Breaking News! History in the Making

Reel Soul on “Blaxploitation” and Action Films

This webisode of Reel Soul takes a look at the “Action” Genre and as it turns out, both of our selections came from the Blaxploitation era.  That era of Black film is a complicated one from almost any vantage point one wishes to take. For some, it was a powerful response from a populace informed by both…

African American Smokers at Higher Risk Than Whites

Smoking among African Americans is a serious problem as this population suffers disproportionately from deadly and preventable diseases associated with smoking.  Compared to white Americans, African Americans are at increased risk for lung cancer even though they smoke about the same amount. African American communities are bombarded with cigarette advertising. Money spent on magazine advertising…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

High School Student Told To Read Langston Hughes Poem ‘Blacker

A Virginia high school English teacher is under investigation for allegedly asking the only black student in the class to read a poem in a “blacker” manner. Jordan Shumate, a ninth-grader at George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Va., says he was reading aloud Langston Hughes’ “Ballad of the Landlord” when teacher Marilyn…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Obama’s race speech 4 years later: Has America changed?

March 18 marked the fourth anniversary of the speech Barack Obama gave on race as he tried to get past the controversy surrounding his one-time pastor Jeremiah Wright. Articulating the legacy of slavery and racism in America, as well as black anger and white resentment, Obama was in a unique position to speak on an…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Black militia group wants to arrest Trayvon Martin shooter

Members of a self-described black militia group will attempt a citizen’s arrest on a white neighborhood watch leader who has admitted to fatally shooting an unarmed African-American teen in an Orlando suburb, but has not been charged, a leader of the group said Thursday. Members of The New Black Liberation Militia plan next week to…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

As Black as We Wish to Be

If today we’ve become freer to concoct our own identities, to check the “white” box or write in “multiracial” on the form, the question then forces itself upon us: are there better or worse choices to be made?…As the example of President Obama demonstrates par excellence, the black community can and does benefit directly from…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Coke’s Not It: 16 Workers Sue, Call Giant ‘Cesspool’ of Racial Discrimination

Sixteen black and Hispanic production workers are suing Coca-Cola, claiming they have been forced to work in a “ cesspool of racial discrimination.” The suit, filed in Brooklyn Federal Court, accuses the company of relegating minorities to less favorable assignments, unfair disciplinary action and retaliation for complaining.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Pondering The Seemingly Dismal Outlook For Black Filmmakers Working Within The Hollywood Studio System

Looking over the top 300 grossing films of 2011 released in the USA, just 6 of those 300 titles were directed by black directors– Madea’s Big Happy Family, Jumping The Broom, Laugh At My Pain, Shame, Pariah and Mooz-lum. And of those 6 films, only 2 of them are Hollywood studio-backed productions.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Bumper Sticker: “Don’t Re-Nig – Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!”

This is only one of several racist anti-Obama bumper stickers sold by one company.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Centenial of Bayard Rustin, the most important civil rights leader you may never have heard of!

Bayard Rustin would have been 100 years old today. An award-winning movie, Brother Outsider, is touring the country in celebration. A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Birthday of Homer Plessy, early fighter against segregation

Homer Plessy, a Black businessman and civil rights activist, was born on this date in 1862. In 1892, Plessy sat in a whites-only railroad car to challenge a two-year-old streetcar law that separated passengers traveling on trains in Louisiana. His action resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case of Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896.…

Dear White America by Tim Wise

Dear White America: New book examines anxieties of America’s dwindling majority.

Anti-racist activist and author Tim Wise is back with another witty and no-holds-barred take on race and America’s changing demographics. White Americans have long been comfortable in the assumption that they are the cultural norm. Now that notion is being challenged, as white people wrestle with what it means to be part of a fast-changing, truly multicultural nation. 

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Trayvon Martin Case Salts Old Wounds And Racial Tension

When Bill Lee Jr. took over as police chief in Sanford, Fla., last May, he promised to polish the force’s image and clean up an agency that had lost the confidence of many residents, particularly in the black community. But last month’s shooting death of Trayvon Martin — an unarmed black teenager who police said…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Happy Birthday, Quincy Jones! Musician and Arranger Extraordinaire

The all-time most nominated Grammy artist with a total of 76 nominations and 26 awards, Quincy Jones has also received an Emmy Award, seven Oscar nominations, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Blacks, Latinos Lose Major Ground In Home Ownership: Study

According to a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, the housing crisis has eliminated large gains in home ownership among blacks and Latinos. The study also said that the homeownership rate among blacks now trails that of whites by nearly 28 percent, higher than the gap in 1990.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Some Say Re-election Fear Is Driving Gun Sales In Texas, Elsewhere

“I’m constantly getting questions from people in the gun community about this [issue],” said Alan Korwin, author of nine gun law books, including Gun Laws of America. “People are concerned that if Obama wins, as a lame duck, he will go after firearms in a way we have never seen before. We saw a fire…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Rare photos depict lives of African-American sharecroppers during World War II

Shot between 1939 and 1941 by the Farm Security Administration, these images show the harsh living conditions of blacks farming on rented land during World War II. Sharecropping was initially designed to get freed former slaves working again after the Civil War. Farming was essential to the stability of the southern economy, which had been…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Viola Davis To Tackle Barbara Jordan Biopic

This time Viola Davis will tackle the life story of Barbara Jordan to be based on the 2000 biography Barbara Jordan: American Hero, written by Mary Beth Rogers. Paris Barclay will direct from a script adapted by Emmy-nominated writer Paris Qualles (primarily written for TV). “We’re hoping this becomes a movie that shows the world everything…

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Michelle Singletary: Schools shouldn’t fine tardy students or their parents

Money is not the answer to everything. For example, consider the trend of schools forcing families to pay fines for various infractions such as not getting their children to class on time. It’s counterproductive, and the fines often hit people who can least afford them.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

BET Announces: America’s Black Holocaust Museum Goes Viral

The 24-year-old gallery is now displayed online. The only memorial dedicated specifically to the victims of the enslavement of Africans in the United States allows visitors to interact over the internet. Through the new format, users can view digital photographs and videos as well as ask questions of curators and contribute information.

Jordan Shumate, 14 years old

Leonard Pitts: “All American Muslim” is a lost opportunity at understanding

We were discussing this, an olive-skinned Muslim man and I, at a banquet last year, when he said a wistful, poignant thing that has stayed with me ever since. “We thought we were white,” he said. Not “white” in the sense of race, whatever that unscientific word means. Rather, white in the sense of assimilation…