Acclaimed biographer James McGrath Morris latest book, Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press, brings into focus the riveting life of one of the most significant yet least known figures of the civil rights era—pioneering journalist Ethel Payne, the “First Lady of the Black Press."
A self-proclaimed “instrument of change” for her people, Payne broke new ground as the Washington correspondent for the Chicago Defender. She publicly prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to support desegregation, and her reporting on legislative and judicial civil rights battles enlightened and activated black readers across the nation. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized Payne’s seminal role by presenting her with a pen used in signing the Civil Rights Act. In 1972, she became the first female African American radio and television commentator on a national network, working for CBS. Her story mirrors the evolution of our own modern society.
In Mea Culpa: Lessons on Law and Regret from U.S. History, Steven W. Bender examines how the United States’ collective shame about its past has shaped the evolution of law and behavior.
We regret slavery and segregationist Jim Crow laws. We eventually apologize, while ignoring other oppressions, and our legal response to regret often fails to be transformative for the affected groups.
There will be a Black History Month event at The Egg in Albany on Saturday, Feb. 28, that will combine music, speeches and a panel discussion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights marches and to discuss ongoing civil rights efforts.
They keynote speakers will be Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed and Colia Liddell Lafayette Clark.
Dr. Mark Morrison-Reed joins us. His most recent book is The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism.
Standing on the foundations of America’s promise of equal opportunity, our universities purport to serve as engines of social mobility and practitioners of democracy. But as acclaimed scholar and pioneering civil rights advocate Lani Guinier argues in her book, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America, the merit systems that dictate the admissions practices of these institutions are functioning to select and privilege elite individuals rather than create learning communities geared to advance democratic societies.
An annual Black History Month observance in Springfield, Massachusetts was dedicated this year to the woman known as the city’s “mother of civil rights” who died late last year at the age of 100.
This was the 29th annual ceremony to raise the Black American Heritage Flag over Springfield City Hall. It was the first one held without Ruth Loving. The local activist for civil rights, healthcare for the poor, and libraries died last November.
Between November 1963, when he became president, and November 1966, when his party was routed in the midterm elections, Lyndon Johnson spearheaded the most transformative agenda in American political history since the New Deal.
In just three years, Johnson drove the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts; the War on Poverty program; Medicare and Medicaid; the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities; Public Broadcasting; immigration liberalization; a raft of consumer and environmental protection acts; and major federal investments in public transportation.
Collectively, this group of achievements was labeled by Johnson and his team the “Great Society.” In his new book, The Fierce Urgency of Now, Princeton Professor of History Julian Zelizer looks at the full story.
Former College of St. Rose, SUNY Albany, and Union College adjunct professor, Colia Clark is a Mississippi native who was involved in the Civil Rights movement in her high school and college years. She was a special assistant for slain NAACP leader Medgar Evers during the time of his 1963 assassination.
In August 1906, black soldiers stationed in Brownsville, Texas, were accused of going on a lawless rampage in which shots were fired, one man was killed, and another wounded. Because the perpetrators could never be positively identified, President Theodore Roosevelt took the highly unusual step of discharging without honor all one hundred sixty-seven members of the black battalion on duty the night of the shooting.
Taking on Theodore Roosevelt: How One Senator Defied the President on Brownsville and Shook American Politics by Harry Lembeck investigates the controversial action of an otherwise much-lauded president, the challenge to his decision from a senator of his own party, and the way in which Roosevelt’s uncompromising stance affected African American support of the party of Lincoln.