Sherwood Ross: Slumlords charge exorbitant rents. “Convenience” stores charge higher prices. Military recruiters have their pick of jobless youth desperate for work. And the for-profit, private prisons increase their head count (and income) as the judicial system hands off the young drug peddlers caught in the legal web. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, African-Americans fill 40 percent of the nation’s prison cells. Yet they make up just 13 percent of the nation’s population.
I don’t know if you have to experience discrimination first hand in order to be able to see it, but I do know that I learned a lot standing on that corner with my uncle in a wheelchair 20 years ago. For that reason, I have hope that maybe the Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration will do what it has often failed to do in the past – provide a line of defense for this country’s most vulnerable people.
Famed legal scholar, civil rights attorney and author, Lani Guinier, spoke at Tavis Smiley’s State of the Black Union in 2009. The first black woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School, Ms Guinier has authored and co-authored several books including Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy and Lift Every Voice: Turning a [...]
The ESPN special, “Return to Mexico City ” is a thorough retrospective on the legacies of Tommie Smith and John Carlos. For anyone with a vivid long-term memory of those events, the high quality footage from those dramatic days will stir a full range of emotions. While we romanticize about it, we forget that 1968 [...]
I watched all the Sunday stuff on the telly today. Who was that old guy on the show saying that we should not be spending money on American schools, American students in college, or on the rebuilding of the infrastructure of America? Why? Because, are you ready, he says it will not do any good [...]
President Barack Obama’s first week in office was certainly filled with only the highest of expectation, given the eight years of Republican elephant poo-poo that was left on the White House floor for him. That’s a lot of poo-poo: Over 180,000 more jobs lost in January (60,000 in a single day during his first week [...]
On this 80th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as I look at the state of human rights in the world I ask myself, “What would Dr. King do?” Look at the situation in the Mideast, particularly the current bloodshed in Gaza. These attacks, a violation of international humanitarian law, can [...]
In the summer of 2006 I attended the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard. One of the guest presenters was 95-year-old Johnnie Carr, the woman who took over the Montgomery Improvement Association in 1956 after the successful Montgomery bus boycott when Martin Luther King, Jr. went [...]
Forty years ago, in many states, my marriage to my wife would have been illegal. In fact, we would have been regarded as criminals and locked up for miscegenation, or “race-mixing” as they called it. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, which found that [...]
This week, John Peeler will present “Testaments,” a series of poems that take the form of valedictory statements by each of the postwar presidents, in the poetic manner of Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology. John F. Kennedy Nixon was a fool to debate me. I was no fool to take Lyndon:Texas made me President. [...]
August 28, 2008 marks the 45th anniversary of the March on Washington. Forty-fifth anniversaries rarely garner the kind of attention reserved for their quarter and half-century counterparts. But as the Democratic Party prepares to nominate a black man as its presidential candidate on the anniversary of the march, the Obama campaign is doing its best [...]
A condolence letter regarding the passing of our great nation and institutions, written by a 21st Century Progressive citizen and addressed to our Founding Fathers. The letter caught the particular attention of two noble men who helped create our nation and Constitution, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
For the last several months, I have received phone calls and a zillion emails about the Hillary issue. I supported the move to get the Democratic Party Florida delegation seated before any other Democratic National Committee (DNC) member outside of Florida signed on. I argued that the DNC Rules Committee did not have the authority [...]