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Advocates quietly challenging voter ID law

The first legal challenge to an elections law under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), since the U.S. Supreme Court shot down preclearance protections under Section 5 of the VRA in June, is underway with little to no fanfare. On Nov. 4, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman will hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter identification law brought by Advancement Project, a civil rights advocacy group, and pro ...

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Yes, the rich are getting richer

According to a report titled, Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley, “From 2009 to 2012, average real income per family grew modestly by 6.0 percent, but the gains were very uneven. Top one percent incomes grew by 31.4 percent while bottom 99 percent incomes grew only by 0.4 percent.” The report continued: “Hence, th ...

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The new white Negro

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan released a controversial report written for his then boss, President Lyndon Johnson. Entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” it described the condition of lower-income African American families and catalyzed a highly acrimonious, decades-long debate about Black culture and family values in America. ...

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Blacks receive life sentences at high rates 

Although the number of prison inmates is declining nationwide, the number of Blacks serving life sentences continues to rise, according to a new study. A report by The Sentencing Project titled, Life Goes On: The Historic Rise in Life Sentences in America found that about 160,000 inmates are serving life sentences in prisons throughout the United States, and more than 47 percent of them are Black. Non-Hispa ...

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Dr. King Asked Kennedy for Second Emancipation

In October 1961, Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy took an after-lunch stroll through the elegant hallways of the White House residence. Their meeting that day was not official: it was not in the White House’s appointment book, and King had not been formally invited to discuss any sort of business. It was instead a guarded and rather stilted introduction for leaders of professed goodwill, ...

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Ben Jealous resigns as NAACP President, CEO

Five years ago, Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, made two promises. The first was to the NAACP to help the organization get to the next level, revitalizing the mission and the relevancy of the storied civil rights group for the 21st century and old and new battles ahead. The second promise was to his then 3-year-old daughter that he would ...

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A Dedicated Life: Shirley Sherrod’s ongoing battle for racial cooperation in Georgia

Almost three years ago, in late March 2010, Shirley Sherrod, who was then the USDA state director of rural development for Georgia, gave a forthright speech about her life story at an NAACP banquet. She told of how a white sheriff had lynched her cousin in 1943, how her father was killed by a white neighbor who went uncharged despite three witnesses, and how after her father’s death she dedicated herself to ...

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The IBW ‘Black Paper’ seeks to energize activists

“There is a ‘state of emergency’ without urgency in Black America,” writes Ron Daniels, president of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century. In a collection of essays and briefs, the IBW’s forthcoming “Black Paper” documents the progress — and lack of progress — made since the 1963 March on Washington and offers potential solutions to the problems afflicting Black America. The authors of the Black Pa ...

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Deconstructing Reconstruction

Children in elementary school often come home with the idea that the purpose of the Civil War was to end slavery, but if that were true why did it take Abraham Lincoln so long to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and why was it less than universally popular in the Union states? If you see the movie “Lincoln,” you get a much fuller picture of the contingency of emancipation, and of the difficulty of passi ...

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