civil rights

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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.”

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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.


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.

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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. 

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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.  

 

Today’s music minute honors the woman who inspired one of the most powerful protest-anthems of the Civil Rights movement, "We Shall Overcome"

The song is based off of lyrics written by composer Louise Shropshire, who was born in 1913.

Her original song, ‘If My Jesus Wills’, was adapted by folk singer Pete Seeger in the 1940’s.  

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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.

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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. 

Women who worked behind the scenes and on the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement are often left out of history books, overshadowed by the men.  But the records of one group of women are now available at Emory University. We speak with Southern Christian Leadership Conference/W.O.M.E.N Interim Chair Scarlet Presley Brown and Emory University Manuscript Archivist Sarah Quigley about what records tell us about the role women played in the Civil Rights Movement. 

 

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The recent controversy surrounding the federal directive for transgender bathroom access in schools has created a divisive dialogue across the country. Some see the Obama administrations’ policy as a textbook example of government overreach. The power of states’ rights has fluctuated over the years, leaving many to question what ability states currently have to go against the will of the federal government.

Linda Chen / GPB

As a teenager growing up in the Midwest, I watched the Southern civil rights movement unfold from a distance. I was in high school in a suburb just outside of Chicago when the Selma to Montgomery march took place and a college student when Dr. King was murdered. Like many Americans, I grew to have enormous admiration for the men and women who were courageously confronting racism and bigotry through non-violence.

Hillary Bronwyn Gayle / HBO

Actor Anthony Mackie is currently lighting up the silver screen as Falcon in “Captain America: Civil War.” But Mackie’s next role is a completely different heroic challenge. He’ll play the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the HBO biopic “All the Way.” The film co-stars Mackie as MLK alongside Bryan Cranston as Lyndon B. Johnson. The story introduces the two political titans at the height of the Civil Rights movement in a country torn apart by the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

We talk with Mackie about the new role and diversity in the film industry. 

An Evening With Andrew Young

May 18, 2016

Join us this Wednesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Civil rights icon Andrew Young will sit down with host Bill Nigut for an intimate conversation about Young's life and work for a live taping of "Two Way Street." 

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 Jim Alexander has done a lot of things.

 

At one time or another he has been a bookstore owner, the general manager of a newspaper delivery service and a car detailer. He ran a pool room, taught horseback riding and was a diesel engine mechanic in the Navy.

“So in my life I’ve done things,” he said

But what really defines Alexander are his camera and his activism.