Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2014-11-09 17:53Z by Steven

Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
Public Broadcasting Service
Tuesdays, 2013-10-22 through 2013-11-26, 20:00-21:00 ET

From Black Power to Black President

By 1968, the Civil Rights movement had achieved stunning victories, in the courts and in the Congress. But would African Americans finally be allowed to achieve genuine racial equality? Episode Six, A More Perfect Union (1968-2013), looks at the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rise of the Black Panthers and Black Power movement.  The decline of cities that African Americans had settled in since the Great Migration, the growth of a black middle class, the vicious beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and the ascent of Barack Obama from Illinois senator to the presidency of the United States are all addressed in the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Revisit images of the Black is Beautiful movement and hear commentary from former Black Panther Party member Kathleen Cleaver, former Secretary of State Colin H. Powell, musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and many more…

For more information, click here.

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Breath of Freedom

Posted in Europe, History, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States, Videos on 2014-02-15 21:24Z by Steven

Breath of Freedom

The Smithsonian Channel
Premieres Monday, 2014-02-17 20:00 EST

Narrated by Cuba Gooding Jr.

They fought to liberate Germany from Nazi rule, as racism reached unfathomable levels. Their fight would continue back home on American soil. This is the story of the one-million-plus African Americans who fought in World War II. Discover their encounters with hatred, from the enemy and from within their own ranks. Explore this paradoxical chapter in American history through interviews with war heroes, including Colin Powell, Tuskegee ace pilot Roscoe Brown, and Charles Evers, brother of Civil Rights activist and WWII veteran Medgar Evers. [The documentary also features Theodor Michael, author of Deutsch sein und schwarz dazu: Erinnerungen eines Afro-Deutschen [Being German and also Being Black: Memoirs of an Afro-German].]

Watch the exclusive premiere here.

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For me as a young lieutenant, who couldn’t go off the post in Columbus, Georgia, could go off the post anywhere in Germany. It was a breath of freedom.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2014-02-11 17:35Z by Steven

“When I first went to Germany in January, 1959, I just finished my training in Columbus, Georgia, at Fort Benning. In Columbus, Georgia it was still segregated. There was discrimination. There was racism. For me as a young lieutenant, who couldn’t go off the post in Columbus, Georgia, could go off the post anywhere in Germany. It was a breath of freedom.”

Colin Powell, 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former United States Secretary of State

Breath of Freedom,” The Smithsonian Channel, 2014. http://www.smithsonianchannel.com/sc/web/show/3402153/breath-of-freedom. (00:02:58-00:02:24).

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African Americans and the Presidency: The Road to the White House

Posted in Anthologies, Barack Obama, Books, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-02-11 18:53Z by Steven

African Americans and the Presidency: The Road to the White House

256 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-415-80392-2
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-415-80391-5
eBook ISBN: 978-0-203-86433-3

Edited by:

Bruce A. Glasrud, Professor Emeritus of History
California State University, East Bay

Cary D. Wintz, Distinguished Professor of History and Geography
Texas Southern University

African Americans and the Presidency explores the long history of African American candidates for President and Vice President, examining the impact of each candidate on the American public, as well as the contribution they all made toward advancing racial equality in America. Each chapter takes the story one step further in time, through original essays written by top experts, giving depth to these inspiring candidates, some of whom are familiar to everyone, and some whose stories may be new.

Presented with illustrations and a detailed timeline, African Americans and the Presidency provides anyone interested in African American history and politics with a unique perspective on the path carved by the predecessors of Barack Obama, and the meaning their efforts had for the United States.


  • Introduction: The African American Quest for the Presidency / Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz
  • 1. Beginning the Trek—Douglass, Bruce, Black Conventions, Independent Political Parties / Bruce A. Glasrud
  • 2. The Communist Party of the United States and African American Political Candidates / David Cullen and Kyle G. Wilkison
  • 3. Charlotta A. Bass—Win Or Lose, We Win / Carolyn Wedin
  • 4. Shirley Chisholm—A Catalyst for Change / Maxine D. Jones
  • 5. The Socialist Workers Party and African Americans / Dwonna Naomi Goldstone
  • 6. Civil Rights Activists and the Reach for Political Power / Jean Van Delinder
  • 7. Jesse Jackson—Run, Jesse, Run! / James M. Smallwood
  • 8. Lenora Branch Fulani—Challenging the Rules of the Game / Omar H. Ali
  • 9. Race Activists and Fringe Parties with a Message / Charles Orson Cook
  • 10. Black Politicians—Paving the Way / Hanes Walton, Jr., Josephine A. V. Allen, Sherman C. Puckett, and Donald R. Deskins, Jr.
  • 11. Colin Powell—The Candidate Who wasn’t / Cary D. Wintz
  • 12. Barack Hussein Obama—An Inspiration of Hope, an Agent for Change / Paul Finkelman
  • Blacks and the Presidency: A Selected Bibliography

Introduction: The African American Quest for the Presidency

Forty years ago (1968), the African American political scene began to change dramatically, the culmination of Supreme Court decisions such as Smith vs. Allwright, Baker vs. Carr, and Terry vs. Adams; amendments to the United States Constitution including the fourteenth, fifteenth, nineteenth, and twenty-fourth; federal legislation, especially the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965); and determined black leaders and voters. African Americans as never before voted and contended for national office. Some white liberals abetted and encouraged the metamorphoses. All was not well, however. Civil rights leader and black activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while leading a reform effort in Memphis, Tennessee. Two months later, while completing a primary election victory in California, Democratic senator Robert F. Kennedy, a white proponent of black rights, was assassinated. Perhaps propelled by these losses on the national scene, African American men and women participated in the national political process as delegates and voters, both vital steps, and also as nominees and candidates.

A few years before, while serving as Attorney General of the United States for his brother, John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy asserted that the United States could have a black president within forty years. As Kennedy phrased it, “in the next forty years a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother has.” From the perspective of 2008 Kennedy’s prescience is remarkable. Forty years after the assassinations of King and Kennedy, an African American, Senator Barack Obama, was the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency. By mid-September most polls suggested that he was the front-runner to be elected president of the United States, and in November Obama was elected the forty-fourth president of the United States. President Obama was not the first African American to seriously pursue the presidency. In fact, more than forty black men and women candidates paved the way for a black president; Obama stands on the shoulders of those other black leaders and politicians…

Read the entire Introduction here.

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Color outside the lines

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2011-01-05 05:17Z by Steven

Color outside the lines

Columbia Missourian

Sara Fernández Cendon

The boundaries between traditional racial categories shift as more people identify themselves as multiracial. The term adds another dimension to the complex issue of race in America.

Some say Tiger Woods started it all.

After winning the Masters Tournament in 1997, the golf star described himself as “Cablinasian” — as in Caucasian, black, American Indian and Asian.

Colin Powell, a light-skinned black man, quickly dismissed Wood’s invention.

“In America, which I love from the depths of my heart and soul, when you look like me, you’re black,” Powell said.

Woods says “Cablinasian” honors his multiracial heritage. In 1997 he told Oprah Winfrey that being identified solely as an African-American bothered him. But others, who agree with Colin Powell, believe Woods will always be thought of as black and treated as such.

The Woods-Powell disagreement illustrates the deep rift between those who believe that race is a biological category and those who believe it is a political one. As more mixed-race couples join Woods’ camp by identifying their children as “multiracial,” or even “white,” civil rights groups worry about the loss of historical racial categories.

Critics of the multiracial label believe the American racial landscape is still dominated by the “one-drop” rule, which held that a person with just one black ancestor was still black. Their argument is that you don’t need much “color” to be a “person of color.” Discrimination affects people of color, they say, regardless of how light their skin might be or how they identify themselves racially…


David Brunsma

White people have made disparaging racial comments around him expecting to get a nod in return. But fair-skinned, red-haired, blue-eyed David Brunsma has no tolerance for “whiteness” because “white” to him is synonymous with privilege. He says he gets questions like, “What are the best neighborhoods in town, if you know what I mean …” His response: “No, I really don’t know what you mean.”

Half-Puerto Rican and half-Caucasian, Brunsma does not think of himself as biracial, but he does consider “Hispanic” to be a racial category…


Susan Graham and Project RACE

You can’t blame Ryan Graham for not wanting to check “other” on questionnaires requesting racial information. “It makes me feel like a freak or a space alien,” he testified during a U.S. House hearing on multiracial identification back in 1997, when he was 12 years old.

Ryan’s mother, Susan Graham, is the executive director of Project RACE, an advocacy organization for multiracial individuals. She, too, testified before the House on behalf of a separate multiracial category in census forms.

In her testimony, Graham berated the “all that apply” compromise announced by the Office of Management and Budget just days before the hearing.

“My children and millions of children like them merely become ‘check all that apply’ kids or ‘check more than one box’ children or ‘more than one race’ persons. They will be known as ‘multiple check offs’ or ‘half and halfers,’” she said…

Read the entire article here.

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