All posts by LaRita Shelby

LaRita "Jazzy Rita" Shelby is a broadcast media & marketing professional. She serves as V.P. of Marketing and Special Programming at EURweb.com. Additionally she is an actress, singer/songwriter who has appeared on TV and in film.
LeA Robinson

Who is LeA Robinson?

LeA Robinson, new music sensation

LeA Robinson, new music sensation

*Affectionately known as the “Granddaughter of Hip-Hop,” LeAnetta Robinson, or simply LeA, is the granddaughter of musical legend Sylvia Robinson, founder of Sugar Hill Records.

The outgoing, ambitious, and eccentric singer, songwriter and dancer is also recognized by her elaborate MTV Super Sweet 16 episode. Born and raised in New Jersey, LeA’s creative ambitions are running parallel with her destiny, which is bound for success.

At the age of 16, LeA became a Teen Ambassador for the United Nations and also partnered with charity organization, Comedy Cures.   As an ambassador LeA was able to perform the National Anthem for the NETS & Bucks NBA team, World AIDS Day events, UN Year of Youth, The Waldorf Astoria for First Ladies and much more. Making appearances at such events, LeA has been able to generate and connect with her growing fans, which refer to themselves as #LeAnation.

LeA Robinson.  Granddaughter of hip hop,  next generation star.

LeA Robinson. Granddaughter of hip hop, finds her voice!

As LeA grew and matured, her music began to reflect her true emotions and life experiences. The songs that she would pen reflected more of an autobiographical tone. Her debut album 808s & Leggings, is a true reflection of her transparent process blossoming into young womanhood through R&B and hip-hop infused sounds. Collaborating with burgeoning producer Kyle “K2” Stewart II [WeTV Tamar & Vince theme “Monday & Friday” and Fantasia “Without Me”], LeA’s songs speak to #LeAnation with passion and power. With titles “What Love Will Do,” “Flowers and Candy” and the Fonda Rae infused “Higher,” there’s no escaping LeA’s infectious energy through her music and performance.

LeA is fully able to express and share her life with the world in a three-minute song. Her music is influenced by a variety of genres including country, hip-hop, classical and rock and roll with her mother and legendary grandmother playing a large role in the support of her career.

LeA believes that her star is still being molded and the best is yet to come. Planning to make her mark by staying true to God and her purpose, LeA is currently preparing for the release of her first single “Pump It Up” featuring Sonyae Elise while promoting her 808’s & Leggings Mixtape stating, “I’ve never felt more proud to release such a great collection of music to the world.” And the legacy continues.

Instagram: @TheLeARobinson www.LeARobinsonOnline.com www.Twitter.com/TheLeARobinson www.Youtube.com/iAmLeARobinson LeAnettaRobinson.tumblr.com
www.Facebook.com/iAmLeARobinson

logan westbrooks

Logan H. Westbrooks Receives Honorary Doctorate

Pictured Left to Right: Cheryl Golden, Ph.D, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Officer; Robert Lipscomb, M.B.A & Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Johnnie B. Watson, President of LeMoyne Owen, L.L.D.; Jeff Johnson, Honorary  Doctorate Recipient and Commencement Speaker 2014; Dr. Logan H. Westbrooks, Honorary Doctorate Recipient 2014.

Pictured Left to Right: Cheryl Golden, Ph.D, Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Officer; Robert Lipscomb, M.B.A & Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Johnny B. Watson, President of LeMoyne Owen, L.L.D.; Jeff Johnson, Honorary Doctorate Recipient and Commencement Speaker 2014; Dr. Logan H. Westbrooks, Honorary Doctorate Recipient 2014.

*Music industry legend Logan H. Westbooks was recently conferred an honorary degree of Doctorate of Humane Letters from LeMoyne Owen College in recognition of his leadership in improving education and the quality of life in Memphis and the nation.

Dr. Johnny Watson, President of LeMoyne Owen College stated: “Logan Westbrooks’ work as a pioneer in the music industry, entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and church leader, along with his commitment to furthering education, makes him an inspiration to our students.”

LeMoyne Owen is a private, church affiliated, Historically Black, Liberal Arts college and has served students since its founding by the American Missionary Association to provide opportunities for the newly freed slaves in 1862.

Logan H. Westbrooks and Memphis Mayor A. C. Wharton as Westbrooks receives the Key to the City of Memphis.

Logan H. Westbrooks and Memphis Mayor A. C. Wharton as Westbrooks receives the Key to the City of Memphis.

Westbrooks was also presented with the key to the city of Memphis by Mayor A. C. Wharton. He was interviewed on every TV station in Memphis and hailed as an icon of the music business.

Dr. Westbrooks was one of the first African Americans to work as a music industry executive and he is widely recognized as a pioneer who paved the way for the African American music executives of today. Dr. Wesbrooks has helped to guide and promote the careers of Mahalia Jackson, Sandra Crouch, George Beverly Shea, Elvis Presley, Nancy Wilson, The Jackson 5, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Chuck Brown and many more.

Currently Dr. Westbrooks has authored the 2nd Edition of the Anatomy of the Music Industry, which will be released in late 2014 at www.LoganWestbrooks.com. Dr. Westbrooks has authored many books and articles which include the Harvard Report, a study of the soul music environment. Additionally Dr. Westbrooks has contributed several of his personal and professional artifacts to the University of Indiana Archives of African American Music and Culture.  The Logan H. Westbrooks Collection may be accessed online at http://www.indiana.edu/~aaamc/general.html.

Dr. Westbrooks will also be among honorees such as member of The Manhattans, Denise Lasalle, Craten Armmer, Ann Peebles, G. C. Cameron and other living legends at the Jus Blues Awards on July 31st in Tunica, Mississippi.  For tickets and information go to http://www.jusblues.org/ or call (678)403-1993.

Dr. Westbrooks and his wife Geri reside in Sherman Oaks, California and Memphis, Tennessee.

 

port chicago 50

BHERC Supports The 70th Port Chicago Commemoration

 

Port Chicago 1944 survivor captures photos of sailors' grave site. Photo courtesy of BHERC.org.

Port Chicago 1944 survivor captures photos of sailors’ grave site. Photo courtesy of BHERC.org.

*For the conscious minded, they will go down in history as heroes. They are the 320 men that died on July 17, 1944 at Port Chicago Naval Magazine in the San Francisco Bay area.

The overwhelming majority of men involved in the blast were black. Those that did not die in the devastating blast lived with painful memories, imprisonment, or the reality of working under dreaded conditions at the orders of the U. S. Navy during a racist and segregated America.

50 black men took a historic stance when they refused to return to their previous duties of loading cargo with live ammunition under the same deadly conditions that caused an eruption equal to 5000 tons of dynamite. The men were willing to work, what they protested were the conditions. They were consequently tried and convicted of mutiny by an all white governing body.

The overwhelming majority of men involved in the blast were black. All of these men demonstrated courage and a willingness to serve our country during World War II, despite that they were treated as unequal to their white counterparts as enlisted men.

Grave of an unknown sailor who perished July 17, 1944.  Photo courtesy of BHERC.org

Grave of an unknown sailor who perished at Port Chicago naval station on July 17, 1944. Photo courtesy of BHERC.org

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center recognizes all of these men as Men Of Valor. The BHERC also encourages further research of the Port Chicago incident of 1944.

Like most stories that concern African Americans, it is a heart wrenching glimpse at what was blatant hate, racism, discrimination and indignation that many times resulted in physical harm or death.

Still there is great nobility to uncover, though stained by disgraceful proceedings (that were often considered legal), there are those who dared to stare adversity in the face and stand for justice at all costs.

Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center salutes the sailors of Port Chicago 1944 on the 70th Commemoration of the event, with a special salute to The Port Chicago 50, who have also been documented in a book by Steve Sheinkin.

The National Park Service pays homage to the fallen sailors by hosting visitors and tourists at The Port Chicago National Memorial where this tragic event occurred.

The Golden Gate Memorial Cemetery is home to the remains of most of the victims of Port Chicago 1944, however the majority of those who died were burned beyond recognition, and only marked as an ‘unknown sailor.’  The sight of it is a bitter and proud history lesson.

A youth visits the graves of the fallen sailors of the   Port Chicago tragedy of 1944.

A youth visits the graves of the fallen sailors of the Port Chicago tragedy of 1944.

Port Chicago is one of America’s darkest and long forgotten secrets. The black sailors who served their country under horrific conditions deserve recognition for their journey in the segregated Navy.

Since 1999 the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), under the leadership of Sandra Evers-Manly, who formed a support group for the African American men who served in Port Chicago, brings them together to commemorate the tragic day of July 17, 1944. While most of the survivors have passed on, some of them still live and the BHERC commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago Blast – the largest military disaster on American soil.

For detailed information contact BHERC at 310.284.3170 or visit online at www.bherc.org. EURweb presents a rebroadcast of the audio series “Port Chicago 1944: Singed and Unsung Heroes By The Sea.”   Don’t miss this compelling program produced and narrated by Lee Bailey, and written by LaRita Shelby for Rabercom Enterprises, in association with the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center.

Listen to it below:


port chicago (color)1

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center Remembers Port Chicago 1944

Sailors from Port Chicago 1944 memorialized at national park at the Concord Naval Weapons Station

Sailors from Port Chicago 1944 are memorialized at The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Park at the Concord Naval Weapons Station

*The deadly blast at Port Chicago Naval Magazine in 1944 has now been duly documented in history. An explosion equivalent to 5000 tons of TNT killed 320 sailors.  202 were African-American, because at the time the Negro sailors were disproportionately assigned the risky duties of loading extremely deadly ammunition from locomotives and onto cargo ships headed for battle ground during World War II.

Fifty of the survivors refused to return to their previous duties without further training and safety precautions. Though they had great reason to protest for better work conditions, their demand was met with a guilty charge of mutiny, after a lengthy court martial. The long road to some semblance of justice and honorable memories for the deceased, as well as the survivors, has been a vigil and a shared vision by many individuals and organizations.

A symposium on “Race & The Military During World War II” takes place with noted speakers and authors including Robert Allen, author of The Port Chicago Mutiny, from 8:30 am to 1:30pm on July 17th, 2014 at the Diablo Valley College, and on Saturday, July 19th there will also be an official 70th Commemoration at the Port Chicago National Memorial (Richmond Shipyard No. Three) in Contra Costa County, California.  Both events are free .  Registration is required for the symposium by calling (925)695-PORT (7678) or via http://portchicagomemorial.org/  Some form of honor is now enshrined for the sailors who lost their lives in the form of The Port Chicago Memorial.

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center also pays homage to Port Chicago at their website with a photo tribute, and other historic information.  The BHERC got involved in 1998 by launching a Port Chicago Survivors Support Committee. This provided for a cohesive annual gathering of survivors & their families, and also a continued commitment to raising awareness about the acts of heroism, despite the stench of injustice that prevailed, even in our nation’s own military system at the time.

State Senator Rod Wright (CA 35th District) issues resolution in honor of Port Chicago 1944  Heroes & Survivors

State Senator Rod Wright (CA 35th District) issues resolution in honor of Port Chicago 1944 Heroes & Survivors at a past event.

35th District State Senator Rod Wright from California and U. S. Congressman George Miller issued resolutions that led to The Port Chicago Memorial site, which was dedicated in 1994.  The site now has national park status at its location at the Concord Naval Weapons Station.

port chicago (color)

Sandra Evers-Manly and The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center have brought Port Chicago survivors and their families to the memorial each year, as well as to the Golden Gate National Cemetery in the Bay Area. The BHERC has also hosted other tributes and offered other means of support, such as the 55th commemoration in 1999 in Los Angeles (Pictured above).  At the time five of the living African American survivors remained. It is inarguable that what happened on that dreadful day 70 years ago at Port Chicago, and the actions of heroic sailors in the aftermath, helped to end segregation and racist policies in the United States Navy.  Port Chicago is one of America’s darkest and long forgotten secrets. The black sailors who served their country under horrific conditions deserve recognition for their journey in the segregated Navy.

Since 1999 the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), under the leadership of Sandra Evers-Manly, who formed a support group for the African American men who served in Port Chicago, brings them together to commemorate the tragic day of July 17, 1944. While most of the survivors have passed on, some of them still live and the BHERC commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago Blast – the largest military disaster on American soil.

For detailed information about Port Chicago symposiums, and events contact BHERC at (310)284-3170 or visit online at www.bherc.org.

Below, EURweb presents a special edition rebroadcast of “Port Chicago: Singed and Unsung Heroes By The Sea.” Listen to this compelling story.


Port Chicago photo tribute

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center Remembers Port Chicago’s Men of Valor

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center remembers Port Chicago 70 years later- Men of Valor

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center remembers Port Chicago 70 years later- Men of Valor

*The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center remembers Port Chicago 70 years later not only with their own observations, but in noting other collaborations to see that those who died and risked their lives there, did not do so in vain.

The National Park Service and the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial will host a special event “Port Chicago Disaster at 70: A Symposium on Race and The Military During World War II.”

In July of 1944, the largest explosion on the mainland of the United States jolted the Bay Area, instantly killing 320 sailors, the majority of whom were young African Americans. The subsequent refusal of fifty of the remaining sailors to resume loading munitions until their safety could be assured resulted in the most significant mutiny trial in our history. Their cause, supported by Eleanor Roosevelt and Thurgood Marshall, ultimately led to the desegregation of the Navy and later the entire military.

A commemorative ceremony of the explosion is held annually by the National Park Service.

BHERC.org presents a special photo tribute to the sailors of the Port Chicago tragedy of 1944

BHERC.org presents a special photo tribute to the sailors of the Port Chicago tragedy of 1944

The National Park Service and the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial will present two FREE events (July 17 & 19) highlighting the tragic disaster in Concord during World War II that led to the desegregation of the United States military. The symposium on Race in the Military will be held Thursday, July 17th 2014 from 8:30 am- 12:30 pm at Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill, California. Click here to register.

Speakers for the symposium and panel discussion include: Leon Litwack (Professor Emeritus of History, University of California at Berkeley, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “Been in the Storm So Long: the Aftermath of Slavery”); Maggi Morehouse (Associate Professor of History at Coastal Carolina University, author of “Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II”); Carolyn Johnston (Professor of History and American Studies at Eckerd College, author of “My Father’s War: Fighting with the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II”); Steve Sheinkin (Author of “The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights”); J. Vern Cromartie (Professor of Sociology at Contra Costa College).

Author Robert L. Allen to speak at symposium on Race & The Military during WWII July 17th 2014

Author Robert L. Allen to speak at symposium on Race & The Military during WWII July 17th 2014 Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Port Chicago 1944

The symposium on race and the military will be moderated by John A. Lawrence, former Chief of Staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Robert Allen (Adjunct Professor, Retired, of African American Studies at University of California at Berkeley, author of “The Port Chicago Mutiny”).

Port Chicago is one of America’s darkest and long forgotten secrets. The black sailors who served their country under horrific conditions deserve recognition for their journey in the segregated Navy. Since 1999 the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), under the leadership of Sandra Evers-Manly, who formed a support group for the African American men who served in Port Chicago,  brings them together to commemorate the tragic day of July 17, 1944. While most of the survivors have passed on, some of them still live and the BHERC commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago Blast – the largest military disaster on American soil.

For detailed information contact BHERC at 310.284.3170 or visit online at www.bherc.org.

This week EURweb.com presents a special edition rebroadcast of “Port Chicago 1944: Singed and Unsung Heroes By The Sea.” 

Listen to the compelling story below:


port chicago survivors

The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center Remembers Port Chicago

Port Chicago 1944

Port Chicago 1944

*On July 17, 1944 at the Port Chicago naval magazine two accidental blasts of munitions, turned deadly and resulted in the death of over 300 sailors and civilians.

202 of the sailors were black. It was the biggest homeland disaster of World War II. Due to a racist and segregated military at the time, the job of loading deadly ammunition was relegated to the Negro enlistees.

Port Chicago Naval Magazine was constructed in 1941 as an ideal site because it was a former shipyard that serviced three railways on the Sacramento River at the San Francisco Bay. Ships could load cargo there that was bound for the Pacific.

Port Chicago loading onto the train

After the deadly blast, 258 survivors refused to return to work with unsafe and poorly trained conditions. Under pressure 208 complied, but 50 refused and were charged with mutiny, a crime punishable by death or imprisonment. The 50 maintained that they had done no wrong, but were found guilty by what was deemed a racist military court. All who did not die on July 17, 1944 were disgraced, dishonored and hardly lauded as heroes. Due to public pressure desegregation of the navy is said to have begun in 1946.

Port Chicago 1944

In 1994 The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial was constructed by the National Park Service in honor of the deceased, but it was a far cry from justice for those who lived to tell of the blast, and the aftermath. Sandra Evers-Manly, President and Founder of the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center learned of the Port Chicago incident from one of her neighbors in the late 1990′s. She was compelled to bring justice to those who remained.

Port Chicago Oakland

In 1998, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center formed the Port Chicago Survivors Support Committee to bring justice to the 50 men who were charged with mutiny. The committee’s first order of business was to conduct a nationwide search for survivors. Next was the goal of having the charge of mutiny expunged from the record for the men who were charged. A national letter writing campaign was underway. Port Chicago survivor Freddie Meeks viewed it as a way to bring more national attention to the story of the 50 charged with mutiny. President Bill Clinton eventually issued a pardon to Meeks, but other survivors refused the pardon because they maintained their innocence.  In 1998 for the 55th anniversary of the Port Chicago incident, the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center hosted the largest ever event for survivors and honored them during Black History Month in Los Angeles, followed by another observation in Sacramento hosted by 48th District Assemblyman Roderick Wright.

In 1999 the commemoration continued in the San Francisco Bay Area at the Golden Gate Memorial Cemetery where most of the sailors had been buried. Many were buried in graves marked “Unknown” because they were burned beyond recognition. Sandra Evers-Manley and her team at BHER have continued to see that the men of Port Chicago 1944 are regarded as Men of Valor, and that their actions brought forth a redress of justice for all men and women of color in our armed forces. The event has inspired movies and books such as The Port Chicago Mutiny, by Robert Allen, with assistance from Port Chicago survivor Joseph Smalls (who is now deceased).

While hundreds visit Port Chicago each year to pay homage to the sailors and workers who died there, an ongoing campaign still simmers to clear the name of those who were deemed to be mutineers.  In 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial Expansion Act, a bill that was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer to expand the site by 5 acres, and it’s capacity to host more visitors and educational tours.

Port Chicago is one of America’s darkest and long forgotten secrets. The black sailors who served their country under horrific conditions deserve recognition for their journey in the segregated Navy. Since 1999 the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), under the leadership of Sandra Evers-Manly who formed a support group for the African American men who served in Port Chicago and bring them together to commemorate the tragic day of July 17, 1944. While most of the survivors have passed on, some of them still live and the BHERC commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Port Chicago Blast – the largest military disaster on American soil.

For detailed information contact BHERC at 310.284.3170 or visit online at www.bherc.org.

This week EURweb.com will also rebroadcast a special edition of “Port Chicago 1944: Singed and Unsung Heroes by the Sea.”  Don’t miss this compelling story in it’s entirety. Listen below: