At 103, Selma Marcher Shows Us All How to Live

The “Bloody Sunday” 50th anniversary march was an event that inspired people across America to stand for justice wherever injustice prevails. In that regard, among the greatest inspirations at the March 7 commemoration was 103-year-old Amelia Boynton Robinson, a foot soldier who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who would have thought that this heroine, knocked unconscious by the Alabama State Police during the original Bloody Sunday protest, would return 50 years later, marching in a wheelchair alongside Barack …

Walking Through a Year of Black History

It’s one thing to celebrate Black History Month. But when the organization founded by the father of Black history kicks off its 100th anniversary with an issues forum at the White House, led by America’s first Black president, that’s a Black history moment worth noting. That was the occasion on Feb. 11 as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) had a celebratory Black History Month forum at the White House. As panelists discussed the …

Civil Rights Songs in the Key of Freedom Still Resonate

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired. I am weak. I’m worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand precious Lord, lead me on.” In the movie Selma, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. calls Mahalia Jackson, the “Queen of Gospel,” at a moment when he is most discouraged. Over the phone, she sings “Precious Lord” to comfort him. For me, this was one of the …

7 Moments Boomers Will Always Remember

Seven enduring memories from our yearlong ‘Boomer History’ project: Promised a T-shirt and a dollar for showing up, 5,000 fans greet the Beatles at New York’s JFK International Airport on Feb. 7, 1964. The following year, on Aug. 15, “arena rock” is born when a concert by the Fab Four draws more than 55,000 fans to Shea Stadium in Queens, N.Y. But nothing lasts forever. Preparing to release a solo album in April 1970, Paul McCartney says that the Beatles are finished. On March 7, 1965, …

Civil Rights Leaders: Church Still Stabilizes Black Community, Yet Shows Signs of Fatigue

Updated 11/29/14 The fourth and final in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. From the tragic 1955 death of Emmett Till to the civil rights battles of the 1960s and even to the issues of unequal justice in 2014, civil rights leaders say the black church has remained a headquarters for healing, rejuvenation and planning. “It remains our oasis in the desert. It remains our spiritual reservoir. It remains the most independent organization controlled …

Social Media Could Make New Strides for Civil Rights

Updated 11/18/14 The third in a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom had used Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media to draw people to Washington, what would have been different about that great gathering on the National Mall? That question kicked off a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday forum discussion this year. The conversation has grown from what could have happened …