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When the past is present…

“…The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” James Baldwin


Trayvon Martin Case Salts Old Wounds And Racial Tension

When Bill Lee Jr. took over as police chief in Sanford, Fla., last May, he promised to polish the force’s image and clean up an agency that had lost the confidence of many residents, particularly in the black community.

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

But last month’s shooting death of Trayvon Martin — an unarmed black teenager who police said was shot by a white neighborhood watch captain — has reopened old wounds. The police have not arrested George Zimmerman, 28, who is white, and who police said admitted to shooting the teen in self-defense.

Read more about the case here.


Happy Birthday, Quincy Jones! Musician and Arranger Extraordinaire

The all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 76 nominations and 26 awards, Quincy Jones has also received an Emmy Award, seven Oscar nominations, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones


Blacks, Latinos Lose Major Ground In Home Ownership: Study

According to a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, the housing crisis has eliminated large gains in home ownership among blacks and Latinos. The study also said that the homeownership rate among blacks now trails that of whites by nearly 28 percent, higher than the gap in 1990.


Some Say Re-election Fear Is Driving Gun Sales In Texas, Elsewhere

“I’m constantly getting questions from people in the gun community about this [issue],” said Alan Korwin, author of nine gun law books, including Gun Laws of America. “People are concerned that if Obama wins, as a lame duck, he will go after firearms in a way we have never seen before. We saw a fire sale when he was elected last time,” he said. “But the speculation is that now … with his need to get re-elected gone, the sky is the limit on attacking the Second Amendment.”


Rare photos depict lives of African-American sharecroppers during World War II

Shot between 1939 and 1941 by the Farm Security Administration, these images show the harsh living conditions of blacks farming on rented land during World War II.

Sharecropper home in Mississippi, 1939

Sharecropper home in Mississippi, 1939

Sharecropping was initially designed to get freed former slaves working again after the Civil War. Farming was essential to the stability of the southern economy, which had been decimated by the conflict. Tenant farming was instituted, because blacks were sorely needed in the fields yet seen as incapable of full ownership and management of lands.


Viola Davis To Tackle Barbara Jordan Biopic

This time Viola Davis will tackle the life story of Barbara Jordan to be based on the 2000 biography Barbara Jordan: American Hero, written by Mary Beth Rogers. Paris Barclay will direct from a script adapted by Emmy-nominated writer Paris Qualles (primarily written for TV). “We’re hoping this becomes a movie that shows the world everything that Viola can do. People haven’t seen everything that she’s capable of, and this role is so powerful,” said Barclay.

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan

was the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention.


Michelle Singletary: Schools shouldn’t fine tardy students or their parents

Money is not the answer to everything. For example, consider the trend of schools forcing families to pay fines for various infractions such as not getting their children to class on time. It’s counterproductive, and the fines often hit people who can least afford them.


BET Announces: America’s Black Holocaust Museum Goes Viral

The 24-year-old gallery is now displayed online. The only memorial dedicated specifically to the victims of the enslavement of Africans in the United States allows visitors to interact over the internet. Through the new format, users can view digital photographs and videos as well as ask questions of curators and contribute information.


Leonard Pitts: “All American Muslim” is a lost opportunity at understanding

We were discussing this, an olive-skinned Muslim man and I, at a banquet last year, when he said a wistful, poignant thing that has stayed with me ever since. “We thought we were white,” he said.

Not “white” in the sense of race, whatever that unscientific word means. Rather, white in the sense of assimilation and admission, white in the sense of people from Ireland, Armenia, Cuba, Hungary, southern Italy and other places who, upon arriving here, were regarded as threatening, non-white outsiders and required to earn their whiteness, their acceptance, over several generations. When the man said American Muslims thought they were white, he meant they thought they had successfully navigated the trail blazed by all those other people from all those other places.


Don’t Worry, Be Happy! Happy Birthday, Bobby McFerrin!

Robert “Bobby” McFerrin, Jr. is a virtuoso American vocalist and conductor. He is best known for his 1988 hit song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. He is a ten-time Grammy Award winner, well known for his unique vocal techniques and singing styles.

Bobby McFerrin Aug 2011

Bobby McFerrin Aug 2011

Listen to Don’t Worry, Be Happy