Posted on March 4, 2010

PBS Host Smiley Calls Meeting to Urge Black Agenda

Jesse Washington, Google News, March 3, 2010

Two months after ending his annual State of the Black Union conference, Tavis Smiley is gathering African-American advocates to press the case for a “black agenda.”

The decision was motivated by what Smiley called recent statements from some black leaders downplaying the need for President Barack Obama to specifically help African-Americans.

“I was compelled to do it because of this debate,” the activist and PBS talk show host said Wednesday.

The panel discussion will be March 20 at Chicago State University. Panelists include advertising pioneer Tom Burrell, professors Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux.


Some black politicians and activists have recently begun to question Obama’s longtime stance that helping the overall economy will improve the fortunes of blacks who are disproportionately poor and unemployed.

West, for example, gave Obama a grade of C minus on policies and priorities focused on poor and working people, saying, “He has really not come through in any substantial and significant way.” {snip}


He [Smiley] said that the Obama campaign and black leaders asked African-Americans for help during the election, but that “now that he’s elected, what are black people being asked to do to hold him accountable to our agenda?”