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    Lucius J. Barker, political scientist who broke racial barriers, has died at 92

    Lucius J. Barker,Ph.D,  a political scientist who broke through racial barriers to become a leader in constitutional law, civil liberties, and African-American politics, died in his Northern California home on June 21 of complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 92.

    Barker, who was the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, at Stanford, served as president of the American Political Science Association in 1992-93. He was the second Black leader to hold that position.

    Judith Goldstein, chair of Stanford’s Department of Political Science and the Janet M. Peck Professor of International Communication, said Barker committed his career to understanding how the American political system can represent the interests of all citizens.

    Paula McClain, current president of the APSA, Duke University professor of political science and public policy, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education, called Barker “a giant in the field of political science.”

    She said, “Yet, despite his eminence, Lucius was a generous and selfless human being who mentored numerous young scholars of all races, providing them opportunities to achieve their scholarly potential. The discipline and the academy, in general, need more Lucius Barkers.”

    Barker also served as president of the Midwest Political Science Association and was the founding editor of the National Political Science Review, a publication of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, an organization for which he also served as president.

    The fifth of six children, Barker was born on June 11, 1928, in Franklinton, Louisiana, to college-educated parents who taught in – but were undeterred by – the segregated school system. After graduating high school, Barker attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, where he pledged the Beta Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1949. He then attended the University of Illinois for graduate studies in constitutional law and civil liberties. His mentor was Jack Peltason, who later became president of the University of California system. Barker earned his PhD from Illinois in 1954, and began his teaching career there as a fellow.

    Barker returned to Southern University to teach for several years before moving to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He spent the 1964-65 academic year as a Liberal Arts Fellow of Law and Political Science at the Harvard Law School. In 1967, Peltason, then chancellor, recruited Barker to the University of Illinois to serve as assistant chancellor. In 1969, Washington University in St. Louis recruited him to teach and chair the political science department as the Edna Fischel Gellhorn Professor. He remained there until 1990, when he joined Stanford.

    At Stanford, he twice served as chair of the Department of Political Science and joined Sigma Pi Phi fraternity (known as the Boulé). As a Stanford faculty member, he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Read more from Stanford University

    Photo by Jim Vanides

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    ‘We must do better protecting our Black Women’ says LSU organization following Kinnedy Smith’s murder

    Baton Rouge Police arrested the man accused of fatally stabbing Kinnedy Smith, a 21-year-old Shreveport native over the weekend. According to police, 27-year-old Connor Regan, stabbed Smith to death during a domestic dispute and has been charged with second-degree murder.

    Smith graduated from Louisiana State University in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and Spanish. Her friends described her as a selfless, bright soul to everyone she came in contact with. She also participated in community service and advocacy work in Ecuador and Columbia. She was working as an intake specialist at Dudley DeBosier law firm in Baton Rouge.

    The LSU Black Women’s Empowerment Initiative penned this letter about Smith’s passing calling for justice and better protection of Black women.

    Kinnedy Smith letter

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    Fourth COVID-19 related death reported in Louisiana

    The State of Louisiana reports a fourth death related to COVID-19. The Orleans Parish resident was an 80-year-old individual who lived at Lambeth House in New Orleans.  There are currently 171 coronavirus cases reported across the state. The highest number of cases is concentrated in the New Orleans area, where there are 116 coronavirus cases.

    A third death was reported on Monday, March 16. This was an 84-year-old individual who also lived at Lambeth House.

    While older individuals and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk, everyone can become exposed to COVID-19 and must be vigilant to protect their health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the serious chronic health conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

    For updates on positive cases and deaths, visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 webpage.

    Here’s the latest:

    • There are more than 184,000 coronavirus cases in 159 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization.
    • More than 7,500 people have died worldwide.
    • In the United States, there are at least 5,130 cases in 49 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C.
    • The U.S. death toll has climbed to at least 100, with more than half of the dead from Washington state.
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    In Memoriam: Former Mayor ProTemp Lorri Burgess, 56

    Lorri Ann Burgess, Chief Operating Officer of the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana, former Metro Councilwoman, and former Mayor Pro-Tempore and passed away peacefully on January 15, 2020, surrounded by her family, at the age of 56. A native of Baton Rouge, Lorri was born on January 25, 1963. She was the fourth child of Mildred Coats Burgess and the late Howard C. Burgess Sr.

    Lorri loved God and confessed Christ as her Savior at an early age. She was baptized by the late Rev. Jesse Davis at Israelite Baptist Church where she participated in the Cherubim Choir and other youth activities. Lorri’s affinity for service to others was evident very early in her life. During her high school years she became a member of the South Baton Rouge Youth Council and Students United for Racial Equality, thus thrusting her into a life of politics and public service. She was a 1981 graduate of McKinley High School where she participated in several organizations, as well as a member of the cheerleading squad. Lorri earned a bachelor’s degree in merchandising and completed a paralegal studies program at louisiana State University.

    she was very passionate and committed to the citizens of this great city, especially those in South Baton Rouge’s District 10. District 10 was her home and she invested her efforts into encouraging community development, revitalization, and the enrichment of its residents. Lorri served District 10 as Metro Councilwoman for 12 years, four of which she served in the historic role as the first African American female Mayor Pro-Tempore for the City of Baton Rouge, as well as a member of the Capital Improvements, Finance and Executive Committees. Lorri was committed to public service. This commitment was made evident through the impactful changes she fought for in her community and through her thirst to increase her ability to serve. She served as a Board Member for Louisiana Technology Park, Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs and the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission. During her tenure at the Port she served as the first African-American chairwoman for the authority. Lorri was also a faithful member of the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Community Advisory Board (LA CaTS CAB) from January 2018 through December 2019 where she had a significant impact initiating and spearheading the Research Ethics and Research Participant Rights Campaign for La CaTS CAB.

    In addition, she was a strong supporter of the YWCA Encore Plus Program, Sisters Supporting Sisters-Baton Rouge and HIV/AIDS Education. Some of Lorri’s notable initiatives were the Camp 10 Summer Computer Camp and the Summer Reading Program for elementary children in District 10. She also spearheaded the Sensational Seniors Exercise Program for senior citizens in District 10. In addition, she partnered with Sigma Gamma Rho and Zeta Phi Beta Sororities to offer educational and enrichment programs in writing, language and visual arts for students in East Baton Rouge Parish.

    She spearheaded the building of the new Carver Branch Library and had the vision to have the Freeman Matthews Head Start Center on the same property to enhance the early learning experiences of the Head Start Center students. She took the bulk of her surplus office expense funds to purchase big screen television sets, video recorders and other learning tools for all new head start centers in her district. Lorri fought to build and keep the new Highland Road Fire Station accessible to her constituents and was instrumental in getting funding to improve roads and drainage in District 10. She sponsored cleanup campaigns, Christmas parades, health fairs and her signature block parties. The inaugural block party was co-hosted with Shaquille O’Neal. Lorri was the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge Palooza Queen.

    She traveled throughout the United States of America, Puerto Rico, Canada and Europe to learn from and collaborate with world leaders, and to expand resources that would allow her to serve her community more effectively. Lorri fought as a staunch advocate for those battling Sickle Cell Disease. Under her leadership as the Chief Operating Officer, the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana (SCASL) annually increased its number of participating clients and earned national recognition as the most improved sickle cell foundation in the United States. Lorri extended the reach of the foundation through her unique and innovative fund-raising initiatives such as the annual Ryan’s Run (honorary chair, former Superbowl Champion Ryan Clark) and the annual John Chavis/Eric Reid Golf Tournament.

    Lorri leaves to cherish her memory her mother, Mildred C. Burgess, of Baton Rouge, LA; one brother, Howard C. Burgess, Jr. (Iris) of Baton Rouge, LA; four sisters, Joy Burgess Dixon and Celestine Renee Burgess Ruffin, both of Johns Creek, GA; Karla D. Burgess and Marva H. Hastings, both of Baton Rouge, LA; four aunts, Lulla V. Coats, Wilmer C. Barrett (James), Olivet C. O’Connor, and Edna C. Coleman (Charles), all of Baton Rouge, LA; two nephews, Aaron Matthew Ruffin, Esq. of Alexandria, VA; Nicholas Christian-Gerard Ruffin of Johns Creek, GA; two nieces, Kaelah Renee Burgess of Baton Rouge, LA; and Teá Williams, of Johns Creek, GA; five Godchildren, Sgt. Roderic Sterling of Lakeworth Beach, FL.; Errol Monget, Jr. of Thibodeaux, LA; and Bria Guntz, Christian Williams, Elayna Morris, all of Baton Rouge, LA; Godparents, Johnny O’Connor, Sr. and Olivet O’Connor, both of Baton Rouge, LA; a brother-in-law, Demetrius Ruffin of Nashville, TN; two special doobies, Leonard R. Coats and Joseph P. Ashford, both of Baton Rouge, LA; a childhood friend, Judge John Michael Guidry; and a host of other relatives, friends and community supporters. Preceded in death by her father, Howard C. Burgess, Sr.; maternal grandparents, Wilbert L. Coats, Sr. and Celestine B. Coats; paternal grandparents, Clarence Burgess and Delphine Smith; three aunts, Georgia C. Dunbar, Gloria C. Harris, Olivia “Tiny” Holloway; two uncles, Wilbert Coats, Jr. and Dr. Louis James, Sr.; first cousins, Donald Dunbar, Sr. and Reginald Harris

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    Key decisions to help memorialize a loved one

    (Family Features) Despite the certainty of death, many Americans delay dealing with the fact and avoid funeral planning.

    In fact, nearly 3 in 5 Americans aren’t confident they could plan a funeral for themselves, let alone a loved one, according to a survey conducted by RememberingALife.com, which was created by the National Funeral Directors Association to empower families in their funeral planning, help them understand memorialization options and support them as they navigate their grief after a death.

    One of the main challenges in planning a funeral for a loved one is ensuring the service captures the person’s life and memories. However, according to the survey, just 41.2% of respondents know the deceased’s preferences for a funeral, burial or cremation, and 26.5% have not discussed their preferences with loved ones, though they do feel confident their family and friends would plan an appropriate funeral or memorial service for them.

    To kickstart the planning process, consider discussing these decisions with your loved ones:

    1. Cremation or Burial: Despite the growing popularity of cremation, burial is still important to many families. There are many factors that go into this decision, such as religion, environmental factors, cost and more.
    1. Service Options: Regardless of a preference for cremation or burial, how a family pays tribute to its loved one is also important. There are a variety of ways a funeral, memorial service or celebration of life can reflect the life of the person who died, such as through pictures, location of the service, music and more.
    1. Eulogy: One of the most impactful parts of the service can be the eulogy. Think about who knows you best and would be comfortable speaking. Some choose to write their own eulogy. Either way, eulogies can provide closure and honor a life.
    1. After the Service: While services are an opportunity for loved ones to grieve and heal together, it’s important to consider how to keep memories alive, such as by planting a tree, scattering cremated remains in a special location or visiting a gravesite. Any of these options can help a family continue to pay tribute to the deceased.

    To find more information about how a funeral director can help plan a meaningful service and resources to help you understand your own and others’ grief and loss, visit RememberingALife.com.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images

    ONLINE: National Funeral Directors Association

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    BR journalists remember Gwen Ifill

    On behalf of the Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of veteran, award winning journalists Gwen Ifill.

    Ifill was a true example of professional journalism and was an inspiration to women of color.

    Ifill handled her career in journalism with style and grace, never compromising herself.

    Cheryl J. Stroy
    president
    Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists

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    In Memoriam: Albert “Tootsie” Meyers

    Albert Junious “Tootsie” Meyers was born on February 3, 1943 in New Roads, Louisiana. He was one of eight children born to the union of Joseph Melvin and Agnes Francois Meyers. Albert transitioned from this life to his heavenly home on October 23, 2016, at his residence in Baker, Louisiana.  He was educated in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and was a 1961 graduate of Scotlandville High School.  He was a member of the Scotlandville High Hornets basketball team. In 1961, he was selected as a member of the Negro All-City Interscholastic Basketball Team. Albert later attended Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    In 1999, he retired from Roadway Express after 27 years of service.  He was later honored by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local Union No. 5 for his years of service and dedication.  Albert was also a founding member of the Beacon Civic and Social Organization in Baker, Louisiana.

    Meyers is survived by his devoted wife of 52 years, Geraldine Curtis Meyers; four children, Jackie Moore, Jeanene Meyers, Shonda Wessinger, and Jermaine Meyers; one daughter-in-law, Candice Joubert Meyers; three brothers, Alfred Meyers, Joseph Meyers Jr., and Lionel Meyers; two sisters, Beulah Credit and Theresa Batiste; seven grandchildren, Adrian “Tootie” Chapman, Jamar Thomas, Haley Wessinger, Sydney Wessinger, Madison Meyers, Tatum Meyers, Julia Meyers; and three great-grandchildren, Bryson Bessix, Cameryn Thomas, Maliah Thomas; a lifelong friend and Good Buddy, Sherman Robinson. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Agnes Meyers; sister, Leola Gibson; and brother, Arthur Meyers.

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    Funeral arrangements for Alton Sterling’s homegoing

    The family of Alton Sterling will hold his funeral service in the Southern University F. G. Clark Activity Center, Friday, July 15, 2016. According to the family, a viewing is scheduled for 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., and the funeral at 11 a.m.

    The services will be handled as a private event in the campus facility in terms of traffic, parking, and security.

    Carney and Mackey Funeral Home of Baton Rouge is coordinating arrangements. For more information call (225) 774-0390.

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    Former SU history professor Arthur Tolson passes away, services planned Nov. 30

    BATON ROUGE–Arthur L. Tolson, Ph.D, a longtime faculty member in the Southern University Baton Rouge Department of History, died Wednesday, November 18, 2015, in Baton Rouge. He was 91.

    SU System President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton issues the following statement and condolences:  “The Southern University System is tremendously saddened by the passing of former history professor Dr. Arthur Tolson who served as a faculty member in the Department of History at Southern University for 45 years. A true scholar and intellectual, Dr. Tolson touched the lives of countless students and was a trusted mentor to many of his colleagues and fellow SU faculty members. His legacy of teaching and commitment remains an exemplary model for others. We extend our deepest sympathy to Dr. Tolson’s family, colleagues, and friends.”

    The retired SU professor was the son of Melvin B. Tolson an American Modernist poet, educator, columnist, and politician who is the protagonist of the 2007 biopic “The Great Debaters.” The film is based on his [Melvin Tolson Sr.] work with students at predominantly Black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and their debate with University of Southern California in the 1930s.

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    Arthur Tolson, Ph.D., along with Denzel Washington who portrayed his father Melvin Tolson in The Great Debaters

    “Dr. Arthur Tolson was truly a mentor and an inspiration to numerous students,” said Shawn Comminey, SUBR history chair. “His philosophy, wisdom, humor; the encouragement and support he displayed through the years, go without saying.”

    According to a 2008 SU Digest article, Arthur Tolson made history as the first Black to attain a master’s degree in history from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in history from the University of Oklahoma.

    Share your memories of Dr. Tolson below along with photos (email to news@thedrumnewspaper.info) for his commemorative page.

    Funeral Arrangements for Dr. Arthur L. Tolson

    Southern University Baton Rouge
    Monday, November 30, 2015

    Lying in Repose
    4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Royal Cotillion Ballroom
    Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
    Southern University and A&M College
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70813

    Funeral Service
    7 p.m.
    Royal Cotillion Ballroom
    Smith-Brown Memorial Student Union
    Interment
    Green Acres Memorial Gardens
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Arrangements
    Treasures of Life, Center for Life Funeral Services
    315 East Airline Highway
    Gramercy, Louisiana  70052
    225.258.4039

    Family requests in lieu of flowers, forward all donations to: Treasures of Life, Center for Life Funeral Services

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    Southern University Staff Member Laid to Rest

    The Southern University community laid to rest Cecil L. Houston at Greater King David Baptist Church on Saturday, Jan. 18. Houston a native of Ventress and resident of Baton Rouge who , passed away , at the age of 49,  on Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.

    He worked at Southern University as the the longtime assistant to the registrar on the Baton Rouge campus.  He is survived by his mother, Annette B. Houston; two godsons, Terrence Houston and Cedric Bell; two sisters, Tara Houston (James) Jackson and Nicki Houston (Russell) Davis; brother, Roland (Jacqueline) Houston, III; godmother, Geraldine Battley; and sister-in-law, Vicki Houston.

    He was preceded in death by his father, Roland Houston, Jr.; brother, Kenneth Houston, Sr.; and grandparents, Roland, Sr. and Zeal Houston and Lazin and Alena Battley. Pallbearers will be Cerwin Fleming, Kenneth, Daryl, Roland IV and Terrence Houston, Ecknozzio Jr. and Jordan Jackson, Syvaris Selvage and Rodney Coates. Honorary pallbearers will be Henry, Oliver, Roland III, Timothy, Leo, Robert and Roy Houston, John Battley, Willie R. Davis, Jr., Cedric Bell, James Demoulin and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. He was a graduate of Glen Oaks High, class of 1982.

    He received a Bachelor of Music, 2001, M.E.D. in Administration Supervision, 2004 and a M.A. in Counselor Education, 2010 all of Southern University. He was also a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.

    Cecil loved the Lord! He was on the music staff at Greater King David Baptist Church. Also, his ministry of music has been a blessing in many church ministries, choirs and all around the U.S.A., far too many musical artist to name and in the surrounding Baton Rouge Area.

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