african american civil rights leader

Black Lives Matter, civil rights groups give DOJ’s drug memo a resounding ‘no’

  • Black Lives Matter movement activists and national civil rights organizations have major criticisms of Jeff Sessionsnew memo reinstating federal drug sentencing policies that have played a heavy role in mass incarceration. 
  • On Tuesday, representatives of several criminal justice reform groups plan to rally outside of the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C., to call for Sessions to abandon what they call a “return to the War on Drugs.”
  • In searing statements, the NAACP, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights and voices from within the Movement for Black Lives, among others, cried foul after Sessions announced Friday his instruction to U.S. attorneys that they throw the book at drug offenders. 
  • The directive ignores state-level sentencing reform trends, and will mean harsher punishments for nonviolent defendants, as well as mandatory minimum sentences that have been disproportionately leveled at African-American and Latino communities, civil rights leaders said. Read more (5/16/17)

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Bayard Rustin - The Gay Civil Rights Leader

Bayard Rustin was the heart and soul of the black civil rights movement in the United States, He was Martin Luther King Jr.s chef organizer, the pioneer of nonviolent resistance, and the man behind the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which Dr.King delivered his momentous and influential “I Have a Dream” speech. Rustin’s open homosexuality was contentious, and to this day his impact on the American landscape is all too often overlooked.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
~Martin Luther King Jr. ~

Anne Frank and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both born in the same year (1929).

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born January 18, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia.  When he turned 18, he entered ministry at the Baptist church. King was a prominent leader in the African American Civil Rights movement and assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39.  

Anne Frank was born June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, and lived only 15 years, the last few spent hiding from the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Anne Frank became internationally famous when her diary was published by her father in 1947.

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The National Association of Colored Women is an organization that predates the NAACP and was founded in response to vicious attacks on the character of African-American women by Southern journalist, combined with the spread of disfranchisement, lynching, and segregation, and the desire to “uplift” the race, black women organized a club movement that led to the formation NACW in Washington, D.C. in 1896.The organization’s founders included some of the most renowned African-American women educators, community leaders, and civil-rights activists in America, including: Harriet Tubman, Frances E.W. Harper, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Margaret Murray Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Mary Church Terrell, who became the organization’s first president.

The NACW adopted the motto “Lifting as We Climb." 

The NACW wanted to improve the lives of impoverished African Americans. Terrell stated in her first presidential address in 1897, "The work which we hope to accomplish can be done better, we believe, by the mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters of our race than by the fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons.” Her agenda for the organization focused on job training, wage equity, and child-care. The NACW also called public attention to issues such as lynching, peonage, prison conditions, and segregated transportation. 

The organization helped women and children suffering from poor health, lack of education, decent clothing, and housing. It raised funds for kindergartens, vocational schools, summer camps, and homes for the elderly. It also adopted an elitist attitude saying, that it was the responsibility of “privileged” to help those who were “socially inferior”; some felt that the habits of poor blacks gave the race a bad name. The NACW not only supported the right of black men and women to vote, but supported the women’s suffrage movement two years before the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, a club organization for white women. The NACW helped mobilize voter registration drives for blacks on a local level. It also promoted cultural events, including music concerts and poetry readings. By 1916, the organization had 300 clubs as members. Its high point of activity was in the 1920s and 1930s, after which it began to decline.- Richard Wormser

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February 21st 1965: Malcolm X assassinated

On this day in 1965, African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated aged 39. Born as Malcolm Little in Nebraska in 1925, his family were forced to relocate when the Ku Klux Klan threatened his father, who was active in the black nationalist movement. Malcolm’s father was ultimately murdered by white supremacists - but the white police insisted it was suicide - and the family disintegrated. The young Malcolm dropped out of school and became involved in crime, eventually going to prison for burglary in 1946. While imprisoned, he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who argued that the white man is the devil and cannot live peaceably with blacks, who should establish a separate black nation. Malcolm was powerfully affected by this ideology, and changed his last name to reject the ‘slave’ name he had been given. After his release from prison, Malcolm X became a preacher in New York, calling for black self-defence against white aggression. His eloquent advocacy of black nationalism and the neccessity of securing civil rights “by any means necessary”, including violence, made him a respected, but also feared, figure. Malcolm X was feared by white and black Americans, as some civil rights activists worried that his more radical message threatened the strategy of non-violence espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.. While his fame contributed to the Nation of Islam’s growing popularity, Malcolm began to split from the organisation, disillusioned by Elijah Muhammad’s hypocrisy and alleged corruption. He formally left the organisation in 1964, and visited Mecca, an experience which tempered his rhetoric and led him to abandon the argument that whites are devils. At this point, Malcolm changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, returning to America influenced by socialism and pan-Africanism and more hopeful for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. As he was preparing to speak at a rally for his recently-founded Organisation of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, Malcolm X was shot 15 times by three members of the Nation of Islam. In death, his legacy loomed large over the civil rights movement, and African-American activists increasingly urged black power for black people. Malcolm X remains one of the most famous and respected figures of the civil rights movement, and his seminal autobiography is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.

“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

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The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

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July 2nd 1964: Civil Rights Act signed

On this day in 1964, US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. The 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which outlawed school segregation, had sparked a new and more direct phase of the struggle for racial equality in the United States. The Civil Rights Movement that followed involved defiance of discrimination in the United States, especially Jim Crow segregation in the South and restriction of black voting rights. The movement initially had little support from the federal government, who instead focused mainly on foreign Cold War policy. It was in 1963 that the violent resistance encountered by peaceful black protestors, including children, by whites in Birmingham, Alabama, led President John F. Kennedy to call for a civil rights bill. After his assassination Kennedy’s successor Johnson, who was a vocal supporter of civil rights, took charge of the fight for the bill. Facing opposition from conservative Democrats and Republicans, Johnson utilised his personal forceful nature (known as ‘The Johnson Treatment’), the power of the executive to provide incentives for congressional support, and the legacy of Kennedy to push the bill through Congress. The Civil Rights Act passed the House in February 1964 and the Senate in June, before it was signed into law in July by Johnson. Those present at the signing ceremony on July 2nd included prominent African-American leaders of the Civil Rights Movement such as Martin Luther King Jr. The Act focused on racial discrimination, banning segregation and unequal voter requirements. However it also included a prohibition on sex-based discrimination which fuelled the burgeoning feminist movement; though some claim it was added by a Virginia Democrat in an attempt to derail the passage of the act. The Civil Rights Act, along with the Voting Rights Act a year later, were the primary legislative achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, and remain the cornerstone of American civil rights legislation. 50 years on, it is a time for reflection on how far America has come since the days of Jim Crow segregation and black disenfranchisement, but also how much further is still left to go in the struggle for racial equality.

50 years ago today

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Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on this day, January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia. King, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and African American Civil Rights Movement leader, combated racial inequality up until his assassination on April 4th. However, his words continue to inspire many today.

Listen to Martin Luther King’s Address at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 in memory and celebration.

Zodiac Signs Of Prolific Historical Figures (Part 1) | TheZodiacCity

Nothing has been greater for us today than those who have paved the way for us long ago and are still influential. From political figures to sports legends, here are some of their astrological signs (in case you were wondering). These are in no particular order.

Thomas Edison, (Aquarius) - inventor of the electric light bulb and other influential devices (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931)

Albert Einstein (Pisces) - developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics and is one of the world’s most recognized physicists (March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955)

Booker T. Washington (Aries) - author, educator and advisor to United States presidents; dominant leader in the African-American community for 20+ years (April 5, 1856 - November 14, 1915)

Malcolm “Malcolm X” Little (Taurus) - revolutionary American Muslim minister and civil rights activist (May 19, 1925 - February 21, 1965)

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Capricorn) - an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Abraham Lincoln (Aquarius) - 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination; dubbed one of the greatest U.S. presidents because of his deep involvement with the power issues of each state (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865)

Rosa Parks (Aquarius) - African-American Civil Rights activist and “the mother of the freedom movement” (February 4, 1913 - October 24, 2005)

Helen Keller (Cancer) - campaigned tirelessly on behalf of deaf and blind people having become deaf and blind herself at the age of 19 months old (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968)

Muhammad Ali (Capricorn) - former professional boxer, generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport (b. January 17, 1942)

Mother Teresa (Virgo) - devoted her life to the service of the poor and dispossessed; became a global icon for selfless service to others and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 (August 26, 1910 - September 5, 1997)

Mahatma Gandhi (Libra) - preeminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India; profound spirituality and belief in justice inspired the world (October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948)

Jackie Robinson (Aquarius) - an American Major League Baseball second baseman who became the first African American to play in the major leagues in the modern era (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972)

Amelia Earhart (Leo) - an American aviation pioneer and author; was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this record (July 24, 1897 - disappeared July 2, 1937)

One group of mostly African-American civil rights leaders is stepping up to question a deputy’s shooting of an unarmed, white, homeless man in Castaic 

because it just might be the right thing to do.

“We can’t only be advocates when black people are killed by police unjustly,” says Najee Ali, founder of Project Islamic Hope.

In 1961 future civil rights and Democratic leader James Clyburn married Emily England in South Carolina. The couple is still happily married today.

On April 15, 1889, A. Philip Randolph, founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters – the first successful Black trade union in the U.S. – and a leader in the African-American civil-rights movement, was born.

Via Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office