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African-American leaders divided on whether to view Rand Paul as friend or foe

randdivision 600Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) aggressive outreach to the African-American community over the last several months is dividing African-American leaders, as some are excited that a prominent conservative Republican is embracing their causes, while others argue that working with the Kentucky senator and a likely 2016 presidential candidate is a mistake.

Paul, openly acknowledging the Republican Party's longtime struggles with African-American voters, is giving speeches at African-American colleges and meeting with key African-American pastors and leaders across the country. He is also taking stances, such as urging the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, that are unusual for a Republican.

"It's extremely significant and I think quite encouraging for Senator Paul to not just raise these issues but also to be such a passionate advocate," said Jotaka Eaddy, a senior director at the NAACP. She added, "It's always positive when you have unexpected voices that are advocating around these principles."

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‘A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home’

ADreamForeclosed 600Part and parcel of the "American Dream" is a deep desire to purchase that picture-perfect house in suburbia surrounded by the proverbial white picket fence. For generations, African Americans were frustrated in their pursuit of home ownership by de facto and de jure discrimination as reflected in everything from segregation to exclusionary zoning to racial covenants in deeds to the "white only" mortgage provisions of the G.I. Bill to the unwritten laws in Sundown Towns where African Americans weren't allowed to reside after sunset.

Consequently, most minorities ended up cooped in overcrowded, dilapidated tenements and projects in the nation's inner-cities. Then, during the Clinton Administration, Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandated that banks finally extend mortgages to blacks and whites alike.

Sadly, racism reared its ugly head anyway in the form of the subprime mortgages issued predominantly to people of color, regardless of their income. And when the housing bubble burst in 2008, African-Americans started taking it on the chin again.

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Birmingham’s ‘living history’ greets Mission Possible’s 34th Annual Spring Seminar

missionpossible 600Operating on a shoestring budget, the 34th Spring Seminar of Mission Possible: Christian Outreach Service Mission (COSM) is one its participants will long remember.

Philanthropist and founder Thelma Nelms was inspired to take this year's conference (April 25th -26th) to historic Birmingham, Ala. It proved a rewarding decision, followed by a weekend of successive "miracles."

Beginning with the kick-off at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, seminar attendees settled in for a moving opening ceremony in the church fellowship hall. It was there on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963 at 10:22 a.m. that the church became known around the world when a bomb exploded killing four young girls and injuring more than 20 others attending Sunday School.

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This Weekend In Memphis!

MemphisFRIDAY

"Make The Right Call" Rep. GA Hardaway Concussion Awareness Luncheon
11:00am-1:00pm | Lebonheur Hospital Community Room

* Memphis in May BBQ Festival
All Day | Tom Lee Park (Riverside Dr.)
Admission is free from 11:00am-1:00pm, however, after 1pm tickets are $10.

 

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A first: African-American executive editor at the New York Times

Dean Baquet_600Dean Baquet will become the first African-American executive editor at the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson who leaves the top position unexpectedly. The news apparently stunned New York Times staffers who did not see this move coming.

On Wednesday, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times and chairman of the New York Times Company, first told senior staff of the changing of the guard and then informed the full newsroom around 2:30 p.m., the New York Times reports.

While the reason for the change was not immediately made clear, Baquet seems a fitting choice to lead the newspaper with his being a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times.

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