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Little Rock, Arkansas Expands Anti-Discrimination Protections

Cities in Arkansas are stepping in to show that recent anti-gay laws do not represent the whole state.

Photo by Benson Kua via Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the Little Rock, Arkansas Board of Directors passed an ordinance banning discrimination against gay and transgender people in municipal hiring. This idea—assessing potential employees or business partners by the content of their character rather than who they love, or their gender identity—might seem like a no-brainer to some, but the new policy is a big deal in a state where social conservatives have been desperately trying to keep discrimination against LGBT people legal.

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After Half A Century, These Civil Rights Activists Had Their Convictions Overturned (UPDATED)

Decades after pioneering the civil rights movement’s “Jail, Not Bail” tactic, the “Friendship Nine” have a clean record.

Image via screenshot

In February of 1961, a group of college students from Friendship Junior College were arrested for staging a sit-in a segregated lunch counter in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Given the option of paying a fine, or being sentenced to 30 days of hard labor in jail, eight of the students, as well as a civil rights organizer who had been arrested alongside the group, opted to serve their jail time rather than pay money into the very system they were working to overcome. That group, known as the “Friendship Nine” pioneered what would become the “jail, not bail” tactic, and in doing so marked a new era for the civil rights movement.

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Saks Fifth Avenue Thinks Transgender People Aren’t Covered by the Civil Rights Act

Despite having a nondiscrimination policy in place, the luxury retailer tries to throw out a former employee’s discrimination lawsuit citing “transsexuals are not a protected class” under 1964 law.

Leyth O. Jamal. Photo courtesy Leyth O. Jamal.

In 2012, Leyth O. Jamal, a transgender woman, was fired from a Saks Fifth Avenue in Texas. She filed a discrimination lawsuit against the luxury retailer in December 2014, citing that her dismissal was due to her refusal to stop expressing her gender identity while on the job. Jamal claims that management ordered her to “separate her home life from her work life,” demanding that she adhere to more masculine standards of dress and use the men’s restrooms. When she failed to comply, and dared to speak out against the hostilities she was facing, she was terminated.

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This year, Martin Luther King, Jr. would have turned 85-years-old. Since he embraced peace, practiced nonviolent resistance, and sought a loving society, for years the media has cast him as a sincere, avuncular, dreamy leader. This hardly comports with his essence or his fiercely tenacious battles—against war, racism and poverty—found in his writings, speeches, marches, and jail time.

King died because he was a radical thinker and activist whose movement challenged the powerful and made dangerous enemies. In 1964 when he won the Nobel Peace Prize, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover called him "the most notorious liar in the country." When he denounced the Vietnam War in 1967 the liberal New York Times and Washington Post roundly condemned him for questioning this part of America’s anti-communist crusade.

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Why Do Some People Keep Insisting We're Post-Racial?

We have a long history of advocating for 'traditional values,' especially when those values have racial animosity at their core.


In 2013 we have Barack Obama, a two-term African American President, hundreds of other black men and women elected to state and local offices, and a country that officially celebrates Black History Month. Even more, no white official would dare publicly use a racist slur. As a result, our intellectuals, our historians, and our media are all on board with a consistent message: "We live in a post-racial America."

Well, maybe. Bill Keller, who served for eight years as executive editor of The New York Times, and is the author of a children's book on Nelson Mandela, recently wrote the Sunday Times Book Review's front page essay on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book The Bully Pulpit, which examines Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Keller extolled them as "politicians of stature and conscience."

Really? As Presidents neither made any serious effort to improve race relations or protect minorities from violence. Neither challenged the forces promulgating segregation, discrimination, and lynching.

Though their Republican Party controlled the House and Senate from 1900 to 1910, neither Roosevelt nor Taft paid more than lip service to Lincoln’s “new birth of freedom.” Neither enforced the 13th, 14th, or 15th Amendments that promised former slaves liberty, justice, and equality. Neither challenged "the new slavery"—the debt-peonage, sharecropping, and convict lease systems that ground down millions in the South.

Roosevelt spoke as a proud champion of "the Anglo Saxon race," and urged his people to embrace "the clear instinct for race selfishness." He advocated imperialism with the claim, "It is wholly impossible to avoid conflicts with the weaker races."

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On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, It's Time For Real Action on Freedom and Jobs

The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington deserves more than a simplistic rehash of Dr. King's historic 'I Have a Dream' speech.

August 28 will mark the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Publicly associated with Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, this march brought more than 250,000 people to the nation’s capital. The day went down in history as a powerful show of force against Jim Crow segregation. Over time, this great event has risen to levels of near mythology. The powerful speech by Dr. King, replayed, in part, for us every January on Martin Luther King Day, has eclipsed all else—so much so that too many people believe that the March on Washington was entirely the work of Dr. King. It is also barely remembered that the March on Washington was for freedom and jobs.

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