A native of Boston, Melvin B. Miller has been actively involved in political and public affairs for more than 40 years. In 1965, he founded the Bay State Banner, a weekly newspaper advocating the interests of Greater Boston’s African American community. Miller has served as the Banner’s publisher and editor since its inception.
Prior to the establishment of the Banner, Miller was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. In 1973, the State Banking Commissioner appointed him as the Conservator of the Unity Bank and Trust Company, Boston’s first minority bank. Under his stewardship the bank’s operations became profitable for the first time. In 1977, the Mayor of Boston appointed him as one of the three original commissioners of the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. He later became chairman of the commission in 1980, and managed its operating budget of $193.2 million.
Miller was also a founding partner in the law firm of Fitch, Miller and Tourse, a primarily corporate law firm and he engaged in the practice of law there from 1981 until 1991. He was also Vice President and General Counsel of WHDH-TV, Boston’s CBS affiliate from 1982 until 1993.
A long-term trustee of Boston University, Miller became a Trustee Emeritus in 2005. He served in the three-member National Advisory Council to American Companies doing business in South Africa under the Sullivan Principles until the council was disbanded after the fall of apartheid. Miller is also a trustee of the Huntington Theatre Company and a director of OneUnited Bank, the largest African American owned and operated bank in the U.S.
A graduate of Boston Latin School, Harvard University and Columbia Law School, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters was conferred on him by Suffolk University and Emerson College.
Black students have every right to file an official complaint of racial abuse, but it is good to remember that it is also demeaning to be considered a whiner. Bigoted whites have every right to dislike blacks as long as they do not violate the blacks’ peaceful enjoyment of the academic process. However, polite society will tend not to embrace those with a disposition to reject others on the basis of race, religion or country of origin.
There is a common practice across America for communities to erect statues or monuments to honor the achievements of local residents. For those whose accomplishments are less prodigious, it is customary to place their names on buildings, public squares or streets. The objective is to imbed in the culture the character of the honoree to serve as a role model for future generations. But now protestors have begun to challenge the worthiness of some of those who have been so memorialized.
Martin Luther King, Jr. grew up at a time when it was culturally expedient to induce youth to mature quickly. MLK was born on Jan. 15, 1929, the same year that the Great Depression began. This period of economic decay continued until 1941, and it created a sense of urgency about survival among Americans, especially blacks. The life expectancy for an African American born in 1930 was only 48.1 years.
Conservatives tolerate the nation’s horrific gun violence in order not to jeopardize their right to amass substantial personal arsenals. Stricter gun laws might disrupt the conservatives’ plans. America has become a nation at war with itself.
Opportunities for African Americans in the new year are promising. The economy is improving and blacks appear to be more confident when confronting racial discrimination. Nonetheless, there should be no complacency about the latent opposition. Nothing illustrates the intensity of the white vs. black conflict more than the case of Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas.
It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump’s supporters will move beyond the bigoted tone of that campaign to pursue their economic interests in partnership with blacks, Latinos and Asians.
Rarely do ethnic or racial groups mobilize at the beginning of the year to establish plans to improve their economic status. But Freeze Frame Black Boston has begun the process of establishing a black economic manifesto to do just that.
Fear, nativism and incivility seem to be on the rise in the United States with ISIS attacks and the vitriol of Donald Trump’s campaign for president dominating headlines. But as we enter the Christmas season, it may be in our best interest to remember the principle of “goodwill to all men.”
From the time that he first ran for president, some Americans have asserted that Barack Obama was not qualified. Opposing whites rallied behind the “birther” movement that claimed Obama was foreign born and consequently failed to meet the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural born Citizen … of the United States.” Also, some blacks complained that Obama was not authentic because his African ancestors did not experience the historical racial oppression in America. Now comes Professor Michael Eric Dyson to assert that if elected president, Hillary Clinton will accomplish more for blacks than Obama ever did.
With the ISIS inspired massacres in Paris and San Bernardino, the call for more U.S. boots on the ground in Syria has become more strident. The commitment of a massive number of troops from the volunteer U.S. military raises a moral issue. The upper class is sending the poor into battle to resolve the politicians’ foreign policy mistakes.