civil rights

“At that time, we’d been singing songs, we shall overcome, and before I’d be a slave…be dead and buried in my grave,” says Bennie Lee Tucker. He’s seventy four years old, and he spent the last fifty five of those years here in Selma. “And we gonna let nobody turn us around, no more Governor Wallace…no more white folk,” he says.

On the front porch of his home on Eugene Avenue, Tucker recalls March 7th, 1965. It was the height of the voting rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior wasn’t the name on everyone’s mind that day.

UA-CPT

Admirers of Dr. Martin Luther King, junior have the opportunity to snag a unique piece of memorabilia. An auction house is offering pages of an old jail record signed by Dr. King while he was incarcerated in Alabama in 1963. It's there that King wrote his famous "letter from the Birmingham jail." A jail worker rescued the documents which feature a dozen King signatures.

John Lewis funeral Georgia
Associated Press

 

ATLANTA (AP) — John Lewis will lie in repose at the Georgia capitol in his hometown of Atlanta in one of the last memorial services for the late Democratic congressman before he's buried. 

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to Lewis on Wednesday at the state capitol rotunda following a ceremony to honor him. A private burial service in Atlanta is scheduled for Thursday.

Wikimedia Commons

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Religious faith was a lifelong constant for Rep. John Lewis. 

He spent his boyhood in Alabama preaching to a make-believe congregation of chickens and siblings. He went on to be inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to learn nonviolence protests tactics from ministers and other teachers.

 

SELMA, Ala. (AP) — On the day that became known as Bloody Sunday, John Lewis and a line of nonviolent marchers were beaten and tear-gassed by Alabama state troopers in Selma. 

The state-sanctioned violence at the Edmund Pettus Bridge stunned the nation and helped spur the passage of the federal Voting Rights Act. It also propelled Lewis on to a global stage as a hero of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Updated at 7 a.m. ET Saturday

John Lewis — an icon of the civil rights movement, congressman and, for decades, a force in Democratic politics — died at age 80 on Friday.

Lewis had been treated for advanced-stage pancreatic cancer after being diagnosed during a routine medical exam. He publicly disclosed his diagnosis in late December.

Autherine Lucy Foster degree
Zach Riggins / UA Strategic Communications

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Autherine Lucy Foster, the first African-American student to attend the University of Alabama, received an honorary doctorate degree Friday from the university where her presence brought mobs of protesters in 1956.

The Tuscaloosa News reported that Foster, 89 received the degree during graduation ceremonies. She enrolled at the all-white university in 1956. However, she was expelled three days later after her presence brought protests and threats against her life.

Foster received a standing ovation Friday, news outlets report.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has rescinded its decision to honor political activist and scholar Angela Davis following unspecified complaints.

Davis is a Birmingham native who has spent decades fighting for civil rights. She was an active member of the Black Panther Party, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Communist Party USA. She's also an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
Alex AuBuchon / APR

The four girls killed in a church bombing in Birmingham in 1963 were remembered over the weekend during a memorial service on the attack’s 55th anniversary.

Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson were all killed September 15, 1963 when a bomb placed by Ku Klux Klan members ripped through Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Saturday’s service also honored two boys, Johnny Robinson, Jr. and Virgil Ware, killed in separate incidents shortly after the bombing.

MLK Tuscaloosa
Edward Jenkins

The state of Alabama has a rich and painful history when it comes to the civil rights movement. Researchers recently uncovered new evidence about a lesser-known chapter of that story.

The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Task Force has located a photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking at a service in Tuscaloosa. They also found video of what came to be known as “Bloody Tuesday”, when a peaceful march to protest segregation was met with beatings, tear gas, fire hoses and arrests.

EPA to Investigate ADEM Civil Rights Policies

Jul 6, 2018

The state of Alabama is going under the microscope again in terms of civil rights policy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's civil rights office says it will investigate the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's civil rights policies.

Al.com reports The EPA's External Civil Rights Compliance Office issued a letter earlier this week stating it will investigate whether ADEM has adopted grievance procedures assuring the prompt and fair resolution of complaints. These procedures are required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Steve Flowers on Race and Religion in Alabama Politics

May 30, 2017

Throughout the course of Alabama political history, there have been two pervasive and prevailing issues - race and religion. The race issue has remained dormant in Alabama politics for most of the first half of the 20th century...

Alabama hotel, built in 1837, at center of legal battle

Dec 13, 2016

A company that sought to redevelop a historic hotel overlooking the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma says that city leaders broke their contract for the hotel's sale.

The Janee Hotel Corp. made the allegations in a federal lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court.

The Illinois-based company says it offered to purchase the St. James Hotel hotel for $100,000 and commit $4.5 million to redevelop it. The company maintains that city councilors voted in August to accept the offer, but later backed out.

Voices from Roy Moore's Ethics Trial

Oct 11, 2016
Ambrosia Starling
Alex AuBuchon / APR

Roy Moore is no longer serving as the Chief Justice of Alabama.

On September 30, a majority of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary decided to suspend Moore for the remainder of his six-year term as punishment for ethics violations. The charges relate to Moore’s role in the controversy over same-sex marriage in Alabama.

APR’s Alex AuBuchon has been following the Chief Justice’s case. He has this report on reactions to the trial and what may be coming next.

Eric Parker Returns to Active Duty

Sep 6, 2016
Eric Parker
Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

A Madison police officer is returning to active duty today after being acquitted of civil rights charges earlier this year.

Eric Parker is back on the Madison Police Department and is returning to active duty today. The move comes after acting police chief Major Jim Cooke decided Parker’s sidewalk stop and takedown of Sureshbhai Patel in February 2015 did not violate department policy.

Parker faced state and federal charges after slamming the 58-year-old man to the ground during a confrontation. Patel was partially paralyzed and underwent spinal surgery.

Stan Ingold

  2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of a number of key moments in the fight for civil rights. Alabama Public Radio’s Stan Ingold recently began a trek to several spots around the state that are linked to the civil rights struggle. Visitors from around the world are coming to these sites as tourists. Stan recently took us to Selma and this time we look at Montgomery where to voting rights march took place.

Stan Ingold

       There are many reasons people visit Alabama, to see sporting events, the space connection in Huntsville or the beaches along the gulf coast. However, civil rights tourism is often overlooked by the masses. This dark time in the state’s history is drawing visitors from all over.

Visitors like Betty and Phil Histon from Corvallis Oregon. They’re in Alabama, like many tourists, to try the local barbecue and the see the sites. When we met them they were in the Civil Rights Interpretive Center is Selma…

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley files a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former law enforcement secretary Spencer Collier.

Bentley's attorneys say in the motion filed today that claims Collier makes in his complaint are vague and should be dismissed or clarified.

Bentley fired Collier in March and said an internal review found possible misuse of state funds within the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

A Senate committee is debating a proposal to have Alabama join multi-state lottery games like Mega-Millions and Powerball.

The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Trip Pittman of Montrose wants the state join the multi-state games instead of creating its own lottery scheme. The bill is an alternative proposal to other lottery bills that have stalled because of a lack of consensus over the details.

If approved by lawmakers, voters would have the final say on whether lottery ticket sales will be allowed in the state.

Alabama: Jesse Owens' starting block

Feb 18, 2016

The movie “Race” debuts in theaters today across the United States.  The biopic depicts legendary Track and Field athlete Jesse Owens and his journey to winning four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany.  APR’s MacKenzie Bates traveled to Owens’s hometown in Northern Alabama, where a park and museum keeps his memory alive

When you talk about the Olympics, names like swimmers Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz or gymnast Gabby Douglas may come to mind. But in 1936, Alabama Native Jesse Owens staked his claim as one of the greatest Olympians in American history.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Alabama today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. 

Clinton stood in the pulpit where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott, saying the U.S. is still plagued by injustices such as mass incarceration, an epidemic of gun violence and attempts to roll back voting rights.

A federal judge says he will rule by Friday on a female prisoner's request for an abortion.

U.S. District Abdul Kallon made the comment after hearing arguments yesterday in a lawsuit filed by the woman.

The unnamed prisoner filed suit against Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton seeking a court order that would let her leave jail to travel to Huntsville for the procedure.

Alabama senators are seeking to rename Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge to the Journey to Freedom Bridge. The historic site in the voting rights movement bears the name of a Ku Klux Klan officer.

The bridge became a symbol of the fight for voting rights after marchers were beaten by state troopers in 1965.

It is Selma's most notable landmark, but its KKK association has drawn the anger of some in the majority black city. Pettus was a U.S senator, a Confederate general and a KKK grand dragon.

Federal justice official to speak at UAB forum

Mar 14, 2015
ww.sify.com

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will host a federal Department of Justice official, who will speak on civil rights and on an outreach program.

Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta will discuss federal efforts to protect civil liberties and rights of minorities and immigrants from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts.

UAB officials say Gupta worked for the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP before joining the Department of Justice.

pt.wikipedia.org

A group retracing the steps of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March made it to the Alabama state Capitol.

Martin Luther King III on stood near the place his father addressed marchers 50 years ago and called for fewer restrictions in voting.

Governor Bentley addressed the crowd, but was met with some boos and chants of "Medicaid now," calling for expansion of the health care program. Bentley was also booed by some in the crowd at the 50th anniversary commemoration event in Selma last Saturday.

photoblog.nbcnews.com

Vice President Joe Biden says the same human rights that African Americans fought for in Selma, Alabama, are at stake for gay rights activists today.

Biden is drawing parallels between the civil rights and gay rights movements in a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

He says Selma and Stonewall were "basically the same movement." He's referring to 1969 Stonewall Inn riots that marked the symbolic start of the modern gay rights movement.

Title: Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama
Author: Hester Bass
Illustrator:  E. B. Lewis
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 28
Price: $16.99 (Hardcover)

Title:  The Cat's Pajamas
Author & Illustrator:  Daniel Wallace
Publisher: Inkshares: Crowdfunded Publishing
Pages: 28
Price: $18.00 (Hardcover)

blog.al.com

Demetrius Newton, a civil rights attorney who represented icons like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. before becoming the first black person to serve as speaker pro tem of the Alabama House, has died. He was 85.

Rep. John Rogers of Birmingham, a longtime friend of Newton, says he was notified by the lawmaker's family that Newton died Wednesday morning.

Newton was former city attorney for Birmingham and had served in the Legislature since 1986.

meetmycollege.com

The board of the Alabama Public Historical Sites and Parks Improvement Corporation has authorized $1.2 million in bond money for a landmark voting rights center in the capitol city.

A new facility at Alabama State University will be home to the last stop on the route memorialized as the Voting Rights Trail, officials said Tuesday.

Finance Director Marquita Davis told Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey and House Speaker Mike Hubbard the center had been funded in 2001, but the project didn't get off the ground.

Southern Poverty Law Center

A civil rights group that tracks extremist groups warns that President Obama's tenure and the gun control debate after the Connecticut school shooting have led to surging numbers of anti-government "patriot" groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center on Tuesday reported the rising numbers as it released its annual report on extremist groups.

The number of patriot groups, one category of extremist organizations tracked by the center, has risen dramatically over the past four years, from 149 groups in 2008 to 1,360 today.

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