NewsOne Now Audio Podcast: 16 Black Female Cadets In Photo With Raised Fists Spark West Point Inquiry, Was POTUS Howard Commencement Speech His Blackest Address Yet? | Roland Martin Reports

NewsOne Now Audio Podcast: 16 Black Female Cadets In Photo With Raised Fists Spark West Point Inquiry, Was POTUS Howard Commencement Speech His Blackest Address Yet?

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The United States Military Academy at West Point has launched an investigation because of a photo depicting sixteen Black female cadets raising their fists while posed in uniform for what is a traditional “Old Corps photo” at the West Point. 

The inquiry is to determine if these young women broke the rules and some say breaching a Defense Department policy that says,“members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity.”

After the picture was posted on The Army Times website, several people questioned if the picture was in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, or a salute to the 1968 Olympic medal sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

Others say that the young cadets were merely celebrating for their upcoming graduation on May 21st.

West Point graduate Mary Tobin joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the controversial photo and its misinterpreted meaning.

Calhoun County School Board Rescinds Previous Decision To Allow Co-Salutatorians Angering Mother And Daughter

A Mississippi teen and her mother are furious with the school board’s decision to overturn a decision to have co-salutatorians this year.

Tyra Tucker, a senior at Calhoun City High School in Northern Mississippi was fractions of a point away from being salutatorian and had the second highest GPA in her class. However, Taylor Collums, who is graduating a year early, has a higher GPA.

Earlier in the year, the County School Board voted 3-2 to have co-salutatorians for THE School’s upcoming graduating class. Now the Calhoun County School board has rescinded their decision FRIDAY, to allow co-salutatorians and has reverted back to their existing policy.

Superintendent of Education Mike Moore wrote a letter to Takeisha that stated:

“The Mississippi Department of Education said the decision made by the board for the honor to be shared would be a breach of policy. Therefore the Board rescinded their breach of policy and reinstated the original policy.”

Tyra Tucker and her Mother, Takeshia Tucker joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Mow to discuss theCalhoun County School board decision.

“Grim Sleeper” Trial Highlights How Police Ignore Black Female Victims

Los Angeles jury will decide if the notorious serial killer known as the “Grim Sleeper” will be put to death for murdering 10 young Black women.

Prosecutors successfully proved Lonnie David Franklin Jr. shot or strangled his victims between the years 1985 and 2007; his youngest victim was only 15 years old at the time of her death. The penalty phase of Franklin’s trial begins this Thursday.

Police called Franklin the “Grim Sleeper” because of an apparent 14-year gap between killings after one woman survived his attack in 1988. People in the community criticized police for not closely investigating the killings because of the women’s race.

On Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and his panel of guests discussed the “Grim Sleeper” case and law enforcement’s reaction to missing cases involving Black women.

Zulu Nation Strips Afrika Bambaataa Of Leadership Title

Hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa is no longer the leader of the Zulu Nation, the international hip-hop awareness group he formed.

The group agreed to strip him of his title after he was accused of sexually abusing hundreds of young boys in the eighties while at the helm of the organization.

The Zulu Nation released a statement, a portion of which states:

“The Universal Zulu Nation wishes to announce that it is currently under new leadership by the International and Regional U.S. Zulu Leaders–As an organization we are in a very difficult position because we are being asked to condemn one of our founders based on testimony through social media alone.

“We cannot do this. We also cannot dismiss the comments of parties asserting they have been harmed. We have a duty to search for truth.

“We also need to be mindful that if these allegations are true that victims discussing this in a public forum has not come easily. We the Universal Zulu Nation wish to extend great sympathy to anyone affected by such issues.” 

Bambaataa has not commented on the Nation’s statement. However, he continues to maintain his innocence regarding the accusations against him.

Was Obama’s Howard Commencement Address His Blackest Ever?

President Barack Obama kicked off his last round of commencement speeches as a sitting president at Howard University in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. 

During what some would call an unapologetically Black address, Mr. Obama told graduates:

… be confident in your heritage.  Be confident in your blackness. One of the great changes that’s occurred in our country since I was your age is the realization there’s no one way to be black. Take it from somebody who’s seen both sides of debate about whether I’m black enough. In the past couple months, I’ve had lunch with the Queen of England and hosted Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office.” 

Pres. Obama told the graduating class of 2016 the country is in a better place than when he graduated from Columbia University in 1983 and highlighted some of the changes he equated to progress for African-Americans.

During the 45-minute speech, Mr. Obama also touched on race inequality, voting rights, and encouraged graduates to keep pushing the country forward.

Home Depot Retool Your School Winners

Nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities are planning to spruce up their campuses thanks to the Retool Your School Grant Program.

Roland Martin was there at the big event Friday, as Home Depot handed out grants totaling $300,00. The winners were selected based on a combination of online and social media votes. Plus, a panel of judges reviewed proposals submitted by schools.

Here’s a look at the winners:

$20,000 went to Virginia State University, Oakwood University and Lemoyne Owen College.

Florida A&M University, Tuskegee University and Wiley College all earned $30,000.

The $50,000 winners are:
Howard University, South Carolina State University and Lane College.

All that and more in this edition of the NewsOne Now Audio Podcast.

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