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.
Conservatives have two basic reasons for their opposition to government programs that benefit lower-income citizens. The first is that financial support for the programs will come from taxing the affluent. The second is that the beneficiaries of entitlements will lose their motivation to become independent and self-reliant.
Every Sunday during the fall, millions of Americans settle in before their television sets to watch their favorite teams play football. Older African Americans can remember when black athletes were rare participants in the games, but times have changed. In the 2011 season, 70 percent of the players in the NFL were black, while blacks are only 13.1 percent of the nation’s total population. However, the conflict between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins made it appear that the race issue is still unsettled
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a major voting rights project. Its objective is "to ensure that all eligible voters have an opportunity to cast a ballot that will be counted … and to make sure that all votes are counted equally." The unconstitutional removal of Carlos Henriquez from his seat in the Legislature is equivalent to a refusal to acknowledge or count the votes that elected him.
Athletes in the Olympics have the benefit of knowing quite a bit about their competitors and the looming contest. That is not the situation in the work-a-day world. People usually have to perform against faceless standards of excellence. When students are in school they are usually even unaware of their ultimate goal except that they understand the value of achieving high grades in their courses.
With a vote of 146-5, the Massachusetts House of Representatives expelled Carlos Henriquez. More than likely that vote is unconstitutional.
Persistent competition is an element of the American character. There seems to be a constant desire to be "number one." The national motto could be "there’s always room at the top." Competitors are often willing to use improper or illegal stratagems to secure an advantage to reach that goal. Racial discrimination is a common practice that unfairly corrupts the competitive process.
Black History Month is the time every year to learn more about the travails of the descendants of the Africans brought to America centuries ago. It is the story of an unrelenting drive for freedom, justice and equality. In addition to honoring the commitment and heroism of African American forbearers and their allies, it is also important for readers to assess that history to determine what errors were made and what other strategies might have been more effective.
The recent decision of the Pennsylvania court to strike down the new voter ID law is inspiring. It should remind blacks that the drive for voting rights has begun anew.
History focuses on the human rights aspects of Rev. Martin Luther King’s ministry. Ironically, he was on a mission for economic rights in support of wage increases for garbage collectors in Memphis, Tenn., when he was assassinated. Undoubtedly, Dr. King would support present minimum wage efforts to raise workers’ salaries to lift them from poverty.
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson decreed that "this administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America." In so doing, Johnson confirmed his commitment to a compassionate policy prevalent among many civilized societies.