Serena Williams to play in S.C. at
Family Circle Cup tennis tourney
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Serena Williams, who with
drew from the Family Circle Cup two years ago to honor the
NAACP's boycott of South Carolina
tor tlying the Confederate (lag, has
told officials she'll play in this year's
Williams will join defending cham
pion Jennifer Capriati. Monica Seles
and Anna KyurnU^a in the clay-court
event April 15-21 at the Family Circle
Tennis Center. 0
"Serena Williams is a remarkable
tennis player and has accomplished so
much in her young career so far," said
Frankie Whelan, FamilyfCircle execu
me uirecior. wnai is equally impor
tant. Serena serves as such a positive rote model to young
children who dream of success not only in sports but in their
Two years ago, Williams was one of the first to commit
to the tournament. But (die became the biggest sports name
to back the economic sanctions T>y the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People to force the removal
of the Confederate flag from atop the Statehouse dome.
Williams, 18 at the time, said not playing in South Car
olina "was based on a much deeper issue and one that I feel
The South Carolina Legislature agreed to a compromise
that removed the flag and put a similar one up at the Con
federate Soldier Monument on Statehouse grounds in July
The NAACP has continued its economic sanctions,
wanting the flag removed from the grouncTs altogether. Last
year, the group picketed outside the Tennis Center during
the Family Circle. Williams didn't play in last year's event.
Black woman president of AARP
WAILUKU, Hawaii - A Maui woman has been elected
national president of the American Association of Retired
Marie Smith. 62, was elected to the position at a board
of directors meeting in Washington, D.C., last month. Next
month, she will begin a two-year term as president-elect and
then will be president of the 35 million-member organiza
tion for two years starting in 2004.
The group acts as an advocate for the elderly in nation
al, state and local governments. 0
Smith said she hopes to push for social change, includ
ing Medicare coverage for prescription drugs.
She has served as a volunteer on numerous boards and
commissions, and said it seems as though she has been
preparing all her life for this role.
"Everything seems to be leading to this," she said.
Smith, an African American, said she did not let racial
obstacles stop her from succeeding.
There was an obstacle every step of the way. but she did
n't see it as an obstacle, she said.
"I don't think I saw it as anything. This is life happen
ing." she said.
After graduating from college. Smith worked in various
cities as a manager for the U.S. Social Security Administra
tion before transferring from San Francisco to Maui about
25 years ago.
She retired about 15 years ago and has worked with her
husband in operating Aina Anuhea Tropical Garden in
Barry will run again
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Former District of Columbia
Mayor Marion Barry, the 1960s civil rights leader whose
1991 crack bust made international headlines, announced
last week that he is running for at at-large seat on the dis
trict City Council, which he says should once again be
Barry, who began, his D.C. political
career as a councilman in 1975. told
reporters he is running because he
believed his opponent, council mem
ber Phil Mendelson. who is white, has
been "woefully lacking" in his leader
"The City Council ought to reflect
the demographics of the city," he said.
"If the city's majority black, it makes
sense the City Council ought to be
The 66-year old Barry was elected to the council a sec
ond time in 1992. after serving six months in jail for cocaine
possession. In 1994. he was elected mayor for the fourth
Barry, who announced in 1998 he would not seek anoth
er term as mayor, helped build the District of Columbia into
a corporate center in the 1980s. He is a grass-roots politi
cian best known for his championing of the city's poor res
idents, frank talk about race and a patronage system of
rewarding supporters wifh government-sponsored jobs.
In 1990. he was videotaped in a Washington. D.C.. hotel
room smoking crack cocaine, and arrested during a FBI
Press reports quote Barry as saying "unqualified white
people" were getting city jobs over more qualified African
Americans. He also believes the City Council - now hold
ing a one-vote white majority - should reflect that D.C.'s
population is 60 percent black.
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
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Brazile, former head of Gore
campaign, has new gig at DNC
spkcial ro mi chkoniclk
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Democratic
National Committee (DNC) Chairman
Terry McAuliffe last week announced
that Donna Brazile. former campaign
manager for Gore-Lieberman 2()00, has
been appointed to the position of nation
al chair of the Voting Rights Institute
(VR1), the party's major initiative to pro
mote and protect the right to vote. She
takes the helm from Maynard Jackson,
former mayor of Atlanta, who has served
in the position since 2001.
"I would first like to thank Maynard
Jackson for his jyemendous leadership
and tireless work on behalf of the Demo
cratic Party. Under the leadership of
Donna Brazile. we will continue to build
on the solid foundation created by May
nard and the staff of the Voting Rights
Institute. Maynard has been and will
continue to be a powerful advocate and
dynamic member of our party," said
"It is with great pride and excitement
that we welcome Donna Brazile as the
national chair of the Voting Rights Insti
tute. From her historic role as the first
African-American woman to manage a
presidential campaign to her extensive
grassroots organizing successes. Donna
has been a national leadewn empowering
and energizing voters. Her vision, pas
sion and unparalleled experience make
her the ideal leader to direct the critical
effort of ensuring that every American
can properly and freely exercise their
constitutional- right to vote. The Voting
Rights Institute was one of my first ini
tiatives and stands at the lop of our pri
orities moving into the coming election
cycle," McAuliffe said.
Donna Brazile chats with former Vice President Al Gore. Brazile led Gore's presi
dential campaign in 2000. She now works for the DNC.
The DNC Voting Rights Institute was
created in response to the rampant viola
tions of constitutional and legislatively
protected voting rights for all Americans.
Brazile said. "The Democratic Party,
through the work of the Voting Rights
Institute, will ensure that no American is
left behind at the polls. We will not allow
the 2000 election to become an interest
ing chapter in our nation's history.
"We will make sure it ne&r happens
again. Some Americans saw their most
basic rights trampled and it is our
responsibility to channel the anger from
November 2()(H) into positive energy to
revive American democracy and give
every citizen a voice at the political
8 firefighters claim racial discrimination
, BY JENNIFER HOLLAND
lilt \SSQC1ATED PRESS
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
Capt. Robert Goodson says
he's watched less experienced
white colleagues promoted
past him during his 22-year
career with the Columbia Fire
Department and he thinks it's
because he is black.
Alter at least 10 years of
city officials ignoring the
complaints, Goodson said Fri
day he is taking action with
seven fellow firefighters who
have asked the federal govern
ment to investigate.
"We have no choice," said
Goodson, 48. If the depart
ment had followed a fair pro
motion policy. "I'd probably
be battalion chief or better,"
The firefighters want the
city to create a clear promo
tion policy and equitable pay
system or they will sue for
"There are a lot of other
people in the Fire Department
trapped in their positions,"
said Capt. Sherman Hollins.
I 47. . i ? ? ' :
Charles Austin. Columbia
assistant city manager for
public safety, said city offi
cials will cooperate with the
U.S. Equal Employment
investigation of the allega
tions and the city's promotion
"We will continue to
assess the validity of the
claims," Austin said.
The firefighters say
Columbia Fire Chief John
Jansen made it easier to dis
criminate against employees
when he abolished seniority as
a factor For promotions.
Jansen also eliminated a por
tion of the exam that tested
firefighters' knowledge of the
city's streets, which the fire
fighters say opened the gate
for those with less experience
to move up in the ranks.
"How can you challenge
anything when you have the
head of the department saying
it's the good ol" boy system."
said Deputy Fire Marshal
?ent Scott. 36.
Of the city's 340 firefight
ers. 120 are black. There is
one black assistant chief,
compared with five white. Of
the 17 battalion chiefs, two
are black. Fifteen captains are
black, while 61 are white.
"We know we have a
Hawed system." Goodson
said. "They know we don't
like it. We've told them over
Jansen did not return two
phone calls from The Associ
ated Press seeking comment.
"We will not tolerate dis
crimination and we want a
diverse work force," Colum
bia Mayor Bob Coble said.
The city has faced four
discrimination lawsuits chal
lenging promotions, he said.
Two cases filed by black
employees were dropped,
while the other two cases,
which were filed by white
employees, were settled.
"Many have raised issues
with pay equity and the pro
motion system." Coble said.
"I don't know if it means we
haven't done a very good job
with it or it is just a difficult
issue to get resolved."
An attorney for the fire
fighters. Donald Gist, said he
hopes to find an "equitable
and amicable resolution" fol
lowing the federal investiga
tion. Otherwise he will file a
lawsuit seeking actual and
Gist had a copy of a letter
firefighters sent to Coble in
1997. complaining about
unfair promotions of whites
over blacks in the Fire Depart;
ment and that white recruits
from Lexington wore Confed
erate flag insignia on their
"These men have laid their
careers on the line because
they are tired of not being pro
moted." Gist said.
Goodson said he was not
concerned about retaliation
from his supervisors. "It's
nothing new." he said.
"My clients are very hon
orable gentlemen," Gist said.
"They have taken a lot of heat
on the job."
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