Simeon Booker

Confidential: The only Black Republican lawmaker, Rep. J. C. Watts of Oklahoma, refuses to join the Congressional Black Caucus, touching off comments that he is being used by a political party to split Black voters. Especially defiant are Reps. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and Earl Hilliard of Alabama. On the other hand, Watts says he was not brought up as “a coward” and continues to promote the GOP as its conference chairman … Organizing a world policy council, the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity suddenly made global headlines when the group asked Nigeria to release political prisoners. The council, headed by Ambassador Horace G. Dawson Jr., wants Nigeria, Africa’s largest and richest nation, to become a force for good on the continent … A few years ago, Baltimore pastor Rev. Frank M. Reid HI, who has one of the largest congregations, lost a race to become a congressman. Recently, Reid despite a choice of candidates, supported a White man for mayor. After Martin O’Malley was elected mayor, Reid was denounced by Black ministers who canceled a speaking engagement of his in protest … PR man Ofield Dukes, once a top aide for Hubert Humphrey, was named a Democratic communications consultant, extending his party public relations connection back to 1972 … Books on the way: A biography by Rep. J. C. Watts and a personal finance manual by father-son combine, the Jesse Jacksons … The only Black American seeking a governorship for the upcoming elections, Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson welcomed support from President Bill Clinton who traveled to his state for some get-out-the-vote rallies … Boxing promoter Don King was honored with a day named for him in the nation’s capital. “Only in America” said the controversial figure who visited the city for the opening of the MCI Center which will feature world-championship boxing matches.

Simeon Booker, Washington Bureau Chief

COPYRIGHT 1999 Johnson Publishing Co.

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