With the death of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, we have lost a great fighter in the ring and a powerful advocate for the wrongfully convicted. In many ways, he helped open the eyes of many to the injustices of a system that far too often throws innocent people behind bars.
Carter knew firsthand about the plight of the wrongly accused because he had spent 19 years behind bars for crimes he did not commit. He and co-defendant John Artis were charged with a triple murder at the Lafayette Grill in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. There was little physical evidence in the case, and the so-called eyewitnesses who testified against them were two convicted felons. And Carter and Artis maintained their innocence and passed a lie detector test. However, an all-white jury found them guilty. Carter was sentenced to three life sentences.
A victim of an unfair trial with corrupt prosecutors who originally sought the death penalty, Hurricane Carter was released after two decades in prison, including time in solitary confinement. A federal judge found that the prosecution of his case was "predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure." Specifically, "the jury was permitted to draw inferences of guilt based solely upon the race" of the defendants, according to the judge.
The parent organization of a University of Mississippi fraternity has closed the campus' chapter, nearly two months after expelling three members charged with hanging a noose around the neck of the statue of the school's first African-American student, the Associated Press reports.
The university announced Thursday that the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, based in Richmond, Va., had closed the chapter, the AP says.
The three students, all from Georgia, are accused of looping a noose around the neck of a statue of James Meredith and draping its face with a Confederate flag. In 1962, Meredith's enrollment at the university sparked a vociferous outcry from anti-integration protesters.
New York City lost one of its most powerful progressive forces Wednesday with the passing of Basil Paterson.
As a member of the influential "Gang of Four," Paterson – along with former Mayor David Dinkins, late civil rights activist Percy Sutton, and Congressman Charles Rangel – helped to develop the economic and political capital of the city's black community.
With Paterson and Sutton both now deceased, many are now looking back on the legacy of the Gang of Four and wondering if there is a void in New York City's black political leadership.
Invited to watch a friend give a keynote speech at Wiley College in Marshall Texas, I answered, "Yes and when do we leave" before the question was complete.
I hadn't forgotten that the 2007 movie titled "The Great Debaters" – starring Denzel Washington as Professor Melvin Tolson – was based on a debate team at the very same Wiley College. I still remembered the authority with which Denzel played that lead and the force of his teachings as he braced his team for verbal combat.
The perseverance, courage and outright intellect of the young, evolving debaters was worth the price of admission alone. Fast forward and the legacy of those mighty Great Debaters remains. It hangs from walls, is stuffed in guest-speaker bags, written in bricks, flashes on billboards and is conveniently spoken on the answering machines of the college administrators.
Forty years after baseball legend Hank Aaron was hit with a barrage of hate mail for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record, he's reportedly getting nasty letters in the mail again — this time for defending President Barack Obama.
In a recent USA Today interview, the 80-year-old Hall of Famer used some incendiary words to describe the partisan opponents of the president.
"This country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated. We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country. The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts," he told the newspaper.
WASHINGTON – As Camille Proctor watched her one-year-old son, she knew something wasn't right. He played with others and enjoyed affection, but he never spoke. He also walked on his toes. A pediatrician assured Proctor that her son was probably just developmentally delayed.
Proctor's son was 15 months old when she learned that wasn't the case. He was officially diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
"My son didn't have the telltale signs, but I figured it out without the diagnosis. I had to basically force a diagnosis for my son so he could get the services he needed," Proctor says. "But it was hard because now I had a name for what his problem was, but that wasn't helpful for me going through it every day."
If you are a living and breathing human being in the U.S.A, then chances are you have noticed the very recent onslaught of political signs that are cropping up in your neighborhoods, near your schools and outside voting precincts, on vacant property and along busy streets and intersections everywhere within your cities. While the presence (or lack of) a single yard sign or cluster of signs within a neighborhood may indicate the level of support for a particular candidate, or how much money the candidate has, it's hard to tell otherwise what those random signs are telling us.
Most signs typically don't tell you anything about the candidate, other than the name of the candidate and the office they are seeking. One wonders if random political signs even have the ability to influence a voter.
This leads us to a recent study we reported on in last month's FYI on the "low information" voter. The "low information" voter has frequently been talked about in the media. They are known as a segment of the voting population that typically has little interest or understanding of political issues and maintains minimal to no exposure to news media that expose the candidates and the issues surrounding them.