President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a community service project at Leckie Elementary school in celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy
Pete Souza: The President reacts after getting beat in Rock Paper Scissors while participating in a service project at a local school on MLK day.
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.
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.
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.
President Barack Obama, surrounded by Cabinet officials and members of Congress, signs a series of bills during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Included in the bills signed is the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015
President Barack Obama’s signature is seen on H.R. 1295 Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. The president signed into law two hard-fought bills giving him greater authority to negotiate international trade deals and providing aid to workers whose jobs are displaced by such pacts
We celebrate his singular life each time we
think of his good works
and the hope and change he brought.
We commemorate his birth in January.
We visit his memorial on the mall
We tell his remarkable story
to the little children of today.
We’d rather leave the marking of the date
he was assassinated in Memphis
to the history books.
But all of it is what we were given
and what he was given.
And, this year, as we recall it was
forty-seven years ago on April 4
that his “four little children”
lost him …
Let us not forget about them
as we rejoice that he belonged to the world
for as long as he did
as we examine the “content of his character”
around the globe, as long as we all still do.
In our minds, we will remember him
and that our voices must keep
challenging the injustices
as we keep yearning for equality for all.
Robert Kennedy suggested
we dedicate ourselves
to what the Greeks had written
many years before:
“To tame the savageness of man and
make gentle the life of this world.”
A man named Barack Obama,
also in our hearts,
became our President,
surely has dedicated himself to
“taming the savageness of man”
throughout the world
and to a “more perfect union”
here at home.
This year, no matter our religious beliefs
it seems quite fitting somehow,
if only for the history books,
that the date we recall sits between
Good Friday and Passover and Easter
while prayers from other faiths are also
around the clock,
all over the globe,
in the interests of the human race.
Dr. King, always in our hearts.
Hope and change, always on the horizon,
to “make gentle the life of this world.”
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.
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