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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


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


Some blacks insist: ‘I’m not African-American’

The labels used to describe Americans of African descent mark the movement of a people from the slave house to the White House.


On This Date in History: Integrated School Established in New Hampshire, But…

In March of 1835, twenty-eight whites and fourteen blacks commenced classes at newly established Noyes Academy. The school, which had several abolitionists on its board of trustees, admitted all qualified applicants, regardless of race or color. The mixing of black and white youths set off a series of rumors through the town. Blacks would overrun Canaan; fugitive slaves would line the streets with their huts and burden the town with paupers and vagabonds; the school would become a public nuisance. `Fourteen black boys with books in their hands,’ a graduate wrote, `set the entire Granite State crazy!'”

Read more to discover what happened to Noyes Academy…


Study: Heart Drug Propranolol Makes People Less Racist

Researchers in Britain have found that a common drug called propranolol does in fact change the hearts of those who take it. The findings, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias, said Sylvia Terbeck, experimental psychologist and lead author of the study, London’s The Telegraph reports. “Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality,” Terbeck said.


Southern Poverty Law Center Report: As Election Season Heats Up, Extremist Groups at Record Levels

The American radical right grew explosively in 2011,

Hate Groups Graph

Hate Groups Graph

a third consecutive year of extraordinary growth that has swelled the ranks of extremist groups to record levels, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The rise was led by a stunning expansion of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement. “The dramatic expansion of the radical right is the result of our country’s changing racial demographics, the increased pace of globalization, and our economic woes,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of the new report.

The hate groups listed in this report include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, Klansmen and black separatists. Other hate groups on the list target LGBT people, Muslims or immigrants, and some specialize in producing racist music or propaganda denying the Holocaust.


In Honor of International Women’s Day, We Celebrate a Rising Young Scholar

In a bold comparative analysis of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Jada Williams, a 13-year old eighth grader at School #3 in Rochester, New York, asserted that in her experience, today’s education system is a modern-day version of slavery.

See Jada read her essay and receive the Fredrick Douglass Foundation’s Spirit of Freedom Award here.


In Honor of International Women’s Day, We Remember Madame CJ Walker

Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, this first free child of former slaves became America’s first self-made, female millionaire. She was also

Madame CJ Walker

Madame CJ Walker

a great philanthropist until her death in 1919.


Are Public Schools Safe for Black Children?

On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released the Civil Rights Data Collection sample, which found that public school educators unfairly punish minority students. The survey of 7,000 school districts and 72,000 schools was conducted during the 2009-2010 school year. It also found that African-American children were less likely to be exposed to high-level curriculums and experienced teachers.


Obama Calls for Youth Jobs, and Tech Firms Listen

Gilt Groupe and others join the White House to offer opportunities to 250,000 low-income job seekers 16-24 years old.


Drug Policy as Race Policy: Best Seller “The New Jim Crow”

The lifelong exclusion many offenders face includes  job discrimination, elimination from juries and voter rolls, and even disqualification from food stamps, public housing and student loans. “It’s easy to be completely unaware that this vast new system of racial and social control has emerged,” she said. “Unlike in Jim Crow days, there were no ‘Whites Only’ signs. This system is out of sight, out of mind.” New Jim Crow