Eliot Spitzer took office as governor, along with David Patterson, who became lieutenant governor. Carnival master Carlos Lezama dies at 83. Charles Rangel became the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Saddam Hussein was hung after being caught in Iraq. Kofi Annan left his post as secretary general of the Untied Nations. A 50-day vigil for police-shooting victim Sean Bell continued along with the beginning of grand jury testimony. NYPD officer Richard Neri got 30-day suspension for killing Timothy Stansbury, who was unarmed when he was shot in 2004 on the rooftop of a building. Off-duty police officer Tyron Franklin was killed during a scuffle. Xavier Simpson, 17, sued the NYPD and won $10 million after he was beaten by officers in June 2006. Touro College began classes at a newly opened branch on 125th Street. Wesley Autrey gained national attention after his heroic act of saving a man who fell onto a subway track. “Dreamgirls” was a hit at the Golden Globes, taking home awards for Best Musical, with Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson also receiving honors. Oprah Winfrey opened her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. On Capitol Hill, Carolyn Kilpatrick became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. President Bush announced he would deploy 21,500 troops to Iraq during his State of the Union address. Nancy Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House of Representatives. Barrack Obama announced he will run for President of the United States.
Black History Month kicked off with the national theme, “From Slavery to Freedom, Africans in America.” Historywas made when Black NFL head coaches Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears and Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts faced off in Miami for Super Bowl XLI; the Colts won the game, making Dungy the first Black head coach to win the Super Bowl. Jennifer Hudson won Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her performance as Effie White in “Dreamgirls.” Forest Whitaker won the Oscar for Best Actor, portraying former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.” Former head of 1199 SEIU United Health Workers East, Dennis Rivera, became chair of the SEIU Healthcare National Union; George Gresham took his place a president. The City Council held forums examining the NYPD’s treatment of the city’s Black residents. Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles visited Harlem. The Schomburg opened an exhibit for the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan. Rev. Al Sharpton filed a class-action lawsuit against the NYPD after a report determines that cops stop and frisk Blacks more than any other racial group in the city. Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie brought the issue of the “N-word” to the City Council. British-owned Barclay’s Bank acquired the name of the proposed Brooklyn basketball stadium, but came under fire when it was discovered the bank had ties to the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The murder case of Brooklyn teen Chanel Petro remained unsolved. A 50-day vigil for Sean Bell ended, along with surviving witnesses Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield testifying before a grand jury. Brooklyn elected Dr. Mathieu Eugene as a councilman, making him the first-ever Haitian-American City Council member. Brooklyn activist and Charles Barron’s chief of staff, Viola Plummer turned 70. Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced he will run U.S. president.
Al Sharpton announced his discovery that Sen. Strom Thurmond’s family owned members of Sharpton’s family during slavery. Bruce Gordon resigned as CEO of the NAACP after serving 19 months. People flooded stores in order to get lottery tickets in hopes of winning the Mega Millions record-breaking jackpot of $370 million. On the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made stops in Selma, Ala. David Brown, Jr. was convicted of plotting to kill NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. The FBI reopened the case of Emmett Till, but no one was indicted. A three-alarm fire caused by a space heater in the Bronx mades national headlines after 10 people were killed—nine of whom were children. Newark Mayor Cory Booker began his Crime Stoppers and Gun Stoppers campaign to combat crime in the city. Harlem-based Carver Bank reported an increase in earnings. Police officers Michael Olive and Gescard Isnora were indicted on first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell; Detective Marc Cooper faced one year in prison for reckless endangerment for the shooting.
Boys Choir of Harlem founder Dr. Walter Turnball died at 62. The Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Medal of honor from President Bush. Dr. Adelaide Sanford retired from the New York Board of Regents as the longest-serving member. Rev. Herbert Daughtry took a trip to Darfur in hopes of learning how he can end the suffering. Gov. Spitzer’s $121 billion budget was cleared, but came under criticism when only $20 billion was put towards education and healthcare. Famed Grambling State University football coach Eddie Robinson died at 88. The Yankees won their season opener. Radio personality Don Imus came under scrutiny when he made racist comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, calling them “nappy-headed hos” on his radio show; MSNBC fired him. Charles Barron announced he will run for Brooklyn borough president in 2009. The National Action Network held its ninth annual convention in New York. Charges against the Duke University lacrosse team members were dropped after they were accused of raping a Black dancer. The nation is stunned when Cho Sueng-Hui opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 students and faculty before turning the gun on himself, making the incident the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. Roscoe Brown Lee died at 81. President Bush visited Harlem Village Academy. Detective Aretha Williams sued the NYPD after a police officer threatened to call her a “nappy-headed ho.” New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine was involved in a near-death car accident. Dakota Stanton died at 76.
Thousands protested in Washington Square for working rights and immigration reform. Activist Mary Madison died at 96. The National Action Network held a March of Decency against rap music lyrics in response to Don Imus’ remarks. Edward Boyd died at 92. Christine Quinn lobbied to remove Sonny Abubadika Carson’s name from a street re-naming proposal for four streets in Bed-Stuy. Despite much protesting and grassroots organizing, City Council members vote no on co-naming Gates Avenue after Carson. The nation mourned the death of the daughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., Yolanda King, who was 51. Harlem’s Schomburg Center unveiled its $11 million renovation. An off-duty police officer shot and killed Fermin Arzu after leaving the scene of an accident in the Bronx. Black firefighters sued the city, citing FDNY’s usage of bias testing. Citizens were outraged after 32 Bushwick teens were arrested and charged with unlawful gathering while on their way to a funeral for a friend.
A house in Brooklyn that is believed to be a safe house for the Underground Railroad was threatened with demolition. A civil suit was filed by Juanita Young, whose son Malcolm Ferguson, was killed by police in 2000. Four Caribbean men were charged with conspiring to blow up JFK Airport. Charles Barron received death threats via a police website. A Georgia judge voided a 10-year prison sentence of Black Atlanta high school student Genarlow Wilson, who went to jail in 2005 for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old white girl; he was released in November. Viola Plummer fell under fire after saying Queens’s Councilman Leroy Comrie’s career should be assassinated. Bed-Stuy residents defied the City Council’s vote by renaming Gates Avenue Sonny Abubadika Carson Avenue. Drummers in Marcus Garvey Park were confronted by police to stop drumming after new white residents near the park complained about the noise. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Cleveland Rockets during the NBA Finals.
Lawyers Michael and Evelyn Warren were beaten and arrested by police officers in Brooklyn after they tried to stop officers from beating a young teen. Michelle Obama, wife of presidential candidate Barack Obama, visited Harlem. The NYPD held a Multicultural Training Day for officers at the Apollo Theater. Christine Quinn suspended Viola Plummer for comments she made toward Leroy Comrie and later fired her as Charles Barron’s chief of staff; Plummer continued her work, ignoring Quinn’s order, by volunteering for Barron; Quinn later ordered that Plummer can no longer appear on the floor of City Council chambers. The Supreme Court ruleed that school districts can no longer use race as a reason to integrate schools. Charles Tisdale died at 80. Signs of gentrification took further hold in Harlem when Kimco Realty bought a block on Frederick Douglass Boulevard near 125th Street for $30 million. Copeland’s Restaurant closed after 50 years in business on 145th Street due to gentrification. Sean Bell’s family filed a civil suit. Columbia University presented its rezoning proposal for an area of Manhattenville during a Planning Commission meeting. A Con Edison steam pipe exploded in Midtown Manhattan, leaving one person dead and others injured; among the injured is truck driver Gregory McCullough, who received third-degree burns over 80 percent of his body. Poet and griot Sekou Sundiata died at 58. Lt. Gov. David Patterson was hospitalized. The city embraced the 33rd annual Harlem Week celebration. Nelson Mandela turned 89. Venus Williams won the Women’s Singles championship at Wimbledon for a fourth time.
CUNY elevated its admission standards. Gregory McCullough announced he will sue Con Edison after he was burned in a pipe explosion. Bobby’s Happy House was in jeopardy of closing after Kimco Realty bought the property; the store has been in business for over 60 years. America learns about the case of six Black teens in Jena, La., involved in a racially motivated confrontation in the small town. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network holds a protest in 20 states against the music industry for its use of derogatory language. Journalist Chauncey Bailey is killed in Oakland, Calif. Barry Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron’s record for hitting the most home runs. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke at the 32nd Annual National Association of Black Journalist convention in Las Vegas. Retired-teacher-turned-homeless-advocate Geraldine Young was found dead in her home. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III held a rally in Jena, La. Charles Rangel celebrated his 77th birthday. Yankee’s legend Phil Rizzuto died at 90. Hurricane Dean blew through the Caribbean, leaving destruction and killing 42. Community Board 9 rejected Columbia University’s expansion plan. Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie called FEMA out after a slow response to floods in the borough. Drummer Max Roach died at 83. The Mississippi Bridge in Minnesota collapsed during rush hour, killing 13 people. Tiger Woods won his 13th PGA Championship.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned. The 40th annual West Indian Day Carnival was celebrated in Brooklyn. Grassroots organizers and activists took part in a “Day of Outrage Against Police Terrorism” on Sept. 11 to combat police brutality on Blacks and Latinos. America reflected on the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Mildred Johnson Edwards, founder of The Modern School, died at 93. Megan Williams was reportedly kidnapped, raped and tortured for a week by a group of whites consisting of three men and three women in Charleston, W.Va. Gaining international support, Al Sharpton lead a march in Jena, La., for the Jena 6; 30,000 participants turned out for the march. Harlem hosted the 38th annual African-American Day Parade. The trial in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Anucha Brown Sanders against Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden began. Composer and pianist Joe Zawinul died at 75. Charles Barron lead a march on the steps on City Hall for the Jena 6. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University. Ground was broken for the Museum for African Art on the corner of 5th Avenue at 109th and 110th streets; it is slated to open in 2009. The Harlem Business Alliance held its fourth annual Economic Summit; the event was confronted by protesters against gentrification. O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged for a robbery in a Las Vegas hotel. The MTA proposed fair increases. Carver Bank founder William R. Hudgins died at 100. The Department of Education released grades for schools based on their performance. A group of Black basketball players and their coach from Borough of Manhattan Community College were assaulted by a group of white students near City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Harlem. She granted The Amsterdam News an exclusive interview. High school and college students across the nation walked out of classrooms in protest of the treatment of the Jena 6; 250 students in New York City rally in Washington Square Park. A female staffer at Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls was accused of physically and sexually abusing students in South Africa. Ronald Battle was shot by an NYPD officer on Harlem River Drive; police claimed he had a gun and ran when he was confronted by officers. Mychal Bell, one of the Jena 6, violated his probation for previous convictions and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. The daughter-in-law of public advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Carol Ann Gotbaum, died in an airport holding cell in Phoenix after she was arrested for trying to board a plane. The African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan opens. A noose was found on the door of Columbia University professor Madonna Constantine. A grandmother, 66-year-old Patricia Webb, was punched by an NYPD officer during a scuffle at a block party in Brooklyn. Citadel Broadcasting hired Don Imus to host its daily morning show on WABC-AM. Over a dozen people were injured after a gas explosion in an apartment building on 119th Street. Anucha Browne Sanders was awarded a $11 million after a jury ruled in her favor over a sexual harassment lawsuit against Madison Square Garden and Isaiah Thomas. Demonstrators from across the nation marched in West Virginia to protest the absence of hate crime charges for Megan Williams, who was allegedly tortured by six white suspects. The Department of City Planning developed a rezoning plan for 125th Street. Taxi drivers went on strike to protest the installation of GPS tracking systems and credit card machines in their vehicles. President Bush vetoed a bill that would extend health care to children. Dick Gidron died at 68. The act of putting nooses in public places became an increasingly popular crime; nooses were found at a Canarsie high school, a police headquarters in Hempstead, Long Island, and at a post office near the World Trade Center site. Sen. Eric Adams introduced a bill that would classify placing a noose anywhere as a class E felony. Families were left out in the cold as the city implemented a new policy that would not allow certain homeless families to stay in temporary housing; DHS claims families are misusing the services because they are eligible to stay other places. Charles Barron endorsed Barack Obama. Anti-gun protests heated up in Brooklyn after a 16-year-old and 3-year-old were killed by stray bullets. An all-white jury found seven former boot camp guards and a nurse not guilty for the 2006 beating death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at a Florida boot camp. Roger Gore died at 63. Off-duty undercover police officer Sean Sawyer shot Jayson Tirado during a road rage encounter; Sawyer turned himself in after 19 hours and was released and suspended with no charges brought against him. Skylar McCormick was beaten with a baseball bat by five white men because he allegedly sat on the car owned by one of them. The October 22nd Coalition held its 12th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality in Marcus Garvey Park. A report by the Internal Affairs Bureau indicated that police corruption is on the rise. High school freshman Rayshawn Moreno was accosted by police for throwing eggs at moving cars on Halloween; the officers took him to a secluded wooded area and allegedly stripped him of his clothes. Blacks across the city gathered at Mount Olivet Baptist Church for the 38th annual Black Solidarity Day. A fight involving a group of Black and Hispanic teens against a group of white teens in Howard Beach left 16-year-old Joseph Friedman with 16 staples in his head; the fight was sparked after the white teens threw eggs at the Blacks and Hispanics.
The city lived in fear as the threat of MRSA infections flared up; 12-year-old Omar Rivera of Brooklyn died from an MRSA infection after doctors misdiagnosed him. Two Black CEOs resigned: Stanley O’Neal of Merrill Lynch and Richard Parsons of Time Warner Inc. Juanita Young was awarded a $10 million judgment after suing the NYPD for the wrongful death of her son, Malcolm Ferguson. Demonstrators protested at the New York State Office Building against the proposed demolition of 16 businesses on Eighth Avenue and 125th Street. Bill and Hillary Clinton visited Abyssinian Baptist Church. The Prudential Center opened in Newark with hopes to restore the city’s image. Elections for judgeships, City Council seats and Staten Island district attorney took place in the city. The National Action Network lead a mass march in Washington, D.C., targeting the U.S. Justice Department over the lack of prosecutions for hate crimes. The Apollo Theater celebrated 73 years. Broadway stagehands went on strike, leaving the so-called Great White Way in the dark for 20 days. The city was stunned after 18-year-old Khiel Coppin was shot by police officers in Brooklyn; officers claimed they thought he had a gun on the scene, but in fact he had a hairbrush. The Sean Bell trial was rescheduled for February 2008; an overnight vigil is held in Queens commemorating the one-year anniversary of his shooting by police on his wedding day. Dr. Donda West, mother of chart-topping rapper Kanye West, died after cosmetic surgery complications. Inez and Charles Barron celebrated 25 years of marriage. The Amsterdam News was granted an exclusive interview with Barack Obama just days before he made a stop in Harlem at the Apollo Theater. The Coalition of Justice urged Blacks to abstain from spending on Black Friday. Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was murdered in Florida.
Danforth Development Partners LLC is named as the developer for the Victoria Theater on 125th Street. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court over the NYPD’s refusal to release data about the number of Blacks and Latinos stopped by police. The City Planning Commission approved the Columbia University expansion plan. Oprah Winfrey endorsed Barack Obama. After three years of fighting, a line of homes on Duffield Street in Brooklyn was saved from the gentrification wrecking ball because of its ties to the Underground Railroad. A homeless man in Queens was killed in a shanty town fire while trying to stay warm. Don Imus returned to radio airwaves with a new morning show that includes two Black co-hosts. The New York Urban League and the Black Equity Alliance released the first “State of Black New York City” report in seven years. Don Marbury, father of New York Knicks player Stephon Marbury, died after being taken to the hospital during a game at Madison Square Garden. Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition lead a rally on Wall Street to address the nation’s sub-prime mortgage crisis. Fifth Avenue from 124th Street to 142nd Street is named after Percy Sutton, along with a Harlem post office bearing his name. As a result of September’s public school grading, it is announced by the Department of Education that some schools will close or be reorganized because of low performance. Access-A-Ride workers went on a 10-day strike. Ike Turner died at 75. The MTA signed off on toll and fare increases that will take effect in March 2008. New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed off on legislation that eradicates the death penalty in the state. Filmmaker St. Clair Bourne died at 64. Innocent bystander Carol Simone was killed by a stray bullet in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. Associates and current and former employees of Al Sharpton were hit with subpoenas questioning their financial records; tax fraud charges were also brought against Sharpton. Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal protested outside NBC studios in Rockefeller Center against Maureen Faulkner, wife of slain police officer Daniel Faulkner, when she appeared on the show presenting her book slamming Abu-Jamal. The New York Knicks paid Anucha Browne Sanders an additional $11.5 million over sexual harassment. Will Smith’s movie “I Am Legend” cements him as box-office gold as he breaks all records with a $72 million opening.
Cyril “Josh” Barker for the Amsterdam News.
- Romio Highlights Local Harlem Designer, Barron Wise (harlemworldmag.com)
- Valerie Simpson Becomes Bolder and Harlem School of the Arts Gets Major Funding (harlemworldmag.com)
- Harlem ATLAH Church Headquarters Vandalized (harlemworldmag.com)
- Harlem Voguers Heating Up The House (video) (harlemworldmag.com)