WASHINGTON – Areva Martin watched her youngest child play with growing concern. Marty was almost 18 months old and he didn't play like other kids his age. Instead of racing toy cars on a track or across the floor, Marty would organize them in lines. He did the same thing with crayons. Instead of scribbling on paper or trying to color, he would just line them up. Marty played obsessively with random objects that he would find around the house: a house shoe, a cup, or a spoon would consume hours of playtime. But Martin, a lawyer living in Los Angeles, was most concerned about his speech.
"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'This kid isn't speaking, so let's get him to a speech therapist,'" she said. After several months with a speech therapist, and no signs of improvement, Martin took her son to a developmental pediatrician. That's when she learned that Marty was autistic.
"I knew very little about autism. I wasn't even thinking about autism," said Martin. "It wasn't even a word in my vocabulary."
According to demographers, more white Americans died last year than were born -- the first time this has occurred in the history of the nation. Even more surprising, the shrinking of the white population has begun more rapidly than previously predicted.
The decline of America's white population is being fueled by a variety of factors, among them that white women are having fewer children, and at later ages than other racial groups, and the immigrant population is increasing. But perhaps even more interesting than the numbers themselves is the impact they are likely to have on American society.
Paula Cooper was just 16 years old when she became the youngest person on death row in the United States.
That was in 1986.
Today (June 17), after 27 years behind bars, Cooper will walk out of the Indiana's Rockville Correctional Facility a free woman.
The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture on Wednesday announced that Oprah Winfrey would donate $12 million to support the capital campaign of the new museum.
Combined with her $1 million gift in 2007, this brings Winfrey's total contribution to $13 million, the museum's largest donation to date. Winfrey, chairman and CEO of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, has been a member of the museum's advisory council since 2004.
In recognition of her gift, the museum's theater will be named the Oprah Winfrey Theater. The 350-seat theater will be a forum in the nation's capital for performers, educators, authors, musicians and filmmakers. The theater's programs will enable audiences to gain a broader understanding of how African American history and culture shape and enrich the country and the world.
Last week a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial family generated such a strong racist reaction on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed. The video had received more than 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes, as well as references to Nazis, "troglodytes" and "racial genocide."
Of course, that reaction generated its own reaction from nonbigoted Americans that's pretty much summed up by "Is this seriously happening in 2013?"
A stone monument in Rex, Ga., celebrating first lady Michelle Obama's great-great-great grandmother Melvinia Shields was knocked over from its pedestal onto a concrete slab Saturday night.
"It was done purposely. If I had to speculate some people may think it was a prank; not realizing what a serious matter it is. I really believe we have gone beyond any other motives," Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton told CNN Tuesday during a phone conversation.
Clayton County has an open investigation into the incident, but has no leads, Singleton said.