Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 25 September 2020

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

25 September 2020


The US Commission on Civil Rights is in the news this week after statements surfaced that the report produced after a months-long investigation into possible barriers to voting caused by Covid-19 has been shelved by USCCR Commissioners. The report also contained numerous measures that could be taken to mitigate those barriers to voting and you can read about that in Forbes, here. In better news, the USCCR has called for an end to the subminimum wage for disabled persons as allowed in the Fair Labor Standards Act. That was reported by The Hill, here.


A lot this week about civil rights violations being committed at ICE detention centers, specifically accusations of forced sterilizations of detained migrant women, which if true, brings up ugly reminders of the American eugenics movement. Reporting by The Washington Post, here, and the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Law Review, here.


The Christian Science Monitor, here, has written about the Alabama Department of Archives and History as it attempts to step away from its Lost Cause roots and its reputation as the “Attic of the Confederacy.” Also trying to shed its past as a defender of slavery, the Southern Baptist Convention has been “increasingly dropping the ‘Southern’ part of their Baptist name,” as reported by The Messenger (KY), here.


The Public Health Newswire, a publication of the American Public Health Association, has a new piece that makes explicit the connections between civil rights, public health, and justice movements, as well as how Covid-19 has impacted all three. You can read that here.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a tireless champion for equality under the law during her storied career as a law professor, lawyer, and Supreme Court Justice, was known for breaking down barriers for herself and others during her storied life. Today she broke more barriers, becoming the first woman and the first person of the Jewish faith to lie in state in the United States Capitol, as reported by The New York Times, here. The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights issued a release penned by over a half dozen civil rights leaders on “Ginsburg’s Legacy and the Supreme Court’s Critical Role in Protecting Civil Rights,” which you can read here.


Until next week, stay well,


Michele “Scout” Johnson

Editor, H-South


This series of weekly posts to H-South, “Southern History and Civil Rights in the News,” aims to track informed public discussions of southern history and civil rights. To recommend a reading, please email Dr. Michele Johnson at