Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 30 October 2020

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Southern History and Civil Rights in the News

30 October 2020


With the end of the election now only four days away, this week’s civil rights news is still predominantly related to voting. VOTE (Voice of the Experienced) a grassroots group in Louisiana has issued a demand letter to the Secretary of State and Commissioner of Elections there alleging that they are not following Act 636, a 2018 law passed to restore voting rights to previously incarcerated Louisiana residents, and in fact are violating the National Voter Registration Act, as reported by PRNewswire, here. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has heard multiple cases regarding the deadline for counting absentee ballots postmarked by Tuesday’s election date. They agreed to extended deadlines in Pennsylvania, but rejected them in Wisconsin. You can read The New York Times’ coverage here and here. And the NAACP has made their special voting edition of The Crisis available to all readers. You can find that here.


The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that the city could have a statue and tribute plaza in the heart of the city on Beale Street, as early as next year. Wells' newspaper’s offices were destroyed and she was forcibly driven from the city in 1892,  after she reported on a local lynching. You can read about that here.


Pope Francis named Wilton Gregory, the Archbishop of Washington, DC, as the first African American Cardinal in the Church’s history this past week. As Reuters reports here, he has long been an “outspoken civil rights advocate.” The Southern Poverty Law Center marked the fifteenth anniversary of the passing of civil rights icon Rosa Parks this week. You can read their tribute here. Two buildings on the campus of Oklahoma State University have been renamed in honor of Nancy Randolph Davis, the first African American to attend the school. You can read that here.


One aspect of civil rights that needs more attention is economic justice write Ellora Derenoncourtand Claire Montialoux in a New York Times editorial this week. You can read that here.


And finally, archeologists are excavating a new site that appears to be 300-year-old slave quarters in southern Maryland. You can read coverage by WTOP 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