September 26, 2017
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
August 31, 2017
His name was Richard Claxton Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri. But the world knew him as Dick Gregory, comedian, human rights activist, social critic and presidential candidate. As a young man, he won an athletic scholarship as a runner, which took him to college. But he really hit his mark as a comedian who told sidesplitting jokes about American segregation and racism. The great civil rights activist Dick Gregory died this week.
February 2, 2017
Fascism has been thrust into the mainstream political vocabulary of the United States since the election of President Donald Trump on a platform grounded in xenophobia, corporate dominance and right wing white nationalism. If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation, it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.
January 13, 2015
This brief introduction to Selma’s bottom up history can help students and others learn valuable lessons for today. As SNCC veteran and filmmaker Judy Richardson said: “If we don’t learn that it was people just like us – our mothers, our uncles, our classmates, our clergy – who made and sustained the modern Civil Rights Movement, then we won’t know we can do it again. And then the other side wins – even before we ever begin the fight.”
May 29, 2014
Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.
June 29, 2013
“Now more than ever, we, as citizens of this great nation, regardless of your age, gender or skin color must get engaged on issues that are vital to move this country forward. We must pull together and encourage elected officials from the state level to the highest levels of government to enfranchise voters rather than disenfranchise them. The work begins anew, for the future of this country.”
February 7, 2013
Esther Cooper Jackson, born in Arlington, Virginia, graduated from Ohio’s Oberlin College, received her MA degree in sociology from Fisk University, then remarkably turned down a scholarship offer to Chicago University to earn a PhD to relocate to Birmingham, Ala., where she became the organizational secretary for the Southern Negro Youth Congress.
January 20, 2013
Contradictions in White America’s treatment of Blacks, which were exposed by the Black Power Movement, fashioned another side of King, according to his last speech and his writings. A side that began to embrace Black nationalist tactics and strategies as a means to achieve freedom, justice and equality for Black people. A side that accelerated Dr. Kings’ assassination.
January 19, 2013
John Carlos is best known as the man who, along with Tommie Smith, raised a clenched fist – the Black Power salute – on the medal stand after the 200 meter race. Carlos took bronze, and Smith gold, at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. But that moment was a culmination of months of political discussion among black leaders in America. One such discussion happened in early 1968 in New York City.