Robert L. Carter, Desegregation Architect

“In the United States, we make progress in two or three steps, then we step back, and blacks are more militant now and will not accept second-class citizenship as before.” – Robert L. Carter. The above quote was given to the New York Times in 2004 by one of America’s leading legal minds, practicing law in primarily human rights, civil rights an First Amendment cases. Robert L. Carter was a graduate from Columbia Law School, …

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Zelma Henderson & the Board of Ed

At 12:52 p.m. on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, commonly known as Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. The opinion stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and that the separate but equal doctrine, which allowed states to maintain racially segregated schools, had “no place” in public education. The team of lawyers included Chief Legal Counsel for the NAACP, …

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Homer Plessy’s Legacy

Homer Plessy was an Octoroon, he was also a soldier in the war for African-American civil rights. That war began before the Civil War and before Homer Plessy challenged the segregation laws in Louisiana in 1892. Plessy, like Rosa Parks, was chosen to challenge the segregation laws in public transportation. He boarded a train and sat in a car that was reserved for whites, then ordered to leave the train but refused. Policemen arrived and …

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Roger B. Taney – Obstruction to Freedom

The Dred Scott decision (Dred Scott v. Sanford; March 6, 1857) of the United States Supreme Court, set back human and civil rights for African-Americans by nearly a decade (considering the end of the Civil War; 1865 or the new Constitution Amendments; 13, 14, & 15th). One of the primary obstacles to the “set back” was the Chief Justice of the court, Roger B. Taney. When you think of Roger B. Taney (March 17, 1777 …

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Selma; Notes From the Field – Chapter 1; Prison Camps

In the immediate days and months before the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965 (Bloody Sunday), an extensive and concentrated voting rights effort was implemented in Dallas County (Selma) and the surrounding counties in Alabama. Local law enforcement and the Alabama State Troopers responded with unprecedented retaliation. Representatives of primarily from SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), high school students and other volunteers, were arrested at an alarming rate. More than 3,000 men, woman, and children were …

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Viola Was Murdered

The call went out. Volunteers were needed. The march from Selma, Alabama to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery was going to be attempted again. People black and white traveled to the area from everywhere to assist in the event. Living in Detroit at the time with her husband and five children, Viola decided to drive to Alabama and volunteer, it took three days to drive to Selma in her Oldsmobile. Viola Liuzzo saw the way …

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The Orangeburg Massacre

Before the unarmed student protesters were killed at Kent State in 1970,  also before two black men were killed at Jackson State in Mississippi days later, and before Dr. King’s assassination in April of 1968, there was South Carolina’s own version of excessive force by law enforcement and the killing of unarmed black youth. Idealistic protesters determined to make a point and highlight the segregation or more correctly, the banning of black people from a …

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The Killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson

The story seems to be a familiar one. Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26 year old church Deacon, Vietnam veteran and civil rights worker is shot twice by a law enforcement official and dies eight days later from a brutal beating and gun shot wounds. Events surrounding his death seem eerily similar to the deaths of young black men in recent year. It is entirely possible that nothings changed since the winter of 1965 and that …

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The Mulford Act

California Republican state assemblyman Don Mulford wrote a bill that was signed into law and enacted in 1967. The Mulford Act was the repeal of the “open carry” firearms law in California. Mulford championed the limits of open-carried weapons. Open carried rifles increased due to the perceived hostile treatment of blacks in the black community. The political and civic environment was more than some whites could bear. The state legislator with the support of the …

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The Torch has Been Passed

The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in recent years, tempered by an unjust and unbalanced legal system, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights and civil rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and we are committed today. Those words paraphrase the inaugural address of president John F. Kennedy in 1961. …

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