Breaking News Breaking News articles brought to you by History News Network. Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 Zend_Feed_Writer 2 ( The Senate Has Used the Filibuster to Block Civil Rights Bills for Decades. That’s Another Reason for Dems to Ditch It Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has a pair of priorities as his party assumes control of the Senate for the first time in six years. One is sweeping legislation that tackles every facet of democracy reform, from gerrymandering to dark money and voter suppression. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) designated the bill as one of the first the new Democratic majority will likely take up.

But standing in the way is the Senate filibuster, which de facto raises the number of votes required to pass legislation in the Senate to 60 instead of the simple majority of 51. The filibuster enables the minority party to block legislation, and it had primarily been used to halt the consideration of civil and voting rights bills. That changed a decade ago under Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate’s top Republican, when the filibuster was used for nearly all legislation and “absolutely paralyzed this place,” Merkley tells me. And Merkley warns that as Senate minority leader, McConnell will surely use it to stymie democracy reform.

“I do not think that it’s acceptable for us to say, ‘We’re going to let Mitch McConnell have a veto over Americans fundamental rights,’” he says. Hence another priority for Merkley: reforming the filibuster so his bill can be put on the Senate floor, amended and debated by his colleagues of both parties and put to a simple majority vote.

Ending the 60-vote filibuster has been Merkley’s hobby horse for some time. In 2012, he proposed a less radical step with a call to restore the “talking filibuster,” which would force debate to block legislation. For years, his push had been a lonely one. More than a dozen of his Senate Democratic colleagues joined Republicans in signing a letter that promised to “preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions” in the Senate. Since last summer, he has been meeting privately with colleagues to discuss possible filibuster reforms, and nearly all of those remaining Democratic signatories have sided with him. So, too, has former President Barack Obama, who called the practice a “Jim Crow relic” in a eulogy for civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) last summer. Like President Joe Biden, Obama began his presidency with unified Democratic control but witnessed the minority party railroad his agenda at every possible opportunity when he lost that filibuster-proof majority in 2010.

There’s a lot Democrats want to achieve in this window of opportunity. At the top of the list is Biden’s $1.9 coronavirus relief package and a jobs and infrastructure package to follow. But the party is already at war with itself over how to govern with such narrow majorities, particularly in the Senate, where Vice President Kamala Harris gives the Democrats a one-vote edge. Biden, who spent more than three decades in the Senate brokering bipartisan deals, has signaled a preference for the parties to work together to come to a consensus. He told the New York Times last fall that he opposes overturning the filibuster, and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that his position “hasn’t changed.” Others have staked their hopes on the budget reconciliation process, which allows for certain tax- and spending-related legislation to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes.

But the Democrats’ democracy reform bill doesn’t have a single Republican co-sponsor, and it likely doesn’t qualify for the reconciliation process. And so Democrats and activists who support Merkley’s push see only two available options: “We see this as the choice between keeping the filibuster and fixing our democracy,” Leah Greenberg, a co-founder of the progressive grassroots group Indivisible, tells me. “We need the Democratic caucus to view it that way, as well.” 

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Democrats are getting Chuck Grassleyed The country is in dire straits, with the pandemic continuing to rage and the economy stalling out — so you'll never guess what moderate Senate Democrats are doing. That's right: dithering. They are proposing to help Senate Republicans cut away at President Biden's pandemic relief package in return for bipartisan support that will not materialize.

What Democrats are falling for is exactly the same routine that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) pulled during the negotiation of ObamaCare a decade ago, when he dragged out negotiations for months and demanded many compromises to make the bill worse, only to vote against it in the end. Trying to appease the right is bad policy and worse politics. The cult of bipartisanship will destroy Biden's presidency if it can't be overcome.

Let me first address the substance of their worries. A bipartisan group of 16 senators, eight Republicans and eight Democrats, pressed Biden adviser Brian Deese on a video call to slice down the size of the pandemic rescue package. They fretted that $1,400 checks aren't means-tested enough (somehow they never mention that they're already heavily means-tested), and worried that states and schools might be getting too much money. How "did the administration come up with $1.9 trillion dollars required?" wondered Susan Collins (R-Maine). Angus King (I-Maine.) echoed the complaint: "Part of what we’re asking for is more data — where did you get the number?" He went on to fret about the deficit: "Every dollar that we’re talking about here is being borrowed from our grandchildren. We have a responsibility to be stewards."

On the merits, this is profoundly idiotic. There isn't some overall estimate of why the package needs to be this size because it's just something Biden's team slapped together to deal with the immediate emergency. Every item in the package is vitally needed. More importantly, the negative consequences of going too small here are much, much larger than going too big. In the immediate future, what, are we to worry that Americans will be vaccinated too quickly? And once the pandemic has passed, the last 12 years of economic history have taught us that undershooting is by far the bigger risk.

This lesson is thanks to the disastrous negotiations around the Recovery Act in early 2009, when the economy was collapsing thanks to the financial crisis, and Democrats made exactly this mistake in exactly the same way. At the time Obama's economic adviser Christy Romer estimated the economy would need perhaps $1.8 trillion to recover, only for Larry Summers and Rahm Emanuel to argue that number must be cut down based on nothing but their gut-check guesses about what could be got through Congress. Then when they presented the bill, moderate senators naturally lopped off yet more tens of billions so they could prove their "moderate" bona fides.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Washington History Seminar TODAY: Claudio Saunt's "Unworthy Republic" Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

January 25 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Please join the National History Center of the American Historical Association for a Washington History Seminar roundtable on Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory with author Claudio Saunt.

Register here.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History Seminar Spring 2021 Session (Virtual) New-York Historical Society The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History Seminar Spring 2021 Session (Virtual)

The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce its spring 2021 seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty:

America’s Unregulated Police

Virtual Meeting Dates & Time: Fridays, March 5 and 19, April 2 and 16, 2021 | 2–5 pm ET


Although there is little disagreement that policing in the United States is the source of much controversy, there is not much consensus on how we got here or what can be done about it. Over the course of four virtual sessions, Professors Barry Friedman and Maria Ponomarenko will lead a discussion of the historical antecedents of policing today; the troubled relationship between race and policing; the role of courts, political officials, and the broader public in regulating policing; and the theoretical and practical approaches to reimagining public safety. The discussion will focus closely on crime and violence, public safety, the state’s use of coercive authority—such as stop and frisk and use of force—and surveillance.


Barry Friedman is the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law and Affiliated Professor of Politics at New York University School of Law. He is the author of Unwarranted: Policing without Permission, as well as numerous other articles on regulating and reimagining policing. He also is the Reporter for the American Law Institutes Principles of the Law: Policing project. Maria Ponomarenko is an associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School and an associate reporter for the ALI Principles of Policing project. Together, Professors Friedman and Ponomarenko co-founded the Policing Project at NYU Law, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring that policing is transparent, equitable, and democratically accountable.

LOGISTICS: The seminar will be presented virtually, via Zoom, on the following dates:

  • Friday, March 5, 2021 | 2–5 pm ET
  • Friday, March 19, 2021 | 2–5 pm ET
  • Friday, April 2, 2021 | 2–5 pm ET
  • Friday, April 16, 2021 | 2–5 pm ET

Accepted students will receive instructions for accessing the virtual sessions. Zoom, an easy-to-use video conferencing platform, requires no special login or membership.

APPLICATION PROCESS: The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines. All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions. Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar. Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities.

Space is limited. To apply, please submit the following material to by February 5, 2021:

  • Your C.V.
  • A short statement on how this seminar will be useful to you in your research, teaching, or professional development.

Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter. For further information, please email Alexander Kassl at

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Hank Aaron's Lasting Impact is Measured in More than Home Runs Henry Aaron, who rose up from the depths of Southern poverty to become one of the towering figures in baseball history as well a bittersweet symbol of both American racial intolerance and triumph, has died today. He was 86.

When he retired in 1976 after a 23-year major league career with the National League Braves (spending 1954 to 1965 in Milwaukee, 1966-74 in Atlanta) before playing his final two seasons with the American League Milwaukee Brewers, Aaron had amassed staggering offensive numbers, holding the career records for most home runs (755), RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856), games played (3,298), at-bats (12,364) and plate appearances (13,941). He was second behind Ty Cobb in hits (3,771), though he held the NL record.

He is still the career leader in total bases and RBIs and is third in hits behind Pete Rose and Cobb. He was the first player in baseball history to amass 500 career home runs and 3,000 hits and the last player in history to be promoted from the Negro Leagues to the major leagues. Aaron appeared in a record 24 All-Star Games, won batting titles in 1956 and 1959, led the league in home runs four times, was named National League Most Valuable Player in 1957, and twice appeared in the World Series, winning the title in 1957 when the Braves beat the New York Yankees in seven games.

Aaron was a magnificent player whose career paralleled more charismatic, spectacular players such as Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, whose brilliance often overshadowed his prolific but workmanlike style, but it was his three-year pursuit of Babe Ruth's career record of 714 home runs that elevated him into an enduring national figure. The record-breaking home run, which came in the fourth inning off Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Al Downing on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, provided one of the most lasting images in the sport and also one of its most poignant moments.

For years, Aaron had received thousands of letters, many of them racist, and many of which contained death threats against him and his family. The image of him rounding second base escorted by two jubilant white fans who had leaped onto the field became one of the most iconic in sports. Less known was that, as Aaron rounded the bases, his bodyguard, Calvin Wardlaw, sat in the stands, his hand secretly on his revolver, deciding in an instant whether the two young fans were hostile in their intent and whether he would shoot them.

Over the years, Aaron would be praised for his quiet resolve and dignity in the face of the threats. He would dine with international heads of state and every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama, but the negative response from so many of his countrymen was a scar he would carry for the rest of his life.

"It was supposed to be the greatest triumph of my life, but I was never allowed to enjoy it. I couldn't wait for it to be over," he once said. "The only reason that some people didn't want me to succeed was because I was a Black man."


Aaron was always known as a dangerous line-drive hitter, whose legendary quick wrists created enough torque to also hit home runs. He was, before his 30th birthday, ahead of pace to break Cobb's all-time hit mark, but before the 1963 season, with the Braves' suffering from an aging core and fewer stars, Aaron made a conscious effort to hit more home runs. During the 1960s, the accepted narrative was that it was Mays who had the best chance to break Ruth's record, but that began to change dramatically toward Aaron. By 1970, as the team had moved to Atlanta in 1966, it was clear that Aaron, and not Mays, had the best chance to challenge all-time home run the record.

For the first time in a career overshadowed by Mays and Mantle and Banks, the national spotlight focused on Henry Aaron. Wary of the South and its racial practices, Aaron had been reluctant about the Braves moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta and was outspoken about his desire not to return to the region of his roots, fears that were assuaged by his involvement in the civil rights movement and friendships with the Atlanta Black political establishment. His personal life had changed as well, divorcing his wife Barbara of 18 years, but Aaron astounded teammates with his focus. Aaron responded by hitting 203 home runs between the ages of 35 and 39, including a career-high 47 in 1971. In 1972, Aaron signed the richest contract in baseball history: three-years, $600,000. Aaron remarried in 1973, finished the 1973 season with 713 home runs, one shy of Ruth, and obsessed the entire winter that he might be assassinated before the 1974 season began.

When the record finally fell, Aaron finished the season with the Braves but the pursuit of Ruth had exhausted him. He was 40 years old but wanted to continue playing. The Braves traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers following the 1974 season, reuniting him with the city in which he began his career and with his friend Bud Selig.


Aaron was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982, on 406 of 415 ballots. His 97.83 induction percentage was the second-highest in history, behind only Ty Cobb, and today is ninth all time. For years in retirement, Aaron felt disconnected from the game, embittered both that he felt the game did not appreciate him or his achievements and baseball's slow and often stalled progress in minority hiring. He had integrated the front office in baseball when the Braves made him the first African-American farm director in baseball history. He had clashed with baseball in the 1980s, especially during the Al Campanis scandal, which underscored his belief that baseball was not serious about promoting African-Americans into managerial or front office positions.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Hank Aaron's 715th, Called by Vin Scully

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Washington Must Treat White Supremacist Terrorism as a Transnational Threat The explosion of white supremacist violence displayed at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was not an isolated event. Before Donald Trump and the QAnon-inspired crowd of seditious conspiracy theorists that backs him arrived, there was the so-called Michigan Militia, which in the mid-1990s inspired Timothy McVeigh to murder 168 people by blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. And before that, for nearly a century, Southern white supremacists, organized into terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, murdered and terrorized Black Americans. This happened because, in an eerie echo of today’s events, the legitimate results of the 1876 presidential election were overturned, prematurely ending Reconstruction and advancing white power while betraying the promise of equality for Black Americans.

White supremacist terrorism has been a feature, not an outlier, of American life.

And as the national security community is well aware, terrorism is multidimensional in nature. It therefore requires a multidimensional response, one that does not yet exist in the fight against white supremacist terrorism.

One needs to look no further than QAnon, the violent, anti-Semitic conspiratorial movement that has metastasized in dozens of countries. It is a hydra-headed beast whose inspiration is Trump, a man believed to be the savior of white people everywhere.

Despite this history, and despite the fact that Trump has been pouring gasoline on the still burning embers of white supremacy in the United States, the U.S. government is not properly equipped to counter the threat. Something structural needs to urgently change in the national security bureaucracy to deal with right-wing violence.

Washington therefore needs to treat white supremacist violence as the transnational threat that it is. This means officially designating it as terrorism and restructuring the government’s counterterrorism agencies to comprehensively counter it as a transnational threat.

In a recent report produced by my organization, the American Jewish Congress, we identified the links between white supremacist terrorism and the Capitol insurrectionists, highlighting their online mobilization against the U.S. government and efforts to subvert a democratic election. In an analysis of 24,000 right-wing Twitter accounts on the day of and day after the Capitol invasion, we found that 6 percent were engaged in insurrectionist discussion and 40 percent of those accounts were associated with QAnon.

Because QAnon knows no national boundaries, it’s clear that  Washington has an international terrorist problem on its hands. White supremacist terrorist attacks that have occurred abroad in recent years, such as the Christchurch mosque shootings, have been globally inspired by attacks in Norway, the United States, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. There is no doubt that such inspiration across national boundaries can only accelerate in the age of social media.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Charlottesville Inspired Biden to Run. Now It Has a Message for Him Susan Bro recognized the palpable anger and open bigotry on display in the mob that attacked the United States Capitol this month. It reminded her of the outpouring of hate that killed her daughter, Heather Heyer.

That was in 2017, when white supremacists, self-avowed neo-Nazis and right-wing militias marched on Charlottesville in the name of intolerance — and former President Donald J. Trump — and one of them drove a car into a crowd, fatally injuring Ms. Heyer. More than three years later, Ms. Bro and other Charlottesville residents say they have a message for the nation after the latest episode of white violence in Washington, and for President Biden, who is emphasizing themes of healing and unity in the face of right-wing extremism.

Healing requires holding perpetrators accountable, Ms. Bro said. Unity follows justice.

“Look at the lessons learned from Charlottesville,” she said. “The rush to hug each other and sing ‘Kumbaya’ is not an effective strategy.”

The Capitol attack and Mr. Trump’s handling of it felt eerily familiar to many residents of Charlottesville, where the 2017 Unite the Right rally not only forever tied the former president to violence committed by white extremists, but also inspired Mr. Biden to run for president and undertake “a battle for the soul of this nation.”


Local leaders say this is the legacy of the “Summer of Hate,” as the white supremacist actions and violence of 2017 are known in Charlottesville. When the election of Mr. Trump and the violence that followed punctured the myth of a post-racial America, particularly among white liberals, these leaders committed themselves to the long arc of insulating democracy from white supremacy and misinformation.

“We were the canary in the coal mine,” said Jalane Schmidt, an activist and professor who teaches at the University of Virginia and was involved in the 2017 activism. She compared the current political moment to the aftermath of the Civil War, framing the choice for Mr. Biden’s administration as either committing to sweeping change akin to Reconstruction or going along with the type of compromise that brought its end.

“We have a whole major political party that, too large of a section of it, supports undemocratic practices, voter suppression and the coddling of these conspiracy theories,” Dr. Schmidt said, referring to Republicans. “So healing? Unity? You can’t do that with people who don’t adhere to basic democratic principles.”

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Biden Revokes Trump Report Promoting "Patriotic Education" President Joe Biden revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda.

In an executive order signed on Wednesday in his first day in office, Biden disbanded Donald Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released Monday. Trump established the group in September to rally support from white voters and as a response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the lasting consequences of slavery in America.

In its report, which Trump hoped would be used in classrooms across the nation, the commission glorifies the country’s founders, plays down America’s role in slavery, condemns the rise of progressive politics and argues that the civil rights movement ran afoul of the “lofty ideals” espoused by the Founding Fathers.

The panel, which included no professional historians of the United States, complained of “false and fashionable ideologies” that depict the country’s story as one of “oppression and victimhood.” Instead, it called for renewed efforts to foster “a brave and honest love for our country.”

Historians widely panned the report, saying it offers a false and outdated version of American history that ignores decades of research.

“It’s an insult to the whole enterprise of education. Education is supposed to help young people learn to think critically,” said David Blight, a Civil War historian at Yale University. “That report is a piece of right-wing propaganda.”


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Tom Lankford, 85, Dies; Southern Journalist With Divided Loyalties Tom Lankford, who as a reporter for The Birmingham News took some of the most memorable photos of the civil rights era even as he worked hand in glove with the city’s police department and the F.B.I., sometimes landing scoops in exchange for things like wiretapping members of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s family, died on Dec. 31 in a hospital in Gadsden, Ala., about 50 miles northeast of Birmingham. He was 85.

The cause was complications of Covid-19, his daughter Dawn Bowling said.

As a young reporter and photographer assigned to the police beat at The News, Birmingham’s afternoon newspaper, Mr. Lankford was seemingly everywhere during the tumultuous early 1960s, including in 1961, when members of the Ku Klux Klan attacked Freedom Riders in Birmingham, and in 1965, when John Lewis led hundreds of marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, only to be assaulted by state troopers in what became known as Bloody Sunday. His photos of these and other events have become landmark images of the struggle against Jim Crow laws.

But all along, he was also developing a close transactional relationship with Birmingham’s police department under Eugene Connor, known as Bull, the racist public safety commissioner. As he later recounted to historians, he would ride shotgun on police raids, taking photographs that painted officers in a positive light while incriminating Mr. Connor’s enemies, Black and white. In exchange he was given access to scoops that other reporters could only dream of landing.

On one occasion, those ties probably saved his life. During the assault on the Freedom Riders in Birmingham, a group of Klansmen, seeing Mr. Lankford shooting pictures, dragged him into an alley. But before they could hit him, another Klansman said not to touch him, because he was “Bull’s boy.” They left him alone but took the film from his camera; one of them offered him a dollar as compensation, according to Diane McWhorter, who interviewed Mr. Lankford for the 2013 edition of her book “Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.”

At the same time, as he recounted to Ms. McWhorter, Mr. Lankford worked as a one-man intelligence unit for Vincent Townsend, the powerful assistant publisher of The Birmingham News. Mr. Townsend was a racial moderate and no fan of Mr. Connor, but above all he wanted to keep tabs on anyone who might disturb the city’s business community. Mr. Lankford was happy to help, and used an expense account provided by Mr. Townsend to buy equipment to spy on civil rights leaders.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Trump’s Parting Gift to Joe Biden “There is a universe of Republicans looking to divorce Trump,” John Anzalone, Biden’s chief pollster during the campaign, told me. “They don’t necessarily know how to do it … [but] January 6 was kind of the reckoning.”

In his inaugural address yesterday, Biden made clear that he will pursue those voters. He centered the speech on a promise to unify the country and made an explicit appeal to voters skeptical of him. But he also unambiguously condemned the threat to democracy that Trump unleashed. In doing so, he defined a new dividing line in American politics, between those who uphold the country’s democratic system and those who would subvert it. “We must end this uncivil war,” Biden insisted.

Beyond providing electoral possibilities for Democrats, the GOP coalition’s widening fissures could provide Biden with leverage to win greater support for his legislative agenda from congressional Republicans, especially in the Senate. Mainstream Republicans’ desire to separate themselves from violent extremists could make some of them more eager to find areas of cooperation with Biden, analysts in both parties have told me. If GOP voters disillusioned with Trump express relatively more approval of Biden, that could also make Republican legislators more comfortable voting with him on some issues. And the bloody backdrop of the Capitol assault could make it more difficult for the GOP to engage in the virtually lockstep resistance that the party employed against Barack Obama during his first months in office.

“If the Republicans play a hard obstructionist role, there is a good chance that they will turn off some of the more moderate Republicans, who will see it as an effort to delegitimize Biden by other means,” the Democratic pollster Geoff Garin told me. “A lot of this will depend not only on how Biden plays his hand, but how Republican leaders play their hand.”

Biden still faces significant headwinds in securing cooperation from Republicans. He can’t threaten many of them politically, because all but three senators and about 10 House members represent jurisdictions that voted for Trump in November. And, as white-collar suburban voters have drifted away from the GOP, most Republican lawmakers have shifted their focus toward promoting massive turnout among Trump’s hard-core base of non-college-educated, nonurban, and evangelical white voters—a group that’s likely to be dubious of any cooperation with the new president.

One measure of Biden’s challenge came when he declared in his speech, “Disagreement must not lead to disunion.” With that warning, Biden became the first president in more than 150 years to use the word disunion in his inaugural address, according to a comprehensive database kept by UC Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project. No president since Abraham Lincoln in 1861—who spoke when the South had already seceded but the Civil War’s shooting had not yet begun—had thought that the threat of the nation coming apart was material enough to deploy the word in an inaugural address. The only other two presidents who ever did, according to the database, were William Henry Harrison (in 1841) and James Buchanan (whose pro-South maneuvering after his 1857 inaugural helped pave the road to the Civil War). To raise the possibility of disunion, even while cautioning against it, shows how far the nation’s partisan and social chasms have widened after four years of Trump’s relentless division.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
How Decades of Housing Discrimination Hurts Fresno in the Pandemic  


In Fresno CA ,the coronavirus pandemic has magnified damage caused by decades of discriminatory housing practices. Residents in the poorest neighborhoods are hit hardest. This January 2021 video is a collaboration between Retro Report and Fresnoland.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
A New Film Details the FBI’s Relentless Pursuit of Martin Luther King Jr. As the nation erupted this past year in multiple protests against systemic racism in America, the crowds often gave voice to the long-esteemed protest strategy of peace and nonviolence. The mid-century civil rights movement’s sit-ins and marches were the protest paradigm to be emulated.

The movement’s events, its leadership and its ethic of nonviolent resistance, grounded in the storied teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, provided the pathway to the desegregation and voting rights successes of the 1960s and ’70s. Time and again, be it the summer’s protests following the death of George Floyd, or the myriad women’s marches, and many other protests on abortion, immigration, climate change, science literacy, gun control, health care and others in Washington, D.C. and across the nation, protesters hearkened to King’s lessons.

The tendency to remember the civil rights movement in this almost mythic fashion, however, stands in stark contrast to the true history of the freedom struggle as it was perceived by the nation at the time. While more than 90 percent of U.S. adults now view King favorably, a 1966 Gallup poll showed Americans were nearly twice as likely to have a negative as a positive opinion of him.

Historian Jeanne Theoharis examined the public memory of the movement in her 2018 book A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. She argues that a simplistic and inaccurate narrative accompanied the erection of monuments to civil rights heroes and the creation of commemorations like the national holiday honoring King. The story we began to construct was a narrative that everyone could get behind, “a story of individual bravery, natural evolution, and the long march to a more perfect union,” she writes. “A story that should have reflected on the immense injustices at the nation’s core and the enormous lengths people had gone to attack them had become a flattering mirror.”

A new film MLK/FBI, by the acclaimed Emmy Award winning director Sam Pollard, speaks directly to the dissonance between our popular memory of the civil rights movement and its complicated history. Pollard, who is known as the editor on Spike Lee’s films, as well as for directing films on the civil rights movement like Slavery by Another Name and the classic “Eyes on the Prize” PBS series, wanted to create “a film about how [Dr. King] is considered an icon now but was considered a pariah back in the day.”

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Belfast's Troubles Echo in Today's Washington I’ve seen this film before — and I didn’t like the ending.

Violence roiling a society. Soldiers on the streets. Lawmakers in fear that their colleagues will conspire to harm them.

The insurrectionary violence of Jan. 6 ripped away an assurance that many Americans felt — that such strife occurs in other places, not here.

Those of us who come from some other places feel a painful thud of familiarity and a growing dread of what may be to come.

I was born in Belfast in 1974. 

The conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles was by then — depending on when exactly you date its start — four or five years old.

By the time the worst phase of the conflict ended with the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, more than 3,600 people had been killed. Those deaths overwhelmingly took place in an area with a population of 1.9 million — roughly the same as Nebraska.

In some ways, the contours of The Troubles are very different from the current American moment. Rival national identities and naked religious sectarianism loomed large.

But there are huge and ominous similarities. 

The biggest is a grim equation that holds true everywhere — incendiary words lead to incendiary deeds.

During my youth, the most dangerous demagogue was the late Rev. Ian Paisley.

Paisley was a fundamentalist Protestant preacher and an ambitious politician. 

His appeal was built on three often-repeated claims: the majority Protestant population of Northern Ireland was being undercut by a subversive minority; the “plain people” were being sold out by a traitorous establishment elite; and he alone could save them.


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
The ‘Whitewashing’ of Black Wall Street TULSA — When Guy Troupe returned to his hometown after a career in sports consulting to open a coffee shop, he envisioned a gathering spot for Black business owners who would resurrect the commercial district so prosperous that it became known as “Black Wall Street.”

New businesses are indeed rising all around Tulsa’s historic Greenwood district: The Vast Bank headquarters features a French sidewalk bistro and a rooftop sushi bar. Across the street from Troupe’s cafe, cranes hover over the construction of an office and retail complex and a $20 million museum dedicated to that early paragon of Black enterprise — and a century-old massacre that obliterated it.

But as Tulsa authorities provide millions in financial incentives to revitalize the district ahead of an anticipated influx of tourists for this year’s centennial of the 1921 bloodshed, Black entrepreneurs say they are being threatened with erasure yet again, shut out of Greenwood’s most prestigious development projects and priced out of prime retail locations.

Some $42 million in city tax incentives and loans — race-blind under Oklahoma law — has largely benefited White-owned firms that won the majority of contracts to develop lucrative parcels closest to downtown, according to city officials and business leaders.

Tulsa officials say the city has just begun paying attention to the dearth of Black property ownership and will soon open up more land for redevelopment, north of the interstate and farther from the central business district. But it is already too late to make a difference in the most desirable part of Greenwood.

Black entrepreneurs say they have been reduced to renters where African Americans once owned land and built a thriving business community. Without property ownership, they face more difficulty seeding generational wealth. Only a one-block commercial stretch south of the interstate remains Black-owned. To Troupe, it feels like “the final execution of a plan” set in motion a century ago when White Tulsans destroyed what was then seen as a powerful symbol of Black economic success.

The massacre in Greenwood was part of a wave of violence unleashed against Black communities across the country by White mobs in the early 20th century, generally with the approval of local governments.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Trump’s 1776 Commission Critiques Liberalism in Report Derided by Historians The White House on Monday released the report of the presidential 1776 Commission, a sweeping attack on liberal thought and activism that calls for a “patriotic education,” defends America’s founding against charges that it was tainted by slavery and likens progressivism to fascism.

President Trump formed the 18-member commission — which includes no professional historians but a number of conservative activists, politicians and intellectuals — in the heat of his re-election campaign in September, as he cast himself as a defender of traditional American heritage against “radical” liberals. Not previously known for his interest in American history or education, Mr. Trump insisted that the nation’s schools had been infiltrated by anti-American thought and required a new “pro-American” curriculum.

The commission formed part of Mr. Trump’s larger response to the antiracism protests, some of them violent, that followed the May killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

In his remarks at the National Archives announcing the commission’s formation, Mr. Trump said that “the left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools.”

The commission’s report charges, in terms quickly derided by many mainstream historians, that Americans are being indoctrinated with a false critique of the nation’s founding and identity, including the role of slavery in its history.

“Historical revisionism that tramples honest scholarship and historical truth, shames Americans by highlighting only the sins of their ancestors, and teaches claims of systemic racism that can only be eliminated by more discrimination, is an ideology intended to manipulate opinions more than educate minds,” the report says.

The report drew intense criticism from historians, some of whom noted that the commission, while stocked with conservative educators, did not include a single professional historian of the United States.

James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, said the report was not a work of history, but “cynical politics.”

“This report skillfully weaves together myths, distortions, deliberate silences, and both blatant and subtle misreading of evidence to create a narrative and an argument that few respectable professional historians, even across a wide interpretive spectrum, would consider plausible, never mind convincing,” he said.


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Alan Canfora, Who Carried Wounds From Kent State, Dies at 71 In April 1970, Alan Canfora, a junior at Kent State University in Ohio, was outraged when a friend was killed in the Vietnam War. He was infuriated all the more when President Richard M. Nixon announced an expansion of the war into Cambodia.

Nixon’s action set off a wave of antiwar demonstrations across the country, including at Kent State, where the Ohio National Guard was called in to respond to destruction and to be a presence at a major demonstration planned for May 4.

The day began with brief skirmishing; students threw rocks at the Guard and the Guard fired tear gas at the students, whose numbers would swell from the hundreds to the thousands.

At one point, some soldiers knelt and aimed their weapons at the students, in an apparent bluff that they were going to fire. Mr. Canfora then walked out toward the soldiers by himself, waving a black flag.

The members of the Guard stood up and moved to a hilltop. Then, suddenly, 28 of them turned in unison and opened fire on the unarmed students.

They fired up to 67 shots in 13 seconds, killing four students — Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder — and wounding nine others. Mr. Canfora was among the wounded, shot through his right wrist as he darted behind a tree.

A photograph of Mr. Canfora waving his flag was part of a spread in Life magazine that became emblematic of the events of that day, one of the epic confrontations of his generation, when warriors in tactical gear gunned down students on an American college campus. Millions of students across the country went on strike, forcing hundreds of colleges and universities to close and bringing the war home in a visceral way that captured the political and cultural upheaval of the era.

Mr. Canfora went on to become a walking encyclopedia on all aspects of “Kent State,” the university’s name becoming synonymous with the shootings and with state-sanctioned violence — so much so that in 1986 the university tried to rebrand itself as “Kent.” Mr. Canfora spent the rest of his life making sure the university would never erase May 4 from its history.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Archivists Are Mining Parler Metadata to Pinpoint Crimes at the Capitol Using a massive 56.7-terabyte archive of the far-right social media site Parler that was captured on Sunday, open-source analysts, hobby archivists, and computer scientists are working together to catalog videos and photos that were taken at the attack on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.

Over the last few days, Parler was de-platformed by Amazon Web Services, the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store, which has taken it offline (at least temporarily). But before it disappeared, a small group of archivists made a copy of the overwhelming majority of posts on the site.

While all the data scraped from Parler was publicly available, archiving it allows analysts to extract the EXIF metadata from photos and videos uploaded to the social media site en masse and to examine specific ones that were taken at the insurrection on Capitol Hill. This data includes specific GPS coordinates as well as the date and time the photos were taken. These are now being analyzed in IRC chat channels by a handful of people, some of whom believe crimes can be catalogued and given to the FBI.

"I hope that it can be used to hold people accountable and to prevent more death," donk_enby, the hacker who led the archiving project, told Motherboard on Monday

One technologist took the scraped Parler data, took every file that had GPS coordinates included within it, formatted that information into JSON, and plotted those onto a map. The technologist then shared screenshots of their map with Motherboard, showing Parler posts originating from various countries, and then the United States, and finally in or around the Capitol itself. In other words, they were able to show that Parler users were posting material from the Capitol on the day of the rioting, and can now go back into the rest of the Parler data to retrieve specific material from that time.

They also shared the newly formatted geolocation data with Motherboard. Motherboard granted the technologist anonymity to speak more candidly about a potentially sensitive topic.


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
‘World’s Greatest Athlete’ Jim Thorpe Was Wronged by Bigotry. The IOC Must Correct the Record For those who know the story of the Native American athlete Jim Thorpe and the 1912 Olympic Games, it may be familiar mainly as an example of how the elitist cult of amateurism a century ago resulted in one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in sports history.

But the withdrawal of Thorpe’s gold-medal victories in the demanding pentathlon and decathlon events is better understood as a stinging episode of early 20th-century bigotry.

The posthumous return of Thorpe’s medals to his family in 1982 went partway to making amends. The International Olympic Committee, of which I am a member, should go the rest of the way and restore Thorpe as the sole first-place finisher in his Olympic medal events. Since 1982, he has been listed by the IOC as a co-winner with competitors he resoundingly defeated.

Justice is overdue for Wa-Tho-Huk, who was born in 1888 in Indian Territory, latter-day Oklahoma. The name chosen by his parents — his father belonged to the Sac and Fox tribe, his mother to the Potawatomi — was prophetic. Translated to English, it means Bright Path. For the convenience of those in power, his name to the rest of the world was James Francis Thorpe.

In 1904, the 16-year-old Thorpe entered the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pa. It was the first in a federal boarding-school system designed to remove all vestiges of Native American children’s culture, including language, religion and clothing. The philosophy of Carlisle’s founder, Army officer Richard Henry Pratt, was to “kill the Indian, and save the man.”

Thorpe, who went on to play pro football and major league baseball, became a multisport star at Carlisle. One of his biographers, Robert W. Wheeler, reported that Carlisle coach Glenn “Pop” Warner directed Thorpe and two other Carlisle athletes to play semipro summer baseball in North Carolina. Thorpe was paid a pittance — the exact amount isn’t clear — but Carlisle’s strict control over the wages of students who worked meant he probably kept nothing. And remember: Thorpe played at Warner’s instruction.

Warner was also his coach at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, where Thorpe handily won gold medals in events that required skills including sprinting, hurdling, long-jumping and throwing the discus. King Gustav V of Sweden proclaimed Thorpe the “world’s greatest athlete.” When Thorpe and his teammates were honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York, he was being hailed in a country where he wouldn’t become an official citizen until the Indian Citizenship Act was passed in 1924.

In January 1913, the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram revealed Thorpe’s semipro baseball experience. The news appeared to outrage the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), American Olympic Committee (AOC) and other amateurism guardians. Their policies prohibited deriving income from athletic competition, which ensured that only those with existing financial support — college athletes, usually — could participate.

Thorpe’s mistake was to trust Warner and Carlisle’s superintendent, Moses Friedman. “Someone had to take the fall for the humiliating scandal that tainted the American glory in Stockholm,” wrote Thorpe biographer Kate Buford, “and it was not going to be the coach, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, its superintendent, the AAU or the AOC.” Warner and AAU secretary James Sullivan rushed to pin responsibility solely on Thorpe.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0
Black Southerners are Wielding Political Power that was Denied their Parents and Grandparents Atlanta (CNN)Nsenga Burton grew up in a military family that liked to travel and went everywhere from New York City and Washington, D.C., to the Caribbean.

There was one place, though, that her mother dreaded visiting: the Deep South.

Her mother saw it as a forbidding land of lynch mobs and "Whites Only" signs, where Black people went missing just for trying to vote. Burton's mother grew up in segregated Virginia and was so mistrustful of the South she once dissuaded her daughter from vacationing in Atlanta and encouraged her to visit the Bahamas instead.

"My mother sent me out of the country before she sent me to the Deep South," Burton says.

Burton, who is 48, just got a little payback. After moving to Atlanta from Maryland six years ago, she became part of a crucial bloc of Black voters who helped Democrats seize control of the US Senate. They mobilized in record numbers to elect the Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Black man from Savannah, and Jon Ossoff, a Jewish man from Atlanta.

Burton thought of all the Black people like her who migrated from elsewhere to Georgia to reclaim political power that was taken away from their parents and grandparents, who fled the Jim Crow South in fear.

"It's poetic justice," says Burton, a cultural critic and founder of The Burton Wire, which produces stories on race, class, and gender. "The descendants of the people who were pushed out of the South, who had no power, who knew they could go missing if they tried to vote, have returned and they're making it work for them. It's been a long time coming."

The stunning election results in Georgia have rightly been attributed to the relentless work of voting-rights organizers such as Stacey Abrams, the former gubernatorial candidate whose group, Fair Fight, is credited with registering 800,000 new voters in Georgia.

But those victories also happened because of a series of personal decisions made years ago by little-known transplants like Burton. They are part of what's called "The New Great Migration," and without them, Warnock and Ossoff wouldn't have stood a chance.

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:30:28 +0000 0