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Mfume "Do Right"

Kweisi Mfume is locked in a tight primary race for the U.S. Senate, but that's not the only vote that counts this election season. Mfume is also in the running in Essence magazine's "Do Right Man" competition.

"Who says a good single black man is hard to find?" the magazine proclaims, and then proceeds to showcase 51 African-American men deemed "admirable brothers." Mfume, a former congressman and NAACP president, is featured on a two-page spread, titled "They've Got the Power," which also includes Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. and Newark Mayor Corey Booker.

His entry includes information on what he's "Doing Right" and "Why he loves black women."

On the magazine's Web site, readers are asked to vote on their favorite "Do Right Man" and e-mail them, if they like.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 11, 2006; 7:10 PM ET
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Essence is a magazine published primarily for a readership of african-american women. The 50 men pictured are success stories and seem to have achieved through hard work and ingenuity. I know a few of them and can understand how any african-american woman, or man for that matter, might like to get to know them better, if only to understand how they became so successful.

Posted by: Robin Ficker, Independent for Montgomery County Executive | July 12, 2006 2:02 PM | Report abuse


DOING RIGHT: No matter what, Mfume gets the job done. At 23, while helping to raise five sons and tirelessly working two jobs, he enrolled at the Community College of Baltimore and eventually went on to earn degrees from Morgan State and Johns Hopkins universities. In 1986 he was elected to Congress representing Maryland's 7th District, where he promoted and passed landmark civil rights and anticrime legislation. In 1996 he left Congress to serve a nine-year stint as president of the NAACP. Mfume's running for the Senate in Maryland this fall. He says, "I get satisfaction knowing I've had a chance to be an advocate for issues people care about."

WHY HE LOVES BLACK WOMEN: "I find love, compassion, caring and sacrifice to be their most beautiful attributes."


Posted by: blk wm | July 12, 2006 9:53 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2006 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I notice a decided lack of postings in support of Mr. Mfume coming from self-identified white liberals.

Compare and contrast this with postings in support of Michael Steele from Republicans.

There's more to it than meets the eye, perhaps?

Posted by: Rufus | July 13, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Sorry if I'm not getting excited about voting for a person with five children by four different women and whom also had to resign from the NAACP because of a noticeable pattern of granting females he was intimate with pay raises.

Posted by: jwiv | July 13, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

What a example Mfume sets: five illegitimate childen. At least he (presumably) pays child support for them.

Posted by: rob | July 13, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Rufus - you're stretching there, bud!

Personally, I'm with Robin Ficker on this one. Huh!?! Did I just say that?


Seriously, I'd love to sit down for a meaningful converstaion with Mfume, Ford and/or Booker. Not particularly because they're single Africa-American men, but because they've led fascinating lives and are creative, inspiring leaders in many ways.

For that matter, I'd enjoy a conversation with Ficker as well. Huh!?! Did I just say that? Ah, well, he's an interesting guy as well.

I didn't post a comment earlier because the Ms Jordan's piece didn't really seem politically oriented to me (other than a Senate candidate happened to get some press).

- Russ Louch

Posted by: Russ Louch - Political Yak | July 13, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse


Why do liberal Dems have to support a candidate because of the color of their skin and why is the only source of your support for Steele appearing to be the color of his? Looking back to the readings of MLK, I would believe it nobler to listen to a man's argument and make a decision to vote for him based on said argument than simply looking for the darkest candidate to prove my liberalism or inclusion.

You've written in the past that we ought to practice what we preach and we preach equality and inclusion. Mfume and Cardin (and the other candidates for Senate) have all be given equal space on the state Democratic webpage, all have been invited to various functions. How is making a decision between two highly qualified candidates outside the realm of what we preach. And, I ask, how insecure are you in your own views of race that you have to accuse others of racism and defend your support for a black candidate. Is there nothing substantive in Michael Steele that the only positive you can tout is his race? Have you thought that maybe your candidate is simply too inexperienced as a failed lawyer, a partisan hack in the state GOP (that saw decreases in party support during his tenure) and a Lt. Gov. with little to no legislative authority and that is why he is the subject of Democratic criticism?

And, for the record, I'm a white liberal and I'm undecided in the Senate race between Cardin and Mfume and leaning toward Mfume. But, his unwillingness to spend time fundraising worries me because I'm not completely convinced he'll be able to match Steele on the air and this seat is too important to hand over to a man in Michael Steele who has never shown himself to be anything more than a voicebox for GOP talking points and a failed attorney.

Posted by: Mike | July 13, 2006 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Mike, why do a few old white liberals control who runs for office in MD telling other candidates to bow out? See Mike Miller telling Owens or Franchot to back out yesterday.

Everyone knows Miller and Hoyer namely (currently including Lierman) have been telling some candidates to wait their turn and others to back out (for instance, Doug Duncan). You didn't notice Wayne Curry talking about this with the Washington Times?

So you tell me Mike--why is that ok? What, they now put a black man on the Lt. Gov ticket only after the Republicans did it and won? Oh, yah they must really care...a lot.

40 years and not one black candidate for statewide office until 2006....I don't have to draw conclusions here because they're pretty damn evident.

Posted by: Bryan | July 13, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Actually Mike, I find Michael Steele's character and solid family values to be of interest. I think men such as him are very common in the African American Community, it's just that we don't hear much about them because they're working hard to support their families and going to Church on Sundays.

Posted by: Rufus | July 13, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree that hard work and family values are widespread in the African American community, as well as other communities. But I disagree with your thoughts that Michael Steele possesses the hard work ethic that is necessary for the U.S. Senate (I won't presume against his family values, I'm sure he's a good father and loves his family - after all, he has wisely sent his kids to Gonzaga, my alma mater). To have the work ethic in the U.S. Senate means forming and articulating an opinion for oneself - not one handed to you by the national GOP.

Posted by: Mike | July 13, 2006 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I went to Western Maryland a few months ago and a guy stopped me on the street to talk to me about my Mfume bumper sticker. Thinking that he was genuinely interested, I began to tell him why I thought Mfume would be a great leader for Maryland. He interrupted me to say, "Mike Steele's gonna kick his a**. Our n(racial slur) is better than your n(racial slur)." Now, I don't believe that this line of thinking is indicative of the Republican Party in general. But Rufus, come on, you're really implying that the Democratic Party is racist? While your Republican congress tries to take us back to the Jim Crow era by dumping the Voting Rights Act? While Mike Steele hangs out with Republican political hacks who design TV ads that imply that all African-Americans are criminals?

You'll find that a lot of Mfume supporters all over Maryland are white, whether liberal and moderate. We support him because he is the right man for the job. Republicans support Steele because they think that he might have a chance of winning. Just because the GOP nominated a black man doesn't make them pro-civil rights.

Posted by: Jerry | July 13, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Mike Steele seems like a decent individual, but as between the parties, it is the Republicans who have pursued the "Southern strategy" over the past 40 years, attacking civil rights to appeal to working class whites. Politics at its worse.

We can only hope Michael Steele represents a new start.

Posted by: Ed B. | July 14, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"But Rufus, come on, you're really implying that the Democratic Party is racist?"

Yes, just watch how they treat any Black Conservative. They treat him or her as a heretic to be burned at the stake.

"While your Republican congress tries to take us back to the Jim Crow era by dumping the Voting Rights Act?"

"My Republican congress?" You mean the US Congress? Whatever.

From what I read, they are only trying to change the focus from the old segregationist (Dixiecrat) states to those states which show a recent history of voting irregularities. Towing the line on the states targetted in the Voting Rights Act is living in the past.

"An' you know what I'm talkin' about!"

Posted by: Rufus | July 14, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

By the way, are you referring to the Voting Rights Act that just passed the House by a huge majority vote?

Posted by: Rufus | July 14, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, are you referring to the Voting Rights Act that just passed the House by a huge majority vote?"

After Republican congressmen tried to sink it with a few dozen 'poison pill amendments'? The same act that helped give minorities the right to vote? The one the GOP hates because minorities vote overwhelmingly democratic? Yeah, that one.

Posted by: MoCoPolitics | July 14, 2006 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Ben Cardin is a KKT reincarnation. Except in his case, Mfume is playing the role of Ehrlich to KKT and coming from behind to swamp him. Cardin will need to blow $2 million to viably ensure he wins.

Posted by: Bryan | July 18, 2006 1:09 AM | Report abuse

in my opinion the President is making a mistake on this. I believe it would do a lot more for health for people and a lot cheaper than sending a man to the moon & further out in space ro see what lies out there. at least this will do more to help every person that needs help with health needs.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Dear Kweisi,I thoroughly enjoyed the articles written about you over the years.However, I had no idea that you were a bachelor. I am a Black African American,I stand 5"4" and weigh 110 lbs.I am a former Miss Black California as well as a former flight attendant. I presently am a paralegal but previously was a Patients Rights Advocate for Alameda county.I enjoy assisting others with knowlege and empowerment.I understand that you are busy but if interested please contact me at

Posted by: Denise West | August 24, 2006 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Kweisi, I have thoroghly enjoyed reading the articles about you however, Iwas unaware that you were a bachelor. I am a former Miss Black Calif. and a former flight attendant. I stand 5"4" and weigh 110 lbs. I am childfree and enjoy a myriad of activities. I too enjoy sharing knowledge and empowering others. Some of mu work history includes being a Patients Rights Advocate amd presently I am a paralegal. I umderstand you are busy but if interested please contact me at

Posted by: Denise West | August 24, 2006 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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