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Tag Archives: civil rights

New Nina Simone Documentary Introduces You To The Artist You Thought You Knew

"I'll tell you what freedom is to me—no fear," Nina Simone wistfully told an interviewer in 1968. "If I could have that half of my life..." This search for freedom haunts each beat of "What Happened, Miss Simone," the new Netflix-commissioned documentary on the award-winning singer, pianist and activist. The film, book-ended by Simone singing her classic "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free," traces her journey from a piano prodigy in small town North Carolina to an international force of blues and soul. "What Happened, Miss Simone" reaches viewers months before the highly controversial "Nina" biopic—in which Afro-Latina actress Zoe Saldana dons facial prosthetics to more closely resemble Simone. Simone's only child, Broadway actress Lisa Simone Kelly, prefers the documentary:... Read More →

REVIEW: John Lewis Continues His “March,” Offers Handbook For Nonviolent Demonstrations

The second installment in March, Rep. John Lewis' acclaimed graphic memoir trilogy on the civil rights movement, picks up where the first volume left off, but this book is more handbook than history lesson. "I see some of the same manners, some of the same thinking, on the part of young people today that I witnessed as a student," the Georgia Congressman, 74, told the New York Times. "The only thing that is so different is that I don't think many of the young people have a deep understanding of the way of nonviolent direct action." March: Book Two, released in January, offers a robust crash course. This book centers on a young Lewis and his increasing responsibility within the movement from 1960 to 1963. The graphic memoir opens on young protesters staging a sit-in at a Nashville lunch... Read More →

Rep. John Lewis Laments The Police Killings of Blacks: “I Fear For The Future of This Country”

The veteran Civil Rights leader, survivor of a concussion and beating from Alabama State Troopers on Bloody Sunday, asks in a new essay: “If Bloody Sunday took place in Ferguson today, would Americans be shocked enough to do anything about it?” Lewis, winner of an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for his memoir “Walking With the Wind,” sees the recent police killings of unarmed black people as representing “a glimpse of a different America most Americans have found it inconvenient to confront.” Writing in the Atlantic, Lewis' words are tinged with weariness. In his essay, he draws on a 1967 speech by Martin Luther King Jr., in which King tells of the "other America," one in which justice doesn't come easy, if at all. Black Americans have been continually "swept up like rubbish by... Read More →

Civil Rights Leader Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. Calls For “Deliberate Action” At City Club Of Cleveland

Two elders of the American Civil Rights movement—Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. and  Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell—went before a sold-out Cleveland crowd to consider “the unfinished business of race,” a topic heightened by the November police killing of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old playing with a toy gun in a city park. Photo Credit: Donn Nottage “Tamir Rice was our child, Cleveland’s child, God’s child,” Moss said at the City Club of Cleveland, “and every parent should feel the loss.” Dr. Rhonda Williams, director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University, came directly to her point: “How do we dismantle white privilege?” Moss, 79, who counseled U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, said the movement makes the most progress... Read More →

Revisiting The Voting Rights Act: Could You Pass A 1960s Literacy Test?

When the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act last month, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the watershed 1964 law had worked as intended: Racial discrimination had decreased and a record number of voters were now people of color. But how well do we remember the inequalities the law was protecting against? A leader in the civil rights movement, Rep. John Lewis had a front-row seat to the tactics used to keep black people out of the voting booth. Physical intimidation, poll taxes, and literacy tests were all bent to the task. Segregationists designed literacy tests to be deliberately confusing. They imposed tight time constraints to increase errors. "Black people with Ph.D. and M.A. degrees were routinely told they did not read well enough to pass the... Read More →

Congressman John Lewis Publishes Graphic Novel Of Civil Rights Movement

“Some of you may be asking: ‘Hey, John Lewis, why are you trying to write a comic book?’” said the legendary civil rights leader, smiling at the incongruity of this development for an audience at Book Expo America, the annual publishing trade show in Manhattan. John Lewis was 17 when he met Rosa Parks; 18 when he joined forces with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Five years later, he was one of the “big six,” an architect of the historic Civil Rights March on Washington in August 1963.  Standing at the Lincoln memorial, Lewis spoke sixth and King spoke tenth, stamping the day with his immortal “I Have a Dream.”  Of all those who addressed the throng a half century ago, Lewis is the only one left. Now, at 73, he has become the first member of the U.S. Congress to... Read More →

What History Books Didn’t Teach You About Rosa Parks

Source: Biography.com Most children learn about Rosa Parks' contribution to the Civil Rights Movement thusly: She boarded a bus, refused to move to the back of the bus when a white passenger got on board, and was promptly arrested, kicking off the Montgomery bus boycott. Lasting roughly 13 months, the Montgomery bus boycott lead to an official Supreme Court ruling declaring segregation on public transportation unconstitutional.  While that did indeed happen, what is often overlooked is Rosa Parks' earlier involvement with the civil rights movement. She was a member of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and even served as secretary for NAACP President E.D. Nixon. In honor of what would have been her 100th birthday this year, the Huffington Post recently highlighted some lesser known facts... Read More →
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