In an extensive column in the Sunday, June 10, 2018 edition of the Detroit Free Press, Rochelle Riley cited my pioneering and viciously opposed affirmative action crusade of three decades ago as Deputy Superintendent of the Rochester Community Schools. In her incisive two-page column, Ms. Riley referred to an incident in which my house was riddled with midnight bullets from guns of the local Southeastern Michigan Skinheads for my aggressive hiring and promoting black teachers, principals, and directors. (The shooters were caught, and one of them died in prison.)
Ms. Riley’s column also examined the incident where a Rochester resident fired a shotgun at a lost fourteen-year-old who had come to his doorstep seeking help while being black. It described the bold efforts of Detroit police detective Khary Mason to take up the historic baton and run the anti-racism race in Rochester, where he resides. When his son was repeatedly called the ‘n’ word on a school bus, Detective Mason went to the principal and then to the superintendent to seek justice. Finding little and none, he organized a Rochester human-rights group called PEERS, which I applaud. This righteously militant group is reminiscent of UPWARD (United Parents Working to Advance Rochester’s Diversity)–the 1980s and early 1990s coalition of black, Jewish, and liberal Christian parents that organized to save my job when raucous Rochester racists demanded my dismissal.
UPWARD’s successful initiatives are described in detail in my 2010 autobiography, ‘A Life on the RUN – Seeking and Safeguarding Social Justice.’.
We can discern from Ms. Riley’s landmark column that the more things change, the more they sadly remain the same. Now Ms. Riley (and hopefully columnists in the other Detroit daily) will tell the TRUE and COMPLETE story of what has happened specifically to the DETROIT Public Schools; i.e., the state’s unwarranted 1999 takeover of that then-solvent and academically sound district and the current Governor’s appointment of whom Michigan National Action Political Director Sam Riddle calls Uncle Tom-style “handkerchief heads” who mistreated and miseducated our DPS kids for an entire generation–and what really NEEDS to happen to restore the now-financially and educationally ravaged school district to solvency and academic excellence. As the recent pro bono DPS Superintendent under that state-imposed emergency financial mismanagement (and having been fired by the Emergency Manager in 2013 when the detested EM law that Michiganians voted to have rescinded in 2012 was undemocratically reinstated by Lansing), I will continue to oppose these injustices in my upcoming columns in this newspaper and on my Saturday morning shows at 9:30 and Monday evenings at 6:30 on WCHB1340 AM–also to be videotaped for streaming on DetroitIPtelevision (DETipTV.com), and for placement on my Facebook page and on my website, http://www.AlifeontheRUN.com. Further, I have started up a podcast to market my books, which recount much of Detroit’s story that began for me at 6021 16th Street in January, 1936. My books are available at The Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass (313-832-1155), the Grey Wolf Scriptorium, 145 E. 14 Mile in Clawson (248-629-6800), Barnes & Noble book stores, and on amazon.com (type in Dr. John Telford). Signed copies can be ordered at 313-460-8272.
Detroit activist educator John Telford currently serves as the DPSCD Poet-in-Residence. In his youth, he outran Olympic champions as a U.S. national track team sprinter and an NCAA All-American at WSU. Call in to his radio show at (313) 837-1340.
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