The NAACP’s 100th Anniversary: What’s the Future Hold for the Granddaddy of Civil Rights Groups?

Clockwise from upper left: Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston, W.E.B. DuBois, and Benjamin Jealous

This week, the most venerable of civil rights organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, more commonly known as the NAACP, turns 100 years old. Founded on Abraham Lincoln’s 100th birthday (February 12th, 1809), the organization had a controversial start. The organization was born out of what started as an effort by [...]

Enough of This Bipartisan Nonsense

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I started to laugh when I heard that Michael Steele was selected as the first African American to chair the Republican National Committee. I don’t think much of the “new” Republican Party, but then again, that doesn’t prevent me from writing about it. But don’t get me wrong, I think that the former Maryland lieutenant [...]

Bicentennial for Two Great Emancipators: Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator, has been much on our minds recently as Barack Obama moved into the White House. Exactly 200 years after Lincoln’s birth, Obama’s presidency is one fulfillment of the work Lincoln started. Lincoln shares his birthday with Charles Darwin, the other Great Emancipator of the 19th century. Though in different ways, [...]

Obama, Sandburg, Lincoln

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Obama and Lincoln, okay; but “Obama, Sandburg, and Lincoln”? Lincoln scholar, poet, and folk singer Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is seldom mentioned anymore, but that’s unfortunate. A half century ago he was, in the words of his friend Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson, “the one living man whose work and whose life epitomize the American dream.” During [...]

President Obama the Liberal Nationalist

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Inauguration Day, 2009 in Washington, DC was grueling but inspiring. The minus 8 degree cold was bone-chilling. The crowd of two million plus was frequently suffocating. The 20,000-officer security cordon was smothering. Yet people endured the discomfort good-naturedly. Neither cold nor crowds nor mile-long detours from blocks of blocked off streets would deter Obama’s faithful [...]

The Inauguration of Barack Obama: The Greatest Show on Earth

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The 16-page list of Inaugural events is published. The detailed entry map for reserved seating and standing area patrons extends close to a half mile from the Capitol steps out to 4th Street. This means those without tickets need to gather on the Mall between the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and Washington Monument obelisk [...]

Can Illinois Again Lead by (Bad) Example?

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Illinois politicians’ sordid reputation for selling seats in the U.S. Senate to the highest bidder is, sadly, at least a century old. As embarrassing as that history may be to residents of the Land of Lincoln, it is a past that suggests ways to deal with the current mess. One hundred years ago the corrupt [...]

Obama’s Nixonian Dilemma with Iraq

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by Brian R. Robertson With several public commentators and scholars comparing President-elect Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, it has surprised me that there has been little attempt to compare Obama’s election with Richard M. Nixon’s election, exactly forty years ago. Both inherited divisive wars from the previous administration and both campaigns [...]

Military Action May Sometimes Be Moral and Constitutional, But Not Smart

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by Ivan Eland – President-elect Barack Obama—showing the obligatory toughness toward foreign “evildoers” needed (especially by Democrats) in American political campaigns—pledged to use the American military to go after al Qaeda in Pakistan. Of all people, his hawkish rival, Senator John McCain, who supported the unprovoked U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, criticized Obama’s approach [...]

Obama’s Challenges Are Unprecedented in U.S. History

Few incoming presidents have been left by their predecessors with as many challenges as Barack Obama. In fact, with the daunting terrain facing the incoming president, one wonders why Obama and John McCain even wanted the office. Other presidents facing an uphill task when taking office were (clockwise from upper left): George Washington, who had [...]

Obama: Historical Immortality at 47

The moment when Hillary Rodham Clinton suspended the state-by-state roll call vote she had demanded, moving for the 2008 Democratic Convention to nominate Senator Barack Obama by acclamation, was extraordinary. Network cameras, inevitably, zeroed in on African-Americans, young and old, beaming, as tears poured down their cheeks.