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A retrospective

We're all anticipating the future right now, but don't forget to remember the past, as well. [more inside]
posted by greenie2600 on Nov 5, 2008 - 9 comments

Oral History of Black Leadership

Explorations in Black Leadership is a collection of video interviews with prominent African-Americans, focusing on activists of one sort or another. 34 people are interviewed, including Nikki Giovanni, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Dorothy Height and Amiri Baraka. There are full transcripts of every interview. Here's an excerpt from the Nikki Giovanni interview: "The kids today have to have a voice. I'm amazed that they found it. I remember Sugarhill Gang with Sylvia, you know: "Uptown, Downtown, the Holiday Inn." You know, things like that. Then, of course, I remember the explosion of Tupac Shakur. Losing Tupac was a great loss for this generation. I have a tattoo--it says "Thug Life" --because I wanted to mourn with this generation. I don't see how people can knock the kids…paying so little attention. I had deep regrets--and I know Rosa Parks, you know, we don't hang out but I know her--I so regretted that she lent her name to be used against Outkast, because Rosa Parks is a wonderful--is a wonderful tune. And they were giving her problems. If people don't--if the younger generation doesn't sing the praises of the older generation they get forgotten."
posted by Kattullus on Oct 25, 2008 - 8 comments

Will the Mormon Church decide who gets married in California?

Prophets and politics. "The Mormon Church works to ban gay marriage in California, even as gay people in places like Rexburg, Idaho, come out of the LDS closet."
posted by homunculus on Oct 23, 2008 - 87 comments

Human Rights Blogger Killed by Russian Police

Magomed Yevloyev, who blogged human rights abuses committed by police in Russia's volatile Ingushetia region, was shot in the temple while in police custody today. The site, ingushetiya.ru (English version), reported the brutal anti-insurgent "Dirty War" tacticts committed by police against Ingushetia's civilian population.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Aug 31, 2008 - 17 comments

Shut Em Down?

'We done heard your voice, we saw your marches, we don't want to hear that any more.' Music artist Nas directs pointed criticism toward civil rights stalwart Jesse Jackson and his generation. But he's not alone. Kevin Powell is running for congress and shares the sentiment. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Jul 23, 2008 - 87 comments

China's plan to tame Tibet

China's secret plot to tame Tibet. "Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off several monasteries in Lhasa, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province to keep them silent through the Olympics.
posted by homunculus on Jul 13, 2008 - 111 comments

Between enraged and engaged Buddhism

Asia's Angry Monk Syndrome. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 10, 2008 - 19 comments

Happy Birthday, Justice Marshall

"He grew up in a ruthlessly discriminatory world -- a world in which segregation of the races was pervasive and taken for granted, where lynching was common, where the black man's inherent inferiority was proclaimed widely and wantonly. Thurgood Marshall had the capacity to imagine a radically different world, the imaginative capacity to believe that such a world was possible, the strength to sustain that image in the mind's eye and the heart's longing, and the courage and ability to make that imagined world real." Born July 2, 1908, died January 25, 1993. Had he lived, he would have been 100 years old today.
posted by alms on Jul 2, 2008 - 16 comments

1966 federal ban on racial discrimination in housing

The Meaning of Box 722. Letters to Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois in reaction to the 1966 civil rights bill, particularly the federal ban on racial discrimination in the sale and rental of housing. At the time, Chicago was the most segregated city in the north, with boundaries enforced by mob violence. By Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland. When I started researching NIXONLAND I knew the congressional elections of 1966 would form a crucial part of the narrative. They'd never really been examined in-depth before, but by my reckoning they were the crucial hinge that formed the ideological alignment we live in now. Via Brad DeLong.
posted by russilwvong on Jun 5, 2008 - 15 comments

Main Core

The Last Roundup. "Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 20, 2008 - 108 comments

RIP Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving of Loving v. Virginia (1967) has passed away.
posted by Morrigan on May 5, 2008 - 51 comments

Do You Like American Music?

Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
posted by Miko on Apr 2, 2008 - 12 comments

A credit to his race: the human race

Arthur Ashe's words and legacy. Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was the first (and only) black man to win Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open tennis tournaments and a very vocal civil rights activist and leader. Last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Brian had on Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe[embedded audio player] and they were remembering a moment on Martin Luther King Day 1993, when Arthur called into the show from his hospital room (he died three weeks later). His views from Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Muhammad Ali and the 1966 and 1992 Los Angeles riots are at once eloquent and riveting.
posted by psmealey on Feb 19, 2008 - 7 comments

Six Guantanamo prisoners charged.

Several prisoners held at Guantanamo are charged, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to this soundbite, after their time in military court, they'll be able to appeal the decision in civilian court.
posted by ®@ on Feb 12, 2008 - 77 comments

Eight Bars of Soul

Proceeding Otis by two years and 364 days, Sam Cooke was shot and killed on this day in 1964. Much controversy still surrounds his death, but his legacy is untouchable and influence sweeping. From gospel to pop, he did it all. You Send Me, Ain't That Good News, Cupid, Chain Gang, and Bring it on Home to Me were some of his biggest hits and (along with Ray's work) the early foundations of soul; but it was one song, inspired by a white boy's passion, that gave a posthumous voice to a broken nation. Today and forever, Sam Cooke is yours, he'll never grow old.
posted by Roman Graves on Dec 11, 2007 - 31 comments

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush

Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today. The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

posted by ao4047 on Dec 5, 2007 - 29 comments

1960's

The Psychedelic 60's: Literary Tradition and Social Change
posted by mlis on Nov 28, 2007 - 26 comments

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause

Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause
posted by rxrfrx on Nov 22, 2007 - 79 comments

Chaka, When the Walls Fell.

Reagan at Neshoba. Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok". Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator. By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB, via, additional context here]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes". [more inside]
posted by rzklkng on Nov 13, 2007 - 128 comments

cant stop wont stop progress

Fight the Power: A New Movement for Civil Rights by Jeff Chang. [more inside]
posted by shotgunbooty on Oct 30, 2007 - 19 comments

The Man Who Didn’t Shoot Malcolm X

The Man Who Didn’t Shoot Malcolm X. Khalil Islam, formerly known as Thomas 15X Johnson, was convicted of assassinating Malcolm X and served 22 years in prison. One of the co-defendants later swore Khalil Islam was innocent. "The fact was, I was just the patsy. The perfect patsy." [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Oct 3, 2007 - 12 comments

"The niggers are coming!"

Through a Lens Darkly - on September 4, 1957, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High, she was blocked by the National Guard and surrounded by a screaming mob of 250: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her. Photos. Dramatic news footage. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls the first day of school. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 25, 2007 - 48 comments

a place to upload video evidence

Copwatchers: New YouTube Page for Monitoring Oppression & Brutality
posted by nickyskye on Sep 23, 2007 - 48 comments

Society Bluesman, Josh White

Somewhere along your musical journeys you might've heard something by Mr. Josh White (1914-1969). He was a bluesman, but one with the kind of smooth and polished delivery (and some charming novelty tunes) that made him a favorite on the wider, national pop/folk scene. He was pretty sexy, too. He didn't shy away from political/racial themes, either. Unsurprisingly, he ran afoul of the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare years, and his name was placed on their Commie blacklist. Some few decades later his image graced a US postage stamp. Thanks for the music, Josh White.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 14, 2007 - 24 comments

Moms Mabley

As complete a history of comedian, civil rights activist, and cross-over superstar Moms Mabley as you're likely to find anywhere , including audio, from Beware of Blog.
posted by serazin on Aug 26, 2007 - 7 comments

Padilla Found Guilty on All Counts

A verdict on Padillaand the US. [More inside.]
posted by homunculus on Aug 16, 2007 - 91 comments

One more knot gets tied, sort of

New Hampshire approves same-sex unions with bipartisan, if contentious support, recognizing both in- and out-of-state unions and marriages. While New York's Eliot Spitzer follows up on a campaign promise, higher courts in California and Connecticut may make decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage later this year, deciding if a civil union is an adequate legal substitution for marriage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 1, 2007 - 23 comments

Bikes Against Bush

NYPD Intelligence Op Targets Dot-Matrix Graffiti Bike. More details on the premeditated arrest of Joshua Kinberg by the NYPD just before the 2004 Republican National Convention. Kinberg, now the CEO of FireAnt, was targeted by the "R.N.C. Intelligence Squad" for his Bikes Against Bush project. The police lost his Xtracycle. [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on Apr 10, 2007 - 66 comments

Jackie Robinson Day

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." - Jackie Robinson

This Sunday April 15, 2007, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the breaking of baseball's color barrier. For one day, superstars and managers throughout the sport as well as entire teams will be saluting his memory by wearing Robinson's retired number 42. Robinson is honored for his tremendous leadership both on and off the field (previously), he is remembered for his determination in overcoming racial prejudice and hatred, and for his post-career activities as a civil rights advocate. Perhaps the highest compliment is to say simply that Jackie Robinson was one of the greatest players to ever grace a baseball diamond, but his contribution to baseball, and to equality in America was far greater than statistics and pennants.

"Mr. Rickey, do you want a ballplayer who is afraid to fight back?" "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back!" See The Jackie Robinson Story, starring the man himself. (1:16:29, Google video)
posted by edverb on Apr 9, 2007 - 20 comments

Dora McDonald, Martin Luther King's secretary, dead at 81

Dora McDonald, Martin Luther King's private secretary from 1960 until his death, has died at age 81. While few have heard of Ms. McDonald, she was a very important figure in King's work, and was the one who had to tell Coretta Scott King that her husband had been murdered.
posted by cerebus19 on Jan 14, 2007 - 6 comments

Any and all acts deemed necessary

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was created in 1956 by the Mississippi Legislature in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Commission's express purpose was to "do and perform any and all acts and things deemed necessary and proper to protect the sovereignty of the state of Mississippi, and her sister states." In other words, it was an official tax-funded agency to combat the activities of the Civil Rights Movement. Their records are now online. [MI]
posted by marxchivist on Dec 5, 2006 - 11 comments

War Were Declared.

It will always be known as the "date which will live in infamy," but this year - the 65th Anniversary - may mark the last time survivors can/will come together at the site to pay their respects to the fallen and to shake hands with their former adversaries. Hawaii affiliate KHNL News 8 has already started its 5-day long coverage of the ceremonies, which culminate on the morning of the 7th and will feature a live web feed and a keynote adress given by Tom Brokaw (@ 7:30am HST).

Some consequences of the attack inside...
posted by krippledkonscious on Dec 4, 2006 - 27 comments

granny get your gun

Plainclothes police serving a drug warrant defend killing an elderly woman in the roughest neighborhood in Atlanta. Perhaps it’s a flaw in the exclusionary rule. Or perhaps “had she been without her precious gun, she’d no doubt be alive today”
posted by Smedleyman on Nov 28, 2006 - 152 comments

civil unions? marriage?

NJ says yes to same-sex marriage! (altho it might not be called that in the end) -- link to pdf of ruling here.
posted by amberglow on Oct 25, 2006 - 138 comments

Hasta La Vista, Habeas Corpus

The Beginning of the End of America. (YouTube, Keith Olbermann)
posted by Malor on Oct 19, 2006 - 289 comments

Impact of Bush-Nominated Appeals Court Judges

Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears. "Federal appeals court judges nominated by President Bush are threatening and undermining Americans’ rights and liberties, and working to reduce congressional authority to protect those rights and liberties, according to a legal analysis (PDF) published today by People For the American Way Foundation." [Via Talkleft.]
posted by homunculus on Oct 6, 2006 - 20 comments

The Great Writ

Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006). It was so pre-9/11 anyway. Instead we may get "our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts." What could go wrong?
posted by homunculus on Sep 28, 2006 - 156 comments

A new, friendly face on Fascism

``Friendly fascism portrays two conflicting trends in the United States and other countries of the so-called "free world." The first is a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership... The other is a slower and less powerful tendency for individuals and groups to seek greater participation in decisions affecting themselves and others... These contradictory trends are woven fine into the fabric of highly industrialized capitalism.'
posted by Mr. Six on Jul 31, 2006 - 49 comments

Still, neither Nixon nor Reagan changed the division's procedures for hiring career staff

"If anything, a civil rights background is considered a liability." Meet the politically-appointed career staffers of the Justice Dept.'s Civil Rights Division: ... the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians. ... Thorough Boston Globe article on how the administration disbanded the hiring committee in 2002 to appoint lawyers with a very different vision of what civil rights are, and the ensuring and ongoing results.
posted by amberglow on Jul 23, 2006 - 24 comments

“Oh, my God, they’re going to burn us up!”

Portraits of the Freedom Riders Eric Etheridge has been taking pictures of people who participated in the Freedom Rides (map) to accompany the people's 1961 mug shots. Some of the photos were in the July 2 issue of the New York Times Magazine, and there are more photos at his web site. Also, an excerpt from a recent book about the rides. [via]
posted by kirkaracha on Jul 7, 2006 - 5 comments

A reappraisal of that guy in Grant's Tomb

President Ulysses S. Grant: Civil Rights Hero. A reappraisal of a president considered ineffective and mired in scandal.
posted by pandaharma on Jul 4, 2006 - 17 comments

Self-examination from the Fourth Estate — "Yep, still there."

"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government." Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
posted by Mr. Six on Jun 26, 2006 - 58 comments

Forty-Two years ago today.

On June 21st, 1964 civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner disappeared in Mississippi. Here is a strange story about how their bodies were found.
posted by flatlander on Jun 21, 2006 - 15 comments

i was standing by the window

Made most popular to many Americans as the closing song for the Grand Ole Opry programs, Will The Circle Be Unbroken was written in 1907 by Ada Habershon, an intensely religious young woman and acquaintance of Dwight Moody and Ira David Sankey. The music was "composed" by Charles Gabriel, a popular songwriter and composer of the era who is often solely credited with the song, but while he may have put the notes down on paper, the tune itself already existed as the African-American spiritual Glory Glory / Since I Laid My Burden Down. [lots more inside]
posted by luriete on May 26, 2006 - 18 comments

"Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet."

This is Darrow,
Inadequately scrawled, with his young, old heart,
And his drawl, and his infinite paradox
And his sadness, and kindness,
And his artist sense that drives him to shape his life
To something harmonious, even against the schemes of God. [MI]
posted by amro on Mar 30, 2006 - 7 comments

"That's his hazel eye," Mrs. Till said. "Where is the other one?"

That big .45 jumped in Big Milam's hand. The youth turned to catch that big, expanding bullet at his right ear. He dropped. In Money, Mississippi on August 24, 1955, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant abducted 14-year-old Emmet "Bobo" Till, tortured him, shot him in the head, and dumped his body in the river for whistling at a white woman. Emmett's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral so people could see what had happened to her son. On September 15, 1955, Jet magazine published photos [NSFW] of Emmett's corpse, which brought the case national attention and helped ignite the civil rights movement. On September 23, 1955, an all-white jury acquitted Bryant and Milam after deliberating for about an hour. Milam and Bryant confessed in a January 24 , 1966, Look magazine article. Milam died in 1980 and Bryant died in 1990. After reopening the case in 2004 based on new evidence that more people may have been involved, the Justice Department closed the case today without filing any new charges. [more inside]
posted by kirkaracha on Mar 17, 2006 - 19 comments

His weapon was a camera....

A true pioneer has left us. Gordon Parks dead at 93. His ground-breaking work as a still photographer of color during the civil rights movement was enough to garner him a place in history but he strove for excellence throughout his life. His first movie, the Learning Tree is a classic and of course he also gave us Shaft. He was a bonafide renaissance man excelling in music and painting and even wrote a ballet based on Martin Luther King. He was truly one-of-a-kind.
posted by photoslob on Mar 7, 2006 - 26 comments

Unseen. Unforgotten.

Unseen. Unforgotten. The Birmingham News recently discovered previously-unpublished photos of the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama, during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The site includes audio interviews with some of the photographers and a PDF of how the photos appeared in the newspaper.
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 27, 2006 - 13 comments

"Myrna Loy, Luminous Activist"

“Wouldn’t you know, the kid they pick to play tramps is the only good girl in Hollywood.”
Before Myrna Loy rose to stardom with Manhattan Melodrama and The Thin Man (both 1934), she was often relegated to playing vamps, mistresses, and other assorted flavors of wicked women. Then, after 80 movies playing mostly bad girls, Montana native Loy became “the perfect wife.” “Men Must Marry Myrna Loy” clubs were formed around the country. She and Clark Gable, in a poll conducted by Ed Sullivan, were voted by 20 million of the nation’s moviegoers as The King and Queen of Hollywood. She was FDR's favorite actress, and John Dillinger died just to see her new movie. A staunch anti-Nazi since the mid-Thirties (to MGM's dismay, Hitler promptly banned her films from the lucrative German market), wondered aloud in the press why blacks were always given servants' roles, and was the first major star to buck the studios in a contract dispute (the issue: equal pay for equal work. She was making half what William Powell was, didn't like it and quit work for nearly a year until MGM capitulated). When WWII broke out she quit Hollywood and worked full time for the Red Cross, and helped run a Naval Auxilary Canteen. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 3, 2006 - 27 comments

Gay Cowboys Get Screwed

Judge rules same-sex marriage ban in Maryland unconstitutional. The progression towards equal rights moves ever on--NPR offers further coverage and an overview of current gay rights cases in the US. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma a reminder of why this fight must be won.
posted by schroedinger on Jan 20, 2006 - 72 comments

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