Bill Russell, a superior athlete and civil rights activist

Bill Russell had more rings than he had fingers, and a cluster of awards to fill the walls of his entire house. But awards and statistics tell only a portion of this NBA Hall of Famer, who died peacefully Sunday, according to a statement from his family. He was 88. 

One line in the statement from his family spoke volumes about his achievements: he was the most prolific winner in American sports history. They were making reference to Russell’s incomparable 11 NBA titles with the Boston Celtics, eight of them consecutively, thereby surpassing the New York Yankees’ five straight World Series championships; and the Montreal Canadiens’ five straight Stanley Cup titles.

 Few could speak with absolute authority of Russell’s prowess like Red Auerbach, his coach and mentor. For him Russell was “the single most devastating force in the history of the game.” There is a long list of numbers to back up this comment, including five-time NBA MVP and...

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U.S. Supreme Court's 'Miranda' decision further guts 150-year-old civil rights law


(Reuters) - A U.S. Supreme Court decision on Thursday illustrated the extent to which the court has transformed a Reconstruction-era law meant to protect the rights of freed slaves and marginalized Americans into a formidable shield for the most powerful, including police, prosecutors and businesses. 

The June 23 decision bars lawsuits against police for using evidence obtained without advising people of their rights – the ‘Miranda’ warnings the court mandated nearly 60 years ago that have since become the framework through which most Americans understand their rights against police intrusion. 

The 6-3 ruling in Vega v. Tekoh, which was expectedly split along partisan lines, nullified essentially the only direct remedy available in those situations. (Police officers are notorious for evading internal discipline and legal consequence, even for conduct that constitutes a crime, like assaulting someone to...

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Reparations for Black Americans seeing unprecedented national support, advocates say

BY:  - JUNE 17, 2022 9:00 AM

Callie House walked out of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City on August 1, 1918, and headed back to her five children and job as a “washerwoman” in Tennessee

Her crime – mail fraud. 

The federal government claimed that the organization she’d helped lead since 1894 – the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and Pension Association – was essentially a fraudulent scam. 

Formerly enslaved herself, House had been successful in rallying hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to call for federal pensions for formerly enslaved people as compensation and reparation for their unpaid labor and suffering. They were also asking the federal government to provide food and medical expenses.

After an attempt to sue the federal government in 1915, House and her colleagues were indicted because the feds claimed they were using their mailers to obtain money...

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US Supreme Court hits a home run for civil rights


On July 1, the Supreme Court ruled in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta the government cannot force nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of their supporters. As a former executive director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a statewide youth assistant to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, I believe this ruling presents one of the most significant wins for civil rights in decades. 

It is important to note that even though the majority conservative Supreme Court has restricted Americans' voting rights, that same highest court in the nation just ruled in favor of protecting the freedom of Americans to support civil rights organizations and other social justice nonprofits. 

In taking the side of AFPF, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and many other nonprofit organizations, the high court invalidated the State...

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Civil rights leaders announce another March on Washington after voting rights bill fails in Senate

By Nicquel Terry Ellis

(CNN) A group of civil rights organizations will host another March on Washington in August to demand that Congress pass sweeping voting rights legislation and that state lawmakers halt efforts to enact bills that restrict voting access.

The announcement of the march comes one day after Senate Republicans blocked the For the People Act -- a signature voting and election bill that Democrats had pitched to counter state-level efforts. Republicans denounced the bill as a partisan power grab and a federal overreach into state voting and election systems.
The march, set for Aug. 28 with the theme "March On for Voting Rights," will mark the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Marches are set to be held in Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and Houston.
Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., will lead the...
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Civil Rights Groups Demand Congress Pass Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill This Month


A coalition of major advocacy groups including the ACLU and NAACP is urging congressional leaders to hold a vote on a House bill to federally legalize marijuana by the end of this month.

In a letter sent to House leadership on Friday, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR)—a coalition that represents more than 220 national organizations—said that it’s imperative to promptly pass the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which cleared the chamber last year and was recently refiled.

Since the House approved the legislation last year, “the circumstances of this past year have made the War on Drugs even more untenable and amplified the voices of those demanding transformation in our criminal-legal system,” the groups wrote.

“In the face of a growing national dialogue on discriminatory law enforcement practices, including the disproportionate policing of drug use in...

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The Right’s War on History and Truth

History is contested because the telling of history is powerful.

President Joe Biden brought eloquent leadership to a national commemoration of the 100th anniversary of a massacre in Tulsa, Okla., this month. In 1921, hundreds of Black men, women, and children were murdered, and a thriving community was destroyed in a singular racialized mass murder.

These murders took place as the Ku Klux Klan was resurgent, energized by the vehemently racist 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which promoted the false pro-Confederacy “Lost Cause” version of the history of slavery and the Civil War.

Until recent years, the Tulsa massacre had been largely hidden from history. The truth was systematically covered up, deliberately erased from our collective memory, by public officials, news media, and textbooks.

It would be tempting to think that a cover-up of this magnitude could never happen today. But we may be on the verge of an even greater historical cover-up. Republican legislators...

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Civil Rights Pioneer Who Inspired 1953 Baton Rouge Boycott Dies at 99

civil rights Jun 15, 2021

Martha White, the 99-year-old Black woman whose actions helped ignite the Baton Rouge bus boycott in 1953, has died.

The boycott, which inspired Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks’ well-known Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955, was a reaction by the Black Baton Rouge community to racial injustice perpetuated by white bus drivers.

At the time, 23-year-old White was employed as a housekeeper and took the bus home after an arduous day of work and a miles’-long walk to the bus stop. After boarding the bus, she sat down in the section designated for white passengers in the only vacant seat, and was told to move by the driver, but refused. Another Black woman joined White in solidarity and the two continued to refuse to move, even at the threat of arrest.

The police, bus company manager, and a civil rights activist, the Rev. T.J. Jemison, arrived on the scene, however the driver was informed by Jemison that White and her fellow passenger broke no laws due to an...

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