‘Drumbeat of Activism’ Still Permeates Our Communities

They called it Freedom Summer – 10 weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local activists in a historic effort to end the vestiges of racial oppression across the South, including what PBS described as “one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.” That state was Mississippi. And before it was over, three men – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – were viciously beaten and killed by the …

Clarence Mitchell: Secret Weapon in the Fight for Civil Rights

Read about the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which marks its golden jubilee this July, and you’ll learn about the high-profile personalities in Congress and the White House who battled during this stretch of our country’s faltering march toward fair treatment for all citizens. But you’re less likely to hear about key players behind the scenes, even during Black History Month. Meet Clarence Mitchell. Heading the NAACP office in Washington in the heart of the civil rights era, Mitchell …

T. Thomas Fortune: He Paved the Way for Civil Rights Organizers

W.E.B. Du Bois. Mary McLeod Bethune. Stokely Carmichael. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King Jr. These are names of civil rights leaders you’re likely to hear during Black History Month. But here’s one you may not: T. Thomas Fortune. You might say that Fortune was the forefather of civil rights organizers. In 1890, he founded the National Afro-American League, the precursor to a host of groups, including today’s powerful National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Fortune was born …

In Pennsylvania, Voter ID Law Threatens to Exclude Nearly 10 Percent of State’s Voters

This post was updated on July 9. Older Pennsylvanians who don’t drive could face a problem in November: They may not be able to vote. According to data released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, more than 758,000 registered voters in the Keystone State  – some 9.2 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters – do not have DOT-issued ID cards. Under the state’s new voter ID law, that means they may not be able to vote. And the …