Southern History and Civil Rights in the News
9 October 2020
We are now about three and a half weeks from election day, and as of Wednesday, more than five million votes have already been cast. Election news is the dominant topic across many media outlets. In St. Louis, “All of Us or None (Todos o Nadie),” a human and civil rights group, is working to assist felons in navigating the registration process and hoping to increase voter turnout from that group, as noted here by St. Louis Public Radio, the local NPR affiliate. Additionally, many groups are concerned about election-related violence. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under the Law has called the situation a “national election emergency,” here, and The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights has urged US Attorney General William Barr to “protect voters from white supremacist threats at the polls,” here. Additionally, the Carr Center for Human Rights of the Kennedy School at Harvard released a report yesterday outlining “eighty recommendations for reimagining Americans’ rights and responsibilities,” one key area of which is strengthening the democratic process. You can read the story from The Harvard Gazette, here, or access the full report here.
The murder of Breonna Taylor has been back in the news after a grand jury declined to indict the officers involved in her death. WLKY, the CBS affiliate in Kentucky reports here that the FBI is engaged in community talks as their civil rights investigation is proceeding. Also this week, NPR took a look back at the Augusta (GA) Civil Rights Riot of 1970, a mostly (intentionally) forgotten event spurred by the murder of a black teenager in police custody. You can read about that here.
The University of Oklahoma School of Law has created an endowed chair to honor Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, the first African American admitted to the program, who was admitted after a multi-year legal battle that culminated in a Supreme Court victory. That news is here.
Also, this week The Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco), reports on several new archives being curated across the South to preserve Queer southern history. You can read that here. Additionally, J-Stor has curated a collection of civil rights photographs, which can be accessed here.
One of the bigger stories earlier this summer was the reckoning over the racist monuments throughout the South (and elsewhere). The Mellon Foundation has pledged $250 million to “reinvent America’s monuments.” You can read about that here.
Until next week, stay well,
Michele “Scout” Johnson
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 email@example.com.