Posts Tagged ‘civil rights

16
Aug
15

Rest In Peace, Power, And Greatness, Julian Bond

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Roy Reed: Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman And Civil Rights Leader, Dies At 75

Julian Bond, a former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights for minorities, died on Saturday night, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was 75. Mr. Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after a brief illness, the center said in a statement Sunday morning. He was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He moved from the militancy of the student group to the top leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, he was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer, college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.

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He also served for 20 years in the Georgia Legislature, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser. Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face became familiar to millions of television viewers during the 1960s and 1970s; he was described as dashing, handsome and urbane. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s. Moving beyond demonstrations, he became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

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When he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 — along with seven other black members — furious white members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty. He was already well known because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s stand against the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. That touched off a national drama that ended in 1966, when the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ordered the legislature to seat him, saying it had denied him freedom of speech. He went on to serve 20 years in the two houses of the legislature. As a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta.

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You can watch parts 2-6 by clicking on the video and watching it on Youtube

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02
Aug
15

Rise And Shine

President Barack Obama works on his statement on the compromise reached to reduce the deficit and avert a default, in the Outer Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2011. Standing in the background are, from left: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Jon Lovett, Associate Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

President Barack Obama works on his statement on the compromise reached to reduce the deficit and avert a default, in the Outer Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2011. Standing in the background are, from left: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Jon Lovett, Associate Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. Photo by Pete Souza

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William Saletan: Not Fit To Lead

If Republicans win the White House next year, they’ll almost certainly control the entire federal government. Many of them, running for president or aspiring to leadership roles in Congress, are trying to block the nuclear deal with Iran. This would be a good time for these leaders to show that they’re ready for the responsibilities of national security and foreign policy. Instead, they’re showing the opposite. Over the past several days, congressional hearings on the deal have become a spectacle of dishonesty, incomprehension, and inability to cope with the challenges of a multilateral world.

When the hearings began more than a week ago, I was planning to write about the testimony of Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. But the more I watched, the more I saw that the danger in the room wasn’t coming from the deal or its administration proponents. It was coming from the interrogators. In challenging Kerry and Moniz, Republican senators and representatives offered no serious alternative. They misrepresented testimony, dismissed contrary evidence, and substituted vitriol for analysis. They seemed baffled by the idea of having to work and negotiate with other countries. I came away from the hearings dismayed by what the GOP has become in the Obama era. It seems utterly unprepared to govern.

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Don Thompson: Suicide Spike Boosts Oversight Of California Women’s Prison

A spike in suicides and attempted suicides has prompted corrections officials to step up oversight at a California women’s prison as inspectors try to pinpoint the cause of the troubling increase. Four women have killed themselves at California Institution for Women in San Bernardino County in the last 18 months, according to state records. The suicide rate at the facility is more than eight times the national rate for female inmates and more than five times the rate for the entire California prison system.

In California, the Institution for Women is the only women’s prison in the state to have had any suicides in the last five years, and another 20 of the prison’s 2,000 inmates have attempted suicide during the last year and a half. It is a shocking turnaround at a facility that last year was cited as a rare example of California providing proper mental health treatment for inmates. All four women who died were receiving mental health treatment in the days before their deaths.

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Letitia Stein: March To Washington Begins With Civil Rights Rally In Selma

NAACP leaders launched a 40-day march across the U.S. South on Saturday with a rally in Selma, Alabama, drawing on that city’s significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America. Organizers of “America’s Journey for Justice” want to build momentum behind a renewed national dialogue over race relations prompted by the killing of a number of unarmed black men by police officers over the past year.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leaders at the rally urged marchers to honor the memories of New York’s Eric Garner and Cincinnati’s Samuel DuBose, two of the unarmed black men killed in the police confrontations. The march, which would cover nearly 900 miles, began on Selma’s historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police beat peaceful marchers with clubs and doused them with tear gas in 1965. The infamous confrontation was a catalyst for the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago this week.

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National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice helps Vice President Joe Biden with a spot on his suit jacket, in a hall outside the Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2013. Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration, watches at right. Photo by Pete Souza

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President Barack Obama talks with diners at Lechonera El Barrio restaurant while waiting for his lunch order during a stop in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza

09
Mar
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

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The GOP truly is the party of the dumb

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

08
Mar
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

07
Mar
15

Selma: The Words Of A Hero

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Continue reading ‘Selma: The Words Of A Hero’

07
Mar
15

The President’s Selma Speech

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by Jacqueline

The Bridge to Everywhere

This day, many hadn’t come
But all that was for naught
Because no one really noticed.
Those who came could have
Closed their eyes and still felt
The singular beauty of the place.
Could have still heard the silenced voices
Of the old warriors, and could have
Heard the sound the old bridge made
With the wind softly moving through it
And the shoes passionately walking over it
All voices still silent.
See and hear the beauty of the place
Look out into the rivers of time
Touch each other in
Warm embrace
And feel the beauty of the day.
The remarkable memories it brought
Were enough. I wouldn’t change a thing.
No need to change the name of the bridge, either
That bridge belongs to everyone and no one, anyway.

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President Obama:

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;
Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government — all you need for a night behind bars — John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

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President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war — Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character — Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history — the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher — met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America — that idea ultimately triumphed.

As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation. The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them. We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And in the days to come, they went back again and again. When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came — black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing. To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson. And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had. Faith in God — but also faith in America.

The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities — but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

Continue reading ‘The President’s Selma Speech’

06
Mar
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Some days, Twitter can be magic🙂

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28
Feb
15

Celebrating Black History Month

Throughout Black History Month, I’ve included tweets in ‘A Tweet Or Two’ about African-American heroes who with brains, love, strength, blood, sweat, tears, and death; built this nation to what it is today. As Black History Month draws to a close, we celebrate the known and unsung heroes who gave everything and continue to give everything to make this country live up to its promise of “all men are created equal.”

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Because Of Them We Can

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AFTUnion: 13 Labor Events And Organizers Who We Should Teach About During Black History Month

Lucy Parsons was a radical labor organizer born in Texas. In the early 1870s, she and her husband had to flee Texas because of intolerant reactions to their interracial marriage. Throughout her subsequent career in Chicago, she wrote for various leftist and labor publications. In 1905, she participated in the founding of the Industrial Workers of the World. In 2004, the city of Chicago named a park after her.

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Randolph is one of the most important figures in both black history and labor history. In addition to his work with the Pullman porters (see No. 2, above) and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, he prominently pushed for civil rights during World War II. He planned a 100,000 person march on Washington during the war, which led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign an executive order ending discrimination in defense industries. After the order was signed, the march was canceled.

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In the late 1860s, George Pullman hired former slaves to work on his railroad sleeping cars. He exploited their labor, with each porter making the equivalent of about $22,000 a year (in today’s dollars) while working under unfair conditions, including 100-hour workweeks. These workers formed a union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; in 1925, it became the first African-American labor union to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor.

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Rosina Tucker was an important figure in the foundation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Tucker was married to a railroad porter and became involved in the union. She visited the homes of over 300 workers to secretly collect their union dues, and in 1938 she was elected secretary-treasurer of the union’s auxiliary. She continued her union involvement, helping organize teachers, laundry workers and railway clerks in Washington, D.C.

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In the 1920s, the Chicago Flat Janitors were an integrated local union, which was considered radical at the time. The union worked to include black members in leadership roles, including its vice president, Seymour Miller. The union eventually grew and today is known as the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU.

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24
Feb
15

A Tweet Or Two

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Perfect response by Zendaya to Giuliana Rancic’s and Kelly Osbourne’s racist comments. She is 18!!! Bravo!

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Continue reading ‘A Tweet Or Two’

21
Feb
15

The Evolving Legacy Of Malcolm X

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Krissah Thompson: 50 Years After His Death, Malcolm X’s Work Is Unfinished

After a life filled with transformation, Malcolm X found himself in February 1965 in the throes of yet another. He had been a fringe figure, known mostly to a small circle of black Muslims and big-city sophisticates, but now he was branching out — seeking allies at home and abroad to help him become a part of the Southern civil rights movement. He had plans to take the cause to the United Nations, charging the U.S. government with failure to protect its black citizens from racist white terrorism. 50 years after he was gunned down by an assassin in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X is getting another look. His issues — particularly those that occupied the last year of his life — and his tactics speak to the current conversation.

Police brutality? Malcolm would have been on point amid the protests in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island. “Whenever something happens, 20 police cars swarm on one neighborhood,” Malcolm told an interviewer during his crusade against anti-crime bills. “This force . . . creates a spirit of resentment in every Negro. They think they are living in a police state and they become hostile toward the policeman.” Voting rights? Once again in the spotlight, as activists challenge photo ID laws that they say hinder minority voters, and definitely a preoccupation for Malcolm. “When white people are evenly divided, and black people have a bloc of votes of their own, it is left up to them to determine who’s going to sit in the White House and who’s going to be in the doghouse,” he said in 1964.

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Ebony: Malcolm Taught Me: Reflections on X

As people across the world commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, EBONY asked some of our favorite thought leaders to reflect on how “our Black shining prince” impacted their worldview, cultural identity and work: “He taught me what it meant to publicly be a work in progress, to publicly admit when you were wrong, all in a lifelong effort to be the best person he could be for his people, his family, and himself. I take him with me everywhere I go.“-Rembert Browne, writer. “I remember the first time I heard Brother Malcolm’s speech when he asked, “Who taught you to hate yourself?” I was 15. For me, there was a healing in his truth-telling. His words gave me permission to always call it as I see it. And without apology. “-Yaba Blay, scholar/author

“As a Black man, Malcolm X was one of my first glimpses into what it meant to be proud of your Blackness on your terms; as a storyteller, his book taught me the value in honesty and owning your truth, no matter how messy it might look in the rear view mirror.”-Michael Arceneaux, writer. “The more I learned the truth about Malcolm X, the more I began to love myself. His unwavering courage is how I attempt to show up in the world and in my work.” -Wade Davis, former NFL player/Executive Director, You Can Play Project. “Malcolm wasn’t perfect, but he strived to be, and do, better—to be his best possible self for his people. That is the true worth of a freedom fighter.” -Jason Parham, writer/editor. “Malcolm X’s life taught me that being angry about injustice is an opportunity to use my voice to speak out and use my gifts to spark change.”-Ebonie Johnson Cooper, philanthropist

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“Malcolm died advocating for teenaged, single Black mothers. He died for not remaining silent about the abuse of Black girls.” -dream hampton, writer/activist/educator

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