civil rights

2014: The Year of the Protester

Kirsten West Savali

There have been those who have described this as the latest iteration of the civil rights movement, but as Malcolm X taught us, there can be no civil rights until we first have human rights. These protesters understand that the expectation of subdued civility in the face of the continued dehumanization of black life is evidence of the racism that this country was founded upon. 

Attorney Gen. Holder’s Compelling Case in the Brown Killing

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Attorney General Eric Holder has a compelling federal case in the Michael Brown killing if he decides to bring civil rights charges against Ferguson, Missouri cop Darren Wilson. He's certainly taken almost unprecedented lightning fast first steps in that direction. He's got a phalanx of FBI agents assigned to the case. He's authorized an autopsy by a crack medical examiner from the military. 

The Echoes of a Struggle: From South Africa to Brazil

Cheryl Sterling

When the Movimento Negro Unificado (United Black Movement) formed in Brazil in 1979, they turned to the anti-apartheid struggle and to Mandela, in particular, for a vision for change and a symbol of empowerment. They looked at the apartheid structure; its separation of the races; the mandatory passes that blacks carried that showed all aspects of their lives; the separation of place and space in social, economic and political spheres, and they concluded that Brazil was an apartheid state.

Farewell Nelson Mandela

Stephen A. Crockett Jr

On Thursday Nelson Mandela at approximately 8:50 p.m. left this world in much better shape than he found it. Even the sky is in mourning in Johannesburg as CNN reports, gray rain clouds covering and the area this morning. Children used rocks to spell out "We love you Mandela" in front of his home. Some left stuffed animals, others lit candles and wept. In Soweto township residents gathered around the house where Mandela lived before he was arrested in 1962 and sang freedom songs. Across the nation from D.C. to Los Angeles, flowers and candles were left in front of murals bearing his likeness, CNN reports.

JFK’s Civil Rights Legacy: 50 Years of Myth and Fact

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

In the decade before he won the White House, Kennedy said almost nothing about civil rights. In 1957, as a senator he voted against the 1957 civil rights bill. His opposition has been spun two ways; one cynical, one charitable. The cynical spin is he opposed it to appease Southern Democrats because he had an eye on a presidential run in 1960. The charitable spin is that he thought the bill was too weak and ineffectual. Three years later though he ignored the angry shouts from Southern Democrats and lobbied for a forceful civil rights plank in the Democratic Party's 1960 platform.

What We Want to Hear From Michelle Obama

Keli Goff

In less than three months, President Barack Obama will celebrate the anniversary of being sworn in for his second term as president. Although many conservatives are looking ahead with anticipation to the end of his final term in office, many liberals are looking ahead with the hope that in his final years as commander in chief, the president might begin pushing a more aggressively progressive agenda. Then there are those of us who are hoping that in the president’s final term, we might get to see the Michelle Obama we haven’t seen since the early days of the 2008 presidential campaign.

‘I Have a Dream’: A Mighty Export

Sandip Roy

There is nothing in Dr. King's speech to imply that to be a hyphenated American is to have divided loyalties. When Jindal says American, the non-hyphenated version, he simply means Judaeo-Christian white - a whiteness that might not be visible in the color of the skin, but is definitely there in the content of the character. King's speech needs to be read again and again - not just commemorated or elocuted - to prevent it from being appropriated by the Jindals for their own ends. And not just in America.

50 Years Later, Civil Rights Leaders Face Daunting Challenges

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

A Pew study specifically released to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations graphically made the point that the economic and social gaps between whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades despite massive spending by federal and state governments, state and federal civil rights laws, and two decades of affirmative action programs. The racial polarization has been endemic between blacks and whites on everything from the George Zimmerman trial to just about every other controversial case that involves black and white perceptions of the workings of the criminal justice system.

1960s-Style Civil Disobedience Fuels Present-Day Activism

Raj Jayadev

This August marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington -- that watershed moment of the civil rights era that showed how mass movement could force the nation to address issues of inequality and change the political direction of the country. Had America not recently experienced some of the most poignant, traumatic, and racially-charged episodes in years, this march anniversary may have only been a nostalgic, obligatory, nod to the past. 

Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant: Accidental Heroes

Sandip Roy

They were all trying to get home -- Oscar Grant in Oakland, Trayvon Martin in Florida, or the woman who was raped in a bus in New Delhi and christened Nirbhaya or the fearless one by the media, or the woman gangraped on her way back from college in Kamdhuni near Kolkata. They didn't want to spark off great protests. They didn't want to become symbols, placards or posters. They didn't want docudramas made about their lives.

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