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About the Tri-State Defender

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The Tri-State Defender is a weekly newspaper and daily online news resource published in Memphis, Tennessee, serving the African-American communities in Memphis and nearby areas of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. It bills itself as "The Mid-South's Best Alternative Newspaper".

The Tri-State Defender is powered by BEST Media Properties, Inc., a Tennessee Corporation established by current TSD President and Publisher, Bernal E. Smith II.

Our publication's editorial leader - Executive Editor, Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku ensures journalistic integrity and manages content from a roster of well respected African-American writers including: Dr. Timothy Moore, Lucy Shaw, Myron Mays, Kam Williams, Carlee McCUllough, and Kam Williams.

We report on local relevant content effecting Memphis Tennessee and it's metropolitan area as well as relevant news affecting the African-American community. Our subjects include metro news, sports, entertainment, business, national news, opinion, and more.

Seriously? One third of Americans think Obama is worst President since WWII

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On Wednesday, a Quinnipiac University poll revealed something that I already known to be true thanks to years of experience and access to cable television: a ridiculous amount of people choose to be willfully ignorant. In this context, it comes in the form of a third of voters professing President Barack Obama to be the worst president since World War II. This is the part where you roll your eyes to the beat of Mystikal’s “Danger,” featuring Nivea.
So who is the best president according to those polled? The Patron Saint of Conservatism and the Tim Howard of Blocking American Progress: Ronald Reagan. 
 
So who took this poll? 

The disappearance of the black coach: African-Americans shut out of college basketball

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Just a handful of years after the tumultuous, racially charged era of the 1960s, Georgetown coach John Thompson peered over his shoulder during a game at McDonough Gym in Northwest. What the coach saw he’d never forget. Neither would many others. “Thompson the [N-word] flop must go,” the racist banner read.
 
“Today, this generation doesn’t even know who John Thompson is,” said Brian Ellerbe, a Capitol Heights, Maryland, native and former NCAA Division I men’s basketball coach who worked at several schools including George Washington University in Northwest.
 
Like many, Ellerbe, 50, laments the glaring absence of African-American coaches in Division I basketball. Ellerbe stopped short of accusing anyone of racism and admits that a black coach today probably wouldn’t have to endure the bigotry faced by the legendary Thompson in the 1970s.

Who will save our missing children of color?

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A few weeks ago while attending the American Black Film Festival in New York City, I witnessed the short film “Muted.” Written by Brandi Ford, featuring “Grey’s Anatomy” star Chandra Wilson and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and directed by Rachel Goldberg, “Muted” was only 20 minutes long, but the offering sat on my chest like a lump of steel for days afterward. 
 
In the film a sweet, loving and creative African-American girl, Crystal Gladwell (Daniele Watts), leaves her home in the morning to go to school and is never seen alive again. Gleaned from the experiences of real African-American families forced to endure such terrible circumstances, “Muted’s” plot is an accurate depiction of what black families searching for their lost children can expect. A side storyline includes a white teenage girl, abducted at the same time, who is featured on the local evening news. Meanwhile, Crystal’s mother (Wilson) has to beg local journalists to cover the story, to no avail.  
 
I say this often, but art does often imitate real life. When a black child goes missing, the authorities seemingly lack in action and empathy as black parents beg for help locating their missing child. Oftentimes, standard questions place blame on the missing: “Has the child run away before? Has the child gotten into a recent disagreement with their parents? Does the child use illegal drugs? Have you checked with the child’s friends?” 
 
This hits the family with a triple whammy. First they have to convince law enforcement that their child is not the type of kid to run away. Then they have to convince the local media to air the child’s photo on the nightly news.
 
And last, they oftentimes must lead the search for their loved one themselves. While all of this is happening, they must fend off the eventual suspicions that they had something to do with the child’s disappearance themselves. 
 
These may be standard or even habitual questions. But all the while, the clock is ticking. According to Parents.com, a child goes missing or is abducted every 40 seconds in the United States. In 2001, 840,279 people were reported missing in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Of those reported missing, 85 to 90 percent were children. Twenty percent of the children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for nonfamilial abductions were not found alive. 
 
With all that’s going on in the world, it’s a safe bet that the abduction of a family’s children is among its primary fears. But for black children in particular, it’s been a horrible year.
 
As the father of an autistic son, I was an emotional wreck when autistic 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo’s remains were found near the East River in New York City in January. Avonte slipped past a security guard and walked right out the door of his Queens school in October 2013. Authorities had no leads or information on the case until three months later, when the boy’s dismembered remains were found and identified via DNA. According to a March 2014 follow-up report by the New York Times, school surveillance video showed that the unlocked door Avonte used to leave the building was purposely left open by a still-unidentified man. 
 
But it’s not the last time a black or Hispanic child has gone missing. According to the nonprofit Black & Missing Foundation, 14-year-old Alliyah Johnson of Calumet City, Ill., has been missing since June 27. Days later, on July 1, 12-year-old Talaija Dorsey of St. James Parish, La., disappeared. Yet there has been no national news coverage. Why?
 
Read more at the Shadow League.
 
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