Melba Moore Named Goodwill Ambassador for UN Slavery Memorial

New York, Jun  7 2011  3:05PM

 The United Nations today named rhythm and blues artist Melba Moore as a Goodwill Ambassador for the construction of a permanent memorial at UN Headquarters in New York to honour the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.

Ms. Moore, in a news conference after the ceremony, said she would concentrate on business communities, celebrities, and the media “to get the word out and get it funded.”

“I may raise my voice in song too,” said the singer, who is also a Tony Award-winning actor.

Ambassador Raymond Wolfe of Jamaica, chairman of the committee established to implement  UN General Assembly resolutions to erect the memorial, said that so far just under $1 million has been collected for the project, which he estimated would cost some  $4.5 by its projected completion target of late 2012.

The Goodwill Ambassador post is in recognition of Ms. Moore’s “contribution to the arts, as well as social injustice causes, particularly in the African-American communities,” Mr. Wolfe said.

Mr. Wolfe also announced that a similar status will be granted to Jamaican reggae group Morgan Heritage.

Tete Antonio, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said: “We are pleased with the commitment expressed by both Melba Moore and Morgan Heritage to help us to achieve our objective of establishing a lasting legacy at the United Nations in memory of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. This is a significant initiative for all of humanity, but more so for Africans and for persons of African descent.”

For more details go to UN News Centre at

Thomas Park – American Revolution Battle Site at Breach Inlet

Thomson Park is a new public park on Sullivan’s Island overlooking Breach Inlet. Permanent exhibits commemorate the patriot defense against a British attack from Long Island (Isle of Palms) in June 1776. This forgotten fight was a key to the momentous American victory in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island.

Saturday, June 18, 2011
11:00-11:30am Ceremony at Breach Inlet
11:40am-12:30pm Reception & Exhibition
in the Fellowship Hall of Sunrise Presbyterian Church
In case of inclement weather, all activities will be in the church Fellowship Hall.
For more information, email Doug MacIntyre at, call 843-860-9173, or visit

CLAW Executive Director Vernon Burton Mentioned by Sonia Sotomayor as an Important Influence in Her Life

Sonia Sotomayor delivers personal, inspiring message at University of South Carolina graduation

The Daily Gamecock: The official daily newspaper of the University of South Carolina

Weaving a rags to riches tale that extolled the virtues of hard work and higher education, Justice Sonia Sotomayor told thousands of USC graduates that an education’s value should be judged on its impact in life instead of high-paying jobs or fancy titles.

The short commencement address to graduates inside the Colonial Life Arena touched on the harsh realities that lie ahead for many graduates: the job market is tougher, and average college debt is growing annually.
But using vivid examples from two key figures in her life—her mother and South Carolina native and historian Vernon Burton— she delivered an uplifting message that honed on the relentless pursuit of excellence in the midst of any circumstance.

Her speech addressed none of her legal scholarship that earned her a place on America’s highest court and talked little of her professional successes.

It was a personal, reflective address that attributed many of her current beliefs to her mother, a Puerto Rico native and Army veteran who managed to support two children in the Bronx by constantly working and never giving up hope for a better life.

Sotomayor’s father died when she was 9, but her mother funded private school and college because “that was the best for her children.”

“Education was always paramount to my mother,” Sotomayor said.

At the age of 45, Sotomayor’s mother returned to college herself in an effort to make more money for her family.

Her mother’s values were supplemented by her encounter with Vernon Burton during her time as a student at Princeton University. Burton, a native of Ninety Six, South Carolina, was a hunter and fisher who often sold boiled peanuts to help his family. His Southern drawl came in deep contrast with the New York accent Sotomayor carries.

“It seemed a very deep chasm existed between his world and mine,” Sotomayor said.

But the justice came to become good friends with the hard working, incredibly intelligent and passionate Burton. The two often commiserated over stories of helping their families and working through adversity.

Burton is now a distinguished professor at Clemson University.

Sotomayor said the opportunity to serve as a Supreme Court justice led her often to pinch herself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. She called the opportunity to speak and receive a honorary doctorate in law from USC another “pinch myself” moment.