landmark cases

Advanced English Vocabulary

jubilant (adj.) - extremely joyful, happy (The crowd was jubilant when the firefighter carried the woman from the flaming building.)

knell (n.) - the solemn sound of a bell, often indicating a death (Echoing throughout our village, the funeral knell made the grey day even more grim.)

lithe (adj.) - graceful, flexible, supple (Although the dancers were all outstanding, Joanna’s control of her lithe body was particularly impressive.)

lurid (adj.) - ghastly, sensational (Barry’s story, in which he described a character torturing his neighbour’s tortoise, was judged too lurid to be published on the English Library’s website.)

maverick (n.) - an independent, nonconformist person (John is a real maverick and always does things his own way.)

maxim (n.) - a common saying expressing a principle of conduct (Ms. Stone’s etiquette maxims are both entertaining and instructional.)

meticulous (adj.) - extremely careful with details (The ornate needlework in the bride’s gown was a product of meticulous handiwork.)

modicum (n.) - a small amount of something (Refusing to display even a modicum of sensitivity, Magda announced her boss’s affair to the entire office.)

morose (adj.) - gloomy or sullen (David’s morose nature made him very unpleasant to talk to.)

myriad (adj.) - consisting of a very great number (It was difficult to decide what to do on Saturday night because the city presented us with myriad possibilities for fun.)

nadir (n.) - the lowest point of something (My day was boring, but the nadir came when my new car was stolen.)

nominal (adj.) - trifling, insignificant (Because he was moving the following week and needed to get rid of his furniture more than he needed money, Kim sold everything for anominal price.)

novice (n.) - a beginner, someone without training or experience (Because we were allnovices at archery, our instructor decided to begin with the basics

nuance (n.) - a slight variation in meaning, tone, expression (The nuances of the poem were not obvious to the casual reader, but the teacher was able to point them out.)

oblivious (adj.) - lacking consciousness or awareness of something (Oblivious to the burning smell emanating from the kitchen, my father did not notice that the rolls in the oven were burned until much too late.)

obsequious (adj.) - excessively compliant or submissive (Donald acted like Susan’s servant, obeying her every request in an obsequious manner.)

obtuse (adj.) - lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect (Political opponents warned that the prime minister’s obtuse approach to foreign policy would embroil the nation in mindless war.)

panacea (n.) - a remedy for all ills or difficulties (Doctors wish there was a single panacea for every disease, but sadly there is not.)

parody (n.) - a satirical imitation (A hush fell over the classroom when the teacher returned to find Magdalena acting out a parody of his teaching style.)

penchant (n.) - a tendency, partiality, preference (Fiona’s dinner parties quickly became monotonous on account of her penchant for Indian dishes.)

perusal (n.) - a careful examination, review (The actor agreed to accept the role after a three-month perusal of the movie script.)

plethora (n.) - an abundance, excess (The wedding banquet included a plethora of oysters piled almost three feet high.)

predilection  (n.) - a preference or inclination for something (James has a predilection for eating toad in the whole with tomato ketchup.)

quaint (adj.) - charmingly old-fashioned (Mary was delighted by the quaint bonnets she saw in Romania.)

rash (adj.) - hasty, incautious (It’s best to think things over calmly and thoroughly, rather than make rash decisions.)

refurbish (v.) - to restore, clean up (After being refurbished the old Triumph motorcycle commanded the handsome price of $6000.)

repudiate (v.) - to reject, refuse to accept (Tom made a strong case for an extension of his curfew, but his mother repudiated it with a few biting words.)

rife (adj.) - abundant (Surprisingly, the teacher’s writing was rife with spelling errors.)

salient (adj.) - significant, conspicuous (One of the salient differences between Alison and Helen is that Alison is a couple of kilos heavier.)

serendipity (n.) - luck, finding good things without looking for them (In an amazing bit of serendipity, penniless Mark found a $50 bill on the back seat of the bus.)

staid (adj.) - sedate, serious, self-restrained (The staid butler never changed his expression no matter what happened.)

superfluous (adj.) - exceeding what is necessary (Samantha had already won the campaign so her constant flattery of others was superfluous.)

sycophant (n.) - one who flatters for self-gain (Some see the people in the cabinet as the Prime Minister’s closest advisors, but others see them as sycophants.)

taciturn (adj.) - not inclined to talk (Though Magda never seems to stop talking, her brother is quite taciturn.)

truculent (adj.) - ready to fight, cruel (This club doesn’t really attract the dangerous types, so why was that bouncer being so truculent?)

umbrage (n.) - resentment, offence (He called me a lily-livered coward, and I took umbrage at the insult.)

venerable (adj.) - deserving of respect because of age or achievement (The venerable High Court judge had made several key rulings in landmark cases throughout the years.)

vex (v.) - to confuse or annoy (My boyfriend vexes me by pinching my bottom for hours on end.)

vociferous (adj.) - loud, boisterous (I’m tired of his vociferous whining so I’m breaking up with him.)

wanton (adj.) - undisciplined, lewd, lustful (Joanna’s wanton demeanor often made the frat guys next door very excited.)

zenith (n.) - the highest point, culminating point (I was too nice to tell Emily that she had reached the absolute zenith of her career with that one top 10 hit of hers.)

most lgbt movies you see recommended are rated r, sexually explicit, etc etc. while that’s honestly great to see and something i’m personally okay with, it leaves kids and people who DON’T want to see sex alienated.

*Please note that I have not seen all or most of these movies. I will be updating this list as I find more/watch unrated ones that can be placed here. Let me know if I missed any!

Last Updated: 5/4/17

thus, here’s a list of lgbt movies that aren’t rated r:

  • The Pearl of Africa, TV-14: “In this intimate documentary, Ugandan transgender woman Cleopatra Kambugu struggles and prevails as she lives in an actively transphobic environment.”
  • Jenny’s Wedding, PG-13: “When Jenny plans to marry her girlfriend, she decides it’s time that her family, who doesn’t know she’s a lesbian, finally learns the truth.”
  • The Out List, TV-PG: “Activists, entertainers, athletes and politicians are among those profiled in this thought-provoking portrait of notable LGBT personalities.”
  • Growing Up Coy, TV-PG: “Filmmakers follow a Colorado family’s highly public battle for the rights of their transgender daughter, Coy, in a landmark civil rights case.”
  • My Transgender Kid, TV-14: “Two British families discuss the challenges they face raising children who identify as a gender different from the one they were assigned at birth.”
  • Gayby Baby, PG: “This documentary follows four youngsters as they navigate the challenges of their preteen years, including society’s bias against their gay parents.”
  • Margarita with a Straw, TV-14: “An Indian woman with cerebral palsy decides to study in New York, where she becomes involved in a life-changing affair with a blind female activist.”
  • Who’s Gonna Love Me Now?, TV-14: “A gay London man faces a positive HIV diagnosis and a decision on whether to stay with loving friends or return to his estranged parents in Israel.”
  • Game Face, TV-14: “This documentary follows the struggle of transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox and gay basketball player Terrence Clemens for acceptance by their sports.”
  • Kumu Hina, TV-14: “This year captures a year in the life of native Hawaiian transgender teacher Hina Wong-Kalu, who embodies mahu, a sacred spirit both male and female.”
  • Big Eden, PG-13: “Henry Hart returns to Big Eden and winds up confronting his unrequited passion for his high school best friend and his feelings about being gay.”
  • Rent, PG-13: “This is the film version of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning musical about Bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggling with life, love and AIDS, and the impacts they have on America.”
  • D.E.B.S., PG-13: “Plaid-skirted schoolgirls are groomed by a secret government agency to become the newest members of the elite national-defense group, D.E.B.S.”
  • I Am Not Your Negro, PG-13: “The late black and gay writer James Baldwin is given new voice in I Am Not Your Negro. Director Raoul Peck offers viewers the opportunity to spend 90 minutes with Baldwin’s words — his interviews, manuscripts, and influences — which offer his honest and illuminating insights on race in America.”
  • I Can’t Think Straight, PG-13: “A 2008 romance film adapted from a same name novel about a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian descent, Tala, who is preparing for an elaborate wedding. A turn of events causes her to have an affair and subsequently fall in love with another woman, Leyla, a British Indian.”
  • The World Unseen, PG-13: “A drama centered on two women who engage in a dangerous relationship during South Africa’s apartheid era.”
  • Caramel, PG: “A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.”
  • You Are Not Alone, UR: “Two precocious boys explore their sexuality at boarding school.”
  • Bend it like Beckham, PG-13: “The daughter of orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents’ traditionalism and joins a football team.”
  • Camp, PG-13: “After a series of Broadway flops, songwriter Bert Hanley (Dixon) goes to work at a musical camp for young performers. Inspired by the kids, he finds an opportunity to regain success by staging an altogether new production.”
  • Chutney Popcorn, PG-13: “Reena is a young Indian American lesbian who lives and works in New York. Her sister Sarita, who is happily married, discovers that she is infertile. Reena offers to be a surrogate mother for her sister’s baby, hoping to improve her relationship with their mother, who disapproves of Reena’s sexual orientation. Reena has second thoughts when her girlfriend Lisa feels left out.”
  • The Family Stone, PG-13: “An uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family’s annual Christmas celebration and finds that she’s a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.”
  • Saved!, PG-13: “When a girl attending a Christian high school becomes pregnant, she finds herself ostracized and demonized, as all of her former friends turn on her.”
  • To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, PG-13: “Three drag queens travel cross-country until their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a small town.”
  • Victor Victoria, PG: “A struggling female soprano finds work playing a male female impersonator, but it complicates her personal life.”
  • Far From Heaven, PG-13: “In 1950s Connecticut, a housewife faces a marital crisis and mounting racial tensions in the outside world.”
  • Philadelphia, PG-13: “When a man with HIV is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.”
  • Beautiful Daughters, TV-14: “In February, 2004, with the help of Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda, a group of transgender women put on the first all-transgender production of “The Vagina Monologues”, including a new monologue written by Ensler from their own experiences.”
  • Zorro: The Gay Blade, PG: “In 1840’s Mexico, wealthy landowner Don Diego Vega learns of his late father’s secret as Zorro, the masked folk hero, and Vega adopts his new persona. But when Vega is incapacitated by an injury, he asks Ramon, his very gay, long-lost twin brother (now calling himself ‘Bunny’), to replace him as the caped hero, who makes some drastic changes to his Zorro persona.”
  • We Think the World of You, PG: “An aimless young man, Johnny, is sent prison. He entrusts his beloved dog, Evie, to the care of his former lover and best friend, Frank. When he gets out of prison, he has to face difficulties at home. Added to this, is the fact that he may have to give up Evie to Frank.”
  • EDIT: Nina’s Heavenly Delights, PG-13: “A feisty young woman returns to Glasgow to run her deceased father’s curry house.”
  • EDIT: The Color Purple, PG-13: “A black Southern woman struggles to find her identity after suffering abuse from her father and others over four decades.”

Google Doodle honors civil rights hero Fred Korematsu

  • Fred Korematsu, the civil rights hero who crusaded against the United States’ internment of the Japanese in the 1940s, is the subject of the Jan. 30 Google doodle.
  • The digital tribute honors Korematsu, who died in 2005, on what would have been his 98th birthday. 
  • In 1942, the activist was arrested for evading Japanese internment, which eventually prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to step in and challenge his conviction in the landmark Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. United States.
  • In one of the most contentious rulings in its history, the Supreme Court upheld Korematsu’s conviction as constitutional. It’s a decision that’s still referenced today by current Supreme Court justices as a blemish on the nation’s history. Read more

follow @the-movemnt


I don’t know about you, but I’m appalled that Petsmart does not sell “Happy Bananaversary” dog cookies and quite frankly, I’m ready to sue


February 1st 1790: Supreme Court first meets

On this day in 1790, the highest court in the United States, the Supreme Court, met for the first time at the Merchants’ Exchange Building in New York City. The Supreme Court is the only federal court specifically established in the Constitution (in Article III), and was implemented in 1789 with the Judiciary Act. The original role of the Supreme Court, according to the Constitution, was jurisdiction over “all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution” (Article III, Section II). The location of the Court moved a number of times, finally gaining its own building in Washington D.C. in 1935. The Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate; the first Chief Justice was Founding Father John Jay. The 1803 landmark case Marbury v. Madison formed the basis for the Supreme Court’s exercise of judicial review - when they can invalidate laws by declaring them ‘unconstitutional’ - which is now a major part of the Court’s role in American governance.

William T. Coleman Jr., who helped draft the landmark 1954 legal case in which the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was illegal and who later became the country’s second black Cabinet officer after President Gerald R. Ford named him transportation secretary, died March 31 at his home in Alexandria, Va. He was 96.

Throughout his long career, Mr. Coleman was often at the forefront of major public events, legal battles and significant social advances. In 1948, he became the first African American to serve as a law clerk to a Supreme Court justice, and within two years he was working alongside Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund on major desegregation cases.


He was the first black accepted on the Harvard Law Review, the first to serve as a clerk to a Supreme Court Justice, the second to serve on a President’s Cabinet and the first to reach the top of the corporate legal establishment. It is always painful to admit that we are losing our heroes. However, this is life. And it’s very important to remember the name of this great man who created the future for many of us. We must keep the memory of him. Because of him we can. Segregation was one of the worst (exept slavery and genocide of inative american etc.) things in the history of America. People like Coleman destroyed it. He was a man of very clear practical judgment in grasping the essentials of any situation, with clarity of mind, strength of judgment, tenacity, and resourcefulness.

#BlackPride #BlackHistory 

Top 5 cases in the Phoenix Wright series

5. Turnabout En Suite. Released as a tech demo for Nintendo’s new 3DS console, this unique case uses the 3DS’ front-facing camera to reveal that the murderer was in fact you, the player.

4. Turnabout Blossom. When a newly-retired Phoenix takes Maya to go visit a traditional American cherry blossom festival, he’s just expecting a quiet day out. But when an American shrine maiden is found stabbed and Maya is found holding the knife, Phoenix’s quiet day is ruined as he’s forced to approach the bench once again to prove her innocence - and figure out why the blossoms on the body appear to be weeks old…? Find out the truth for yourself in this puzzling case that was pulled from shelves by Capcom after executives realized someone had accidentally hidden a photograph of a dude’s weiner somewhere in every character sprite and background cg.

3. Turnabout Fifty Bucks. In this landmark case for the series, Phoenix steadfastly refuses to defend any new clients or leave his office until Edgeworth gives him a cool fifty bucks. When he gets the fifty bucks, the game ends, the player’s save is erased, and the game cart shoots out of the DS across the room.

2. Turnabout Big Top. Fuck off, it’s my list.

1. Turnabout Ghosts. Uh oh! Trouble for Phoenix Wright once again as he’s forced to determine which of a cast of fifty characters could be the murderer, and this time some of them are ghosts

wow okay so the upshot of all that is that there is no surviving record of dale jennings’ 1952 trial, the los angeles county court criminal record check system keeps no record of court proceedings prior to 1970 and the archivist’s office only keeps records pertaining to felonies, and jennings was arrested and tried on a misdemeanour charge. this was the first time a gay man pleaded not guilty to a charge of public lewd behaviour, openly identified himself as a homosexual in court, argued that he had not solicited sex from a vice cop but rather had been stalked and assaulted in his own home, and he was acquitted 11-1. literally a landmark case for gay rights that launched the mattachine society from an underground club of a couple dozen friends to a thriving organization with thousands of members and the bureaucracy of the los angeles county court system has destroyed any evidence that it ever happened.

Do No Harm - Chapter 9

I will abstain from all intentional wrong-doing and harm

Wanna read previous chapters?: Ch. 1, Ch. 2, Ch. 3, Ch. 4, Ch. 5, Ch.6, Ch.7, Ch.8

6866 Words

Read it on AO3!

Angela thought about putting up a fight when the other doctors shooed her out of the room, but she instead decided that wouldn’t get her anywhere positive. She would be gracious in her success. She could be.

Besides, Amélie was a bit too out of it to want to talk to her much. She spent a lot of time staring at her hands and offering brief answers to the long questions she was being asked.

So when a parade of more doctors came in, followed by a team of lawyers, Angela was content to leave the crowded room. She allowed herself one little glance back, and could swear she saw those golden eyes lift from examining cyanotic skin to follow her to the door.

Angela could hold on to that a while. She could wait. She could.

Keep reading


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China’s Pink Economy Is Leading the Country's Battle for LGBT Rights
In the big cities, conservative attitudes are softening thanks to a new, free-spending generation.

Some excerpts:

Neither will Chinese LGBT activism follow the same path as the West’s. There is no free press and the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is paranoid about any expression of community solidarity outside its auspices, especially those rooted in popular mobilization. “If you have 300 people walking down the street then it could be read as a protest,” says Ma. “It’s not just an antigay thing.”

That means business and the pink dollar have to be at the vanguard. Last summer, ten same-sex couples won a free gay wedding ceremony and honeymoon in California courtesy of Taobao, the online-shopping platform run by Alibaba, which obviously felt comfortable enough to run the competition despite gay marriage being illegal in China. In January, a transgender man won a landmark court case for unfair dismissal against his employer. Says Ma: “Once my generation is grown up everything should be way easier.”

That is also when the real dividends of China’s pink economy will be reaped. As Liu points out, today’s gay Chinese with real spending power — aged 30 to 50 — are typically in closeted heterosexual relationships. But some young Chinese are able to “come out” in their teens or 20s to a somewhat more accepting society, and the beginnings of a social apparatus to help them thrive in their own skin.

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has been one of the most influential civil rights organizations in the history of the United States. They are best known for their campaign against the separate but equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson. The organization’s activism helped lead to the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The NAACP fought for a federal antilynching law, publicized the injustices of Jim Crow statutes, and provided a platform for thousands of African Americans to speak up for their rights. 


March 6th 1857: Dred Scott v. Sandford

On this day in 1857, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in the landmark case Dred Scott v. Sandford. The case originated when Dred Scott, a slave, claimed that because his master - army surgeon Dr. John Emerson - took him to the free territory of Wisconsin, he was a free man. By the time of the case, Scott and his family belonged to Emerson’s widow Eliza Irene Sanford, who refused to allow Scott to purchase his freedom. In response, Scott sued her and argued that he was already free due to his time in Wisconsin. State court declared Scott free in 1850, but Sanford’s brother appealed the decision and the case ultimately made its way to the Supreme Court in 1856; a clerical error meant Sanford’s name was mispelled in court records. In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that African-Americans were not United States citizens because they were not part of the Constitutional ‘political community’, and thus could not sue in federal court. The decision also established that Congress could not ban slavery in federal territories, and held that slaveowners’ right to slave property was guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. The Court’s complete rejection of African-American rights evoked outrage from Northern anti-slavery forces, and emboldened Southern slaveowners as they sought to expand the ‘peculiar institution’. The decision, written by Chief Justice Roger Taney, is thus considered one of the causes of the American Civil War as it flared sectional tensions. Taney’s tenure ended with his death in 1864, but due to his role in the Dred Scott decision, he has gone down in history as one of America’s worst Chief Justices. Scott and his family were freed by a new master two months after the decision, and found employment in St. Louis; however, Scott died of tuberculosis in November 1858. The Dred Scott decision is one of the most disastrous in American history, and was overturned by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.

“[African-Americans] had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit”
- Chief Justice Taney’s opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford

Five You Should Know: Black Freedom Fighters

Sojourner Truth

Image: Unknown photographer, Sojourner Truth, 1864, albumen print, 3 ¼ × 2 ¼ in. (8.1 × 5.7 cm). National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Born Isabella Baumfree, Sojourner Truth was one of the most powerful African American women’s rights activists of her time. Incensed with a need for freedom, she escaped slavery before New York’s ban in 1827. A mother to four children, she escaped with her youngest and had to leave her other children behind. Upon learning that her son had been illegally sold south, she successfully campaigned for his return, the first time an African American woman had done so. William Lloyd Garrison published her memoirs in 1850 under the title, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave.

Read an excerpt from a speech given by Truth at the Women’s Rights Convention, 1851, in Akron, Ohio:

“I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. “

William Still 

William Still was born free in 1821 and was known as the “Father of the Underground Railroad.”  Still helped over 800 people escape slavery and continue on the road to freedom. He also served as chairman of the Vigilance Committee for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. A meticulous recordkeeper, Still once discovered that he aided in the escape of his older brother who was left behind when his parents escaped their own bondage. Still worked with a team across New Jersey, New York, New England and Canada and even crossed paths with Harriet Tubman.

In 1872, Still published an account of his work on the Underground Railroad in The Underground Railroad Records. A leader in the community, Still also helped to establish an African American orphanage and open the first YMCA for blacks in Philadelphia.

Pauli Murray

Photo: Pauli Murray. Carolina Digital Library and Archives. “Murray, Pauli, 1910-1985.” 5 July 2007. Online image. UNC University Library. Accessed 8 April 2011.

Pauli Murray was a civil rights activist, lawyer and author who was ahead of her time. Known for her short haircut and tomboy style, Murray often passed as a teenage boy and openly flaunted her numerous relationships with women.

A staunch advocate for women’s rights, Murray coined the term “Jane Crow” in response to sex discrimination and criticized the lack of women leadership in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1966, she cofounded the National Organization for Women in a hope to pursue women’s rights.

Murray was also a lawyer active in efforts to end segregation — using her law school training to advocate for equal rights for African Americans. Her book, States’ Laws on Race and Color, was considered a bible for Civil Rights lawyers that examined and critiqued segregation laws. The book was referenced in arguments for Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the landmark SCOTUS case that ended school segregation.

In 1977 Murray became the first African American woman to become an Episcopal Priest. Her first autobiography was published posthumously in 1987 and later released as, Pauli Murray: the Autobiography of a Black Activist, Feminist, Lawyer, Priest and Poet.

Bayard Rustin

Image: Bayard Rustin (center) speaking with (left to right) Carolyn Carter, Cecil Carter, Kurt Levister, and Kathy Ross, before demonstration / World Telegram & Sun photo by Ed Ford. Library of Congress.

“When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.” - Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin was active in the struggle for human rights and economic justice in the United States and around the world for over fifty years. As an activist and political organizer, Rustin played an important role in propelling the civil rights movement forward and fought tirelessly for marginalized communities. He is perhaps best known for his work organizing the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

As an openly gay African American, Rustin stood at the intersection of several fights for equal rights. During the 1980s, Rustin spoke out publicly for gay rights and worked to bring the AIDS crisis to the attention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He also continued working for economic justice.

Rustin’s long-time partner, Walter Naegle, accepted Rustin’s posthumously-awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2013.

Angela Davis 

Born in Birmingham, Alabama,  Angela Yvonne Davis, grew up witnessing racial and social injustices firsthand in her neighborhood that was known as “Dynamite Hill” – for the frequency of Ku Klux Klan bombings. During college Davis became politically active and joined both the socialist party and Black Panther Party for Self-Defense.

 In 1970 Davis was accused of being involved in a court room escape attempt by the Soledad Brothers. She went into hiding and was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list until her capture in New York. As her trial approached, Davis' supporters started a successful #freeangela campaign and artists like  The Rolling Stones, John Lennon and Yoko Ono and German Franz Josef Degenhardt dedicated songs to Davis. She was acquitted of all charges in 1972 and went on to become a successful advocate for social change. 

Today, Davis remains an active and respected voice in the fight for civil and women’s rights, poverty issues and health care and prison reform. 


Written by Lanae S., Social Media Specialist, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. 


Jewelry tin, date unknown. Photo courtesy of Terri Abney.

My grandmother was born in 1945. She raised me, as a mother would. She didn’t have a lot of money, so when she bought something she kept it. She would always say, “Terri, you walk so hard in your shoes” or “You play too rough in your clothes,” meaning that they should be taken care of to last. Now I will hear her voice in the back of my mind, or see her placing the shoes back in the boxes and re-covering the clothes. She cared after everything and every day I try to get a little better at caring for my things. Keeping something that once belonged to her, I know its importance; her spirit continues to live and thrive … an item of hers fills a space in a world she is no longer in. There is a metal tin can that my grandmother used to keep jewelry in. Now I do. It has flowers on it and I feel it represents her personality. I have some of her things – her wedding band, a hair clip – with some of mine like my diamond cross necklace, solidifying my faith. I can put both my hands into the can and make the shape of a heart. “God sees the heart” is something she taught me, and she and God are ordering my path. I see God’s hand and her hand as well.

Story from Terri Abney, who plays Garnet Jeter in Loving, the new film telling the story behind the landmark interracial marriage case Loving v. Virginia.


“Learn more about how Jenny Hatch won the right to use supportive decision making in a landmark case”

brief notes on feminism, class and identity

This was sparked off by the confusion that generally predominates on the internet and in nominally left spaces about what ‘identity’ is. The standard ‘left’ identitarian position/response to anyone questioning the validity goes something like “Identity Politics and Intersectionality are radical theory about how race, gender, and class all come together to oppress and exploit millions of Americans” (as seen in this woeful article There are more than a few massive problems with this theoretical understanding that I can barely begin to condense into in a Tumblr post.

First off, intersectionality was Kimberle Crenshaw’s attempt to account for oppression within a legalistic framework to enable the construction of a legal class (this is different from ‘class’ as a material social entity) in order to create legal remedies to the specific problem of discrimination. Specifically, it was about solving the problem caused by the pre-existing legal classes ‘black’ and ‘female’ that did not account for black women (the most famous example being the landmark case where a firm laid off all the black female employees and claimed it was not unfairly dismissing them because of discrimination since they kept black men and white women on), and which operated to the legal disadvantage of black women and other women of colour. Like other forms of problem-solving theory, it is a liberal theoretical framework whose innovation and raison d’être is inclusion. Inclusion is not the end goal of liberation movements, nor is it intrinsically the means of getting there. As for taking intersectionality to be some type of social theory, I would argue that if you needed a model of ‘intersection’ between groups, whose fundamental theoretical definition was based on a discrete particularity that did not adequately account for the group as a whole (eg ‘women’=white women, ‘black’=black men), I would scrap that theoretical model and try to come up with something new that better accounted for the whole picture.

Inclusion is the fundamental liberal principle that lies behind notions such as ‘equal opportunity’, which was allegedly brought to us when women were ‘allowed’ to join the workforce in the postwar years in large numbers, and informs us that this is a factual reality, whereas anyone socialised female that has been abused or raped and lives with debilitating trauma, and/or is a single mother, can tell you that because of that they do not have the education, work experience and career status that males the same age in the same economic class have been able to accumulate in the same period of time without the handicap of being the sex-class. ‘Inclusion’ masks that material reality (of power and its lack) and states that there exists parity. Similarly, inclusion is able to mask other material power structures that may operate in a given space - the idea of ‘including’ one’s oppressors in environments that explored the intimate effects of oppression, especially on consciousness, was thought by second wave feminists and the Black Power movement to be anathema to liberation. It was in effect allowing your oppressor to determine your liberation (i.e. how much liberation they would let you have). As the approach of third wave feminism has let us see, it means dragging down the entire movement to be about the achievement of a peaceable consensus between oppressor and oppressed. The limits of ‘educating’ the oppressor were acknowledged by this ‘outdated’ second wave model, which is lightyears beyond the understanding that predominates today - which is all about accumulating ‘allies’ for your cause who may be enlightened at best, but despite this they still manage to benefit from and constitute, and reproduce those same oppressive structures. The disparity between professed enlightenment and action breeds understandable cynicism, which can lead to unproductive anger that lends itself to building essentialist belief systems which are essentially a formal inversion of the dominant ideology to ‘explain’ this incongruent behaviour. The biodeterminism of certain strains of Anglo lesbian separatism being a key example.

Secondly, the confusion of ‘identity politics’ with liberation struggles stems from a fundamental confusion between identity and class. The main thesis of identity politics is that groups that receive behavioural discrimination or differential treatment, somehow are classes in themselves by virtue of this fact alone. It overemphasises the symbolic to the disavowal or complete exclusion of the material/structural. Hence notions of ‘symbolic violence’ that grate against what violence is and what constitutes it. Class, very simply, requires exploitation as its basic condition. The identification of belonging to that exploited class as the rationale for the exploitation, follows the fact of exploitation. Women are exploited in domestic labour (via the family unit/male cohabitation) and the sex industry, and are corporeally appropriated by the class of men to serve male desires. Racialised peoples are marked to occupy low-status jobs within capitalism that ‘reflect’ their supposed inferiority, and are hyperexploited to be kept there. And then there’s the ideology surrounding it all. As a counterexample, homosexuals are not a class -  they are not exploited or physically appropriated for being homosexual. Homosexuals receive discrimination and are on the receiving end of negative ideology, but this is derivative of the patriarchal institution of compulsory heterosexuality (this is not necessarily integral to patriarchy - see Ancient Greece). The value system of compulsory heterosexuality underlies persecution, which can be life-threatening. There is a relation of oppression present, but it is not a class oppression. It is discrimination on the basis of sexuality. Following this, homosexuals experience different oppression based on their sex-class status - male or female. From what I have generally observed, lesbian women don’t emphasise their homosexuality as rendering them as a different class from the rest of women - they situate their being lesbian as embedded in their being female and understanding lesbophobia as based in patriarchy. Gay men however will tend to push more for homosexuality to be considered as a class in itself that pushes against the 'normativity’ of a heterosexist society and exalts the value of being 'deviant’, whence we get the ‘queer’ movement. This approach puts forth a normative perspective of homosexual/queer oppression that does nothing to change compulsory heterosexuality and its institutions such as marriage, but exalts lifestylism/conspicuous consumption and posits the goal of inclusion through tolerance, as contradictory as it is when you have a norm/deviant framework. Hence weird concepts like ‘homonormativity’. This was the opposite approach to that of lesbian separatists, though that wasn’t without its problems. Given all this I wouldn’t necessarily theorise this kind of discrepancy as an ‘intersection’ between homosexuality and gender, since the two aren’t exactly discrete  - the prohibition of homosexuality is derivative of a certain patriarchal logic that is further explicated with regards to sexual difference.

Anyhow, this was just a bunch of thoughts I collated together. A distinction needs to be drawn between identity and class and if intersectionality is going to be any reliable method of joining the dots, one’s basic understanding of a social category has to be rigorous in the first place.

19th century postcard depicting Baltimore Harbor, with the steamboat Chester in the center of the image. Collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

On this day, May 31, in 1872, a Chesapeake steamboat was the object of one of the earliest pre-Jim Crow cases in Maryland. Josephine Carr, an African-American school teacher from Kent County, sued the steamboat Chester for an assault. The incident had taken place on May 14, when Carr sat in the steamboat’s main cabin- a space reserved for white passengers. When Carr refused to move, the captain and crew dragged her to the black-only forward cabin, where Carr declined to wait. Instead, she moved to the bow, where she stood until the Chester reached Chestertown and Carr disembarked. She would later file a libel suit against the Chester for her mistreatment.

Carr won her landmark case, and was awarded $25 damages. Carr’s case was one of several in which 19th century courts ruled in favor of blacks on transportation accommodations- a precursor to many such standoffs, which Rosa Parks would someday make famous.

In 1967, Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of the landmark civil rights case that legalized marriage between races—this documentary novel tells the story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won. Loving vs. Virginia isn’t out until January, but we’re sharing it today to honor the stories and people around the country that fight hate with love. We hope you go out and vote!