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Joseph Richard ‘Nigerian’ Winters: Ladders of Success

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The 19th century brought about changes in the architectural designs of many American cities. New materials were used, buildings began to reach skyscraper heights. The downside to these taller buildings was that, in case of fire, residents could not be evacuated as fast or as safe.

At that time, firefighters still used horse-drawn engines to carry their ladders. The length could not be excessive, as this would prevent the engines from turning corners if access to a narrow street or alley was necessary/

Joseph Winters (1816–1916) thought it would be more effective to mount the ladder on the engine itself, and that it could be fashioned in a way that it could be raised up in sections: foldable and collapsible. As a result, he invented a wagon-mounted fire escape ladder for the city of Chambersburg, Pa. His creation, which later received a patent (1878), would save countless lives within the inner city.

Winters improved upon his design, receiving another patent in 1879. In 1882, he would patent the traditional fire escape: the model attached to the sides of buildings. Although he received much praise for creating lifesaving equipment, little money was made. Soon after, Winters took part in oil prospecting in the Chambersburg area. The venture proved unsuccessful.

He would later dabble in politics, writing a campaign song for Democrat William Jennings Bryan during the 1896 presidential campaign.

That Winters created the original design of the wagon-mounted ladder has been incorrectly reported. George Huttman and George Kornelio introduced the idea in 1849. Winters’ ladder was constructed of a metal frame and parallel steps; the original design was made of wood. It was 29 years after Huttman and Kornelio’s ladder that Winters’ own received a patent.

Winters was raised by his grandmother in Waterford, Va. during a time when many Black families were free, and Quakers were abolitionists. He worked as a farmer and later as a mechanic for the Cumberland Valley Railroad. He was also a fisherman and a hunter.

While working at Harpers Ferry sanding brick molds, Winters’ family decided to move to Chambersburg. There, he was active in the Underground Railroad, helping enslaved people escape to freedom. He wrote in his autobiography, “Ten Days After the Battle of Gettysburg,” that he arranged the meeting between Frederick Douglass and John Brown at the quarry in Chambersburg before the historic Harpers Ferry raid in 1859.

Douglass, however, wrote a different account of the events. His autobiography credits a local barber, Henry Watson. No copies of Winters’ autobiography have survived.

In 2005, a historic marker was placed at the Junior Hose and Truck Company #2 in Chambersburg. It notes Winters’ patents for the fire escape ladder and hose conductor as well as his involvement with the Underground Railroad.

Winters’ marital and parental status remain a mystery to researchers. He died sometime in 1916 near Chambersburg and is buried in the local Mount Lebanon Cemetery.

About Tamara Shiloh

Tamara Shiloh has published the first two books in her historical fiction chapter book series, Just Imagine…What If There Were No Black People in the World is about African American inventors, scientists and other notable Black people in history. The two books are Jaxon’s Magical Adventure with Black Inventors and Scientists and Jaxon and Kevin’s Black History Trip Downtown. Tamara Shiloh has also written a book a picture book for Scholastic, Cameron Teaches Black History, that will be available in June, 2022. Tamara Shiloh’s other writing experiences include: writing the Black History column for the Post Newspaper in the Bay area, Creator and Instruction of the black History Class for Educators a professional development class for teachers and her non-profit offers a free Black History literacy/STEM/Podcast class for kids 3d – 8th grade which also includes the Let’s Go Learn Reading and Essence and tutorial program.   She is also the owner of the Multicultural Bookstore and Gifts, in Richmond, California, Previously in her early life she was the /Editor-in-Chief of Desert Diamonds Magazine, highlighting the accomplishments of minority women in Nevada; assisting with the creation, design and writing of a Los Angeles-based, herbal magazine entitled Herbal Essence; editorial contribution to Homes of Color; Editor-in-Chief of Black Insight Magazine, the first digital, interactive magazine for African Americans; profile creations for sports figures on the now defunct PublicFigure.com; newsletters for various businesses and organizations; and her own Las Vegas community newsletter, Tween Time News, a monthly publication highlighting music entertainment in the various venues of Las Vegas. She is a member of:
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
  • Richmond Chamber of Commerce
  • Point Richmond Business Association
  • National Association of Professional Women (NAPW)
  • Independent Book Publishers Association (IPBA)
  • California Writers Club-Berkeley & Marin
  • Richmond CA Kiwanis
  • Richmond CA Rotary
  • Bay Area Girls Club
Tamara Shiloh, a native of Northern California, has two adult children, one grandson and four great-grand sons. She resides in Point Richmond, CA with her husband, Ernest. www.multiculturalbookstore.com

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Bay Area

Ida Times-Green Running for State Assembly District 12

Ida Times-Green became a voice for Marin City schoolchildren over the segregation in their school. She was appointed as a Sausalito Marin City School Board Trustee in 2014 and subsequently won election as the top vote-getter in 2018.

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California State Assembly District 12 after 2020 redistricting cycle (From ballotpedia.org). Lower left of map: Ida Times-Green.
California State Assembly District 12 after 2020 redistricting cycle (From ballotpedia.org). Lower left of map: Ida Times-Green.

By Godfrey Lee

Ida Times-Green, a resident of Marin City, is running for California State Assembly District 12 of California in the upcoming June 7 election.

Times-Green promises to fight for affordable housing, single-payer healthcare, living wages and union workers, resilience to wildfires, climate justice policies, reforming law enforcement, public education and student debt relief.

“There are numerous issues facing our state that I believe are critical — single-payer healthcare, affordable housing, homelessness, wildfire resiliency — with the climate crisis being an existential threat and dealing with that must underlie everything we do.

It’s about more than just this district — it’s about the future of California,” Times-Green wrote on her Facebook page.

Times-Green is also concerned with women’s reproductive rights, wildfire resiliency, and post-COVID revitalization. Her position on these issues can be found at Idatimesgreenforassembly.com

Times-Green showed her concern for the community when she and her late husband, Edward Lee “Boone” Green. Boone Green, the founder of the Marin City Boxing Club, founded One Kid at a Time, a nonprofit dedicated to mentor at-risk children and young adults in 2013. The couple believed that with support, these young people could be steered in the right direction despite prior risky behavior. It was a belief that led them to help many young adults find homes and graduate from high school.

Times-Green became a voice for Marin City schoolchildren over the segregation in their school. She was appointed as a Sausalito Marin City School Board Trustee in 2014 and subsequently won election as the top vote-getter in 2018.

Today, Times-Green is in her eighth year as a board trustee with the Sausalito Marin City School District (SMCUSD). She is fulfilling the desegregation mandate handed down by former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in August 2019 and creating a multicultural learning environment for all children in the district. She also helps the community every day through her full-time job as a social worker for the County of Marin.

She is an active member of the faith community at the Cornerstone Community Church of God in Christ in Marin City. She was previously a member of Village Baptist Church in Petaluma. Times-Green’s heart for her community is large, with a strong desire to serve for many years to come.

Times-Green’s many endorsements include the Health Care for All (HCA), California State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond, Marin County Supervisors Susan Adams (ret.) and Kate Sears (ret.), Marin County Office of Education Deputy Superintendent Terena Mares, San Anselmo Vice Mayor Steve Burdo, Tiburon Councilmember Noah Griffin, Sausalito Marin City School District Superintendent Dr. Itoco Garcia, and SMCSD boardmembers Lisa Bennett and Bonnie Hough, Esq., California Democratic Party Senior Caucus Chair Ruth Carter and 1W Regional Director Pat Johnstone. Ida Times-Green can be reached at idaforassembly@gmail.com or call (415)231-8807.

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Activism

OPINION: Why Every Californian Should Support the Prescription Drug Pricing Bill

For 30 years CHCs have used those savings to provide free medications to patients experiencing homelessness, free transportation vouchers, free nutrition classes, and hire provider types (like community health workers) who are not billable within Medi-Cal. Today, there are over 1,300 health centers in California that provide care to 7.2 million people — that’s 1 in every 5 Californians and 1 in 3 Medi-Cal patients.

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Dr. Oliver Brooks is chief medical officer and past chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles.
Dr. Oliver Brooks is chief medical officer and past chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles.

By Dr. Oliver Brooks, Special to California Black Media

In 1992, the federal government enacted the 340B Drug Discount Program. It afforded community health centers (CHCs) the ability to provide pharmacy services to their patients, a service that many CHCs did not have the resources to provide otherwise.

The program protects safety-net providers, including CHCs, from escalating drug prices, allowing us to purchase drugs at a discounted rate from manufacturers and pass those discounts directly to the patient. This program is presently under threat.

That is why I support Dr. Richard Pan’s Senate Bill (SB) 939. This bill, currently being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Health, would prohibit discriminatory actions by drug manufacturers and administrators when providing 340B drugs to health centers and the patients they serve.

It provides important consumer protections that are necessary to protect 340B savings and ensure that the savings remain with health centers and their communities, creating greater access to health care and equity for all.

The 340B Program also allows safety-net providers the ability to accrue savings that must be reinvested directly into patient care and services. Thus, the program enables covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.

For 30 years CHCs have used those savings to provide free medications to patients experiencing homelessness, free transportation vouchers, free nutrition classes, and hire provider types (like community health workers) who are not billable within Medi-Cal.

Today, there are over 1,300 health centers in California that provide care to 7.2 million people — that’s 1 in every 5 Californians and 1 in 3 Medi-Cal patients.

Additionally, 68% of CHC patients are from BIPOC communities. CHCs are often the only source of primary and preventative care for California’s most diverse communities, including those experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and agricultural workers.

Anyone who walks into our health centers today can access a variety of services from primary care to dental to behavioral health care and a variety of wraparound services, regardless of whether they have health insurance, or an ability to pay for care. A large part of why we’re able to offer those services is thanks to savings we receive from the 340B program.

In recent years the 340B program has been under assault by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), drug manufacturers, and others within Big Pharma.

Through the expansion of the Affordable Care Act & Medi-Cal, more low-income patients can access healthcare in California, meaning more are also able to access medications, causing the 340B program to expand. Given this fact, manufacturers have put practices in place that limit patient access to 340B priced drugs while PBMs focus on trying to take 340B savings away from CHCs, and out of the local communities that need them, threatening patient access to critical medicines made available through the program.

Health centers were born out of the Civil Rights Movement to ensure that all communities, particularly communities of color, would have access to high-quality care that is provided in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner. This program has allowed covered entities, including CHCs, to contract with local pharmacies so that our patients can access low-cost medications in a convenient manner. The continual acts of greed by pharmaceutical companies and PBMs threatens equity and access that CHCs were designed to create.

Community health centers around the country are sounding the alarm over Rx drugs manufacturers’ attacks on the federal 340B program. Since 2019, 21 states have passed laws addressing PBM discrimination against 340B covered entities.

It’s time for California, the policy trendsetter, to become the next state to protect the 340B program so it can operate as intended.

That is why Dr. Richard Pan’s SB 939 is so important and why I so fervently speak in favor of this legislation.

Dr. Oliver Brooks is chief medical officer and past chief of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Watts Healthcare Corporation in Los Angeles.

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Bay Area

As San Francisco’s Newest D.A. Faces Recall Threat, Black Activists Speak Out

A former public defender whose parents were incarcerated for years, San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin was seen as someone who would reduce incarceration and deal with racial bias and racism in the criminal justice system.

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San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin. Votersedge.org photo.
San Francisco D.A. Chesa Boudin. Votersedge.org photo.

By Lee Hubbard

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is in trouble and his job is on the political ropes as he faces a recall election on June 7 to remove him from office.

Elected in 2019, as a progressive reformer who would apply justice to the office and fight crime by bringing a different approach to law and order.

A former public defender whose parents were incarcerated for years, Boudin was seen as someone who would reduce incarceration and deal with racial bias and racism in the criminal justice system.

But things have gone sideways for him. Elected just before the COVID-19 epidemic, crime went down for a while, then it skyrocketed with car break-ins, store robberies and quality-of-life issues, such as open drug dealing and drug usage and people camping out and loitering on the streets.

Seeing that petty crimes were not stopping, in 2021 there were two efforts to recall Boudin. One led by Rich Greenberg, a member of the Republican Party, failed, falling short on votes. The second effort to recall Boudin was led by Mary Jung and Andrea Shorter.

Jung is a former chairwoman of the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee, and this effort, as polling data suggests, may be successful.

The recall has split San Francisco’s Black community.

“I think that people need to sit down eyeball-to-eyeball and come to common ground on political issues,” said the Rev. Amos Brown of Third Baptist Church and head of the San Francisco NAACP. “I have never supported recalls, unless it’s a situation of malfeasance or a violent act.”

On the other hand, Mayor London Breed has been very critical of Boudin. Though she has expressed her disfavor with Boudin in the press, she has not publicly stated whether or not she supports the recall.

The move to recall Boudin grew during the crime spree of Troy McAlister. McAlister was on state parole when he stole a car with a gun from another city and came to San Francisco where he hit and killed two women with the car in downtown San Francisco as he was trying to avoid the police.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association then called out Boudin, saying he was soft on crime. McAlister had previous arrests, but he had not been charged with those crimes, and was, instead, referred to the Parole Division.

Black activists, however, like Boudin’s emphasis on restorative justice and they believe he is fighting against bias in the criminal justice system. In his election for District Attorney, Boudin got 35.6% of the first-place votes. To defeat the recall, Boudin needs 50% plus one vote to avoid the recall.

“I think this recall is unnecessarily expensive and an attempt to undermine voters,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, who represents District 10. “Recalls cost millions of dollars and take away the voice of the people (unless there was a crime committed or incompetence).”

But Boudin’s chances of staying in office do not look good. Public Policy Polling revealed recently that 48% of San Franciscans plan on voting ‘yes’ on the recall and 38% ‘no,’ with 14% undecided.

San Francisco’s recall effort is one of three nationally to overturn progressive district attorneys who have made fighting racial bias in the criminal justice system an issue.

Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is facing a recall for his new job as the Los Angeles district attorney. In Illinois, a state representative introduced a bill to authorize a recall against Kim Foxx, a Black state’s attorney for Cook County.

National figures including Rev. Jessie Jackson, Angela Davis, John Legend and Danny Glover, support Boudin. These and other national voices, see Boudin as a trendsetter in criminal justice and a person who can enact policies that can be copied in other cities across the country.

“I also believe this recall is an attack on criminal justice reform and the right for the voters to choose their representatives,” continued Walton. “There will be an election for district attorney next year. That is the time to vote on that office.”

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