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Scholars Behind Bars aim to reform prisoners through books, education

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill — one of the most callous acts of legislation targeting prisoners that effectively put a lid over their educational ambitions. This act, hidden inside a subsection of that bill, overturned a long-standing section of the Higher Education Act of 1965 permitting inmates to receive a Pell Grant for post-secondary education while incarce ...

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Romancing the vote, but not the dollar

It’s silly for Black people to fight over the Dems and GOPs when it is counterproductive for us to be enslaved by either party. Between the late 1800s and the early 1900s, we voted nearly 100 percent Republican. Now we vote nearly 100 percent Democrat. What has that gotten us besides being ignored and taken for granted? Do we have real political power? ...

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The GOP’s ‘culture of poverty’ gambit

The 2014 mid-term elections are just eight months away — and the Republicans are worried about Black voters, again. They have good reason to be — that is, to worry about a repeat of 2012. Then, despite the best efforts of GOP-dominated state legislatures to block Blacks’ access to the polls, Black voters’ turnout rate surpassed that of whites for the first time ever. That achievement, along with the substan ...

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Using pen power for working people

During his State of the Union address, President Obama promised to use the power of his pen to achieve the policy objectives that Congress continues to block. After advocating fairness and being rebuffed by Congress, the president chose to use his pen power to require federal contractors to pay workers at least $10.10 per hour, or $21,800 per year. ...

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Racial healing activities inspire hope for ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ in America

Emmett Till. The four little girls in the Birmingham bombing. Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. Their names and situations invoke memories of extreme racial tension and often exacerbate feelings of racial distrust because of the painful circumstances surrounding their deaths. Across the nation, these and other historic stories of violence have for years saturated the airwaves and newspapers. And yet, in many of ...

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Black women’s history is women’s history too

Since March is Women’s History Month, who are the women you are celebrating? Do you know about Elizabeth Keckley? Maggie Lena Walker, Sarann Knight Preddy, Gertrude Pocte Geddes-Willis, Trish Millines Dziko, Addie L Wyatt or Marie-Therese Metoyer? What about Ernesta Procope, Dr. Sadie Alexander or Dr. Phyllis Wallace? What about Bettiann Gardner, Lillian Lambert, or Emma Chappell? What about Ellen Holly, Ma ...

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A little common sense for the Ukraine

Suddenly the crisis in Ukraine engulfs the U.S. As Russian troops move into Crimea, the White House goes into crisis management. Secretary of State Kerry takes off to the Ukrainian capital. Our media is barraged with 24/7 instant analyses. Republican Senators and retired generals call for moving American troops to the Polish-Russian border, placing missiles into the Czech Republic, dispatching a fleet to th ...

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Detroit bankruptcy plan: A math problem

There’s a potential problem with the math of the Detroit Bankruptcy Plan. Pension math and bond math are different. A bond has a specific legal obligation that is written and enforceable. If I lend the city of Detroit $1,000, they agree to pay me back my money at a maturity date and pay interest in the meantime. The liability is known, and measurable: the city owes me $1,000. In a pension, the city owes an ...

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Two Detroits

I just read Malik Yakini’s interview in the recent Metro Times issue. In just a few statements, he hit key points African Americans face nationally and locally, ranging from white supremacy, to food policy, to Black self-determination, to race and class disparities. What I really applaud was his framing of the “two Detroits” concept. Baba Malik outlined how one Detroit located in the downtown/Midtown area h ...

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