Back to profile

Melvin B. Miller

Stories by Melvin B.

A formidable challenge

Once they are elected, city councilors representing Boston’s districts tend to hold their seats until they voluntarily give them up. But Charles Yancey, who has been elected to 16 two-year terms, might be facing his political demise on Nov. 3.

Tease photo

The true cost of incarceration

The federal and local governments in the U.S. spend $80 billion per year to maintain this high rate of incarceration. Until recently, little was known about the economic and social impact on families with one of the members in prison.

Judicial abuse of power

A new study highlights how bail in the nation’s court systems has a disproportionately negative effect on the poor.

Tease photo

Even black PhD’s lives don’t matter

The brutal police assault on former tennis star James Blake underscores the fact that social status does not make blacks immune to police aggression.

New rules invalidate the Massachusetts business model

The National Labor Relations Board ruled that when an employer exercises considerable control and direction over a so-called contractor, then the employer is held to be a joint employer with the staffing company.

Tease photo

A culture of impunity for the rich

Those wealthy enough to own controlling shares of corporations are able to influence elections and are also exculpated from personal responsibility for crimes and regulatory violations.

One million strong

Farrakhan has called for another march on the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, to present to Congress proposals to improve conditions for racial minorities in America.

Tease photo

Towards mental health

The growing awareness of mental illness in the United States is helping many families maintain mental health.

A lesson not yet learned

In past decades, blacks have fought for their rights for democratic representation. In the case of Carlos Henriquez, who lost his Massachusetts House seat under legally questionable circumstances, blacks did not mount a defence.

Tease photo

The greening of America doesn’t include workers’ pay

While many corporations are embracing sustainability, few are advocating paying their lowest-paid workers a sustainable wage.

Tease photo

A strategic blunder for "Black Lives Matter" demonstrators

In a strategic error, “Black Lives Matter” demonstrators forced Sanders from the stage when delivering a speech in his campaign for President.

Vote Tuesday, September 8

The Boston 2015 preliminary balloting will be held September 8. The only contested races for district City Council seats that will appear on the ballot Sept. 8 will be in Dorchester’s District 4 and Roxbury’s District 7. Regardless of the anticipated outcome, it is important to vote. Be somebody and be counted.

Tease photo

Consistent voter turnout is key to building real political power

Although their numbers are in decline, Republicans have executed a strategy to maintain political power by dominating state politics, occupying the governorship in 31 states and controlling 28 legislatures. African American voters have gone to the polls in high numbers during presidential races, but have failed to do so in local elections, ceding political ground to Republicans.

Tease photo

Holding police to a higher standard

Insulting, hostile and violent police supported by oppressive criminal justice systems have had a devastating impact on urban black communities. It is no wonder that the slogan “Black Lives Matter” has gained such acceptance and support.

Tease photo

Conservative ideology strangles Social Security

Conservative opposition to government intervention in capital markets has hamstrung Social Security, barring the program from investing in U.S. or foreign corporations and limiting its capacity to earn interest.

Tease photo

Too much collateral damage in war on drugs

Despite the substantial expenditure of funds, it is estimated that no more than 10 percent of the illicit drug traffic is interdicted. There is an ongoing debate, about whether we have lost the war on drugs.

Tease photo

Racial conflict obscures common concern over wealth

The Confederate flag was removed in Columbia on July 10, 2015. At that time the wealth and income disparity in America was as great as during the Great Depression of the 1930s and, with their greater population, the number of white Americans living in poverty was almost twice the number of blacks. Let the fall of the flag mark the date when Americans of limited income began to work together for the general good.

Tease photo

Trouncing Trump

The riposte to Donald Trump’s remarks by the Hispanics was so effective, African Americans should now look beyond the tired strategies for protest that were developed in the civil rights era.

Tease photo

The Charleston massacre: A symbolic act of racial hatred

It was no accident, according to Sanders, that Roof drove 120 miles to launch his attack on June 17, exactly 193 years later to the day that Denmark Vesey’s revolt was crushed. Before he pulled the trigger, Roof is reported to have said, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country and you have to go.” Roof left one person alive to tell the story. The intention was to strike terror in the hearts of African Americans.

Meaning of Texas’ Juneteenth lost in Boston

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.

Tease photo

Obamacare: Health insurance for all Americans

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.

Tease photo

The challenges to successful fatherhood

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.

Tease photo

Police brutality fuels growing anger

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.

Tease photo

A valued investment in African democracy

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.

Tease photo

A protected class of criminals

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 sets higher standard for police conduct

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.

Tease photo

Bernie Sanders candidacy pushes Democrats to left

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.

Tease photo

Job market still tight for black college graduates

The economy has improved so the unemployment rate for young college graduates has declined, but unemployment is still too high for black graduates.

Tease photo

The erosion of public confidence in police

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.

Tease photo

No justice, no peace

The Baltimore protests, and the violent police incidents that precipitated them, raise important questions about racially discriminatory policing.

Police violence: A corruption of public service

For some time the nation has been concerned about police violence against black men. Since the police officers involved were the white minions of a white government, it was assumed that the incidents were simply racial oppression. Then came the recent death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black citizen of Baltimore.

Tease photo

There are some who stood up

During the civil rights era, outstanding black athletes were often called upon to use their celebrity for the cause of racial equality. For various reasons, some failed to answer the call, but those who did attained heroic stature. The consequences for speaking up were often quite severe, and it is appropriate that those of us who benefited from their courage should hold them in great esteem.

Bringing back Dudley

At a time when men of their vintage would be seeking greater leisure, Cecil and Kenneth Guscott have just launched a major real estate development project for Dudley Square.

Tease photo

It’s time to build black wealth

America is suffering from a substantial wealth gap. A small number of residents control a disproportionate amount of the nation’s wealth. With the publication of “The Color of Wealth in Boston” report, the issue of wealth disparity took a shocking twist. This study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that while white households in Boston had a median wealth of $247,500, African American households averaged close to zero.

Forrest County: An early battle for voting rights

Little attention has been given to the role of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in exposing the egregious discrimination in the voting rights of blacks.

Tease photo

Uncovering white privilege

A recent Australian experiment documented preferential treatment whites receive, a rare glimpse at the seldom studied but pervasive privileges afforded whites.

Tease photo

Race: A diversion from America’s real problems

Americans should begin to talk diplomatically with one another to discover a way to end this debilitating racial conflict for the good of the country.

Tease photo

A hostile environment for black business success

Efforts by blacks to achieve economic success in the United States have historically been met with violence, underscoring a longstanding animosity toward black business

Tease photo

The beginning of a black business boom?

The racial wealth gap in America will never diminish significantly without a major increase in the growth of black ownership in businesses.

Tease photo

Systemic injustice

The recently published U.S. Department of Justice report on the Ferguson, Mo. police department was shocking even to tough law and order conservatives.

Tease photo

A billboard to honor founder of Ku Klux Klan greeted marchers at Selma "Bloody Sunday" event

Those who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" were greeted with a billboard to honor the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Construction Development in Boston is booming and Massport plans on diversity playing a central role.

Massport expects full participation in designing, construction, equity, business tenancy as well as jobs with their $700 million construction projects.

Tease photo

Disrespect for nation’s president is un-American

Rudy Giuliani’s criticism of President Barack Obama was so beyond the pale that it failed to provoke thoughtful comment. However, one could perceive in Giuliani’s attitude an impending social danger for the nation.

Tease photo

A silent assault on personal security

While news media have focused attention on the U.S. government surveillance uncovered by Edward Snowden, corporations have attained unprecedented access to personal data in recent years.

Searching for Boston's New Superintendent

Is an open forum the best method for this high level position?

When colleges want a new president, the usual procedure is to select a committee of knowledgeable trustees and others to conduct a search.

Tease photo

A snow job by the Mayor's office

New ruling against place holders will provoke an avalanche of criticism

There seemed to be no rational plan to cope with the unprecedented volume of snow.

Tease photo

A legacy of terror

The Equal Justice Initiative has recently issued an academically rigorous report on the historical and sociological implications of the odious practice of terror lynching that sustained the national policy of white supremacy.

The consequences of prolonged neglect of MBTA

When things go wrong, the immediate reaction is to blame someone for the problem. Finding the culprit seems to be more important than curing the crisis. With the collapse of Boston’s public transit system because of the mounting snowfall, the media quickly asserted that the inconvenience was caused by the alleged incompetence of the MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

Tease photo

Delayed diversity in the NHL

The New England Patriots’ Super Bowl victory provides an indication of the value of racial diversity. Without consideration of race, the team management selects players on the basis of talent and availability. Then through practice and team discipline, the players become a united gridiron force on game day. Other professional sports teams — football, basketball and baseball — have a similar approach, but black players have not been prominent in hockey.

Tease photo

A new challenge to fair housing

It would be truly oppressive for the Supreme Court to rule that the government cannot establish incentives to achieve the goal of racial integration in housing. The nation recognized in 1968 that segregated housing is contrary to the principal of equal rights. The Fair Housing Act would be an unacceptable remedy if it failed to curtail the further implementation of segregated housing, even if it was inadvertent.