Vol. 5    No. 7
APRIL 8, 2010

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

Subscription Information:
The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
($45 a year)
Contact Number:
(608) 241-2000
Advertising: Claire G. Mendoza


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Paul Barrows,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran,
Fabu, Andrew Gramling, Lang
Kenneth Haynes, Eileen Cecille
Hocker, Heidi Pascual, Jessica
Pharm, Laura Salinger, Jessica
Strong, & Martinez White

Heidi @
    During the next month, the Madison Metropolitan School District will be deliberating on $17-18 million worth
of cuts to school programming. In the eyes of some community and education activists, these cuts will fall most
heavily on programs and staff that work directly and indirectly to close the racial academic achievement gap.
Funding for GED and HSED tutoring and testing as well as after school programming are on the line. Starting July
1, if these cuts are implemented, the regular school day for many students of color and low-income students may
be markedly different and on some levels, they will be on their own more than ever.
   It is my sense that the hearts of some of the MMSD board members — if not most — are not in these cuts, but
feel that they are necessary due to the fiscal crisis the district is facing brought on by the shrinking state school
aids. And right now, they are averse to raising property taxes to fill the $17-18 million shortfall. They are getting
that “no new taxes” message loud and clear. Unless members of this community stand up and say loud and
clear that they do not want to see cuts to this programming, I am afraid that the budget cuts will happen and they
will have a big impact on students of color and low-income students.
   There are probably two big opportunities for the public to express their feelings about the proposed 2010-2011
MMSD budget and the $17-18 million in cuts. On April 12, public testimony will be allowed at the MMSD board
meeting at 6 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton Street. In addition, on Sunday, April 18 at 1:
00 p.m. at Warner Park Community Recreation Center, 1625 Northport Dr., there will be a public hearing at which
people can give public testimony.
   It is important for people concerned for the future of students of color and low-income students to stand up and
be heard at these public forums. If the MMSD school board doesn’t hear from you, then you better believe that
the MMSD budget ax will fall down on this programming. Speak now at these two public speaking opportunities
for the programming that is affecting your and your friends’ children or watch silently as the programming and
staffing designed to help your children disappear.
   May 8, 2010 will be the centennial of the birth of Mary Lou Williams. You may be asking yourself ‘Mary Lou
Who?’ Well until last spring when my eyes were opened by Fabu, Madison’s poet laureate and Jane Reynolds,
jazz pianist extraordinaire, I didn’t know either. Well, Mary Lou Williams is rightly referred to as the First Lady of
Jazz. Over the course of six decades, Mary Lou wrote hundreds of songs, recorded 100 records and wrote and
arranged music for the likes of Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. She also mentored jazz greats such as
Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
   Mary Lou’s music spanned many periods of jazz including ragtime, swing and bebop. Her piano playing is
second to none and flows through one’s soul like a warm spring breeze, raising one’s spirit to places on high.
Mary Lou worked tirelessly to preserve jazz as an art form. And in an age where it was the men who were
showcased in the genre, Mary Lou sat quietly, letting her beautifully gifted fingers do her talking. In photos from
the early period, she is the lone woman sitting with a roomful of male jazz musicians. She was devoted to jazz
and not her own self-promotion.
   There is a group in town called the Mary Lou Williams Centennial Celebration Committee, an eclectic group of
jazz devotees and performers, who have volunteered their efforts to use the centennial of Mary Lou Williams
birth to raise her to her proper place as one of the most important figures in jazz history and to rekindle the love
of jazz among our younger generations and the African American community.
   On Sunday, May 2, the celebration will continue at the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall when our own
Richard Davis, who played with Mary Lou in New York City back in the day, will headline a wonderful cast of
performing artists including Fabu and Jane Reynolds reprising their piano-poetry tribute to Mary Lou, members of
the UW First Wave Program and the Sun Prairie and Middleton High School jazz ensembles. All of them will be
incorporating Mary Lou’s music and life into their performances. It should be quite a fine afternoon of jazz and
memories of Mary Lou.
   For more information, visit the centennial website at
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                       School Cuts & Mary Lou
Focus on HBCUs
Dr. David Wilson appointed to Obama’s
HBCU Commission