On This Day, Sept. 25, 1957 – The Little Rock Nine Enter School

1957 – 300 U.S. Army troops stood guard as nine black students were escorted to class at Central High School in Little Rock, AR. The Little Rock Nine were a group of African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas and unruly white mobs. They then attended after the intervention of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The NAACP had registered nine black students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High, selected on the criteria of excellent grades and attendance. The nicknamed “Little Rock Nine” consisted of Ernest Green (b. 1941), Elizabeth Eckford (b. 1941), Jefferson Thomas (1942–2010), Terrence Roberts (b. 1941), Carlotta Walls LaNier (b. 1942), Minnijean Brown (b. 1941), Gloria Ray Karlmark (b. 1942),...

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How Segregated America Made Trump Inevitable

by Donald Earl Collins – Racial and social segregation has built Trump’s electorate and the dominant white narrative it subscribes to. Let there be no doubt. US President Donald Trump is a mercurial, inept, me-first racist. In recent weeks, Trump has thrown in with Charlottesville’s white supremacists and pardoned known anti-immigrant xenophobe Joe Arpaio. Trump has pursued an agenda of rescinding more and more of President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), potentially leading to the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were children when they came to the US. Trump’s behaviour isn’t unprecedented. His racist, incompetent, and callously narcissistic performance as president shares similarities with that of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. And although he continues to follow the lead of some of America’s most racist and inept presidents, he continues to retain many of his supporters. WATCH: Trump’s DACA decision leaves many dreams in limbo (2:26) Millions of supposedly...

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On This Day, July 2, 1964 – LBJ Signs Landmark Civil Rights Act

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House. In the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. The 10 years that followed saw great strides for the African-American civil rights movement, as non-violent demonstrations won thousands of supporters to the cause. Memorable landmarks in the struggle included the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955–sparked by the refusal of Alabama resident Rosa Parks to give up her seat on a city bus to a white woman–and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech at a rally of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., in 1963. As the strength of the civil rights movement grew, John F. Kennedy made passage of a new civil rights bill one of the platforms...

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On This Day, June 11, 1963 – JFK Faces Down Gov. Wallace

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy issues presidential proclamation 3542, forcing Alabama Governor George Wallace to comply with federal court orders allowing two African-American students to register for the summer session at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The proclamation ordered Wallace and all persons acting in concert with him to cease and desist from obstructing justice. The battle between Kennedy and Wallace brought to a head the long, post-Civil War struggle between the federal government and recalcitrant southern states over the enforcement of federal desegregation laws. Kennedy, a Catholic, considered racial segregation morally wrong. As of 1963, Alabama was the only state that had not integrated its education system. From the time of his gubernatorial campaign in 1962 until this day in 1963, Wallace had boldly proclaimed that he would personally stand in front of the door of any Alabama schoolhouse that was ordered by...

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On This Day, Dec. 1, 1955 – Rosa Parks Refuses to Yield

1955 – Rosa Parks, a black seamstress in Montgomery, AL, refused to give up her seat to a white man. After a long day’s work as a seamstress at a Montgomery department store, Rosa Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus for home. Though the city’s bus ordinance did give drivers the authority to assign seats, it didn’t specifically give them the authority to demand a passenger to give up a seat to anyone (regardless of color). However, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the custom of requiring black passengers to give up their seats to white passengers, when no other seats were available. If the black passenger protested, the bus driver had the authority to refuse service and could call the police to have them removed. As the bus Rosa was riding continued on its route, it began to fill with white passengers. Eventually, the bus was full and the...

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I Don’t Know Much But I Know Why Black Lives Matter

by MICHAEL WINSHIP – Being black in America is something that even the best-intentioned white person cannot understand. Amends must be made Philando Castile and I share birthdays in July. This year, I celebrated mine with friends and family. But Castile’s friends and family are mourning his death, killed by a police officer in the St. Paul, Minnesota, suburbs after he was pulled over for a broken taillight. He would have been 33. I am decades older — older now, in fact, than my own father when he died. And I am white. My mother was from central Texas and my father from western New York, about 115 miles southwest of the small upstate town where I grew up. Their geographically disparate marriage was a product of the World War II disruptions that found men and women marrying people they met from far away instead of the boy or girl...

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I’m Backing Hillary Because I Hate Simple and Shallow Caricatures

by Grizzard – It happens every so often. I post something brash onto some social media platform only to elicit the rancor of a friend who doesn’t quite get me. Sometimes it’s a conservative friend, anxious to know why I’d support the devil. Other times it’s a liberal friend — a supporter of Senator Sanders — anxious to know why I’d support the devil. They each appeal to my better angels and to her worst. How can someone like you support someone like her? I then feel like I’m justifying support for Hitler. It’s off-putting and one of the reasons I’ve been jammed into Clinton’s corner. I didn’t start there. Much to the contrary. I’m a proud member of the Obama generation. Swept up by his soaring rhetoric during my college days, I recall the early conversations about how the little-known senator from Illinois was going to be the next president. I bought his books before he...

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On This Day, Feb 1, 1960 – Greensboro, NC Woolworth Lunch Counter Sit-ins Begin

1960  On February 1, 1960, four African-American students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University sat at a white-only lunch counter inside a Greensboro, North Carolina Woolworth’s store. While sit-ins had been held elsewhere in the United States, the Greensboro sit-in catalyzed a wave of nonviolent protest against private-sector segregation in the United States. The first Greensboro sit-in was not spontaneous. The four students who staged the protest, all of them male freshmen, had read about nonviolent protest, and one of them, Ezell Blair, had seen a documentary on the life of Mohandas Gandhi. Another of the four, Joseph McNeil, worked part-time in the university library with Eula Hudgens, an alumna of the school who had participated in freedom rides; McNeil and Hudgens regularly discussed nonviolent protest. All four of the students befriended white businessman, philanthropist, and social activist Ralph Johns, a benefactor of both the NAACP and...

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Make America Great, Like It Was — When?

by Jill Richardson – Donald Trump and his followers clearly don’t see the ugly parts of our nation’s past as problematic The holiday season is a time for nostalgia. We watch It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, engage in time-honored traditions, and even sing songs about sleighs and sleigh bells. Honestly, when was the last time you rode in a sleigh? I’ve eaten a roasted chestnut (purchased on the streets of Chicago, so I don’t know if there was an open fire involved in the roasting process), but I haven’t gone for a single sleigh ride in my whole life. Donald Trump’s campaign slogan — “Make America Great Again” — plays on this idea of some imagined time in the past when things were better, simpler, than they are now. But The Donald isn’t the only one who evokes this mythical past. On the other side of the aisle,...

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Georgia is Segregating Troublesome Kids in Schools Used During Jim Crow

By Marian Wang, ProPublica – Georgia has been illegally and unnecessarily segregating thousands of students with behavioral issues and disabilities, isolating them in run-down facilities and providing them with subpar education, according to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some of the students in the program were schooled in the same inferior buildings that served black children in the days of Jim Crow. The investigation found that many of the buildings lack gyms, cafeterias, libraries, labs, playgrounds and other amenities. “It’s a warehouse for kids the school system doesn’t want or know how to deal with,” a parent told the Justice Department of the program. The Justice Department detailed its findings in a letter earlier this month to Georgia’s governor and attorney general. Federal law mandates that schools educate students with disabilities in the “least restrictive environment” in which they can learn and thrive. More broadly, public entities...

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A Supreme Threat to American Democracy

by Jamie Raskin – We’re one judge away from government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations Here’s a little quiz you won’t find on the LSATs: Which Supreme Court justice called a recent ruling by the court a “threat to American democracy”? And what decision was it? Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote it of the Citizens United decision, which armed corporations with the political free speech rights of human beings. Justice Sonia Sotomayor included this phrase in her dissent to the Shelby County v. Holder ruling, which gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Justice Elena Kagan said it while reflecting on the Bush v. Gore case, which shut down the counting of more than 100,000 ballots in Florida — handing George W. Bush his first presidential win. Justice Antonin Scalia penned these words when he objected to the recent Obergefell ruling, which struck down marriage discrimination against...

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New Social Studies Textbooks In Texas Do Not Mention KKK Or Jim Crow Laws

By ELIZABETH PRESTON, Addicting Info – We saw it coming. We knew it was nearly inevitable. First, it was creationism in Biology textbooks. Then, it was the battle for Moses in the Social Studies textbooks, which included teaching right-wing political views as history. And finally, they’ve successfully done the impossible. The Washington Post is reporting that this fall, over five million public school students will be taught using  social studies textbooks that do not so much as mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws. In fact, it is reported that the new Texas guidelines for American history “barely address racial segregation.” And how is the history of the Civil War being taught? Well, it was states’ rights of course! Pat Hardy, a Republican who sat on the state board of education in 2010, when these new standards were adopted, says: “There would be those who would say the reason for the...

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Great Recession Foreclosures Fueled Racial Segregation, Finds Report

By Al Jazeera Staff The widespread home foreclosures that devastated families at the height of the Great Recession also exacerbated racial segregation in communities across the United States, according to a new study. Racial segregation between Latinos and whites grew by almost 50 percent and segregation between blacks and whites grew by about 20 percent as a result of families either moving in or abandoning areas hit hard by home repossession, researchers estimated. The gap was fueled by white families leaving homes in ethnically integrated neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosures, while blacks and Latinos moved into those neighborhoods, seeking affordable housing, according to the report, titled “Neighborhood Foreclosures, Racial/Ethnic Transitions, and Residential Segregation.” “Among its many impacts, the foreclosure crisis has partly derailed progress in achieving racial integration in American cities,” said the demographer who led the study, Matthew Hall, an assistant professor of policy and management at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology. The exact...

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Women’s History Month: An Interview with 93-Year-Old Ranger Betty Reid Soskin

With Women’s History Month upon us, we at the Department of the Interior interviewed Betty Reid Soskin, who at 93 is the oldest active ranger in the National Park Service. Great-granddaughter of a slave and a file clerk in a Jim Crow union hall during World War II, Reid-Soskin began her career with NPS at the age of 85 at Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park and was a driving force behind the park years prior. Between speaking engagements, conducting her bus tours, and giving presentations at the park’s visitors’ center, she found time to share her thoughts about her connections to the park, her past and the future. Connections to the Park For those who don’t know, what is the mission of Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park today, and what role do you play as a ranger in the park? The...

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Oklahoma University, Racism, And The Segregation Of College Sports

by TRAVIS WALDRON – It didn’t take long after the emergence of a video showing members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity singing racist chants for it to have an effect on the school’s most successful athletic program. By Monday, two days after the video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon members chanting that there’d “never be a n***** in SAE” first surfaced, Oklahoma’s football team had held a silent protest, walked out of practice, and joined an on-campus demonstration. Head coach Bob Stoops was there; so too were other athletes and head basketball coach Lon Kruger. Few of the reactions on social media drew as much attention as those from athletes, football players like linebacker Eric Striker in particular, and then four-star recruit Jean Delance backed out of his commitment to the Sooners program. By Thursday, even after Oklahoma president David Boren had banished SAE from campus and expelled two students,...

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Top Anti-Gay Leaders Offer Liberals A Surprisingly Good Deal On The Supreme Court

by IAN MILLHISER – Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) should be careful what he wishes for. On Tuesday, the ex-governor suggested that states are free to ignore Supreme Court decisions they would prefer not to follow. He’s wrong. But it is unlikely that a conservative like Huckabee would be happier — or that his political opponents would be unhappier — in a world where the conservative Roberts Court’s decisions were merely optional. The Supreme Court is expected to decide, most likely this June, whether the Constitution guarantees that gay people enjoy the same marriage rights as straight people. In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) labeled the “idea that a judge makes a ruling on Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning same sex marriage licenses are being given out” as “utter nonsense.” He went on to suggest that states could...

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