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KKK Bombs Alabama Home of Civil Rights Leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth | Equal Justice Initiative

On December 25, 1956, Ku Klux Klan members in Alabama bombed the home of civil rights activist Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. Shuttlesworth was home at the time of the bombing with his family and two members of Bethel Baptist Church, where he served as pastor. The 16-stick dynamite blast destroyed the home and caused damage to Shuttlesworth’s church next door but no one inside the home suffered serious injury. White supremacists would attempt to murder Shuttlesworth four more times in the next seven years. In an attack in 1957, a white mob brutally beat Shuttlesworth with chains and bats and stabbed […]

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Richard and Mildred Loving Plead Guilty to Marrying Interracially | Equal Justice Initiative

After marrying in Washington, D.C., in 1958, Richard and Mildred Loving returned to their native Caroline County, Virginia, to build a home and start a family. Their union was a criminal act in Virginia because Richard was white, Mildred was black, and the state’s Racial Integrity Act, passed in 1924, criminalized interracial marriage. Caroline County police arrested the Lovings in their home in an early morning raid and took them to jail. They were charged with marrying interracially out of state and then returning to reside in Virginia. “Miscegenation,” a felony, carried a penalty of up to five years in […]

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The Names of 1.8 Million Emancipated Slaves Are Now Searchable in the World’s Largest Genealogical Database, Helping African Americans Find Lost Ancestors | Open Culture

The successes of the Freedman’s Bureau, initiated by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and first administered under Oliver Howard’s War Department, are all the more remarkable considering the intense popular and political opposition to the agency. Under Lincoln’s successor, impeached Southern Democrat Andrew Johnson, the Bureau at times became a hostile entity to the very people it was meant to aid and protect—the formerly enslaved, especially, but also poor whites devastated by the war. After years of defunding, understaffing, and violent insurgency the Freedman’s Bureau was officially dissolved in 1972. In those first few years after emancipation, however, the Bureau built […]

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What everyone should know about Reconstruction 150 years after the 15th Amendment’s ratification | The Conversation

I’ll never forget a student’s response when I asked during a middle school social studies class what they knew about black history: “Martin Luther King freed the slaves.” Martin Luther King Jr. was born in 1929, more than six decades after the time of enslavement. To me, this comment underscored how closely Americans associate black history with slavery. While shocked, I knew this mistaken belief reflected the lack of time, depth and breadth schools devote to black history. Most students get limited information and context about what African Americans have experienced since our ancestors arrived here four centuries ago. Without […]

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MUHAMMAD: Mayor Hatcher Stood First and Stood Tall | The Washington Informer

Gary, Indiana, Mayor Richard Hatcher joined his ancestors on Dec. 13, after a long and distinguished career in public service. He also made a sacrifice and did this reporter a big, big favor some 40 years ago. Both he and Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes were elected on Nov. 7, 1967. They were the first Black mayors of major towns with populations above 100,000. Gary is just a little town by comparison to big old Cleveland, but the celebrations in both places were sincere and earned. Mr. Hatcher, though, was hands down the most progressive Black mayor (for 20 years), and […]

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Exploding Myths About ‘Black Power, Jewish Politics’ | NPR

Many Americans tell the story of Black-Jewish political relations like this: First, there was the Civil Rights movement, where the two groups got along great. This was the mid-1950s to the mid-60s — picture Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marching arm-in-arm from Selma to Montgomery. And James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, murdered while organizing to register black voters in Mississippi. Then, the story goes, there was a shift. In the mid-’60s, with the rise of black nationalism (and what some describe as black anti-Semitism), “the once wonderful alliance dissolved and split. And since […]

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Pardons for the Wilmington 10 | The New York Times

Before leaving office next month, Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina should finally pardon the Wilmington 10, a group of civil rights activists who were falsely convicted and imprisoned in connection with a racial disturbance in the city of Wilmington more than 40 years ago. The convictions, based on flimsy evidence and perjured testimony, were overturned by a federal court in 1980. But by then, the lives of the convicted had been broken on the wheel of Jim Crow justice. Wilmington was experiencing a bitter civil rights struggle in 1971 when a white-owned grocery store in a black neighborhood was […]

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The Magnolia House used to be a decades-old passion project for one man. Now, someone else shares that dream — his daughter. | Greensboro.com

GREENSBORO — Natalie Pass Miller loved her life in Atlanta working for the corporate sector. While on a visit back home in 2018, a casual conversation with her dad changed everything. Sam Pass, at one time a fire and safety specialist at Duke University, had spent the past two decades of his off time meticulously restoring the Historic Magnolia House Motel. The segregation-era place was a beacon to African Americans looking for a night’s sleep between Atlanta and Richmond, Va. Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Lena Horne, the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and baseball greats Jackie Robinson and […]

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‘The Slaves Dread New Year’s Day the Worst’: The Grim History of January 1 | Time

Americans are likely to think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as a time to celebrate the fresh start that a new year represents, but there is also a troubling side to the holiday’s history. In the years before the Civil War, the first day of the new year was often a heartbreaking one for enslaved people in the United States. In the African-American community, New Year’s Day used to be widely known as “Hiring Day” — or “Heartbreak Day,” as the African-American abolitionist journalist William Cooper Nell described it — because enslaved people spent New Year’s Eve […]

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The Norfolk 17 face a hostile reception as schools reopen | The Virginian-Pilot

Three weeks later than originally scheduled, Norfolk schools were finally ready to open. Well, most of them. On Sept. 29, 1958, 48 of Norfolk’s schools welcomed students – but the doors of six were padlocked and under police guard. Maury, Norview and Granby high schools and Northside, Norview and Blair junior highs remained closed under a state order designed to fight integration. The 17 Negro students assigned to those schools started tutoring sessions at First Baptist Church Norfolk on Bute Street. They took classes in core subjects and Spanish, and were taught to brace themselves for the abuse sure to […]

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