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.
Juneteenth was originally a celebration for Texans. Efforts to extend it beyond the Lone Star State create a historical conundrum. The date that should be celebrated for the legal abolition of slavery in America is Dec. 6, 1865, for the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
In a dispositive 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court recently rescued 6.4 million Americans in 34 states from the loss of their health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, derisively referred to as Obamacare by its opponents, included language that would deny benefits to those otherwise eligible but who had purchased their insurance from the federal marketplace instead of state-owned exchanges.
For many black men, Father’s Day was a time for poignant memories rather than unbridled joy. Life in America for many blacks is challenging and full of frustration. The standard for attaining full manhood always seems just beyond reach, and black males are frequently blamed for many of society’s ills. Also, the criminal justice system is unjustly severe. A recent study by USA Today finds something that blacks have always observed — there is a “staggering disparity” in the arrest rates of black men across the country.
Reports about police brutality against blacks are now so common that even fervent advocates of aggressive law enforcement are beginning to question police behavior. The once common attitude was to assume that the person victimized by the police had broken the law and thus deserved such mistreatment. Even many blacks had acquired that point of view. But now modern video technology has made every citizen a witness to the violent incidents. The recent killing of Usaamah Rahim in Boston foretells some of the perils to society created by excessive police aggression.
The decision of the U.S. State Department not to extend funding for the African Presidential Center (APC) at Boston University could be financially fatal for the organization and thus be at odds with the policy of major nations to increase their international presence.
Corporations are endowed with the rights of an individual under U.S. law, but often enable individual wrongdoers to escape punishment for malfeasance. What kind of system of justice does the nation have when felons can defraud the world, essentially with impunity, because they control enormous wealth?
Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby’s grand jury indictment against the six police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray demonstrates that district attorney’s can secure justice in cases against police.
The political campaign has begun to elect the successor to President Barack Obama. It is still much too early to engage the interest of the voters, the decisive election is not until November 2016. But before then, the candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders should arouse considerable press coverage. While most campaigns are between Democrats and Republicans of varying stripes, Sanders is an avowed democratic socialist who is running as a Democrat.
The economy has improved so the unemployment rate for young college graduates has declined, but unemployment is still too high for black graduates.
With high profile police killings of unarmed blacks increasingly publicized through cell phone videos, the public may no longer be willing to support the exorbitant salaries many officers earn.