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The 1965 Voting Rights Act versus 2013 Jim Crow reform

We thought we had escaped the Jim Crow laws established and enacted between 1876 and 1965, shortly after the emancipation of slaves. If we don’t quite remember the mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities within the southern states comprising the former Confederacy, starting with 1890’s “separate but equal” status for African Americans, we are headed back there now. ...

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No privacy in DNA

A recent case diminished the privacy that individuals have in their genes. The crux of the controversy, as with any search, is whether “the promotion of legitimate governmental interests” against the “degree to which the search intrudes upon an individual’s privacy.” In a landmark decision, Maryland v. King, the United States Supreme Court decided that police can swab the cheeks of arrested individuals for ...

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Inner cities need disaster relief too

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently spoke at a conference sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago on disaster recovery in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which caused an estimated $39 billion in damage in New Jersey. Christie talked through the plans for rebuilding after the initial steps to get power and water back up and return the area to “normalcy,” using some $60 billion in federal reli ...

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The minimum wage for the least and left out

It seems the term “poverty” has been sidelined from our national discourse, even though 15 percent of all Americans, and 26 percent of African-Americans experience poverty. The Fair Labor Standards Act was signed on June 25, 1938, 75 years ago, so perhaps this is a good time to explore the roots of the minimum wage and why its establishment remains important. ...

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A housing ‘Black tax’

If home ownership is, overwhelmingly, the foundation of individuals’ and families’ economic security in America, Black Americans face a profoundly difficult predicament. For when it comes to that signal marker, the wrenching economic shocks of the past half-decade have wiped out at least 14 years of Black Americans’ climb up the homeownership ladder. ...

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Resurrection Detroit

One warm day in Detroit this past spring I thought I would sit in the park nearwhere I live and soak in some sun and the surrounding environment. The area was in an all Black community, or so I thought. I noticed a young, white couple walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk toward Woodward Avenue with apparent freedom from assault. ...

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Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty still only partly won

Fifty years ago last week, Medgar Evers, the NAACP regional secretary in Mississippi, was murdered by a member of the White Citizens’ Council. Evers’ death received national attention, serving only to strengthen the movement for civil rights. Two years later, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a historic commencement address at Howard University, laying out progress made and challenges unmet. ...

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Understanding the need for full employment

The Social Security Trust Fund report has been released. One of its more telling charts was of the trend in Social Security revenue. Social Security revenue comes from a tax on the wages of earners, paid by both employees and employers. So, essentially it tracks the level of employment. Based on the simple trend of revenues from 1990 to 2007, just before the Great Recession started, 2012 revenue would have ...

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