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Turning back the clock on voting rights

Shelby County, Ala. is suing the U.S. Department of Justice because they think Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (and its reauthorization in 1982 and 2006) is unfair. The facts: The small city of Calera redistricted its boundaries in a way that the sole African American councilman lost his seat. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act forced a new election with different boundaries and Ernest Montgomery ...

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Obama ignores crises in America’s ‘dark ghettos’

On Feb. 12, once again President Barack Hussein Obama mounted the podium at the Capitol to deliver the State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of Congress, the nation and the world. By all reasonable measures the address was an impressive center-left, moderate-liberal agenda on domestic issues like jobs, the minimum wage, infrastructure repair, energy, early childhood education, tax reform, deficit re ...

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The state of equality and justice in America: ‘Let us not lose focus on the justice issues that still loom’

This year, we are celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. As African Americans, we are pleased that this country has progressed from the forced enslavement of our race to the removal of the Jim Crow laws and practices. ...

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Protect Section Five

One of the most confusing, recurring Internet stories is the admonishment to protect the expiring 1965 Voting Rights Act. The last time that happened was in 2006 when the VRA was extended by Congress to 2031. When the law was extended, most African Americans breathed a sigh of relief and put concern for the law on the shelf — at least for 25 years. ...

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State of the Union on point

I was among the 33.5 million people who sat riveted to their televisions, parsing every second of the State of the Union (SOTU) address. I was stunned to learn, through a Washington Post article by Lisa De Moraes, that viewership was less substantial for this address than last year’s 38 million and even lower than the 48 million that watched in 2010. Are people less interested in what our president has to s ...

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‘Django Unchained!’ Michigan in chains

One hundred and fifty years since the emancipation proclamation, African Americans still are trying to make the American Dream make sense. Freedom has opened up new opportunity, new responsibility and old pitfalls. It turns out that slavery and racism were not only personal preferences, they were powerful institutions. They determined the law, the language, the land use and the overall social, political and ...

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State of equality and justice in America

At a time when our nation needed its legal community to step forward and join in the struggle for equality, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was born. I was privileged to be present in the East Room of the White House on the day President Kennedy urged a group of 244 lawyers to use their training and influence to further the goals of the civil rights movement. ...

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Facism by another name: Whole Foods and whole fools

There is a Whole Foods store about three blocks from my home and around the corner from my gym. I am enamored by the displays of produce, the red peppers contrasting the yellow ones, the kale, chard and collard greens glistening from their morning sprinkle. I love the way the fish gleams back at you, char and salmon, swordfish and tilapia. ...

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Federal spending is out of control

There’s considerable confusion surrounding President Obama’s record on spending, debt and deficits. First time around, Barack Obama campaigned for president on a promise “to cut annual federal budget deficits in half” by the end of his first term. As we start his second term, out of control spending and rising federal deficits are significant threats to the country and Obama’s presidential legacy. ...

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Black history month’s powerful question

I have a rule about this month. If it’s February, I know that somebody somewhere has given an interview or written an article declaring America no longer needs Black History Month. And, sure enough, the conservative National Review Online of Feb. 4 has given us the article of one Charles W. Cooke. Its title is succinct — “Against Black History Month: This month is Black History Month. Let’s hope it’s the la ...

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