I feel like I have succeeded in letting people know who I am.”

On the pursuit of perfection:

To get her cornbread just right, Yvonne tried 20 recipes. And she spent years tweaking her ribs until she hit on her magic combo of ingredients. “When I tried them,” she says, “I instantly fell in love.” It’s no wonder customers keep coming back for more.

Get the recipe for Yvonne’s famous barbecue chicken below. (Tip: Just a touch of liquid smoke makes the sauce irresistible. Look for brands with only two ingredients: water and smoke.)

Yvonnes Brown Shuga Soul Food Food Truck

Yvonnes Brown Shuga Soul Food Food Truck

Brown Shuga’s Smoked Chicken Legs


1 tbsp. garlic powder1 tbsp. paprikaKosher saltPepper6 chicken legs¼ c. apple cider vinegar¼ c. water¼ c. brown sugar2 tbsp. ketchup1 tsp. molasses1 tsp. liquid smoke1 clove garlic3 c. wood chips


  1. In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub all over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  2. Place the wood chips in the smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions and heat to 225 degrees F, then place the chicken on the racks bone-side down and cook, turning halfway through, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F, 2 to 3 hours.
  3. If you do not have a smoker: Remove the grill grates from one side of a gas grill and heat over medium-high heat. Tear 4 pieces of heavy-duty foil. Divide the chips between two pieces of foil, then sandwich with the other pieces. Fold over all of the edges to seal. Use a fork to poke holes in the top piece of foil. Place one foil package directly on the burner and let cook until the package begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Let smoke for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low (the package should still be smoking).
  4. Place the chicken on the other side of the grill opposite the foil package, bone-side down (the chicken is on the grill grates over the burners not in use). Cover the grill and cook, turning the chicken halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 2 to 3 hours (if your grill has a temperature gauge, try to maintain 225 degrees F to 235 degrees F with the burners not directly under the chicken). If the foil packet stops smoking, replace with the second one, increasing the heat to get it smoking and reducing heat after it has started.
  5. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, ketchup, molasses, liquid smoke, and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush over the cooked chicken. Or, if desired, before serving, increase grill to medium-high and grill the chicken, turning and basting with the sauce, until the skin is beginning to char, about 5 minutes.