civil rights

A group of some 75 University at Albany students shut down part of Washington Avenue on Wednesday afternoon in a peaceful protest, joining thousands of other Americans turning out in a show of solidarity against what's  perceived as police violence targeting black men. Events already were scheduled for today tied to Ferguson, but with Wednesday's grand jury decision not to indict a white New York City police officer caught on video putting a deadly chokehold on Eric Garner, the number of protests has multiplied.


  The Northeastern United States—home to abolitionism and a refuge for blacks fleeing the Jim Crow South—has had a long and celebrated history of racial equality and political liberalism. After World War II, the region appeared poised to continue this legacy, electing black politicians and rallying behind black athletes and cultural leaders. However, as historian Jason Sokol reveals in All Eyes Are Upon Us, these achievements obscured the harsh reality of a region driven by segregation and deep-seated racism.

  Forty years after the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, “abortion” is still a word that is said with outright hostility by many, despite the fact that one in three American women will have terminated at least one pregnancy by menopause. Even those who support a woman’s right to an abortion often qualify their support by saying abortion is a “bad thing,” an “agonizing decision,” making the medical procedure so remote and radioactive that it takes it out of the world of the everyday, turning an act that is normal and necessary into something shameful and secretive.

In Pro, Katha Pollitt takes on the personhood argument, reaffirms the priority of a woman’s life and health, and discusses why terminating a pregnancy can be a force for good for women, families, and society.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz served as the keynote speaker at a civil rights conference in Lenox Tuesday night.

  As an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official, Barbara Smith has played key roles in multiple social justice movements, including Civil Rights, feminism, lesbian and gay liberation, anti-racism, and Black feminism.

Her four decades of grassroots activism forged collaborations that introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on a variety of fronts simultaneously, including gender, race, class, and sexuality.

By combining hard-to-find historical documents with new unpublished interviews with fellow activists, her new book, Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around, uncovers the deep roots of today’s “identity politics” and “intersectionality” and serves as a primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.

  On July 17, 1944, a massive explosion rocked the segregated Navy base at Port Chicago, California, killing more than 300 sailors who were at the docks, critically injuring off-duty men in their bunks, and shattering windows up to a mile away.

On August 9th, 244 men refused to go back to work until unsafe and unfair conditions at the docks were addressed. When the dust settled, fifty were charged with mutiny, facing decades in jail and even execution.

  Mississippi Eyes chronicles the events and the powerful witness of five young photographers in The Southern Documentary Project, working during the pivotal summer of 1964 in the segregated South. Together they captured the sometimes violent, sometimes miraculous process of social change as segregation resisted then gave way to a new beginning toward social justice.

#OccupyAlbany Returns

Jul 14, 2014
WAMC composite photo by Dave Lucas

Local voices of the national Occupy movement came together over the weekend in Albany.

In October 2011, the anti-establishment, anti-corporate movement that began a month earlier on Wall Street reached New York State's seat of political power when an "Occupy" encampment sprung up in Lafayette Park, across the street from the state capitol.

    Today’s politicians often look to the past for guidance.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Massachusetts Representative Richard Neal discusses the Civil Rights Act with WAMC’s Alan Chartock. 

Social justice advocates are marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The future of civil rights was the topic of a regional conference in Springfield, Massachusetts.