civil rights

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Inmate Writes 'Chilling' Letter, Ends Up Dead

Latandra Ellington was 7 months from being released

(Newser) - The family of a Florida prison inmate who died after writing a "chilling letter" about life behind bars is seeking a federal investigation into her death, the Miami Herald reports. On Sept. 21, Latandra Ellington wrote her aunt about prison officer "Sgt. Q" who, she says, threatened to... More »

Ferguson Officer Accused of Hog-Tying Boy, 12

Boy's lawyer says trial date expected early 2015

(Newser) - The latest Ferguson, Mo., police officer to come under scrutiny in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting is Justin Cosma, who stands accused of hog-tying a 12-year-old boy in 2010 when Cosma was a sheriff's deputy in a neighboring county, the Huffington Post reports. A civil rights lawsuit... More »

How Eric Cantor Can Turn Around His Legacy

Juan Williams thinks the Majority Leader should try to fix the Voting Rights Act

(Newser) - If Eric Cantor's story ends today, history will remember him only as "the highest-ranking Republican to suffer defeat in a primary," Juan Williams observes at The Hill . But Williams thinks there's a way Cantor can use his final days to rescue his legacy: He can revive... More »

Actress, Civil Rights Agitator Ruby Dee Dead at 91

She and late husband, Ossie Davis, were fixtures on civil rights scene

(Newser) - Ruby Dee, an acclaimed actor and civil rights activist whose versatile career spanned stage, radio television, and film, has died at age 91. Dee, who frequently acted alongside her husband of 56 years, Ossie Davis, was surrounded by family and friends at her home in New Rochelle, NY. Her long... More »

Judge to Baker: You Must Serve Gay Weddings

Colorado cake-maker refused to contribute to same-sex ceremony

(Newser) - A baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony must serve gay couples despite his religious beliefs or face fines, a judge said today. The order from administrative law judge Robert N. Spencer said Masterpiece Cakeshop in suburban Denver discriminated against a couple "because of... More »

Feds to Review Teen's Mysterious Gym Death

Kendrick Johnson was found rolled up in a gym mat, but death was ruled an accident

(Newser) - Federal investigators will take their own look at the death of Kendrick Johnson , the Georgia teen who was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat. "My goal, and my oath, requires me to follow the facts," US Attorney Michael Moore said today, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . "... More »

NAACP President Ben Jealous Resigns

Wants to teach, spend more time with family

(Newser) - Benjamin Jealous, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, announced today that he plans to step down by the end of the year. The Baltimore-based NAACP is the largest US civil rights organization. When Jealous was hired as its president in 2008 at... More »

Little Civil Rights Pioneer Reunites With US Marshal

Ruby Bridges meets with one of her school escorts, now 91

(Newser) - Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, who as a 6-year-old helped end public school segregation in the South, was reunited today with one of the federal marshals who escorted her past angry crowds so she could attend a previously all-white school. Bridges, who in 1960 became the first black child to... More »

Obama: King's Words 'Belong to the Ages'

Thousands honor MLK at Lincoln Memorial

(Newser) - Some excerpts from today's speeches at the Lincoln Memorial honoring the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, from CNN , the AP , and NBC News .
  • President Obama: "His words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in
... More »

Martin Luther King's Work Not Yet Done

But we should remember MLK as modern-day founding father: opinions

(Newser) - Fifty years later, tributes to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech—and reflections on the speech and the man—abound. A sampling:
  • King was a modern-day founding father, "equal to Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Hamilton," writes Nicholas Burns in the Boston Globe
... More »

Marchers Honor MLK in DC

Rally at Lincoln Memorial marks 50th anniversary of speech

(Newser) - Tens of thousands of marchers kicked off the 50th anniversary commemorations of the March on Washington today, honoring the civil rights progress made since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. But they also lamented what they called new attacks on racial and social equality.... More »

Washington Post: 'We Blew It' on MLK's Dream Speech

An editor laments scant coverage 50 years ago

(Newser) - Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most famous speeches in the nation's history 50 years ago, but you'd never have known it by picking up the Washington Post the next day. In all its coverage of the civil rights march of Aug. 28, 1963, the words... More »

Zimmerman Not Getting His Gun Back Yet, After All

Return is on hold pending the Department of Justice's probe

(Newser) - The FBI has thrown the brakes on a plan to return George Zimmerman's gun , asking Florida authorities to hold on to all evidence until it completes its civil rights investigation . "They have an investigation they are conducting," a Sanford police official tells USA Today . "Until that... More »

Case Against Zimmerman No Piece of Cake for DOJ

Feds would have to prove shooting was racially motivated

(Newser) - Amid protests and a push from the NAACP , the Justice Department is looking into the prosecution of George Zimmerman on criminal civil rights grounds—but that would be a genuinely tough case to win, the AP explains. Says a former US attorney: "They'd have to show not only... More »

Sharpton: Court Just Killed MLK's Dream

Voting Rights Act decision provokes outcry on left

(Newser) - "They just canceled the dream." That was Al Sharpton's reaction to the Supreme Court's Voting Rights Act decision , which has provoked a full-on outcry from the left, from President Obama on down. Sharpton was perhaps the most vociferous. "Part of, at least half, of what... More »

Biden Leads 'Bloody Sunday' Civil Rights March

Voting rights fight still going on, he says at Selma re-enactment

(Newser) - Joe Biden vowed to keep up the fight for voting rights as he led a re-enactment of the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march in Selma, Ala., yesterday. Biden is the first sitting vice president to take part in the annual march, which commemorates a march where voting rights... More »

Rosa Parks Statue Unveiled

She is first black woman to get full-length statue at Capitol

(Newser) - Rosa Parks made history again today: A full-length statue of the late civil rights icon was unveiled in the US Capitol's Statuary Hall, making her the first black woman to receive such an honor, reports the Washington Post . President Obama and congressional leaders put aside sequester squabbling for the... More »

College: We're Keeping 'Dixie' in Our Name

Dixie State College trustees approve name unanimously

(Newser) - A college in Utah will keep the word "Dixie" in its name despite signs that the school's history is steeped in racism, USA Today reports. Following an impassioned debate, trustees at Dixie State College voted unanimously yesterday to use the name Dixie State University if the state approves... More »

Alabama Student Who Defied Segregation Dies

James Hood was one of two to stand up to George Wallace in 1963

(Newser) - One of the first black students who enrolled at the University of Alabama a half-century ago in defiance of racial segregation has died. James Hood of Gadsden was 70. Then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace made his infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" in a failed effort to prevent Hood and... More »

10 Misleading Words to Be Wiped From MLK Memorial

At a cost of as much as $900K

(Newser) - The truncated quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that made the civil rights leader sound like, in Maya Angelou's words, " an arrogant twit ," will be removed. Officials initially said that the quote—"I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness"—would... More »

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