| When Dorothy Pinkney talked with 8’OClock Buzz host at WORT Radio, Stan Woodard about her husband, 60-year old Rev. Edward Pinkney who
remains at the Berrien County Jail in St. Joseph, Mich., she was emphatic about the situation. “The jail [Berrien County Jail] is crowded and
conditions inhuman,” said Mrs. Pinkney. Atty. Woodard agrees that Rev. Pinkney “has been subjected to cruel and unusual treatment.” Mrs. Pinkney is
fighting to save her husband’s life.
The effort now, said Mrs. Pinkney, is to “put pressure on Rep. John Conyers to move and take action.” Rep. Conyers should have been
involved with this case prior to March 21, 2007 when Rev. Pinkney was convicted by an all-White jury of five counts of voter fraud.
Benton Harbor is a New Orleans in Conyers’ home state of Michigan! St. Joseph, a predominantly White and wealthy town, is next door to
Benton Harbor where predominantly Black residents fought with Rev. Pinkney to stop Whirlpool Corporation from building Harbor Shores, a luxury
housing for people, as Woodard described them, “with big bucks.”
This case has a little of everything: organizing and protesting for injustice and the denial of human rights against land theft, gangsterism, torture —
in other words, a continued acknowledgment of the Papal Bull of 1452 declaring Africans and their descendents in the Americas “outside” of
humanity — in short, the continued perpetuation of White supremacy. Picketing the Berrien County Courthouse for its treatment or mistreatment
of Black Americans, Rev. Pinkney struggled along with his community for human rights. With Black Autonomy for Network Community Organization
(BLANCO), Rev. Pinkney hasn’t hesitated to protest injustice. Of course, his organizing, protests, and marches have been an annoyance to the
authorities in Benton Harbor/St. Joseph.
With the 90 percent Black residents of Benton Harbor, Pinkney and BLANCO began a campaign to stop the land theft and development of Harbor
Shores. This luxury housing, retail development and Jack Nicklaus golf course would “displace” Black Americans living in Benton Harbor, according
to Workers World’s Cheryl LaBash. A tidal wave of land developers, well-connected powerful politicians like Glenn Yarbrough and Whirlpool
Corporation organized, too, to duplicate the scenario in New Orleans (all across this country!) by selling, according to Solidarity, “465 acres of prime
lakefront” land for less than “a million dollars.”
Three organizations maneuvered to “gentrify” or cleanse the area of Black citizens. According to Workers World, the co-owners of Harbor Shores
are Harbor Shores developers, Cornerstone Alliance for World-Class Communities (get a load of this title!), and Whirlpool Foundation. “The plan would
strip the town of its only beach and attach the land to an adjoining — and mostly White — township,” writes Ted Taggart, in “Framing
Reverent Pinkney,” Solidarity.
Remember that predominantly White neighboring town of St. Joseph? It’s a new world order that is a good deal for Whites and not so good a deal
for Black Americans. I suggest that you link to Peoples’ Tribune.org to read “How Whirlpool Corporation Takes Over a Town” by Rev. Pinkney, October
2007. The citizens of Benton Harbor went into action again to protest their right to live! With the leadership of Rev. Pinkney and BLANCO, they
organized a grassroots “petition drive” to recall Yarbrough — and their efforts were successful. In February 2005, Rev. Pinkney unseated Yarbrough.
But Yarbrough met with Whirlpool, Cornerstone Alliance (subsidiary of Whirlpool), and the county Prosecutor James Cherry. They determined
to find evidence of voters’ fraud in the recall of Yarbrough (Solidarity).
The 2006 documentary “What’s Going on in Benton Harbor” will pick up the story from here. But there has been an effort to silence Rev. Pinkney in
prison. See “Voices from Benton Harbor, MI” at the Peoples’ Tribune website, which includes the words of Mrs. Pinkney — “Corruption and
Deceitfulness Continues in Berrien County Courthouse” (February 2008, Belind Brown). He was in lockdown and he was refused communications with
his family and lawyer.
Rev. Pinkney could spend 20 years in prison — and why? While this activist, fighter, community leader sits in Berrien County Jail dealing with
“poor food, minimal sanitation” (Solidarity), and facing the outbreak of Methicillin staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA) last month, Yarbrough,
Cornerstone Alliance and Whirlpool Foundation are free to continue their criminal behavior of racial gentrification otherwise known as ethnic
cleansing in Benton Harbor.
Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney has voiced her concern and support for the release of Rev. Edward Pinkney who she hailed
as a worker for justice against the Whirlpool Corporation.
The Michigan Emergency Community against War and Injustice (MECAWI) is organizing transportation to the Berrien County Courthouse for Rev.
Pinkney’s hearing scheduled for March 7, 2008. The number to contact is 313 680 5508. Demand that Rev. Pinkney’s pardon and immediate release:
Call Rep. Conyers (Democrat, Michigan) at 313-961-5670. Send donations (legal fee donations, non-profit, tax-deductible): BANCO, 1940 Union
Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022; Bhbanco.blogspot.com