civil rights

National Archives

One hundred years ago, Americans were adjusting to life after a destabilizing world war. The Spanish influenza decimated communities, fears of Bolshevik-style communism ran rampant and hundreds of thousands of returning veterans were competing for jobs and housing ⁠— including African Americans confident that fighting abroad earned them the right to freedom at home. 

Throughout the summer of 1919, the war between nations gave way to a war between races. Mobs targeted and lynched black Americans. 


A small group of mostly African American residents from Columbia County gathered in the sanctuary of the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Grovetown over the weekend to help organize a new chapter of the NAACP, which bills itself as “the Nation’s Premiere Civil Rights Organization.”


An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image, "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 

Courtesy of Gilbert Young/Facebook

An estimated one million people thronged to Atlanta for the 2019 Super Bowl. When the opposing teams and visiting fans returned home, a series of murals depicting Atlanta's civil rights and social justice journey stayed behind. 

Among the 11 artists who painted murals for the WonderRoot "Off The Wall" initiative surrounding the big game is renowned artist Gilbert Young. His iconic, 40-year old image "He Ain't Heavy" is now installed in huge scale on the side of Capitol Gateway Apartments in Atlanta. 


Mary Frances Early UGA Black African-American Graduate
University of Georgia / Twitter

Mary Frances Early is a trailblazer. While Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes were the first African-Americans admitted to University of Georgia as undergrads in 1961, Early was the first to graduate. She earned a master's degree in music education.

Last week, UGA announced an initiative to name its College of Education after Early. Last year, when UGA was celebrating 100 years of education groundbreaking women, On Second Thought spoke with Early about her experiences as the first African-American student to graduate from the Georgia college. We hear that conversation.

As you look back over the black history education you received in your childhood, you definitely heard about Dr. Martin Luther King and his movement of non-violent protest.  

 

 

But that wasn't case for every freedom fighter during the civil rights movement. Instead of turning the other cheek, some people were hiding guns in the countryside in case they had to literally shoot back.

 

 


Courtesy of Tom Roche/"Alley Pat: The Music is Recorded"

“On Second Thought” began celebrating Black History Month by learning about the man who was nicknamed the “Mouth of the South,” James “Alley Pat” Patrick. Atlantans heard the disc jockey in 1949 on the city’s first black-owned radio station, WERD. Patrick was born on Dec. 2, 1919, in Montezuma, Georgia. His radio career began in 1951 at WERD.  

In addition to hosting a radio show, Patrick was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. He was friends with activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and Andrew Young. Patrick was also known as a bail bondsman, as he bailed out activists from jail during the 1960s.


Wikimedia Commons

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be observed on Monday, Jan. 21, and several events will take place in Georgia to commemorate his life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Shropshire#/media/File:Louise_Shropshire_1.jpg
Robert Anthony Goins Shropshire / wikipedia.commons

On Monday, the nation will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

But today, we remember the woman who inspired one of the most powerful protest anthems of the Civil Rights movement.

  


Ross Terrell/GPB

Super Bowl 53 gets underway in less than one month. The action will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on February 3. Before the game and entertainment, the Super Bowl committee and the arts advocacy group, WonderRoot, are collaborating on murals to highlight the city’s civil rights and social justice legacy. The Off the Wall project seeks to elevate key stories from Atlanta’s pursuit of civil and human rights. Eleven muralists were chosen to create designs based on community conversations.

GPB’s Ross Terrell and WonderRoot executive director Chris Appleton joined “On Second Thought” to discuss the Off the Wall initiative.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

When his sons were still in school, Macon artist Charvis Harrell says he was always frustrated by the lack of Black history in their history classes.  

 

“You know, it's just pick cotton and Martin Luther King,” Harrell said. “In between that time nothing else ever happened, you know?” 

 

Which Harrell knew wasn't true. So he made art inspired by overlooked history to keep around the house. The idea was to get his sons thinking, talking and questioning. 

 

In his show “Monuments For Heroes Which Have None” at the Mill Hill Community Center in Macon, Harrell does the same thing for the rest of us. 

 

 

Ross Terrell/ GPB News

Freedom Parkway runs east in Atlanta, coming off the interstate that goes through the heart of the city. The King Center, named for Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., is just a few blocks away.

Now, the parkway has a new name. This time in honor of another Civil Rights leader: Congressman John Lewis. On Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and other city council members renamed the street to “John Lewis Freedom Parkway.”

Katina Rankin/Twitter

The U.S. Department of Justice has reopened the murder case of Emmett Till, the African-American teenager killed the summer of 1955. The 14-year old was from Chicago visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was kidnapped, tortured, and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman.


MLK Adviser, Civil Rights Icon Dorothy Cotton Dies at 88

Jun 12, 2018
Associated Press

Dorthy Cotton, a civil rights pioneer who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has died at the age of 88. Cotton led education efforts for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the civil rights era, and she led the Atlanta-based civil rights group’s Citizenship Education Program.


The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic ruling Brown v. the Board of Education more than six decades ago. Linda Brown, the namesake of that landmark court case, died March 25. She was 76. 

With Brown v. Board, it became illegal to separate public school students by race. But since the landmark ruling, many schools in the South have resegregated, according to a report from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. The study also found Latino student enrollment surpassed black enrollment for the first time.

We spoke about the resegregation of southern schools with Erica Frankenberg, associate professor of education at Penn State University, Belisa Urbina, executive director of Ser Familia, and Atlanta Journal-Constitution education reporter Maureen Downey.

Flickr

Georgia Congressman John Lewis is a man who wears many hats. He is a civil rights leader, a principled politician and a graphic novelist. We talked to him about his three-part graphic memoir, "March," which tells the story of the civil rights movement from Lewis's perspective. 

Wikicommons

April 4 marks 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, and all this week we're paying tribute to King and his legacy.

King's mission and sense of purpose are manifest in more recent mass protests, such as the 2017 Women's March and the anti-gun violence March for Our Lives.  

civilrightstrail.com

This month Southern tourism departments banded together to unveil The U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The trail links 110 historic sites, from Kansas to Delaware. These are places where the struggle for equality for African Americans left a mark.

The GOP tax bill has many concerned the law will negatively impact the middle class while bolstering the rich. But a new study from the union Actors Equity finds another problem: the tax bill could also harm Georgia’s film industry. They looked at how the plan might reduce deductions and reimbursements for contractors and part-time film workers. We talk about this with Chris Joyner with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- he writes the AJC Watchdog column. Also Craig Miller, Film Producer and Founder of Craig Miller Productions.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, two prominent Georgians push back against President Trump: FBI Director Chris Wray defends the honor of his agency in response to Trump's Twitter attacks, and Congressman John Lewis says he won't attend the opening of a Mississippi civil rights museum if Donald Trump shows up. Plus, will Al Franken's resignation from the U.S. Senate put more pressure on Republicans to speak out against those in their own party accused of sexual harassment? Georgia's own Newt Gingrich says no way.

Two Democratic representatives, John Lewis and Bennie Thompson, say they will not attend the long-awaited opening on Saturday of two museums dedicated to Mississippi's history and civil rights struggle because of the planned appearance of President Trump.

Lewis is a Georgia Democrat and icon of the civil rights campaign. Thompson is Mississippi's only Democratic congressman. In a joint statement, they said they made their decision "after careful consideration and conversations with church leaders, elected officials, civil rights activists" and many others.

Wikimedia Commons

Fifty years ago this month, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at the annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Hyatt Regency in Atlanta opened its doors for the event on August 16, 1967. One of the conference’s planners was civil rights icon and journalist Xernona Clayton.

Photo Courtesy of Karcheik Sims-Alvarado

There’s no doubt Atlanta played a big role in the civil rights movement. Now, that history is archived in a new photo book called “Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1944 -1968.” We talk with historian Karcheik Sims-Alvarado about the significance of these photographs.

Dr. Sims-Alvarado will appear at the Atlanta History Center Saturday, June 17 at 11 a.m.

Landmark Decision in LGBT Workers' Rights Case

May 16, 2017

For the first time, a federal court has ruled workers can’t be fired for their sexual orientation. A court in Chicago recently extended workplace protections in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the LGBT community.  A similar case in Georgia is up for appeal. We talk with a lawyer for both cases, Greg Nevins, and with Andrea Young, director of the ACLU of Georgia.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Creative Loafing senior staff writer Rodney Carmichael spent weeks interviewing the old and new guard of Atlanta’s Civil Rights Movement. One group he profiled in his piece is It’s Bigger Than You, founded by 20-year-old Aurielle Lucier. She and other groups have staged multiple protests in the area in the wake of events in Ferguson, Mo. and local police shootings. We talk to Lucier, Carmichael and civil rights leader Lonnie King, who led the Atlanta Student Movement in the 1960s. 

An Alabama parole board has denied early release to a 78-year-old Ku Klux Klansman who was convicted of killing four black girls in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis wears many hats - civil rights leader, politician, and graphic memoirist. The story of the Civil Rights Movement is told through his eyes in a three part graphic memoir series called “March.” The final installment came out on Tuesday. We talk with Congressman Lewis, his co-author Andrew Aydin, and the books' illustrator Nate Powell about telling history through comics. We also talk with Rep. Lewis about his feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement and his quest to push for gun control.

Top Shelf Productions

Georgia Congressman John Lewis wears many hats - civil rights leader, politician, and graphic novelist. His story and the story of the civil rights movement is told through a three part graphic memoir called, “March.” The final installment of the series is out this week. We talk with Congressman Lewis, his co-author Andrew Aydin, and the book’s illustrator Nate Powell about telling history through comics.

W.W. Law Photograph Collection. Courtesy of the City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives

Savannah civil rights activist W.W. Law passed away 14 years ago. He served as the president for the Savannah chapter of the NAACP from 1950 to 1976. Now the city of Savannah is archiving W.W. Law’s collection, which includes photographs, books, music, and letters.

We talk about Law’s life and legacy with Luciana Spracher, the Director of Library and Archives for the City of Savannah, and former Savannah mayor Edna Jackson, who knew Law personally. 

Pages