Marshall *spoiler alert*

Last Thursday I went to see the movie Marshall. It’s a movie celebrating the first black Supreme Court Justice , Thurgood Marshall. I was thinking this would be a biopic detailing his life from childhood, rise to fame and the struggles he faced. Boy was I wrong!

The movie was actually about a case that Marshall (played by Chadwick Boseman) took on as part of the NAACP. There was a man named Joseph Spell( Sterling K. Brown) who was being accused of the rape and the attempted murder of a white woman. The narrative was that Spell raped her in her home multiple times while her husband was away. He then took her to a bridge and threw her into a reservoir.

The incident happened in the northern town of Greenwich, Connecticut. Marshall traveled from New York City, the headquarters of the NAACP to this little town because he believed Spell was innocent. When he made it to the small town he realized he would need some help, and that help would come from a Jewish insurance attorney.

Samuel Friedman( Josh Gad) was hired by the Bridgeport NAACP. Like most white people in the area, he thought Spell was guilty. The area was certainly not known for hospitality to black people. Friedman tried to get out of the case three different times but something in his character caused him to help Marshall and he became co-counsel. It was a good thing they were both on the case because getting past Loren Willis( Dan Stevens) an unreconstructed bigot would be close to impossible. It didn’t help that there were two attorneys; a black man and a Jew.

The other obstacle was that the victim Eleanor Strubing ( Kate Hudson) came from old money. She was the daughter of an investment banker. Her husband John Strubing Jr( Jeremy Bobb) an ambulance driver in WWI he also played for The Tigers football team. After being married for a while Strubing became a business man and he and his wife lived a charmed life. This lifestyle is how Spell came into their lives; he was their chauffeur.

Marshall and Friedman never really believed Eleanor’s story. She claimed she was raped four different times. She was kidnapped from her home, thrown off a bridge and then hit with rocks. At trial they quickly pounced on the prosecution’s case. Why would anyone rape a woman in her home when her husband could have come home at any moment? Why leave the house and drop her off of a bridge on the side where she could swim to shore? Why not drop her where the jagged rocks were located? And the story about the rocks was just ridiculous, not to mention there were no rocks on that bridge; only pebbles.

It came out at trial that her story was a complete farce. But she wasn’t the only one who lied. Spell said he never touched her but it was proven in court that the pair had consensual sex. Eleanor’s husband was always away on business and when he was home he often abused his wife. The night that Joseph came into her room to ask for money she had been drinking and invited him into her bed. They shared a night of passion but soon Mrs. Strubing became nervous.

The alcohol and paranoia got to her. She begged Spell to drive her away from the house. Then as they drove she asked him to pull over. He assured her that everything was fine and they wouldn’t get caught. In complete hysterics she screamed out rape. She jumped from the bridge into the Kensico Reservoir. It was revealed in court that she was a trained swimmer. She swam to shore, flagged a truck driver and started this whole tragedy with her cries of rape.

Thurgood Marshall and Friedman taking this case was like taking on the stories that black men are so scary and threatening, hell bent on raping poor white women. This made me think of how often that happens in today’s court systems. Our men are seen as brutal and menacing when in fact, there are rapists and murderers of all races.

Marshall and Friedman’s hard work was successful in gaining Spell an acquittal. The result catapulted the NAACP to start a chapter in Greenwich. Thurgood Marshall was in Oklahoma helping another client when the jury came back. He didn’t even have time to celebrate due to his full schedule.

For those of you who don’t know much about Thurgood Marshall. He was instrumental in The Brown vs The Board of Education desegregation case. He was the first black Supreme Court Justice from 1967-1991. And was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Spingarn Medal.

It was great seeing Chadwick Boseman in this role. He is fast becoming the go-to actor for biopics. A surprise was Josh Gad in the role of attorney Friedman. I am familiar with him in many comedic roles but he played this serious character and exceeded my expectations. He was excellent in this role and has me excited to see him in more dramatic pieces. Marshall is a movie I look forward to buying. I give it 4 stars.


The Missing D.C. Girls, Fact, Fiction and Emotion.

I have spent the past few days researching this story so I could write about it with all of the factual information I could find. After 5 days I was able to speak with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and email them. I actually researched and watched local media. I was able to contact local news reporters and received responses and I hope I did my best in weeding out the fake from what is real. Although this story brought up many emotions I wanted to know the facts and what I could do to help.I didn’t want to rush and put up a blog without even having valid information. This blog will be longer than most of my posts. You’ve been warned.

These are the facts that I’ve uncovered. Last Thursday 3/25/17 NBC’s Washington Affiliate published on their Twitter page that a dozen teens ranging from age 14 to 18 were missing. The Washington D.C. Police Department tweeted that there were 10 girls missing who were considered critical cases. The latter was retweeted by a well known personality on Twitter who added the comment and I quote, “No one is saying anything about these girls that are missing.” That tweet went viral and the story began. 

I am sure we all know that when stories are carried they grow additions, people add their own pieces,  exgagerrations. So…let’s talk about facts. According to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children there were from 450-500 missing children in Washington D.C. This number has been consistent since 2014. 95% of those cases have been closed. Lets talk about the term “missing.”  There are children who are critically missing, children missing from care, family abduction, runaways, and long term missing.  Critically missing usually means there is an elevated risk of danger. A child missing from care is one who is missing or has been abducted from the foster care system. Family abductions are missing children who have been abducted or wrongfully retained or concealed by a parent or other family member. Runaway children are missing youth who have run away from a parent, guardian or state care facility  A long term missing child is a case that has remained unsolved for many years. 

As of 3/27/17 there are approximately 250- 300 children missing in The Nations Capitol. No one will verify how many are African American or Hispanic and I’ve asked that question many times. Nearly 2,000 children go missing every five years. If the police department and news media had not posted this story none of us would be discussing these girls. 

Washington D.C. is much like many metropolitan cities; the problems are the same.  Missing teen girls is a huge problem. D.C. police have tweeted 27 photos of missing teens since starting their Twitter page. Most of them have been found. One teen who was reported  missing on 3/21 was found on 3/26 and wouldn’t tell her mother where she was staying. Her name is Katherine Hunter and she has run away many times. There are issues at home. She says, “Many of her friends who run away just want out.”

Here are a few more unfortunate truths. African American and Latino girls are at more at risk of becoming abducted, runaways, and to be critically missing. Just as African Americans and Hispanics are at risk in many other areas of life. Poverty, single parent homes, and abuse are all at the top of the list as to why. Also when a Caucasian child is missing there is more media attention, especially for little girls. When a black or brown child is missing she or he is usually deemed a runaway; a child who is bad. D.C. Councilman Trayon White says, “There was a 10 yr old African American girl missing a week ago and there was no Amber Alert inacted.” He feels if this was a white child or even a child from a better neighborhood this wouldn’t have happened. Most African American girls are labeled as runaways who left home freely. Then after leaving the home they often become victims of rape, sex trafficking, and prostitution.

Now on to the fiction, there were never 14 girls, or 10 or any double digit number of girls missing in a 24 hour period. One of the girls in a few online post has been missing since 2014, her name is Relisha Rudd. There is no spike in missing girls of any race in D.C. , social media is simply being used to shine a light on the issue. Much like the Internet opens the word to things that have happened for years but were hidden. The fact is most of these girls became missing over the past month or two. Which is still scary.

There is hope in the face of despair. Mayor Muriel Bowser says her office will implement 6 new initiatives to tackle the missing person problem. They include boosting the number of officers assigned to missing person cases and expanding the local missing person website. With all of the facts and fiction being uncovered it still doesn’t negate the pain I feel. I am sad that so many girls are running away from home. What are they running from?  All of these children are not just bad. Why run from heat,food, their iPhones? Some run from abuse; sexual, physical, and mental. Some parents don’t give a darn about their daughters. ” Let her go, get out of my house.” What if she runs into the arms of a manipulative pimp, some punk or the local police officer? 
Just a few more truths.  Two D.C. Police officers were accused of running a prostitution ring just last week. Officer Marc Washington is accused of setting up 16 year old girls with adult men for sex acts. One of the girls had been reported as missing. As many as 6 teenswere found at a SE Stanton Rd apartment.Washington was also accused of child pornography for placing the girls pictures on the website  backpage. He also had a mirror in the home with the names of young girls on it. The other officer’s name has not been released.

There are so many layers to this devastating issue. When you break this down whether you believe the facts or the social media sensation, black and Latino girls are endangered. Some are being hurt in the homes of their own families and they run away searching for something. Others are betrayed by officers who have sworn to uphold the law. They are accosted by people who prey on them with promises of money only to rip away their innocence. We as a community must protect our princesses, the first place is in the home. We can’t rely on mainstream media to report them missing. We must use all of our options; TV One, BET, Univision, Telemundo, Black Twitter our publications and our voices.  But we must be accurate and we must be collaborative. If you have any ideas of what we can do comment below or hit me on any of my platforms.

Youth & Family Division D.C.

NBC Washington D.C. Affiliate 

Washington D.C. Missing Persons

The Center For Missing & Exploited Children

Washington D.C. Police Department

The Washington Post

WJLA ABC7’s Yolanda Traylor 


12 Years a Black Woman

image                                                               Rachel Dolezal’s name has been all over the media. She is the Caucasian( yes woman you are white) lady who had been passing as black. Yes there is actually a person who attempted to pass for black. We will come back to my feelings on that. As a child Rachel had blonde hair and looked just like your favorite white doll. She says she has always felt like was black.

The first signs of her “blackness” showed when she attended prestigious HBCU Howard University ( my middle daughter received a full ride scholarship there). She says that when asked what race she was, both white and black were selected. She went on to do quite well in college.

Rachel became an Africana Studies professor and was respected by most. She wore her hair in ethnic styles mostly worn by African -American women. She even permed her hair to obtain a curly texture that would mimic the natural hair of many black women. She was brilliant at imitating all things black, the struggle, the culture, the outward appearance.

Rachel Dolezal then made her way to one of the most respected organizations among African -American people, The NAACP.  She became the  president of the Spokane, Washington chapter.  Again she was able to fool those around her until her parents contacted the media and told her secret.

So that’s the tale of Rachel Dolezal. I have so many questions, was it not enough being Rachel? Would she rather be Rhasha? Would she rather be followed in stores? Why not just love and appreciate our culture? Go to Howard as a Caucasian woman. Express your love of our hairstyles as the white woman you are.

I can’t take off my blackness for a moment and freely operate as a white woman. I would love to be judged and evaluated by only my merit and not experience any type of racism. I don’t have that luxury. The truly sad conclusion is that Rachel could have been white and still attended Howard. Rachel could have been white and been the president of The NAACP. She could have been white and embraced our culture. African -American people are known for accepting others. We know how it feels to be shunned, disrespected, and treated poorly,which is why even though Rachel made such a misstep she will still be welcomed and forgiven.