January 22, 2013 |
The observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, overshadowed somewhat by President Obama's inauguration, inspired more than a few writers to complain about the “sanitization” of King's message. The complaint has some validity: King wasn't just an opponent of segregated public accommodations and Jim Crow laws; he also preached arguably radical ideas about economic equality, and he opposed the war in Vietnam. He was in Memphis, the site of his assassination, to show solidarity with striking sanitation workers.
January 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Hundreds of thousands congregated on the National Mall on Monday, many bundled in gloves and scarves against the cold. Some stopped in front of street vendors to buy buttons with President Obama's face on them, inaugural coffee mugs or wool hats with Obama spelled in glass beads. There were cheers when the crowd saw the presidential limousine on the Jumbotron as it arrived at the Capitol. Some took a detour away from the stage on the West Front of the Capitol where Obama would give his second inaugural address, and went to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial as the nation also celebrated the birthday of the slain civil rights leader.
January 21, 2013 |
When President Obama first took office, many highlighted the occasion as a fulfillment of many promises in music from the civil rights era. Songs from the '60s that promised change and lambasted inequality took a new air of poignancy with the first black president in office. As his second inauguration wraps up with Beyonce ravishing the national anthem Monday morning, and on the auspicious occasion of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, here are a few of the landmark songs from that era. Sam Cooke -- "A Change is Gonna Come" The most prophetic song from the era is also Cooke's most beautiful vocal.
January 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Allowing that "our journey is not complete," President Obama offered a robust liberal vision of America in his second inaugural address, embracing gay rights, action on climate change and a substantial role for government even as he acknowledged the challenges of a bitterly divided nation. An ocean of American flags waved under overcast skies and hundreds of thousands of faces tilted up just before noon Monday as Obama stood on the Capitol's West Front and repeated the oath of office in America's 57th presidential inauguration.
January 18, 2013 |
Searching for Zion The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora Emily Raboteau Atlantic Monthly Press: 320 pp., $25 In 1965, author and civil rights essayist James Baldwin appeared at the Cambridge Union Society to debate William F. Buckley on the question "Is the American Dream at the Expense of the American Negro?" In a blast of eloquence, Baldwin answered in the affirmative. And in so doing, took up a question he was to return to again and again in his work: How can a country that tries to destroy you be home?
January 17, 2013 |
During World War II, as a tank commander in Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army, Eugene Patterson participated in a daring maneuver that helped assure the Allied victory in the Battle of the Bulge. Asked subsequently what he was most proud of about his part in this and other engagements, Patterson often talked about how he led troops into combat not with an impersonal "Go" but with a command that signaled his intention to expose himself to the same dangers they faced: "Let's go. " Patterson, who died of cancer Saturday at 89, was a 21-year-old lieutenant when he fought under Patton.
January 12, 2013 |
In the documentary "Anita," which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in four sold-out screenings beginning Saturday, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Mock focuses her lens on law professor Anita Hill (who hadn't yet seen the film at press time). More than 20 years after Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in turbulent Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Hill is an author, professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University's Heller School of Social Policy and Management and a frequent speaker on sexual discrimination and civil rights.
January 8, 2013
Re "On family plan," Jan. 4 Can someone please explain to me how someone born in the U.S. to non-citizens is automatically deemed to be an American citizen? I looked up the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Section I reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. " As I read it, being born here then going back to China or wherever certainly does not make one "subject to the jurisdiction thereof.
December 25, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Eric H. Holder Jr. was sworn in as attorney general four years ago with probably more on-the-job training, credentials and expertise than any of the 81 others who have run the Justice Department. He joined its Public Integrity Section as a trial lawyer fresh out of law school, and later served as a federal judge and U.S. attorney in Washington. By the late 1990s, he was deputy attorney general. Sworn in for the top post in February 2009, Holder seemed made for the job. But what many supporters and critics say he did not bring to the office - which oversees 110,000 employees, undercover terrorism investigations, anti-drug efforts against Mexican cartels, public corruption prosecutions and civil and financial matters - is what may go down as his legacy.
December 22, 2012
Re "The Hagel litmus test," Editorial, Dec. 20 What a breath of fresh air: that it is not a bad thing for the U.S. to choose a secretary of Defense based on what's best for this country rather than for Israel. It is time to rethink the cliche about our "unshakable" relationship with Israel. How come our relationship with, say, Britain or Canada is never described so warmly, even though both countries hew more closely to our idea of civil rights? There was a time when our relationship with white South Africa was warm, but when the Boers drifted into apartheid, the relationship chilled.