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There Have Been 10 Black Senators Since Emancipation | The New York Times

Elected 150 years ago, Hiram Revels was the first. A few days ago, 300 people gathered in the Old State Capitol in Jackson, Miss., to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the election of Hiram Revels as the nation’s first African-American member of Congress. As nearly everyone knows, in the nation’s more than two centuries of existence Barack Obama is our only black president. Less familiar is the fact that of the nearly 2,000 men and women who have served in the Senate only 10 have been black. Of these, Revels and Blanche K. Bruce were elected from Mississippi during Reconstruction. […]

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Cory Booker Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race | The New York Times

The New Jersey senator, who built his campaign around a message of unity, was unable to catch on with substantial numbers of voters and ended his quest before voting began. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey dropped out of the Democratic presidential race on Monday, ending a nearly yearlong quest built around a message of peace and unity that failed to resonate with voters eager for a more aggressive posture against President Trump. The departure of Mr. Booker from the crowded Democratic field, heralded at the outset as the most diverse in history, leaves just one African-American candidate, Deval Patrick, […]

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Mike Espy Would Be Mississippi’s First Black Senator in 139 Years, But Governor Bryant Says It’d Begin ‘1000 Years of Darkness’ | Deep South Voice

Phil Bryant, Mississippi’s outgoing Republican governor, is warning that the election of Democrat Mike Espy, an African American who served as the US Secretary of Agriculture under President Clinton, would kick off a millennium of “darkness.” Espy is challenging US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican that Bryant appointed to fill a vacancy in the nation’s upper chamber of Congress in 2018. “I intend to work for @cindyhydesmith as if the fate of America depended on her single election,” Bryant wrote on January 2. “If Mike Espy and the liberal Democrats gain the Senate we will take that first step into […]

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Richard Hatcher, one of the nation’s first black mayors of a major city, dies at 86 | The Washington Post

Richard Hatcher, who became one of the first African American mayors of a large U.S. city when he was elected mayor of Gary, Ind., in 1967, died Dec. 13 at a Chicago hospital. He was 86. His death was announced by his daughter, state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, a Gary Democrat. The cause was not immediately known. Mr. Hatcher had to overcome opposition from the local Democratic machine to become mayor of what was then Indiana’s second-largest city in a surprise victory in 1967. He went on to serve five terms. He became the political face of Gary and a national […]

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‘Stop This Illegal Purge’: Outrage as Georgia GOP Removes More Than 300,000 Voters From Rolls | Common Dreams

Warning of 2020 impact, one critic said Georgia could remain a red state solely “due to the GOP purposefully denying people the right to vote.” A federal judge Monday night allowed Georgia to move ahead with a purge of over 300,000 voters deemed “inactive” by Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, sparking outrage from rights advocates who accused the GOP of an illegal voter suppression effort ahead of the 2020 elections. “Georgians should not lose their right to vote simply because they have not expressed that right in recent elections, and Georgia’s practice of removing voters who have declined to […]

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‘Every Racist I Know Voted for Donald Trump’ | The Atlantic

Daryl Davis believes the method he used to persuade many klansmen to defect from the hate group can help America to bridge its political divides. As a hobby, the black musician Daryl Davis persuades members of the Ku Klux Klan to defect from the organization. Over the years, he has spoken with hundreds of white supremacists. And due to his work, a couple dozen people have left the organization, including at least two prominent figures in senior leadership positions. Two years ago, after listening to his life story on Love+Radio, the peerless character-driven interview podcast, I wrote about his belief […]

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The Republican Party’s “Racism Problem” (Rebroadcast) | 1A WAMU 88.5

Michael Steele made history when he became the first African-American chair of the Republican National Convention in 2009. Steele served in that role until 2011 and he likely wasn’t expecting to make headlines while in attendance at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington, D.C. Then, this happened at the event’s annual Ronald Reagan dinner. We were somewhat lost as a group, we had just elected the first African-American president, and that was a big deal and that was a hill that we got over and it was something that we were all proud of and we weren’t sure […]

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The Age of Trump Is Producing More Black Gun Owners | NBC News

CLEVELAND — When Lesley Green was a little girl in Houston in the 1960s — just a few decades after the routine lynchings of blacks in the South — her father would go off to work a late-night shift and leave a gun and a pile of bullets behind. If any strangers came looking for trouble, he told Green and her sister, you blast them into the stars. Nobody ever came looking. But even as an 11-year-old, learning to shoot a gun she could barely lift, Green said she recognized the important lesson her father was teaching her about being […]

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House passes voting rights bill to restore protections struck down by Supreme Court | The Washington Post

The House passed legislation Friday restoring protections of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act that were undone when the Supreme Court struck down federal oversight of elections in states with a history of discriminating against minority communities. The bill passed 228 to 187, with unanimous Democratic support and the vote of one Republican — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.). “No longer will cynical politicians and states with dark histories of discrimination have the green light to freely continue their systemic suppression campaign,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on the floor. The bill faces long odds of becoming law, with opposition […]

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